I just can’t resist a reflective round-up so here we go – the dishes which have really stuck with me, in memory and on the waistline, in 2010.
2010 was the year I perfected my steak tartare. Using lean sirloin rather than fillet gives more flavour. Thanks once again to Simon Hopkinson for that pearl of wisdom.
Freshly cooked lobster with home made mayonnaise and clarified butter. So simple and so perfect.
The frankly outrageous cheese soufflé at Le Gavroche. It’s baked in double cream. My thighs shudder at the memory. I never got around to writing about that meal but this is all you need to know really. The success of the dish lies in the absolutely spot-on seasoning; plenty of salt and white pepper balanced the richness. Stunning.
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. I do love an outrageous recipe (see cheese soufflé) and this follows in the same vein. The garlic mellows and perfumes the bird which has basically been poached in olive oil.
The best chicken sandwich of my life. After making the chicken with 40 cloves, I saved the chicken and garlic infused oil and used it to make mayonnaise. I mixed that with the leftover meat and spread it into a sandwich. I’ve actually woken in the middle of the night and thought about that sandwich.
Earl grey ice cream with vanilla doughnuts and lemon curd at The Harwood Arms. I won’t start going on about how much I love ice cream – I think we all know by now. The Harwood really excels at desserts and their trademark doughnuts are light as air.
Dried beef and mango salad at Mien Tay. I fell in love with this salad at first bite. I vaguely remember other people around the table liking it too but I just went on and on and on about it. Swoon.
Rhubarb crumble ice cream. Tangy rhubarb with sweet, doughy crumble pieces. Get in. I’ve got a brown bread raspberry jam ripple ice cream I can’t wait to tell you about too, but that’s for 2011.
Chipotles en adobo from Thomasina Miers’ book Mexican Food Made Simple. Holy crap, what a stunning recipe. Smoky chipotle chillies simmered long and slow into a rich, sweet and tangy sauce. Everyone should make this.
Ultimate macaroni cheese. I made this for Fiona Beckett’s ultimate mac n cheese competition and was very chuffed when I won. She sent me a lovely Emma Bridgewater baking dish as a prize. My recipe involved cooking a ham hock to use in the mac and then cooking the pasta in the ham stock before baking.
And of course, I have to share my worst dish of 2010, part of my worst meal as a whole. Really quite staggeringly bad. Cantina Loredo, you should be ashamed of serving this plate of two turds masquerading as ‘chicken mole’.
I’m amazed that a dish from The Ledbury didn’t feature here but to be honest I could write an entire list just about that place – my restaurant of the year without a doubt. My friends and I have made a pact to eat there once every few months and we’re already booked in for the next meal. Yep, it’s been a good year for eating. A very Happy New Year to you all and here’s to a delicious 2011.