Le Serre Nuove – Thoughts from Glasshouses

Food Stories and Recollections

Welsh Curiosity

There are certain things that the forces of nurture impress upon you. Growing up with a Welsh Dad, and with members of family still living in Cardiff, for me that was alcohol, socialism, rugby and laverbread. Being Welsh or more specifically scouse born, home county raised, half Welsh, these things were unescapable,  as they were traits that emerged at certain times of the year. Most obviously whenever the six nations came about (particularly 1993 and Ieuan Evans’ try), they would lurk in the background and shoot at me when I least expect it. During my student days too, I would invariably get packets in the post from my Gran containing a whole heap of goodies – predominantly her Welsh Cakes. They are unequalled. Period.

Talking of my Gran, she used to threaten me with laverbread whenever I came to stay. Laver is seaweed found on the Gower coast plucked from the rocks at low tide. To make Laverbread it is boiled for several hours and then minced. I think the notion of eating seaweed would always put me off, and that it looks like black mush. Then she cooked me a traditional Welsh breakfast (you get it with cockles nowadays but this is a traditional South Wales miners breakfast) of laverbread, bacon, mushrooms and sausages, when I was about 18 and boy did I realise how good it is. I was amazed about how fresh it tasted and how it tasted like the sea. I found it quite salty, but it compliments the meat really well. With seaweed being increasing popular with the rise of sushi and the significant health benefits it brings, it is a great thing to cook with and something that I really enjoy, particularly when I now go down to the Valleys. Steven Terry is a big fan (from the Hardwick Inn) and here is a great recipe of his here. Below is a great dish I have made a couple of times and I think helps show how versatile the dish is, and what a curiosity it is.

Monkfish & Laverbread Cakes

Monkfish fillets
100g fresh or tinned laverbread
35g fine oatmeal
10g Parsley
6 rashers of bacon (keep the fat)

Grill the bacon over a medium heat, ensuring you keep the fat, until cooked.  Place on a paper towel to remove excess fat. Dice the cooked bacon, and combine the laverbread, parsley and oatmeal in a bowl. Shape into 6 small cakes, about 5cm wide and 2cm thick.  Heat the bacon fat in a frying pan (or use the same pan as you cooked the bacon in), and gently slide the cakes into the hot fry, turning occasionally until crisp on both sides. Drizzle with some lemon juice just before serving if you wish.

To roast the monkfish, season the fillets with salt and pepper, heat a large ovenproof frying pan with some olive oil, and fry the fillets in the pan for 2 minutes. Turn them over and put the pan in a preheated oven (about 220°C) for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve with the laverbread cakes.

Yr un peth eto, os gwelwch yn dda.


Log fires and Seafood – The Three Chimneys

Probably one of my favourite places in the whole world is the Isle of Skye. It is a mystical place. Rugged, wind-swept, beautiful and enchanting that often lifts me onto a different emotional plain. Sometimes you really don’t know what is on your doorstep. That was certainly true when I first went there, because there are elements to it that really blew me away, like going to Florence for the first time or walking along the Inca trail and stumbling upon Machu Picchu, and seeing landscapes in their natural beauty. The Three Chimneys is nestled in a village whose population would not even fill the restaurant – with a view overlooking the sea, the surroundings wild, bleak and sparse.

Yet, despite the location, you have a venue in the Three Chimneys that has been known to receive traveling visitors to the helipad (i.e. the patch of grass opposite) for lunch and a reputation that belies its rural out-posting. Its reputation built upon the local seafood that surrounds the isle, all of which identified on the menu with the landing site for the catch. The traditional stone croft cottage has been transformed and is now incredibly intimate, to a degree that you are almost dining with the table next to you. A very reasonable wine list, heavy on white wine, led us into a white Burgundy from Nuits Saint George. I had conflicting thoughts about the menu, (unbalanced maybe?), but I was there to eat the seafood: Hake, skate and razor clams to start, halibut and squid to follow.

Gigha Halibut, Squid, Fennel. Caviar sauce.

I have always been a bit skeptical of taking pictures of restaurant food, however beautiful it is (I am more in the Giles Cohen school), and I would probably annoy my wife exponentially by getting out my DSLR: filters, flashes, tripods and all. But in honour to all you bloggers that do, there is a little photo to the right (done with my iphone).

It was a dish that typified our experience. Some parts phenomenal, some parts average. The squid was overcooked and not particularly enjoyable whilst the potatoes did not really bring anything to the dish against the fennel or the sauce. That said however, the gigha halibut was absolutely fabulous. It alone was worth the entry fee (if you had one). I probably do not have the linguistic capabilities to really express my delight at how good it was and how much I enjoyed it. With the caviar sauce, it was simply sensational. The anise and slight nuttiness of the fennel was also not too overpowering and added subtlety. That alone would have been sufficient for me. It was a BIG portion. My starter, equally, was the same. The hake was fabulous, as were the clams, but I struggled against the saffron potatoes and I could not taste the skate. My wife really enjoyed her partridge starter, but her monkfish in Ayrshire bacon was very salty (which may in part be of course due to the nature of the bacon). The scallop accompaniment however, made the dish. As soft and delicate as you can get.

The deserts, the warm almond cake and the dark chocolate mousse with ginger, were both excellent, although the ginger was served separately so balancing the flavours proved problematic. The sommelier was suitably impressed by my wife’s origami with the napkins (she turns it into a chicken) that he gave us some complimentary dessert wines which was a nice touch, and typified the excellent service. The Three Chimneys is renowned for its marmalade soufflé, and judging by fellow diners’ reactions it was proving to a massive hit. It was pertinent to wash everything down with a Talisker, and all its smokey goodness.

Walking out of the restaurant the view is simply stunning, and if you hit it at the right time of year the sunset phenomenal. This is what contributes to the magic that is the Three Chimneys. The food is good, but there are elements you would not expect if it was in say, London. Ironically it has been outstripped by Kinloch Lodge (which has been awarded a Michelin Star, and dining there really does feel like you are enjoying dinner in Laird MacDonald’s house) as THE location restaurant within Skye. That competition can only be a good thing, because it will help drive the Three Chimneys on it bigger and better things. I will remember that Halibut for a long while; next time you hope everything is as good.

We slowly drove back down the single track lane back to our apartment, to a wonderful log fire and yet another night-cap. The raw majestic qualities of Skye will never fail to dazzle me.

Sausage Squash

A guest blog! Well kind of. This is something that my wife has introduced to me from her American roots. I believe it is described as ‘southern’ cooking, which often is considered just the Cajun and Creole food of Louisiana, but that is just a particular aspect of it. The primary basis of southern cuisine is corn, and hence cornmeal, which you see used in a variety of ways. I will leave it for another occasion to tell you about ‘Biscuits and Gravy’, and the story of Hush Puppies (deep-fried cornmeal), but it is amazing how varied it is. There is a cookbook called ‘What Mrs. Fisher Knows about Old Southern Cooking’ from 1881, which is written by a former slave and demonstrates the nature of the way the African-American food culture, and ultimately ‘southern’ food, emerged. It is quite an incredible read, very different to modern-day cookbooks, and worth finding out about.

This southern recipe my wife cooks for me frequently. It is a straightforward dish to do, and a great easy supper. I really like it, and it is very tasty. You can serve it as a side dish or as a main, although we normally serve it with some simple green beans and toasted walnuts. You could serve it with some creole rice or even mac and cheese!

Sausage Squash

4 Sausages (pork / venison work best) – (two per person)

2 acorn squashes (or one per person)

20 g Breadcrumbs

25 g Parmesan Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Cut the squash in half, removing the seeds and fibres. Place the halved squash in a roasting tin half filled with water, and roast until tender (about 25 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, the ones we get in the UK are fairly small so this should be sufficient) at 180ºC. Meanwhile fry the sausages and chopped into small pieces and set aside. Once the squash has roasted scoop out the pulp and mix together with the chopped sausages, seasoning, breadcrumbs and about half of the cheese. Return the combined mixture to the squash shells and cover with the remaining cheese. Return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until everything has warmed through. Serve in their shell.

My Favorite Stew

I cannot remember where this came from, but this is one of my favourite recipes that I have played around with recently. I love the way in which venison and chocolate work so well together (Richard Corrigan serves a wonderful chocolate ravioli with venison) and Rowley Leigh was the first chef who I really saw use these ingredients together. The chocolate cuts through the flavours of the meat and really strengthens the taste, adding bitterness and a great sharpness to it. The darker the chocolate the better too (or go the whole hog and use Cacao it is certainly worth it).

Chocolate Venison Stew

1 kilo shoulder (or haunch) venison, diced,
A bottle of red wine (a good Merlot based one would work best.. or a Rioja)
2 tablespoons of olive oil,
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 crushed garlic cloves,
a handful of rosemary and thyme,
2 bay leaves,
1 teaspoon of crushed juniper berries,
Half a teaspoon of crushed peppercorns,
Half a teaspoon of salt.

Combine the ingredients into a marinade, add the meat  and leave overnight.

When you are ready to cook you will also need:
2 tablespoons of oil,
100g of Serrano ham fat or fatty bacon, cubed.
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
70 grams of bitter black chocolate, grated.
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the ham or bacon in a casserole dish. Remove just before it the oil discolors, and keep to one side. Pat the meat dry (who make also wish to flour the meat) and gently brown before removing and leaving to one side.. Add the onions and carrots and soften over a medium heat in the same pan. Add the marinade, and bring it to a simmering point (that it when it starts to gently bubble). Return both the venison and ham to the dish, and add the spices. Cook in a low-medium oven (i.e. at about 150) for 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender. You make want to add a drop of water to ensure the meat does not dry out. Return to the hob, and grate the chocolate into the dish, bringing the sauce back to a simmer point or until the sauce is of a decent thickness. Serve immediately.

This is like cooking the Julia Childs version of Beef Burguignon,  as it take can take a few hours, and most of the techniques are classical: Cooking each element in the same dish first, adding and returning them add at different points as it cooks. Try not to use a too spicy wine (like a Syrah) as it can kill the chocolate flavour, and do not go over board with the chocolate – Dairy Milk will not work either!

Regardless of how long it takes to cook – it is worth the wait and great to banish the Autumn blues.

He got Pretzeled

Soft, chewy, salty. Perhaps with a little mustard. Actually maybe not. That’s a New York thing, and it’s probably French’s. It’s a rather bright yellow, that makes me wonder whether it is a little toxic. Of course it’s not, it is just the vinegar, but it is a little unnerving. Mustard or no mustard, sometimes there is only one thing I want to do for lunch: Walk the 10 minutes up the hill from my office to Falko‘s and stock up on his lye bretzel.

I think it is one of the reason’s why I have failed to detach myself from my current workplace, or at least find a job that still makes it within walking distance. A bad morning can often be solved with a gentle stroll up the hill and immersing myself into some German bread. The array of cakes are second to none, and the marzipan almond horseshoes are so delicate and sweet, they make you crave for more (and perfect with a cup of tea). But I digress, it’s the only place I have found in Edinburgh that sells fresh pretzels, yet it surprises me that they are not more readily available nor there be the demand for them. They appear at the German market at Christmas, but the tradition has never really caught on. I adore making my own, I even import the flour and yeast from a Jewish shop in North Carolina, yet there is still something missing. I think even the Pretzel M&M’s that you can now get (a low-calorie chocolate? Crunchy, salty, sweet?), and act as the perfect accompaniment to an IPA, imply there is something else I should be doing, but what is it?

Walking round New York or Chicago (probably most N.E. cities) pretzels are ubiquitous as the falafel vendors. The German immigrants (well the Pennsylvania Dutch really) of the 18th century first brought the delicacy to the US, and the eat about a kilo’s worth a year. That’s probably about 200. On a recent visit to NYC, I literally dropped my bags off at the hotel and headed to Sigmonds Pretzel Shop in the East Village. I stumbled upon it trekking around, because of their unbelievable quality. I think that’s where the mustard comes in because, for the most part, most street vendor pretzels just taste liked undercooked bread.

The reason ‘real’ pretzels taste so different is because they use Sodium Hydroxide, instead of Sodium Carbonate – and this is the thing I have been missing. Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic soda which can burn and you need a mixture of about 3% in water. It is more commonly referred to as lye, and makes great pretzels because it breaks down the gluten and on the outside of the pretzel which causes the starch to harden giving it its crust (it mixes with Carbon Dioxide as it bakes to form Carbonate), whilst keeping the middle moist.

The shape depends on whether you are eating a Bavarian (which is uniform in size) or a Swabian which is big in the middle and thin at either end. Sigmond’s are Bavarian, and Falko’s Swabian.  A perfect combination for two great cities.

Crustaceans and Crabshakk

Is there anything more delectable that lobster? My mind was cast by the story of  3.4 KG lobster that was caught in the Forth, (http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Now-that39s-pot-luck.6584570.jp) and auctioned at my local fishmongers, Armstrong’s in Stockbridge, recently. In my haste, I completely forgot to go down and check it out, maybe even bid, but I was through in Glasgow on the Friday and lobster cravings gave way to thinking of the tiny chaos of Crabshakk.

It’s been open for nearly two years and received quite a lot of press attention last year for its stripped back approach to shellfish. I first ventured there for lunch about a year ago, and I was intrigued to see how it had changed. There is no doubt there will be things that won’t be for everybody: it is incredibly crammed (if you get a table by the fire it’s about half the size of single school desk), and the menu is not extensive (although you can get a steak – or fish suppers if you don’t like shellfish), but its creates the sort of buzz and hustle and bustle that is more Bleecker Street than Argyle Street.

Whenever my dad would take me to the pub growing up I always wanted a bag of Scampi Fries. I had no idea what they were, but they were incredibly tangy in flavour, and moreish. They smelled fishy, but I didn’t taste like it and the were way better than cheese and onion crisps. I had soon moved on to the breaded variety at the chippie, as I hated soggy fried fish (still do), and still didn’t know what ‘Scampi’ was and only knew it by association. Dublin prawns was what my dad would call them (always forgetting the bay part), but I never had a real Langoustines until I moved to Scotland. The dramatic rise in their popularity (from revenues of about £68m in 2002 to £200m this year), due in part to their the supposed stock levels and the environmental impact of overfishing, has seen them become almost ubiquitous in menus.

I lost count of the amount they served me (12 I believe). They were all perfectly cooked, lightly grilled and coated in garlic butter. Even in Paris, it is supposedly acceptable that you use your hands to take the meat out of the shell, and use the finger bowl, and it is certainly the way you are expected to do it here. It’s just impossible not to get shells everywhere. I know people who like to suck the brains out like crayfish, and I doubt it would be frowned upon, but that’s not something for me. I really don’t like the mess. It goes with the territory, and if you do order these things you should tolerate it. But that can be forgiven. I think I could still be there given how succulent they were. The crab cakes too, were small perfectly formed, no potato filler, just white crab meat and tender and delicate. I probably soured the event by washing it all down with Italian lager; it didn’t add anything, and is just quite boring. Sides too were pointless, unless you needed a carb fix.

The freshness and quality of the produce used is second to none; Crabshakk lets them speak for themselves with the minimum of fuss. By and large they had maintained the standards that they had set last year. Crabshakk may be awkward and cramped, and can feel like a roadside diner (no doubt it is the point), but it is certainly worth it.

A Pumpkin Obsession

Pumpkins. For me it is officially the end of summer when they first start appearing in the shops and the kids have gone back to school. It is the thing that the supermarkets can sort of fudge to hide getting the Christmas goods in. With all the Halloween festive additions of chocolates and sweeties (and it seems that since Kraft took over Cadbury they have gone for this market quite significantly), they stand out like a sore thumb. Big and cumbersome, they look battered and bruised and never tempting to eat, disappearing as soon as Halloween is over.

David Bowman is the UK’s biggest seller of pumpkins, shifting around 2 million of the things – they even sponsor a pumpkin festival (sadly gone for this year) in Spalding, Lincolnshire, which is the defacto pumpkin capital of the UK – and suggests that 99% of all pumpkins are used for carving. It surprises me that so few people eat it; although that’s probably not true given the poor bland watery quality of most of them that you can buy. But I still remember the first time I ate it, tortelli de zucca.

The Italian town of Mantova, Lombardy – or Mantua, as the natives call it – and its ‘tortelli di zucca have a sacral quality’ –  is the home of this venerable dish. It has been around since the 1500’s apparently, and the locals are fiercely proud of its origins. It is a traditional Christmas Eve dish, and one of the few non-meat dishes Italians will eat. Indeed, the proprietor who sold it to me the first time said it is the only vegetarian dish he would eat. It didn’t take long for me to be completely smitten. Its flavours are so mellow and warming, with a such a gentle sweetness that makes the harsh autumnal blues float away. I am not sure whether it is the amaretti biscuits or the apple mustard that really gives it its distinctive flavour, but it completely changed my perception of those orange things that I had only ever really used for Jack O’Lanterns.

I am now completely obsessed. If there is ever anything on the menu that pumpkin is in, I will order it. Even when it is bad, I love it. I once made a pumpkin risotto without steaming it, and it was really hard and chewy and not sweet at all, but that didn’t stop me. You increasingly see it in thai fusion cooking as the combination of sweet, sour, hot and spicy work well with it. I really enjoy simply roasting it in sage and olive and oil and eating in with some salad greens and goats cheese. There is no question that it makes a fantastic soup (I really enjoy it with some red pepper), and or course, risotto’s are an easy thing way to enjoy it (as long as you don’t make my mistake). I have not as yet tried to make it from scratch but pumpkin gnocchi, either in a sage butter or a plain tomato sauce, is also very tasty. Even just roast it and sticking it on a margarita pizza.

There are over 50 varieties of pumpkins, and the more flavourful are the smaller and perhaps, un-orange skin ones. Marina di Chioggia, the main varietal from Italy is in fact green, are the one I was recommended to cook with. I really enjoy cooking with munchkins too, but it is best not to use the larger varieties for savoury dishes, and if you want to make pie, use the New England versions as they are naturally sweeter.

Pumpkin Pie. It was never something that appealed to me, and something that I used to dismiss as a silly American thing. Since meeting my wife (who hails from the Sunshine State), I now celebrate Thanksgiving with her and made it my mission to make pie every year. I used to just stick with the Libby’s version, because it is such a fail safe – and that’s what you do right?, but one year someone brought their own, homemade version. Then I discovered an ice cream shop in NYC that made Pumpkin Pie ice cream. I had to do both. So last year for Thanksgiving I made my own pie and, even though Scotland has got incredibly cold recently, I wanted to finally make ice cream. Here is a version of a pie recipe that I have altered to work as an ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
100g caster sugar
450 g (1 lb) pumpkin flesh, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) chunks
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
275 ml (10 fl.oz) double cream
Shortbread biscuits (as many as you want – 5/6 should be sufficient)

Steam the pumpkin, then put it in a sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water. Then lightly whisk the eggs and the extra yolk together in a large bowl. Place the sugar, spices and cream in a pan, bring them to simmering point, stirring with a whisk regularly. Then pour this mixture over the eggs and whisk it again briefly. Return the mixture into the saucepan containing the rest of the cream and continue cooking gently for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and now add the pumpkin pureé whisking everything thoroughly until combined. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn for 2 hours. Crumble shortbread into the mixture as it churns or add when serving as desired.

Serve with cognac.

Simply exquisite.


A Night at Marcus Wareing’s

“One of the most opulent events of my life.” I was exactly 29 years and 364 days old. I was at the place where I had always wanted to go. Of all the ‘celebrity’ chefs, M.W.’s was the one that I wanted to go to the most. My wife tried to surprise me, but I have a habit of guessing and I eventually got it out of her a month before hand. I think too, when he had his much written about fallout with Gordon Ramsay, my desire to go there increased further as you finally saw him stand on his own two feet and really, hopefully, take him to the next level and the 3rd star.

So an evening of a 7 course tasting menu to look forward and the perfect way to see out your twenties. We were staying at the hotel, and I was drinking Champagne from about half four, so I was getting a bit exuberant before we even went down for dinner. My wife too, insists on eating early so the table booked for 6.00. As you would expect, there was no limit on the time you could have your table for, and walking into the (bar one other table) empty restaurant in the semi-daylight, really reiterated the exquisite interior.

A delightful amuse-bouche led us into the first course of Foie Gras, Cherries, Tea and Caramelised Milk. The smokey fragrance of the lapsang tea led into a delectable foie gras, touched with a sweetness from the milk and light acidity of the cherries. Sometimes foie gras has such a umami effect and this was such a delightful dish. It was almost too much too soon as the crab, mackerel, pear, chargrilled bread and hazlenut that followed could not live up to it. At this point, I have to note the fabulous wine we had. The New Greenhouse from Ornellaia. This ‘baby’ Ornellaia was fantastic – a 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot blend – soft and supple with great spice and fruit. I find it quite American in style, and very silky. The wine list had some really quirky numbers and I do not always get to see this fabulous wine, the Ornellaia, on many menus. All the more so because it was the last one they had!

Proceeded by quail, smoked white beans, with a toast foam, which really was like beans on toast, it disappointed slightly as the beans were too overpowering and lost the flavour of the quail. It was an intriguing twist but too sweet. And again, the scallops with red wine, morels, and parley were very good but there were times when the parsley just overpowered the dish.

I was at this point slightly confused. There was no question that the evening was superb, yet I became confused about the food. Was I being let down, or were my expectation levels unrealistic? The whole evening had come down to the beef, wild garlic, and snails. Umami. I began to purr like a kitten. I forgave everything. This was what I had come for.

Everything had finally started to catch up with me, and the arctic roll, with blackberry and chocolate (not to the mention the bonbon tolley – which in itself is a treat to behold), were enjoyed but not savoured, despite the stunning intensity of flavour.

I knew my wife wanted to call it quits so the Talisker was the final call. Even though it was a fabulous evening, and the technicality and excellence of the cooking were in parts breathtaking, it wasn’t completely faultless.

I would have no hesitation in going back; in the end it was everything I had hoped for.

Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese. Pasta in a cheese sauce. Grains with dairy. I think I was about Four. Maybe even Three. Sitting at the dining room table, possibly in a high chair, and I started to cry. I threw something; a spoon? That is not vivid enough in my mind but I certainly remember the crying. I was eating Macaroni Cheese, or Mac and Cheese as I have started to call it now, like my wife, who’s American and how it is always called nowadays. It is one of my earliest memories (I assume my mum made it from scratch but I think she probably used a sauce packet as I have seen her a couple of times), and I can’t quiet remember when it was but I definitely remember the Macaroni Cheese.

The velvety warmth of the sauce, the richness and flavour from the cheese, and the softness and chewiness of the pasta. It is a stable favourite, indeed it has been voted in the top five of comfort dishes in the UK, in most Anglophile countries but where did it come from?

Thomas Jefferson was the first person to serve it in the White House (some even claim he invented it, although I think that has just help popularize it), and one of the earliest recorded recipes stems from The Experienced English Housekeeper, by Elizabeth Raffald. There  is not much variation on the classic dish we now get, albeit without nutmeg. It is probably true that, as with all pasta dishes, there is some origin of it from Italy – but have you ever seen it on a menu there? I was laughed at by an Italian chef when I asked him about it once. I am saw he was thinking of the Kraft version and it being processed American junk.

If I make it nowadays I always keep it simple – macaroni, a bechamel sauce, nutmeg and cheddar. I went through a spell in my teens where I would eat Spaghetti with cheddar and Worcester sauce. It was kind of my de-facto version. It sounds horrible now, and I would have a tendency to use too much Worcester sauce so it swam in it, but it was quick and easy and I made it. Ironically there is a recipe out there that does something very similar, well it doesn’t cover it in worchester sauce and uses bay leaves, and four types of cheese, but it is not that far off. It took me a rather long time to perfect the bechamel sauce to ensure that the flour cooked out enough, the sauce / cheese ratio was correct, and you didn’t overkill it with nutmeg. I discovered very quickly that it is easy to make a bad mac and cheese.

In New York recently I stumbled across a takeaway that is exclusively mac and cheese – even to the extent that they sell it in plastic macaroni (which somehow made it back across the Atlantic). The most decadent version I have ever tasted is with Lobster – which honestly just was silky and succulent, creamy and rich. I am not a fan of it with ham / pancetta (or burgers) – but I really want to see what it would be like by adding some beer to it (a really hoppy one), and experimenting with the cheese – it has to be fairly oily, sharp and nutty. Manchego or Gruyere probably would be a good substitute.  Either way you have to keep it relatively simple or its just not mac and cheese.

But perhaps the best thing about it? A perfect hangover cure when you fry yesterday’s leftovers.


Hello and welcome to my blog! I hope to write maybe a column of blogs a week giving some thoughts on latest developments in the world of food, wine and beer… probably Whisky too as I am from Scotland! There is no strict mantra for this blog, and I hope to mix it up with reviews of places, events and things that I do along with way.

I called it ‘Le Serre Nuove’ after the Second Vin of a Italian Vineyard. Serre Nuove translates into New Greenhouses (in the context of the wine it means young vines, new vines and therefore requires a different approach), and it made me think of not throwing stones in glasshouses. I lost my heart in a summer in Tuscany when I was student, and I wanted it represent a second take on food. So there you go. Le Serre Nuove!

The design of this blog will change once I get up to speed with WordPress. Please feel free to comment on anything, or drop me an email, as I will always welcome your feedback.

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