My top 10 dishes of 2010

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.

Category: Round-ups | Tags: , 12 comments »

12 Responses to “My top 10 dishes of 2010”

  1. Lizzie

    I’ve spent many a time thinking about that chicken sandwich too. And I didn’t even eat it! What a fantastic year we had (except Cantina Laredo. Which was actually fantastic in giving us mega belly laughs at how bad it was).

  2. Ino

    God I love top 10 lists! All the food here looks amazing, but the ultimate sandwich is something I’ve been dreaming of trying for a while (since I first read it on your blog). I need to get over my fear of making my own mayo and do it.

  3. Kalynskitchen

    They all look great, especially the chipotle sauce. Wishing you all the best in 2011!

  4. Helen

    Lizzie – such belly laughs! I remember faces of horror turning to smiles and then laughs and then back to horror again.

    Ino – me too! I love a list. Can’t get through the day without one. Making mayo is not scary at all, just go slowly. If you do split it just start again with a fresh egg and add the split mixture to that. You’ll be fine.

    Kalyn – Thank you! And all the best to you too.

  5. msmarmitelover

    Great stuff Helen x

  6. Y

    A truly mouth watering collection of food memories there. Can’t wait to see what this new year has in store :)

  7. Liana @ femme fraiche

    Looks like you enjoyed some great dishes this year! That mac and cheese is mouthwatering:)

  8. Sally

    Enjoyed your top 10 (and the worst meal too – looks awful!) and all the posts I’ve read this year. Happy New Year.

  9. Weekly roundup of the national restaurant critics by @OliverThring, 03/01 | iStarvin Blog

    [...] did a roundup of their most memorable dishes or dinners of 2010, and one of the best of these was Helen Graves’s. From perfect steak tartare to Mien Tay’s salad and the Gav’s cheese soufflé, the girl [...]

  10. shayma

    i remember that chicken with garlic cloves that you blogged about- divine. x shayma

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    [...] the collection of beautiful food photographs by Tartelette to the top dishes (and the worst) by Food Stories.  I’ve decided to look ahead instead and share a few foodie resolutions.  2011 is like an [...]

  12. Jessica

    Just read this post and what a mistake it was – now I’m starving! The ‘best chicken sandwich’ would go down a treat right now, yum! :)


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