Eating is fun, but is cooking more fun? I’m lucky enough to enjoy both equally. So it’s not a question that enters my mind. For me the two go hand in hand. Here’s a rundown of my favourite cooking in 2015. My favourite dining experiences can be found on my companion blog.
A year of cooking Thai food
Eating at Bo.lan and Nahm in March gave me such inspiration to recreate the flavours at home for the rest of the year. Without doubt I’ve cooked and eaten more Thai food this year than any other kind of cuisine. Cumulating in a three day Thai pop-up with my buddies at Loaf and Peel & Stone. Hopefully giving Brum a taste of Thai food not normally found on the high street. My favourite dishes to cook have been mussaman curries in all its forms, the deep rich and complex flavours may have superseded rendang as my favourite curry. Another standout are mine and Dom’s signature Sai Oua Wings; deboned chicken wings stuffed with Thai sausage, smoked then grilled and smothered in sweet chilli sauce. Best wings ever. I can’t go back to Thailand on an eating holiday every month but I can try to eat great Thai food by cooking it as often as possible.
Carters @ Loaf
Back in June Carter’s of Moseley joined me and Loaf in a collaboration. Since then Carter’s have gained a Michelin star. Now I’m not implying cause and effect here, just a linear sequence of events! But to be serious, this was such an enjoyable cooking experience. Read all the details in my earlier post. I still think about the menu and the fantastic feedback we got from our diners. Most fun was creating the fish dish for the menu. Poached lobster with coconut som tam, kesar mango and an intense lobster mayo enriched with lobster roe and tomalley. I can’t wait for mango season to return so I can make it again.
The combination of Birmingham Indoor and Wholesale markets comes up trumps 9 times out of 10 for all my seafood needs. Freshly sliced turbot for Chinese hotpot, cheap and delicious brown crabs full of back fat and roe, grilled scallops in seaweed butter, sweet native lobsters, dover sole drenched in brown shrimp butter. Who needs to be by the seaside?
Rubia Gallega Txuleta
I waxed lyrical earlier in the year about the crimson red Galician beef of Northern Spain. The Galician Blond (Rubia Gallega) steak I cooked over oak embers was close to steak perfection. Best steak of the year by some margin.
My tastes don’t really change that much. Especially when it’s my favourite things. I’ve always loved smoked eel and I still loved it in 2015. Freshly smoked the rich fat permeates your pores as you eat it, the soft flesh melting in the mouth is simply the best. Melt some guanciale onto it and have it on soft-grained rye bread, yeah that’s a pretty nice open sandwich.