Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Eating, not cooking...

I've been a few days without a post - mostly because I haven't done one little bit of cooking since my Italian course last Thursday! (Oh, actually, I did make bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast one morning, if that counts??)

Over the weekend I went to stay at a lovely country hotel with Boyfriend. We decided to call it our Valentine's treat to each other - but that is only because of the date proximity - I don't usually go in for mushiness too much ;)

The hotel has a Michelin starred restaurant, which is probably the main reason we fancied having a go! So I just thought I'd write a quick post to tell you about my first ever Michelin starred dinner.

The dining room was small but formal, with no music. It was maybe a bit too quiet for me - as there were only 4 occupied tables, and it felt like all conversations were communal!

When we sat down we were served canapes - I think they were haddock and potato croquettes, served with tartar sauce. I liked them, though Boyfriend thought they were slightly too greasy.

We then had an amuse bouche of spiced creamy cauliflower soup. It was gorgeously rich and silky - Boyfriend even finished his - even though it was loaded with cream, which he hates!! (I know - he's a bit strange ;)

For my starter, I had seared scallops served with pancetta, garlic cream, brussell sprout purée, topped with crispy fried garlic. Boyfriend had crispy roast sweetbread, served with pickled mushroom pate, pea shoots and carrots. Both dishes were fabulous! I had never tried sweetbread before (and don't think I would have ever ordered it!) but when I had a taste myself I actually liked it a lot! The crispiness of the skin might have made a difference though - it may have been too soft without it... My scallops were large, sweet and perfectly cooked, and the garlic cream wasn't overpowering.

For my main, I went for roast cod with oyster blanquette (in this context I think blanquette just meant creamy mushroom sauce??!), with crunchy, buttery potato topping. So something else new for me to try - I'd never had oysters before! They were delicious in the sauce, but I still think I'd be too squeamish to eat a raw one... Shockingly, I've completely forgotten what Boyfriend had! Though I think it was some sort of gamey bird...

For dessert... I had two! Boyfriend ordered lemon tart with blackberry sorbet. But it was too creamy for him, so I ate most of it. I then had the BEST cheeseboard I've ever seen!

The waitress came out with a trolley loaded with cheese - I think there could have been 30 of them. There was a strong smell of stinky feet - I'd never tried washed-rind cheese before, but decided that that was the night! I chose four, could have had more, but was pretty stuffed from my previous dessert ;) The first was a creamy goat's cheese, also a soft and creamy blue cheese - it had the texture of camembert! I then tried a calvados washed brie - boy, was that pungent!!! It was very strong - maybe a little too strong for me, though I did enjoy it. Finally, I tried the Durrus - another washed-rind - which was my favourite of the lot! It stank of feet, but tasted gorgeous - deep, creamy and smooth.

I am now most definitely a washed-rind convert. Which will not impress my cheese-hating Boyfriend much at all!

We finished with coffee and petit fours, though couldn't finish them all! A lovely dinner - the food was amazing, and the staff were fantastic.

PS, this made me giggle:

'my starter of parsley soup made me almost boss-eyed in pleasure'
- a quoted review from the hotel's website!

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