Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Stepping it up.... streetfood stylie!

I think the shock of the sudden weather change has hit us harder than we know. One week I'm in flip flops and shorts, strolling down Beech Road like it's downtown Nice. Barely a few weeks later, the sun has most definitely not got his hat on and the central heating is on!  Is it too early in the season for Seasonal Affective Disorder? We've not even had the equinox yet and it feels dark, miserable and downright soggy.

But there is light at the end of this dismal looking tunnel, as plans are afoot at the pub to get some canopies up in the garden and make things a bit more comfortable for loitering around street food vans ;0) The pub refurbishment is certainly shaping up and things are looking cosy inside, especially as the fireplaces should be up and running soon.

Others things that glimmer during September (even if the sun is refusing to) is the delicious Autumn produce.  During last weekend's rain fest, I decided it was time to raise my game again, and put some gourmet specials together to shake up the menu.  My street food passion has always been about wanting to bring street food inspiration to restaurant quality food. And this week, I hope the new gourmet specials will do just that.      

So here's what we have lined up for this week's gourmet specials, alongside some Gecko favourites of course ....

Indonesian ‘Pepes’ with Mackerel or Oak Smoked Tempeh
Banana leaf wrapped & baked with chilli & candlenut bumbu,
served on spiced squash rosti with tamarind & plum gravy

Shashlik Lamb Chops Or Paneer Shashlik
Organic Derbyshire Autumn lamb* or handmade fresh paneer
Served with channa pilau rice & daniya chutney

Vietnamese Banh Gan
Coconut crème caramel served with Scottish raspberries

The specials are being served from tomorrow, Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd September, from the garden at The Beech Inn, Chorlton.  We'll still have some of our usual menu running and don't worry about the weather. It's time to get comfy in the pub I think.

* I need to tell you about the lamb. I think it's very special. I usually source all my meat from our local award winning Frosty butcher. But once or twice a year, I get given a lamb and every time we serve it, customers say it's flippin tasty. My mum's boyfriend is a retired farmer in Derbyshire, and they farm a 'boutique' flock of lambs every year (as well as keeping horses there - that's how him and mum met last year. But that's another story).  I got given some lamb in Spring and a hogget last Autumn.  I took some photos of the Autumn flock happily grazing in their organic field the other week, but thought it might be a step too far to post the photo, given my vegetarian leanings.  Suffice to say, the lambs were happy and well cared, humanely butchered and I now have one in my fridge and freezer.  Gate to plate in a week. Now that's what you call provenance :)  Reckon those shashlik chops will rock. Personally, I'm looking forward to the channa pilau (I made this for my MasterChef audition and Gregg Wallace said it was the best rice dish he'd ever tasted - I think that may be due to the butter content!).  

I'm also excited about making tempeh 'pepes'. Pepes are banana leaf wrapped fish parcels from Indonesian and bumbu is the spice paste, used in lots of Indonesian cooking. Bumbu varies according to different dishes. This one is made with candlenuts, a kind of earthy macadamia and a blend of fresh and fragrant SE Asian herbs and spices.  The Victoria plums are freshly picked from my organic garden tree at home.