Monday, 19 April 2010

My arse, my dad, heat and ash at The Underground Lunch

Shhh, don't tell The Underground... (Pic: Gavin Rodgers)

Morel mushrooms from L.Booth in Borough Market

Rigatoni Puttanesca...or whore's pasta, 'puttana' is Italian for prostitute (pic: Gavin Rodgers)

Lenny and Adam helped out...

Les tricoteuses...a group named Eat1Knit1.

So nice when guests dress cheering

Fish waiting to go into the oven (pic: Gavin Rodgers)

Sea bass with morels and potatoes

Blood orange, fennel, pomegranate and mint salad

Cheeses from Neal's Yard:
plus feijoa, a guava-like fruit that can be eaten like an apple, pecan nuts and my fig confit (braised for three weeks in red wine) (not pictured)

Rhubarb fool

I left the rhubarb syrup on the Aga overnight and by the morning it was rhubarb flavoured caramel

Tits and tats: an illustrious and illustrated guest...who fell wearing perilously high heels the night before and broke her nose...

Yes in the corner that is MsMarmitelover typically wearing too short a dress. All kitchen staff and most guests have, by now, seen my arse. Which is quite pert as it happens. (pic: Gavin Rodgers)

Such hot weather that guests took dessert and coffee in the garden... (Pic: Gavin Rodgers)

As ash paralysed and quietened the skies of Europe, it was a beautiful day for The Underground Lunch ... if it carries on like this, I'd like to have tables outside. If anyone has any garden tables and chairs they can donate please get in touch.
On one table we had les tricoteuses, knitting between courses; on another, sat my parents, my brother and his wife. My dad talked to one of the knitters:
"I had a nice chat with that girl with the tattoos. She's a single mum, likes crochet and she's not a lesbian." He told me, looking pleased with himself.
"You asked her that?"
"Well, yes"
Groaning internally I went over to her and, trying to make light of my family's very own Prince Phillip, chortlingly asked:
"Did my dad ask if you were a lesbian?"
"Sure" she drawled forgivingly in a Californian accent "but hey, that's ok. I was hoping he would kiss me. I don't know why he didn't"
"Um, maybe because my mum would have objected?" I ventured...thinking now that would be an event, my dad getting off with a guest...
Her eyes widened "Well he never mentioned her..."
Kir Royale
Rigatoni Puttanesca (for me, a Sunday lunch should start with pasta)
Seabass with morel mushrooms and potatoes

Veggie Option: Morel gratin (really bloody delicious, the veggies aren't fobbed off with leftovers here)

Blood orange, fennel, pomegranate, mint salad with citrus dressing

Cheese board: Sleightly's (goat), Childwicksbury (goat), Milleen's (cow), Berkswell (cow), Colston Bassett Stilton (cow), Snowdonia Cheddar (cow). Homemade fig confit, pecan nuts, feijoa fruit, cheese oatcakes and St John's sourdough bread.

Rhubarb fool

Coffee by Douwe Egberts (vintage blend)

The Underground Cooking class on Saturday went well, we learnt to make focaccia and fresh pasta then sat down to eat.

Charity shop haul this week...constantly need new vintage china and glasses. I'm collecting cut and pressed glass at the moment.

Babycham glasses found in Portobello Market

Recipe for the salad:

Peel the blood oranges, slice thinly
Slice fennel thinly
Pick the seeds from a pomegranate, save to scatter over the top
Some torn mint leaves
A citrus dressing: I used the juice of a blood orange, some lemon, some lemon mustard, olive oil, Malden salt.

Slice up the oranges and fennel.
Layer and marinate with the dressing.
Add the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves

Recipe for the morel gratin:

Double cream
Vegetable or mushroom stock
Bay leaves
Morel mushrooms
Cheese, say cheddar or caerphilly, grated

Slice potatoes thinly, layer nicely in a buttered baking tin
Do three layers of the potatoes
Dot with cubes of butter
Add a little veg stock, half way up tin
Add enough double cream to cover the potatoes
Slice morels into half, scatter cut side down onto potatoes
Stick in a couple of bay leaves
Salt to taste
Cover with a layer of grated cheese
Bake in a medium oven for 45 minutes


  1. Slavering over your morels picture...
    Were they horrendously expensive?

  2. L.Booth were selling them for £35 a kilo. They were like truffles...perfumed the dish...

  3. Ha ha! Fair play to your dad ;)

    Looks like you all had a lovely time - and blessed by the weather, too. Long may it continue!

  4. Is that Cherie that fell on her face ? If so I've seen her do that before.

  5. Knit 1 Eat 1!

  6. You had Feijoa's! I thought I would never see them used in the UK. As a New Zealander I love them, but apparently many people here don't (especially 42 Below Feijoa Vodka which I think is delish).

  7. I really liked them Karl, but they are expensive here, a quid each...
    neil yes that is Cherie. What a woman...

  8. Can I ask how you made the rhubarb syrup? I'm making a rhubarb trifle/tiramisu/fool thing tomorrow night and rhubarb syrup would be perfect!

  9. I braised the rhubarb with water, for 45 minutes on a slow oven. Then strained the juice out and reduced it to half. I then left the pan on the closed aga and overnight it became caramel...a really acidic rhubarby caramel...gorgeous.

  10. That was such a lovely post, feltlike I ws there thank you. Have added you to my favorites.

    How would I find out if there are any events in my area?

    Thanks in advance

  11. Thanks! I'm going to try the same, on a gas stove... overnight... hmm!

  12. Just wanted to say that I had a lovely time at this lunch. Fab food, lovely people, great atmos and just a very nice, unique experience all round.

    Also wanted to say thanks for the singles supperclub advice! Cheers... Will take heed though may still try our luck.

    Thanks again.


  13. Your lunch looks lovely! I particularly love the beautiful photo of the rhubarb fool.

  14. A quid each?! My sister keeps turning up with bags of the sodding things from her tree, I cant keep up (would post some over if I could!).......wish I could attend in person, love the blog, and the concept. Tried in vain to find something similar here in Auckland, so am starting my own!

  15. Boy: the thing about leaving it on an Aga all night is I just left it on top because it's warm all the time.

    365: thanks

    Suffolk Restaurant: I'm not sure in Suffolk. I know there are some in Norfolk. check to see if there are any in your area.

    Julie: it's worth a shot. And if you get any decent men who aren't too young, let me know!
    Lex: thank you!
    Plum: they were so delicious...
    Brilliant, yes start your own. My friend @curdnerd is going to start one in New Zealand when he returns home...

  16. it was so lovely to meet you and your father and the rest of the underground kitcheners. look forward to spending many more sunny afternoons in your company...and gracing you with a bit of yarnbombing sometime.

    and yes neil it was me...
    luckily i am healing well and nothing a bit of make-up can't cover!

    cherie xxx

  17. Thanks Cherie...would love to be yarnbombed! x


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