The twelve days of Christmas culminates today, January 6th, on epiphany when there three kings arrived. We hope you have invested in the made to order, Marchesi 1824 (the “Prada patisserie”)’s crown shaped panettone which sets you back a princely £200.
Posts from the ‘Food’ Category
Upper crust British magazine Tatler has included Kelly Bronze turkeys on its list of Christmas status symbols. This coveted breed of bird has been celebrated by top chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Michael Roux JR, so what makes them so tasty?
Kelly Bronze turkeys spend 70 per cent of their time out of doors. It’s a beautiful bright day when Chopstix visited the Essex farm (Kelly Bronze’s are now also bred in the US, in on a farm in Virginia) and the turkeys are scampering through the trees. They have acres of woodland to run around and masses of nettles to snack on. “They love nettles, they eat them like crazy,” says renowned turkey breeder Paul Kelly, second generation owner of Kelly Bronze turkeys.
Until they are 12 weeks old the birds are kept indoors. As we walk towards the large barn an excited chirruping emanates. “You can tell how everything is from the noise,” says Paul, opening the barn doors to reveal hundreds of chicks bobbing about among bales of straw. “No noise is a bad sign. Squawking is a bad sign. You want to hear a nice chirp.”
Another good sign is how the turkeys may vary in weight year to year. “The more naturally you grow the bird, the more it can be affected by the elements,” says Paul. “In a mild autumn the turkeys are lighter, if it’s cold they eat more.”
It’s hard to imagine that in the 1980s the Kelly family farm run by Paul’s parents faced a tricky future despite breeding award winning turkeys. But then in 1990 Delia Smith visited and was so impressed with the turkey she bought there that she referred to it by name in her Christmas book. The business has never looked back.
Krug has launched an exclusive champagne and mushroom tasting trail across top restaurants in Singapore from now until September 30th as part of its latest single ingredient showcase. Chefs at five eateries in the city have created mushroom focused dishes designed to pair perfectly with Krug Grand Cuvee, a champagne blended from over 120 wines from more than 10 different years and aged for a further 15.
“We want to show the individual character of the champagne,” Moet Hennessy brand manager Lucie Pugnot says of the collaboration which sees Krug select one ingredient for chefs to work with. “The first year we chose the simple potato, then last year the humble egg. This year we chose the mushroom which is also familiar but multifaceted.”
The beauty of this fascinating fungi is that it comes in many varieties, including the luxurious truffle, with some types only available in certain months. So the Krug mushroom dishes may evolve according to what produce is available on the day.
“The mushrooms keep changing throughout the year and we are all about what’s in season in Europe, particularly in France and the UK,” says Kirk Westaway, head chef at Jaan. So while we sampled the very last morels of the season in his exquisite langoustine with Hollandaise sauce course, this month the dish will segue into grey and blue chanterelles. It’s part of a six course menu matched with three types of Krug champagne including the Grand Cuvee.
Similarly at Tippling Club, chef owner Ryan Clift has moved on to girolles sourced from a small farm near Lyon in France along with black truffles as part of a six course menu. “I like to lightly sautee the girolles in butter and add salt at the end,” he says. “Mushrooms should never be seasoned until the last minute – if you add salt at the beginning you draw out the moisture and lose the caramelisation.” A surprisingly delicious component on the plate is a cocks comb which has been confited and pan fried to crispy perfection.
At the fine dining Song of India restaurant Manjunath Mural is presenting a platter for two people including a tandoori chargrilled portobello mushroom stuffed with Roquefort cheese and spiced with two types of cardamom, chilli and a tamarind foam, matched with a half bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee. “The cheese pairs well with the champagne and I think Indian spices also go very well with it,” says Mural and we have to agree.
“We have a lot of very good mushrooms in Japan,” says Hashida Sushi’s Chef Hatch who is originally from Tokyo. “I chose the shitake because it is juicy and has good flavour.” The chef has cleverly transformed the four day fermented mushrooms into an ice cream served with tempura vegetables in a stunning mix of hot and cold on the same plate. The Shitake Ice Cream comes as part of an omasake menu and vegetables featured in the tempura will change according to produce available.
At Atlas you can enjoy a glass or bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee with a gourmet snack befitting its gorgeous bar area. “As an Italian, when I was growing up mushrooms to me meant porcini,” says executive chef Daniele Sperindio. As such he has used porcinis to make a rice “bark” crisp and as the basis of a “Mont Blanc” paste topping along with blue foot mushrooms from France and Singaporean king oyster mushrooms. The result is a striking and richly flavourful canape.
An added amusement, and unique to the Lion City, is that diners can collect stamps for a Forest to Fork “passport” after they sample the dishes at each restaurant. Krug lovers probably don’t need any incentive to try the entire trail but even so the first 10 people to collect three stamps stand to win a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee Edition 163 and for all five stamps, the first five win a magnum.
[UPDATE: If you’re heading to Malaysia or The Philippines over the stifling hot summer, make a stop at Morelli’s Gelato for some soft scoop Italian ice cream.]
As a child Bibi Morelli use to watch her grandfather, father and uncles make ice cream at the parlour her great grandfather, Mario, opened in Kent. Mario’s father, Giuseppe Morelli, emigrated to the English seaside resort of Broadstairs in 1907 where, like many other newly arrived Italians, he set about making ice cream from a family recipe. He’d churn the fresh cream, milk, sugar and eggs the night before and the next day, when the ice cream was ready, he’d sell it from a cart attached to the back of his bicycle.
Morelli ice cream became a hit with the locals and eventually Mario took over the business followed by his son, also called Giuseppe, and then his son – Bibi’s father – Marino. Clearly she has fond memories of her childhood. “I remember when I was growing up we used to have pasta followed by ice cream for dinner – that was my favourite meal,” Bibi laughs.
Although she was born into an ice cream dynasty, Bibi had no thoughts of joining the family firm herself. “Absolutely not,” says the glamorous blonde who until a few years ago worked as a lawyer in the City of London. “I was quite happy working in the banking world and then my dad said he was going to retire. I thought: ‘It’s all going to end now, after all these generations,’ and that was really sad so I resigned from my job.” Bibi learned everything about the business in less than three years and has set upon an expansion plan that will see Morelli’s open in Las Vegas and Dubai [there are also now outlets in Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Subang]
Meanwhile, Morelli’s ice cream parlour in Broadstairs is a homage to retro. From the chrome and neon signage outside to the rattan chairs and Formica fittings inside, there’s no mistaking that this is a company with a heritage. At the time when hip new ice cream brands seem to be launching every week, the retro aspect is what marks Morelli’s out and Bibi has been keen to play on that. “The ice cream parlour was built in the 1930s and was last remodelled in the 1950s and I won’t let anyone touch it!”
Until recently the parlour still used its original 1930s silver: dinky ice cream pots, long handled spoons and elegant teapots. “But people started stealing them,” says Bibi. Not that the brand hans’t moved with the times. At the end of 2003, Morelli’s Gelato opened with Harrods Food Hall – an ice cream bar as slickly modern as the Broadstairs parlour is charmingly nostalgic [now closed]. But the recognisable touches are there – the ice cream comes in a glass sundae or Knickerbocker Glory dish, adorned with over the top umbrellas, pompoms and teddy bear wafers. And there’s a gorgeous old fashioned ice cream cart – a nod to the original one used by Giuseppe available to hire (price on application).
“Although we have the provenance I want to be contemporary as well,” Bibi emphasises. “We have everything from traditional to modern but there are elements that will never change. I want Morelli’s to be the Lamborghini of ice cream!”
Certainly the product is top notch. “Most people don’t realised there’s a difference between fresh ice cream and frozen,” says Bibi. “Frozen could have been hanging around for months. We make all our own ice cream on site and anything that isn’t sold at the end of the day is discarded.” Only fresh double cream, eggs, milk and sugar are used and ingredients are souped from Italy with Bibi herself making trips to her father’s homeland to deal with suppliers and seek out produce. “We get the pistachios from Sicily and the hazelnuts from Piedmont,” she says as we look at the tantalising range of ice cream on display.
Morelli’s makes some 60 flavours of ice cream and while vanilla, chocolate and strawberry are the most requested, their new creations include fig and mascarpone, Parmesan and pear, and Gorgonzola and honey. Then there’s the bespoke service where you can have any flavour you desire made for you.
With such exotic concoctions laid out before me I’m almost too embarrassed to admit that vanilla is my favourite flavour but Bibi confesses it’s hers too: “But ours is a soft vanilla, you have to try it.” Gino Soldan, who looks like a young Frank Sinatra and is the Morelli’s ice cream maker at Harrods, appears with a scoop of ice cream. It is absolutely divine.
“Try one of these,” Bibi urges as Gino slides a silver dish in front of me. It’s one of Morelli’s new ice cream truffles – a small chocolate sphere containing hazelnut ice cream. Again it’s a sign of Bibi’s forward thinking, taking hold fashioned Italian ice cream and wrapping it up in a sophisticated package.
Bibi is off to Italy this afternoon on another sourcing trip – to San Remo where her grandmother lives. “there’s a fantastic restaurant there where every dish uses mushrooms,” she enthuses. Obviously she knows and enjoys good food but surprisingly that doesn’t extend to her being diva in the kitchen. “If anyone who knows me reads me staying Enjoy cooking they’ll laugh!” she says. And then she dashes off to catcher her plane, and no doubt enjoy grandma’s home cooking.
[This piece was originally published in 2006]
Morelli’s Gelato has outlets in Manila at the Shangri La and Rockwell Mall as well as at Bangsar in KL and the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang.
[UPDATE: One week to go until the second Michelin Guide Singapore is announced on June 29th 2017 at The Fullerton Hotel. The inaugural event was held at RW Sentosa and pundits were a little surprised when four of that venues restaurants were awarded Michelin stars. With the gala held at The Fullerton this year can we expect to see one the hotel’s eateries such as Jade awarded?
The evening will include a five course dinner with dishes created by the chefs Seita Nakahara of Terra, Singapore (one Michelin star), Jason Tan of Corner House, Singapore (one star), Tam Kwok Fung of Jade Dragon (two stars), Macau and Curtis Duffy of three Michelin starred Grace in Chicago. Read on for our thoughts on the current, 2016 list]