Saturday, 22 September 2007

Fingers Crossed......

.....we may have had a success on Friday!
One of the proverbial 'holy grails' of the work that we do is for those of you who visit the cookery to be able to try the food that we cook. Now, to be perfectly honest, that's a long long long way off, but an acceptable alternative has always been to try to get the restaurant to serve their own versions for you to try.

We've tried this in the past and I really have to say that it was doomed to failure very early on....even though the chef was interested, it was always seen as an addition to their menu rather than an integrated part of it and they were far too ambitious and tried to run before they could walk so to speak with the recipes that they chose from the selection they were given........that and a whole host of other stuff meant that it all got flushed down the toilet of failure pretty rapidly. That wasn't the first time it was tried either and all of the previous efforts by that company ended up being pretty poor despite the best of intentions and several good starts.

All of that meant that I didn't hold out much hope when the current company that provides the catering at Hampton Court said that they wanted to provide some 'history food' on their menus. The catering manager and head chef came to see us cook a few weekends ago, had a chat and went away with some keep it simple, they were given the new kitchen guide book 'The Taste of The Fire' (available at retail outlets in a palace near you!) which contains a number of suitable recipes that they could do......and then we waited.

Yesterday we sampled their efforts and I must say I was impressed! They'd gone out and found their own recipes for a mutton stew and a custard tart.....they happened to have modern redaction's that they followed, but what the hell, they've had a go and the results were pretty damn good. The custard was smooth and creamy, just sweet enough and served in a short crust paste......the stew was rich and full of flavour, a little thinner than we'd have made in our kitchen but just right for modern tastes I think. We gave them a few pointers of how best, in our opinion, to give a more 'authentic' taste and we now await the final version.

When will that be available you ask? These 2 recipes will be on their menu from the next cookery weekend (6th and 7th October) and on all the following cookery weekends. Rather sensibly, they will only be serving this when we are cooking, mainly to tie into the event but also to see how they sell which is a good thing I think. If they do well, then they may well increase the frequency that they appear on the menu. They also intend to increase and vary the rang on offer as time goes on, again another good thing. The final bit of good news is the fact that you can choose what to have with it. If you want the Tudor style stew just with bread and a spoon then you should be able to have that, but if you want rice or potatoes then that's up to you..........Hooray, common sense prevails.

Final thing though is I'm afraid that I have no idea how much they are going to charge, they've told us it will be in line with their normal prices, but exactly how much I really can't say.
Based on the taste though, I'd have no hesitation in reccomending that people try it.....who knows, perhaps it'll inspire you to have a go and cook some recipes at home yourselves!?!


Helen said...

Do you know whether they will be on the menu in the Privy Kitchen Coffee Shop or Tiltyard Cafe - or both?

Tudor Cook said...

Tiltyard only I believe