The things I do for food. Sunday and I’ve signed up to the Nom Nom Nom Cooking Competition, and amazingly, was one half of the final nine teams. My cooking partner in crime is Billy of Cowfish, and we face-off against… lots of bloggers, with the grand prize of a dinner at Tsuru.
I didn’t win, I can’t cook, I almost made a fool of myself, but I did eat alot. Photo essay time folks, follow me behind the scenes to learn what made Team Cowfish+Eater tickle like clockwork. And so we go, into the kitchens of The Cookery School…..
So, we all got there at 9.30 am…. actually I got there at 9.30 am. Billy had been waiting for about twenty minutes, and he was so nervous that I would be a no-show. Are ya kidding? I always show up for food. Right then, breakfast is scones, cookies and brew. Ahh… right then, let’s get to work.
We set off at around 10am to go and get our raw materials, our budget was £40, and this has to be the best part of the day, I love food markets.
Alright, so we need to pick up some really fresh produce, I haven’t gone through our menu yet, I will do so abit later, but we are starting with a fresh and summery salad.
One more of the fresh vegetables, before we move on to my favourite part, of the favourite part of the day. Hmm. So we’re serving up roast beef for mains, and we popped into The Ginger Pig for some proper bovine stuff.
Oh man, this shop really rocked hard. There’s alot of really tasty looking beef, all over the shop. It looked so good, I could have eaten it raw. Billy informed me that they did amazing sausage rolls, hmm, mid morning snack d’you think?
I don’t usually like featuring myself on the blog, but ah well, this picture is funny I think, I’m stuffing my face (and I need a haircut).
Yup didn’t even think twice about it. Picked up the £2.80 Pork and Stilton flavour….
Oh my gosh, the sausage roll is heavenly. Rich and intense flavours, the porkiness was full on and the stilton only added to flavour. There’s quite abit of oiliness, and the crust was crusty and crispy. It is really savoury and really, really good. I was hungry for more.
We also picked up some cheese from La Fromagerie, who informed me that I had to photograph the cheeses with at least ‘one person in the picture’. Too much trouble, no pictures of cheeses in that case. OK time to head back.
Ok so we had 2.5 hours to whip up a true storm, we’re team no.2, and we started with the desserts first. We’re making a trio of granitas.
That means we needed to squeeze all the juices as we can from the gooseberries, raspberries and blackberries, and then blast chill them. We had to take them out of the freezer every ten minutes to chip away at the ice crystals such that the final mix was a smooth one.
The roast beef, 45 minutes in the oven, and I think it came out pretty succesfully. But I have to give all the credit to Billy, he did all the magic. Can I just say that Billy is amazing in the kitchen. I was standing on the sidelines watching him work (no seriously, I really was) and I was so glad he was leading the way. I really am rubbish at cooking. But you know what they say, those who can’t, eat…
And here’s more of Billy doing more work, this time with the vegetables. We had very, very little time to plate up, about 8 minutes to be exact. And I was like what? how? where? huh? shitealicious? We managed to get the plates to the judges in time though. Phew. Ok, ok. Without further ado then, Team Cowfish+Eater presents…..
Starters: Seasonal Game Salad
Ok well, not quite game (we couldnt find any), but smoked duck in it’s place. The salad is rocket, land cress and sorrel, with radish shavings and crumblings of Sardinian Pecerino cheese, in a lemon balsamic dressing.
Mains: Roast beef with Trimmings
This one came out as expected. Roast beef, with butter infused carrots, roast potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and peas.
And also, served with an oversized yorkshire pudding.
Pudding: Trio of Granitas
Raspberries, Blackcurrant and Gooseberry, garnished with mint leaves.
Clap, clap, clap. Billy, you are a true star, and you’re the real winner to me, watching you cook and working with you has been a real privilege, and I hope I wasn’t too much of a burden for ya mate.
Nope we didn’t win, but we didn’t win because everybody actually cooked really great food, and that was a good thing, as I found out when I tucked in….
and then the desserts….
All in all, it was a tiring day, but it was really fun. I felt strangely ‘fulfilled’ after it was done, and honestly, I didnt expect to win anything, but I was glad it was a wonderful experience.
And this shot, I love the most, everybody tucking in to the food. We live to eat folks, well at least I do.
And the winners are…
Tom Aikens was among the judges, and I regret not taking a picture with him, or indeed, making him sign my chest. Hm.
Thanks to all the wonderful people behind The Cookery School, whom without their help, I would just be double dipping with the same spoon, over and over again. (isn’t that multi dipping?)
Ok now on to the winners! And the runners-up….
Drumroll please, and the winners of Nom Nom Nom 2009….
They are The French Connection; with a team name like that, they gotta be winners.
Alright, so I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes with Team Cowfish+Eater, clearly we lost because I spent too much time eating, rather than cooking, but hey did you expect any less?
The full set of photographs are on my flickr account here, so do check that one. That’s all folks.