Favourite Forks: Autumnal Salad to Fresh Alba Truffles

8 November, 2013

Miso Monday at Koya

If I am ever looking for something to lift and lighten, I turn to Koya on Frith Street. Recently awarded a Bib Gourmand, I simply can’t get enough of Koya’s clean, considered and seasonally crafted food with a low-key approach to match.

Lunch consisted of a heritage carrot salad, umami-rich with a touch of astringency from the barley miso, and their special udon noodle dish, with pheasant, hedgehog mushrooms, savoy cabbage and atsu-atsu udon – a beautifully balanced gamey, bosky broth, rich but clean with unimprovable noodles.

Koya 2 edited-2

Tasting at Bond & Brook by “rhubarb” at Fenwick’s

From its home in the legendary department store to the fashion books that line its walls, fashion is what is experienced when eating at Bond & Brook at Fenwick’s, and this extends to the food, too.

Of the many accomplished dishes tried, highlights include the rich, slow-braised and glazed veal cheeks with a silky soft pommes purée, winter truffle and gremolata, and the Bond & Brook salad with smoked mackerel, lightly picked cauliflower, beetroot, celery, apple,

walnuts and winter leaves. Genuinely one of the best salads I have ever tried, the sweetness of the beetroot and the apple combined with the bitterness of the radicchio and a variety of textures achieves a taste that shouts of autumn.

Dinner Cooked by David Swann

Dinner with friends this week was made courtesy of my friend, development chef and food-lover, David Swann.

Guests tucked into a very moreish Moroccan loin of lamb with smoky aubergine purée. What more could you want from a home-cooked main?

But dessert truly served to thrill – inspired by The Dairy in Clapham (one of the most exciting restaurant openings of 2013, in my opinion) – David presented us with salted caramel with 72% chocolate truffles, H2O chocolate mousse and savoury chocolate crumble served with vanilla ice cream.

Restorative Trip to The Counter at the Delaunay

Recovering from a cold later in the week, I bee-lined for The Counter at the Delaunay, and savoured their delicious and restorative chicken soup. Partnered with a chopped chicken salad packed with vegetables, this was an uplifting and healthy weekday lunch, at one of my favourite restaurants.

If you are in the area and a little peckish, make sure to check out their daily tagesteller – yesterday it was indulgent lamb meatballs with Spätzle, an egg noodle typical of Southern Germany.

Delauney 1

Cooking at Home

October and November are the busiest months for the famous truffle market in Alba, northern Italy, when the Fiera del Tartufo (truffle fair) takes place. And here in London we get to enjoy the ripple effect, with Camisa & Son delicatessen on Old Compton Street (a Soho fixture) selling fresh Alba truffles from their counter. Shrouded in mystery and high demand, the ancient Greeks thought truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil, and now large truffles can sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds in auction. For a very special light supper at home, nothing is better than fresh truffle shavings atop of a pasta dish or with buttery scrambled eggs.

I used Burford Browns, known for their very yellow yolks, and a generous amount of butter to make my eggs. Mix with a wooden spoon until just bavois and then serve with truffle shavings for a rich and earthy taste.

Tonight I am cooking a dish inspired by one of my favourite chefs, Stevie Parle of the Dock Kitchen. Hailed as the current-day Alistair Little, Stevie recently wrote a recipe for the Telegraph on how to cook steamed cod with ginger and soy served with smacked cucumber salad, though I am altering the recipe slightly and cooking with halibut instead and adding broccoli to the salad. I always enjoy being back in the kitchen at the end of the week, to reflect and experiment with some of my newfound favourites.