Weekend food with Darina Allen: Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream with Crumbled Honeycomb

Darina Allen discusses her favourite London eateries and offers up more delicious recipes. 

A reader asked me recently for my ‘London List’. I realised that it’s quite some time since I devoted a column to my new finds. We’re so fortunate to be so close to London – a mere 50 minutes hassle free hop from Cork or Dublin. For those of us who are connected to the restaurant scene it’s a big bonus to be so close to one of the most exciting food capitals in the entire world. I pop backwards and forwards regularly for meetings and events so I use each of these opportunities to try out new places. Hence I’m regularly asked for my list of favourite cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars.

One of my most unexpected discoveries is called The Other Naughty Piglet. The name is super cute, not normally a good sign, and then there’s the location, right in the centre of the theatre district. The restaurant is upstairs above the lobby in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue. While I was climbing the grim, blingy marble staircase I was convinced that what lay ahead would be disappointing. I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

The original, Naughty Piglet, co-owned by Joe and Margaux Aubry Sharratt, is a Brixton hotspot that serves seasonal and creative small plates alongside a great list of natural wines. It ticks all my boxes and I particularly remember a Datterini tomato salad with frosted feta, micro greens and togarashi. The latter is a Japanese condiment also known as Shichimi made up of seven spices. A typical blend might contain red chilli pepper flakes, Japanese peppers, roast orange peel, both black and white sesame seeds, hemp and poppy seed, ground ginger and nori seaweed. If you haven’t already got it in your cupboard look out for it next time you go shopping. You’ll find yourself reaching for it regularly to add oomph to grilled meats and seafood, noodles, salad dishes and even soups. At The Other Naughty Piglet, the chef sprinkled it over the tomato salad but the other bit of magic was the frozen feta grated on, at the last minute, altogether a delicious combination. Pop this place on your London list and also check out Over Under Coffee in 181A Earls Court Road, a local community focused café that serves exceptional coffee and nutritious, simple and delicious food. Over Under Coffee are getting ready to open a second branch in October in the Ham Yard in Soho. Check out the breakfast sandwiches and avocado toast.

A typical blend might contain red chilli pepper flakes, Japanese peppers, roast orange peel, both black and white sesame seeds, hemp and poppy seed, ground ginger and nori seaweed. If you haven’t already got it in your cupboard look out for it next time you go shopping. You’ll find yourself reaching for it regularly to add oomph to grilled meats and seafood, noodles, salad dishes and even soups. At The Other Naughty Piglet, the chef sprinkled it over the tomato salad but the other bit of magic was the frozen feta grated on, at the last minute, altogether a delicious combination. Pop this place on your London list and also check out Over Under Coffee in 181A Earls Court Road, a local community focused café that serves exceptional coffee and nutritious, simple and delicious food. Over Under Coffee are getting ready to open a second branch in October in the Ham Yard in Soho. Check out the breakfast sandwiches and avocado toast.

Bao started life in Netil Market close to the Broadway Market in Hackney serving fluffy white steamed buns filled with braised pork, sprinkled with peanut powder – you can’t imagine how delicious this Taiwanese street food tastes; there’s always a long queue for London’s equivalent of David Chang’s Korean version of Momofuko which became a cult food item in New York. It’s not that easy for market traders to make the transition from street stall to bricks and mortar. They often lack the staffing and accounting skills. The founders teamed up with Trishna and Gymkhana (also add to your list) to launch the new establishment at 53 Lexington Street in Soho. In Shoreditch, out in Hackney, in East London there are several gems. Pidgin has been making waves. Many of the most exciting new restaurants are tiny – check out Som Saa, Oklava, Kiln and Clipstone and another of my absolute favourites Padella. Legs is a tiny neighbourhood wine bar in Hackney, open just for dinner (and lunch on Saturday and Sunday).

They often lack the staffing and accounting skills. The founders teamed up with Trishna and Gymkhana (also add to your list) to launch the new establishment at 53 Lexington Street in Soho. In Shoreditch, out in Hackney, in East London there are several gems. Pidgin has been making waves. Many of the most exciting new restaurants are tiny – check out Som Saa, Oklava, Kiln and Clipstone and another of my absolute favourites Padella. Legs is a tiny neighbourhood wine bar in Hackney, open just for dinner (and lunch on Saturday and Sunday).

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream with Crumbled Honeycomb

Vanilla Ice Cream (see recipe that appeared on Saturday, August 19.)

Chocolate Ice Cream:

4 tablespoons sugar

8fl oz (225ml) water

4 free range-egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 pints (1.1L) whipped cream

4oz (110g) plain chocolate

2oz (50g) unsweetened chocolate

Honeycomb:

Makes about 500 g (1lb 2oz)

85g (3 1/4oz) Duchy (or good quality local) honey

180g (6 1/4oz) liquid glucose

400g (14oz/1 3/4 cups) castor sugar

100ml (3 1/2fl oz/scant 1/2 cup) water

15g (3/4oz) bicarbonate of soda

1 Swiss roll tin – 20 x 30cm (8 x 12 inch)

parchment paper or silpat mat

First make the ice cream. Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring slowly to the boil and simmer until the syrup reaches the ‘thread stage’ (it will look thick and syrupy and when a metal spoon is dipped in, the last drops will form thin threads). Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks until white and fluffy, when the syrup is at the correct stage pour the boiling syrup gradually onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time.

Continue to whisk until the mixture is a thick white mousse — add the vanilla extract. Melt the two kinds of chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in a very low oven. Cool slightly, add some of the mousse from one bowl to the chocolate and stir quickly, add more and then mix the two mixtures thoroughly, fold in the softly whipped cream. Pour into chocolate cases. Cover and freeze.

Next make the honeycomb. First loosen the honey and glucose syrup by dipping their containers in warm water, then weigh out into your saucepan. Then add the sugar and water and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually raise the temperature of the pan’s contents to 150°C (300°F).

Carefully sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda into the pan. The contents will fizz up like lava from the underworld, but don’t be alarmed, this is what puts the tiny air bubbles into the honeycomb. Stir the mixture to make sure all the powder is incorporated, then pour it out onto your silicone sheet (or baking tray). Leave to set for at least 30 minutes, then break the brittle mass into small pieces.

To serve: Remove the ice creams from the freezer at least 30 minutes ahead. Scoop out a quenelle of vanilla and another of chocolate ice cream and arrange side by side on a chilled plate.

Crumble the honey comb over the top and serve immediately. Continue with the remainder of the plates.

Datterini tomatoes with frosted feta, micro greens and torgorashi

A fresh and delicious inspired by a small plate I enjoyed at The Other Naughty Piglet in London.

Serves 4

30 ripe but firm Datterini or other sweet cherry tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4ozs Feta cheese, frozen

Extra virgin olive oil

Gorashi

Micro greens, both green and red

Slice the tomatoes in half, both ways. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon juice, toss gently. Taste and add a little sugar or honey if necessary. Arrange a little mound of tomatoes on a plate. Grate some frozen feta over the top, add a sprinkling of gorashi and top with some snipped micro greens. Serve ASAP.

Labneh with melted red peppers, garlic, anchovy and sumac

Serves 4

8 tablespoons labneh

4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tabs extra virgin olive oil garlic

2 large organic red peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch strips

4-6 anchovies

Salt and freshly ground pepper

A fistful of fresh mint leaves

Sumac

Heat the oil in a wide sauté pan, add the sliced garlic, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced peppers, season with flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir to coat, cover and cook on a gentle heat until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning and transfer to a bowl. Fold in the halved and quartered anchovies if using.

To serve: Spoon two dollops of labneh into the centre of a medium sized plate to form a high mound, spoon a generous helping of the pepper mixture on top, sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and a generous dusting of sumac on top. Serve with grilled or fresh sourdough or a flatbread.

Hot Tips

Ballymaloe Garden Festival Get Gardening and Seed Saving

Don’t miss the Garden Festival at Ballymaloe on September 2 & 3. There will be a variety of talks, demonstrations, entertainment and shopping.

It’ll be a bumper crop for garden lovers, seasoned experts, late bloomers, families and foodies. Entry fee is €8 and children under 12 go free.

FEAST Supper with Rory O’Connell at Ballymaloe House Thursday September 7- €75 pp

Rory O’Connell is hosting a specialfour-course seasonal supper at Ballymaloe House as part of FEAST: Midleton Food & Drink Festival 2017.

The evening will start with a cocktail designed by Irish award winning mixologist Andy Ferreria served in the Ballymaloe walled garden.

www.ballymaloe.ie/blog-item/seasonal-cocktail-feast-ballymaloe-house

Taste of West Cork Festival

Don’t forget the Taste of West Cork Festival from September 8-17. Check out Danni Barry from EIPIC in Belfast. Danni will cook dinner using the freshest and most seasonal produce at Glebe Gardens in Baltimore on Monday September 11. Cost: €70 including wine pairings. Booking essential. Tel: 028 20579.

Pilgrims and Doswell Gallery join forces: Begin the night with aperitifs, drinks and art at Doswell Gallery, then move to Pilgrims restaurant for a five-course tasting menu. Thursday September 14; 023 8831796, booking essential.

A Date for your Diary: Gillian Hegarty, past student and teacher at the Ballymaloe Cookery School and most recently Head Chef at Ballymaloe House will host a demonstration at Fernhill House, Clonakilty on how to prepare and use fresh herbs in canapés and cocktails. There will be a three course seasonal menu. Thursday September 14; 023 8833258, booking essential

Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Sausage Making Demonstration with Philip Dennhardt

There’s a growing interest among chefs and enthusiastic amateurs for home-curing and sausage-making, a subject we’ve become more and more absorbed by in the past few years as we continue to learn and explore the rich traditions of many countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland. During this one day course you will learn

how to butcher a side of pork from nose to tail, identify the cuts and learn about the techniques involved from dry to curing.

Plus you’ll see how to make four different types of sausage and salami, chorizo, frankfurters, beerfest sausages and brawn.

Saturday September 9, 9.30am-5pm, www.cookingisfun.ie


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