Monday, 23 May 2011

M is for ...

... Manhattans with mung bean morsels topped with minted Mascarpone, followed by mushroom and miso millefeuille, Moules Mariniere with Maldon salt topped malted muffins. Next up was mutton, mace, marrowfat pea and Maplemoon ale stew, followed by mandarin-stuffed mallards with a Madeira, maple and marjoram reduction served with mange-tout and mash. Next was a palate cleansing Mojito sorbet followed by a pudding of marron meringues with marron butterscotch and marron ice cream served alongside a multi marron mousse marquise - comprising of a chocolate marron cake base topped with a marron mousse which in turn was topped with a chocolate and marron mousse, all scattered with marron praline and washed down with Moscatel. The M cheeseboard followed, with Morbier, Maroilles, Munster, Manchego, Sainte-Maure de Touraine and Moelleux du Revard served with malted grain crackers. Lastly, we drank mint tea and ate petit-fours of mandarin madeleines, mango macaroons and maple and macadamia nut truffles.  

Now, let's get something straight from the get-go, there really is no shortage of food stuffs beginning with the letter M. Flicking through Larousse, if M was a person, it would have to buy an extra seat on an aeroplane to squeeze in its mighty girth. You'd think this would make things simpler, but as in all things in life, making decisions about things to omit is definitely not my forté.

The initial stage of each letter's menu construction is a big handwritten scrawly list of everything I can think of that begins with that letter. It looks a bit like the shopping list of a person with a rare and eccentric form of OCD. When my brain has exhausted its own thoughts on the matter, I pad across the room to the book shelves and heave down a mountain of cookery books for further inspiration. Particularly helpful favourites have been Larousse's Gastronomique, 1001 Foods you Must Try Before You Die and various works of Elizabeth David and Elisabeth Luard. Ingredient list complete, I sit staring at it, straining my eyes, willing the list to become a menu that includes as many (if not all) the food stuffs staring back at me. I look longingly at them as if I'm creating a guest list for a party in which I want no one to be excluded. Richard acts as my alphabet soup anchor and suggests, in the kindest of possible ways, something along the lines of "that looks like quite a lot of food" and that unless my aim is to kill my dining companions, I might want to rein it in a bit. And I do. Not that much, I'll admit. I get over-excited and optimistic about what can be achieved in a micro kitchen and a short space of time to be reined in too tightly. And, in a bid to inject a little extra magic into the evening to celebrate the completion of the first half of the alphabet, M was my biggest menu so far. Needless to say, nobody went home hungry. Or sober. All in all, M night marked the halfway milestone of the project in marvellous fashion.

M night played host to a magnificent mix of guests. We had the supremely talented French actress Caroline Lena Olsson and the equally talented and brilliantly funny writer/ performer Catriona Knox, photographer extraordinaire and jazz enthusiast Simon Annand, hilarious writer, director and poker expert Hannah Mackay and my travel loving literary agent Olivia Guest. Last, but not least, we welcomed the glitteringly glamorous journalist Hermione Eyre who was accompanied by a surprise extra guest: Deryk, her incredibly well-behaved Yorkshire terrier.

Richard made an M themed mixtape which included Marilyn Monroe, Magnetic Fields, Madness, Bob Marley, Dean Martin, Mudhoney, Martha and the Muffins, Madonna, Meatloaf, Mr Right and Mr Wrong and Mint Royale. The evening kicked off with Manhattans and mung bean morsels topped with minted Mascarpone.


Photo taken by Simon Annand
Manhattans spell classic, chic and fiery. The cherry soaks up the punchy kick of the cocktail leaving you with a very special and sweet liquor-rich treat in the bottom of your glass. What could be better than that?

5 parts Bourbon whiskey
2 parts sweet red Vermouth
A dash of Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherries (1 per glass)

Stir the Bourbon, Vermouth and Angostura bitters over ice, strain into a chilled glass and top with a Maraschino cherry.

Mung bean morsels 

4 oz/ 100 g mung beans, pre-soaked
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
A finger of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander 
Salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
Chick pea flour, enough to bind (2-3 tbsp), plus extra for dredging

Simply blitz the ingredients together in a food processor, form into golf-sized balls and press lightly to flatten. Toss the patties in more chick pea flour and fry in a little oil until golden. Serve topped with minted Mascarpone

Minted Mascarpone

2 tbsp full fat Mascarpone
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste

Simply stir the ingredients together and taste for seasoning. Pop a teaspoonful on top of the hot patties and serve immediately. 

No comments:

Post a Comment