My advice to Brexiteer: it’s better to drink cask beer | Brief letters

Stonehenge tunnel | Lager v beer | Highway Code for cyclists | Under the weather | Buttered Weetabix | Insinuate, imply or infer

Contrary to your report (12 January), Unesco has not given approval in principle to a tunnel under Stonehenge. While it acknowledged that a tunnel could improve the setting of the stones themselves, it was concerned about the huge damage that would ensue to the rest of the world heritage site. The only options in the consultation should be ones that do no further harm to the site, one of our greatest national assets. Anything less would be a betrayal of the government’s duty to safeguard this iconic landscape for future generations.
James MacColl
Head of campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport

• Kyle Taylor, the director of Smart Brexit, appears delighted that Labour has accepted that Brexit is inevitable and hopes that a “decent crate of lager rather than a cheap three-litre of cider” is brought to the party (Letters, 12 January). Might I respectfully suggest that he has set his sights far too low and that good quality British cask beer might be more palatable, smart and acceptable to all of us, Brexiteers or not.
Toby Wood
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

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Don’t Throw That Out: Common Holiday Leftovers and How to Use Them Up

Purging your kitchen of leftover holiday ingredients can feel both necessary and overwhelming, especially when you’re working with limited storage space like I am. (Curse you, tiny New York City apartment.) In other words, yes, I understand how tempting it can be to throw out a half-empty carton of heavy cream or a mound of frozen pie dough scraps — in fact, I’ve succumbed to that temptation more times than I would like to admit. This year, in an effort to save money and reduce food waste, I’m hoping to use up as many leftovers from my holiday cooking arsenal as possible. Because who doesn’t want to start the new year with a fresh, tidy kitchen? I’ve found that it’s all about locating the right recipes to take care of your specific leftover needs — and recruiting enough friends to come over and help polish off the fruits of your labor. Here are the eight ingredients that I happen to have in surplus this month — and maybe you do too — plus, a few ideas on how to get rid of them as deliciously as possible.

If You Have Leftover Flour …
Every year, I look forward to December as an excuse to roll up my sleeves and tackle new baking projects. If I’m not making a batch of chewy oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, I’m probably working on something festive to take to a holiday party. (Showing up empty-handed is the foulest of party foul there is, after all!) Come January, I’m usually left with some extra flour, sugar and baking soda — but mostly flour. Rather than toss it out, I’ll treat myself to a few pancake breakfasts this month using Food Network Kitchen’s easy, tried-and-true recipe, laced with vanilla and nutmeg.

If You Have Leftover Pie Dough …
You wouldn’t believe the amount of pie dough I’m currently hording in my freezer. Rolled into discs, swaddled in plastic wrap, and stacked into tall and buttery towers, it’s just begging to be baked every time I open the door — and I want to clear it out quickly. That way, I’ll finally have room to store the many soups and stews I plan to cook and freeze this month. And I need no further inspiration than this clever guide for repurposing pie dough scraps, which includes instructions for turning the leftovers into crisp animal-shaped cookies topped with cinnamon and sugar, a buttery crown for chicken pot pie, dessert nachos, and more.

If You Have Leftover Butter and Sugar …
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m not one to set diet resolutions. Therefore, I have no shame admitting that I plan to use my post-holiday butter-and-sugar surplus on Barefoot Contessa’s luxurious Lemon Curd, a 30-minute solution to the odds and ends of any holiday baking supply. In theory, it will add an indulgent touch to my weekday-breakfast toast. In reality, it won’t survive the weekend.

If You Have Leftover Buttermilk …
If the half-emptied quart of buttermilk tucked away in your refrigerator is swiftly approaching its expiration date, you may want to dedicate your weekend to Food Network Magazine’s juicy, bone-in Oven-Fried Ranch Chicken. This recipe is particularly perfect if you happen to have a stash of post-holiday spices like paprika, garlic powder and cayenne; I know I do.

If You Have Leftover Grains …
Bulky grains are known to hog prime pantry real estate. This year, it’s leftover risotto from Christmas dinner that’s clogging up my shelves. To make room for a new wave of nonperishable goods, I’m going to use up the last of the tiny white pearls in Rachael Ray’s uber-comforting Risotto-Stuffed Peppers and Zucchini. If you’re facing an unruly surplus of other grains — wild rice, quinoa or millet, for example — stuffed peppers are still a great solution.

If You Have Leftover Canned Goods Like Olives, Capers and Anchovies …
Every December, I stock up on anchovies, garlic and capers in preparation for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, my Italian-American family’s Christmas Eve meal of choice. The main course consists of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio laced with crisp garlic, salt-cured anchovies and briny capers. We’ll finish with a light salad peppered with olives and, you guessed it, more capers. In January, the leftover unopened cans are a godsend: I’ll whip up a quick, garlicky tapenade in lieu of a more-elaborate weeknight meal. It’s perfect for spreading on toast and washing down with a glass of peppery syrah.

If You Have Leftover Brie …
One of the bonuses to hosting on New Year’s Eve is the promise of leftover champagne, cheese and more cheese. At the moment, my fridge is cluttered with the remnants of a farewell-to-2016 cheese plate, including an unopened wheel of Brie. Since soft cheeses have a shorter lifespan than, say, a nice hard wedge of pecorino, I’ll use it up in one fell swoop with The Pioneer Woman’s crowd-pleasing Brie and Broccoli Quiche. And there you have it: the perfect excuse to invite friends over and pop the cork on that leftover champagne for a DIY mimosa brunch.

If You Have Leftover Chicken Stock …
A stash of homemade chicken stock is critical to holiday meal prep. Whether you’re deglazing a pan or adding a splash to moisten and flavor your stuffing, a little bit will go a long, long way. But now that we’re halfway through January, I’m still left with at least a quart of the stuff. This is the opposite of a problem, however, seeing as some of it will go into the buttery garlic-and-herb sauce featured in Tyler Florence’s 5-star Chicken and Dumplings recipe, the ideal cooking project for a cozy indoor weekend.

Photos: Getty Images

Get your kitchen in tiptop shape for 2017 with more of Food Network’s cleaning, storage and organization tips.

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The weekend cook: Thomasina Miers’ rhubarb recipes

Forced rhubarb brings a welcome blast of colour to the January table, whether in a zingy pickle to serve with roast meat, cold cuts and cheese, or poached and served with jelly

Mid-January is never a great time of year – the weather can be bleak and everyone’s feeling a bit broke. Comforting soups can help, but brassicas and roots do start to lose some of their appeal around about now, through overfamiliarity if nothing else.

Thankfully, this is also a time when nature delivers a welcome blast of colour in the form of blood oranges and forced rhubarb, as exciting to a food lover as a new set of paints is to an artist. Rhubarb thrills me in particular, for both its flavour and its vivid, neon pink. The acidity adds a refreshing sharpness to both this week’s recipes, a sticky, meaty braise and a milky-white jelly. That pink looks especially glorious against the jellies , inspired by the bonkers multicoloured ones sold on the streets of Oaxaca City.

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Cocktail of the week: pear and lavender bellini

A wintry take on the bellini, from the drinks maestro at Tonkotsu and Anzu

Everyone loves a bellini, but who wants an out-of-season peach? This takes advantage of a great British fruit that is available in winter. Serves two.

2 red william pears, cored and chopped
100g caster sugar
2-3 stalks semi-dried lavender
Champagne (or prosecco), to top

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Colourful recipes to cheer you up


Red Thai curry noodle soup

This light noodle soup is packed full of delicious Thai flavours and ready in just 20 minutes, perfect to fight those Monday blues!

12690

Cod, cherry tomato and green olive tray roast

This bright red recipe also throws in some green and a touch of purple for bonus colour points!

22587

Roasted carrots with tahini and pomegranate

Healthy, full of flavour and suitable for Veganuary. What more could you want?

Roasted carrots with tahini and pomegranate

Dutch tomato soup

Rich and creamy but still full of goodness, this feel good tomato soup will leave you feeling soup-er!

25098

Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg

Get up that bit earlier to give yourself time to make this squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg. Guaranteed to make your morning better!

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Trout tiradito with purple potatoes and amarillo tiger’s milk

The vibrant yellow colour in this fish dish comes from the Amarillo chilli sauce

Trout tiradito

Turmeric and mango lassi

Sunshine in a bottle! Turmeric has plenty of health benefits too, making this the ultimate feel good drink

lassi

Yellow dal and peanut soup with chopped peanuts and coriander

Full of fresh flavour, this bright soup is easy to rustle up and makes a great midweek meal

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Thai green curry

Delicious green goodness that’s packed with vibrant flavours. You can’t beat a classic for comfort!

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Supergreen smoothie

Give yourself a boost inside and out with this vibrant, speedy and nutrient-packed pick-me-up. Cucumber, spinach, lime and kiwi are a great flavour combination and avocado adds a lovely creamy texture

super green smoothie

Pistachio and chocolate stripe cake

Winter days can seem dark… but there’s always a silver lining! Or at least a bright green pistachio centre hidden under rich chocolate frosting – yum!

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Courgetti, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto

Bright and healthy and full of nutrients! Guaranteed to make you feel great

courgetti pea and artichoke

Brine-pickles vegetables with salted yogurt

Okay, not strictly a blue recipe, but blue foods are kind of tricky to find… so we’re being cheeky and opting for bright blue plates to make up our foodie rainbow!

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Egg-in-a-hole with avocado

You can’t argue with sunny side up to banish the blues! We rather like the blue background here though, it can stay

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Lemon and blueberry poke cake

Bursts of sweet flavour and intense indigo colour as well as sharp citrus notes. We love it!

lemon and blueberry cake

Blueberry cheesecake with speculoos crust 

Did someone say speculoos? We’re sold! Add cheesecake and blueberries to the mix and we’re onto a winner

blueberry cheesecake with speculoos crust

Pink rhubarb shortcakes 

Add a splash of colour to your afternoon tea and make the most of tender forced rhubarb in this pretty pink recipe, which is super simple to whip up too

pink-rhubarb-shortcakes_charlie-richards

Norwegian Fjord trout and sweet onion escabach

Banish the grey with fishy shades of pink!

Norwegian Fjord trout and sweet onion escabeche

Green goddess and red devil dips with homemade breadsticks and veg

Too many colours to confine to one shade, our multicoloured recipes are sure to brighten a dull day!

Green goddess and red devil dips with homemade breadsticks and veg

Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice 

Low calorie but packed with colour and flavour, this vibrant bowl of nutrients is vegan to boot

Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice

Veggie soba noodle pots

Brighten up your lunch box with these tasty soba noodle pots! Perfect for meat free Monday

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Breakfast smoothie bowl 

The ultimate on-trend rainbow recipe. Get your day off to a colourful start with this vibrant breakfast bowl and unleash your creative side when it comes to the toppings!

breakfast smoothie

Compiled by Rachel Dinsdale

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Foodie hotspots in Glasgow, Scotland


Alchemilla

alchemilla

The latest addition to Glasgow’s trendy Finnieston area, Alchemilla opened late last year. The space is small and minimal with lots of natural wood accented with a burst of orange. Pull up a stool at the counter, or on the mezzanine level, for the best view of the open kitchen where Rosie Healey (ex Ottolenghi and Jago) is at the helm.

The concept here is small sharing plates, although some are larger than others. The menu changes regularly, but you can expect dishes such as light and fresh radicchio and pomegranate salad with wintery depth from gamey pheasant. Pork ragu and oregano pappardelle delivers exactly what you want it to; big, rich flavours with generous chunks of meat slicked over delicate ribbons of pasta. Poussin is accompanied by warming nutmeg, sweet, nutty romesco and salty pancetta, and a stand-out dish of sliced rounds of earthy parsnip is served with sweet jewels of dates and a creamy, tangy yoghurt dressing.

 thisisalchemilla.com


Table 11

Table 11

Sister restaurant to firmly established Crabshakk, Table 11 is so-called because its sibling, just a few doors down, has 10 tables. It’s a small, cosy space with lots of wood, chalkboard walls and friendly staff. Sharing plates are also key here: think vivid, charred long-stem broccoli, zingy with lemon and chilli and with a crunch of hazelnuts, melting Iberico pig’s cheek on an apple and celeriac purée, and crab with homemade squid-ink tagliatelle.

The stars, though, are to be found on the specials board, gems like sticky, charred octopus tentacles with hummus, toasted hazelnut and rich merguez-spiced oil.

Table11.co.uk


Paesano

For the best pizza in town, get down to Paesano. The pizza bases here are made using a yeast and sourdough hybrid proofed for over 48 hours before being finished in artisan-built, wood-fired ovens from Naples at 500C to produce a moist, light, soft crust.

There are just eight toppings to choose from (none of which break the £10 mark). Our pick is the Tuscan fennel sausage with tomato sugo, mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil.

paesanopizza.co.uk


Tantrum doughnuts

tantrum doughnuts

The brainchild of Iain Baillie (a former pastry chef at The Fat Duck) and his wife, Annika, Tantrum opened the doors to its permanent site in December 2015, a short walk from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Fried in rapeseed oil in small batches, the doughnuts are always super-fresh and either filled or topped with homemade custards, fondants and jams; choose from flavours like pistachio custard, chocolate and hazelnut, vanilla crème brûlée or classic raspberry. Grab one to take-away, or settle in with a milkshake or coffee.

Tantrumdoughnuts.com


Cottonrake

Head to Cottonrake coffee bar and bakery on Great Western Road for freshly-baked cakes, muffins and pastries made daily on-site, or something more substantial like a smoked salmon and celeriac remoulade brioche bun, Stornaway black pudding and pork shoulder sausage roll, or cauliflower and comté quiche.

One of the first of a new wave of artisan bakeries to set up shop in a city not afraid to indulge its sweet tooth, this is one of the most inventive. Grab some coffee while you’re there, sourced from Dear Green Coffee, a speciality roaster based in the city dedicated to getting their hands on the very best beans they can (be warned, its Goosedubbs blend is addictively smooth).

cottonrake.com


Ox & Finch

Ox & Finch

Another restaurant dedicated to small plates in the Finneston area, Ox and Finch was opened in 2014 by chef Jon MacDonald on the corner of Sauchiehall street. The décor is casual, with lots of timber and tiles and large windows, and the menu is split into six sections: snacks, raw, cured and cold, seafood, meat, vegetables and desserts.

Rich, soft, dry-aged beef carpaccio is served with sharp dwarf peaches, salty pecorino and a crunch of pine nuts while rabbit rillettes is given a Scottish twist with smoky Laphroaig whisky and sweet prune, and warm roasted beetroot is served with creamy whipped feta, pecans and floral orange blossom.

The must-order dish, though, is tender hogget shoulder with ptitim (little Israeli pasta balls), tahini yoghurt, fragrant rose harissa and jewels of juicy pomegranate.

oxandfinch.com  


Cail Bruich

For a blow-out meal, head to the West End and Cail Bruich. Run by brothers Chris (chef-patron) and Paul (front of house) Charalambous, this small but sophisticated neighbourhood restaurant has been a firm favourite on the Glasgow scene since it opened in 2006, thanks to its constantly-evolving seasonal menu showcasing the best of Scotland’s larder.

Cail Bruich

(photograph Adam Sait)

The tasting menu kicks off with a selection of snacks such as smoked eel and celeriac tart with lovage, savoury chicken-fat doughnuts filled with sweet quince, and sourdough served with pork fat butter and fennel salt and cultured butter with sea salt.

The main event doesn’t disappoint either, with dishes including sea trout, cucumber, kohlrabi and horseradish ‘snow’, earthy smoked celeriac purée with heritage beetroot, sweet fennel oil and a crunch of hazelnut, and beef served charred on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside (we suspect that the Big Green Egg we spied in the open kitchen has something to do with that) with sweet, sticky, fall-apart braised cheek, roast onion and umami marrow sauce. Don’t miss their sharp, hoppy Drygate-brewed house beer, either.

cailbruich.co.uk


 Delizique

All the cakes, tartlets, scones and croissants at Delizique are made fresh every day and although the team regularly test out new recipes on their loyal regulars, you’ll always find carrot cake, beetroot cake and squidgy hazelnut chocolate brownies on offer.

Pop in for breakfast and you’ll also be able to choose from dishes like halloumi, slow-roast tomato and spinach croissants, the obligatory avo on toast and a selection of pancakes including carrot, walnut and nutmeg, banana and pecan, sweetcorn and spinach and blueberry. Order an extra slice of honey butter if you’re feeling indulgent.

delizique.com


Written by Sarah Kingsbury, January 2017. Trains from London Euston to Glasgow Central from £60 return with virgintrains.co.uk. For more information see peoplemakeglasgow.com

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3 Easy Ways to Organize Your Kitchen

Those shiny new appliances you received as holiday gifts need spots in your kitchen, so it’s time to organize. Here are three tactics to get you started, without being overwhelmed by the task.

Declutter, then donate

Decluttering can be daunting, especially if your entire household’s stuff ends up in the kitchen. So focus on tossing out extras of the following items; you’ll be energized by the fact that you will have a couple of bags to donate in no time.

  • Matching dishes – Two plates, two bowls, two glasses for each family member. Use disposable when you need extra for a party.
  • Silverware – Again, two spoons, forks, and knives for everyone. They can wash dishes, right?
  • Reusable water bottles – Each family member needs only one. Done.
  • Kitchen utensils – Toss anything cracked. Nasty bacteria builds up in tattered spatulas. If it pains you to part with that cool doohickey from your dear neighbor, think how much joy someone else will have from finding it at the resale shop.
  • Plastic food containers – They should all have lids, and all fit neatly inside each other. Toss the misfits.
  • Pots and pans – You don’t need six sauté pans. Here’s the pots you do need and how to organize them.

Condiment and spice reorg

If you haven’t used that bottle of special sauce in six months, you can probably get by without it for another six. Check the corners of your fridge and your pantry. Purge those little packets of restaurant soy sauce and parmesan too; they’re loaded with salt anyway.

For spices, designate a whole drawer to your freshest favorites and alphabetize them. Not sure if a spice is fresh? Do the sniff test. If pricey jars don’t smell, they can still be saved if crushing the spice between your fingers produces aroma; just use it up quickly.

Savvy freezer storage

To avoid pale, freezer-burned zombie food – and food waste – one of the best ways to keep your small or large freezer organized is to keep an inventory. First, take everything out of the freezer, toss items which are older than six to eight months, and make a quick list of all remaining food. Then place everything back inside in an organized fashion; make separate spots for: 1) fruits and vegetables, 2) meats, 3) packaged foods, 4) leftovers.

Now, take your list of foods and use it to start a freezer inventory (fancy templates can be found online.) But the basics are simple. On the inventory sheet, note the type of frozen food and date. Cross the food out when used and don’t forget to add new food to the inventory. Keep the inventory list on a clipboard near the freezer. For freezer-friendly food tips, see The Basics of Freezing Food.

Serena Ball, MS, RD is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help families find healthy living shortcuts. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and Snapchat.

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What to Watch: The Premiere of Kitchen Sink and International Flavor on Worst Cooks in America

Kitchen Sink
Stay out of the winter weather this weekend and tune in to your favorite Food Network chefs as they share some warming comfort food recipes. On Saturday morning, Ree Drummond’s making Fajita Nachos and Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili, Trisha Yearwood is making Chicken Spinach Lasagna for the Nashville Predators ice hockey team, and on The Kitchen, the co-hosts are sharing tips for how to make classic recipes like a professional chef.

On Sunday morning, it’s the season premiere of Kitchen Sink, and Food Network Star winner Tregaye Fraser joins Jeff Mauro in the kitchen to make some next-level nachos. Then, Giada De Laurentiis is throwing a cocktail party and serving Crab Crostini with Lemon and Herbs, Candied Prosciutto and Roasted-Carrot Hummus.

Then on Triple- G, four more chefs are competing for a spot in the DDD Tournament finale, and they must make hot sandwiches without a key ingredient. Then, on Worst Cooks, it’s all about flavor, as the recruits must make a dish using ingredients from a foreign country.


Fajita Nachos
The Pioneer Woman: B-Man and Me — Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10a|9c
Ree is spending quality time with her son Bryce and making him Fajita Nachos (pictured) for dinner. The next day, she’s getting ahead with a delicious Slow-Cooker White Chicken Chili for the family’s dinner. Then, as a post-football breakfast treat, Ree’s making Orange-Vanilla Monkey Bread while Bryce cooks up a Meat and Potato Scramble.
Prosciutto Wrapped Breadsticks
Trisha’s Southern Kitchen: Trisha on Ice — Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10:30a|9:30c
Trisha and her friend Glenda prepare for ice-skating lessons with Nashville’s hockey team, the Predators! In exchange for the lessons, they make the team Glazed Limoncello Cookies. After hitting the ice, Trisha and Glenda come back to make a hearty meal of Chicken Spinach Lasagna, Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks (pictured) and Shaved Sweet Tea Ice.
Coq au Vin
The Kitchen: Like a Chef — Saturday, Jan. 14 at 11a|10c
Learn how to make classic dishes like a chef. Geoffrey Zakarian kicks off the show with his Coq au Vin (pictured), then Jeff whips up a decadent Tiramisu and the hosts show how to master the perfect poach. Special guest Chef Scott Conant shares the secret to the perfect Potato Gnocchi with Heirloom Baby Tomato Sauce, and the Kitchen Helpline is open and the co-hosts are answering questions on how to master your kitchen like a chef. Finally, Geoffrey demonstrates how to make the perfect cocktail garnish.
Pizzadilla
Kitchen Sink: Foods You Need in Your Life — Sunday, Jan. 15 at 11a|10c
Kitchen Sink kicks off with a new way to weave bacon into every bite of breakfast, then Tregaye and Jeff take nachos to a new level with twists on the classic snack food. Inspired by the pizza pot pie, Fanny Slater wows with her combination of pizza and quesadillas (pictured). Finally, the Sink hits the streets to see one of the hottest dessert trends, and the co-hosts show how to make twists on ice cream cones at home.
Calabrian Mojito
Giada Entertains: Hidden Talent Party — Sunday, Jan. 15 at 12|11c
Giada hosts a cocktail party and good old-fashioned talent show with her friends in the style of a creative salon. Guests bring their best creative hidden talents, whether it’s singing, playing the guitar, performing magic or juggling. The menu features Candied Prosciutto, Roasted-Carrot Hummus, Crab Crostini with Lemon and Herbs, and Calabrian Mojitos (pictured).
Guy's Grocery Games
Guy’s Grocery Games: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Tournament 2: Part 3 — Sunday, Jan. 15 at 8|7c
The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Tournament continues as four more DDD chefs try to win a Flavortown shopping spree and a spot in the finale. Making a hot sandwich sounds easy, until the chefs find out that one of the key ingredients is out of stock! Next, preparing a seafood special becomes hard when the chefs roll dice that limit their shopping options. Finally, Guy Fieri takes the last two DDD chefs on a mini road trip to decide what regional take on a pork dinner they’ll be presenting.
Worst Cooks in America
Worst Cooks in America: All Aboard! — Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9|8c
Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray teach the recruits all about flavor, starting with a skill drill that puts their tongues and taste buds to the test. For the main dish challenge, the recruits put their newly learned flavor combination skills to work as they take a culinary trip around the world and make a roulade inspired by a basket of ingredients that corresponds to the cuisine of a foreign country.

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Elystan Street, London: restaurant review


The pro

Our editor Laura Rowe has reviewed restaurants for the best part of a decade. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lauraroweeats

The punter

Colin Jaycocks is a teacher from Hemel Hempstead. His most memorable eating out experience was at The Boat House in Instow, north Devon, and he loves chilli con carne.


Elystan Street is the latest venture from restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas and chef Phil Howard, who sold his restaurant, The Square in Mayfair, in March this year. Open all day, it serves “delicious, clean, ingredient-led dishes, full of natural vitality,” according to Phil, in an elegant space designed by Clare Nelson. It’s a 64-seat dining room with near floor-to-ceiling windows lining two walls, blue and soft salmon coloured chairs, and teal leather banquettes.

dining-room-from-escape

The food is modern British, with dishes typically including smoked mackerel velouté with Porthilly oysters, leek hearts and eel toast; fillet of cod with lightly curried cauliflower purée, golden raisins, coriander and lime; and roasted figs with goat’s milk ice cream, lemon and thyme fritters and olive oil. There’s also a dedicated lunch menu (£42.50 for three courses) and a Sunday lunch menu that includes a house cocktail (£50 for three courses). elystanstreet.com


Our pro says…

Penned as Phil Howard’s ‘accessible’ new venue, Elystan Street (on the same site as Tom Aikens eponymous restaurant, in an exclusive corner of Chelsea) is what you might think of as the foodie’s version of ‘smasual’. *Having been twice in as many weeks, I wasn’t recognised as either professional or punter.

far-window

Tablecloths have been chucked out, the waiting staff’s collars have been unbuttoned, polished shoes have been swapped for Stan Smiths, and instead of “sir” or “madam” it’s “hey guys”. It jars. The décor and food might have been pared-down since Phil’s Square days but the prices are not for the regular Joe – at my last check one starter was listed at a tear-inducing £45. You can kick-back – hey, even wear jeans – but just make sure you remortgage your house before ordering a full three courses.

You can get such for 50 quid at Sunday lunch, though, so we did – kicking off with a properly pokey bloody mary. Langoustine bisque was rich and rounded, so good, in fact, that I scalded the roof of mouth in my impatience. Its plate-fellow of soft, buttery potted shrimp on toast was perfectly seasoned, too. Beetroot-cured halibut was more (Jackson) Pollock with its crème fraîché and horseradish, herb oil and pickled cucumber. “Explosive flavours” said my second opinion.

fillet-of-john-dory-with-crushed-butternut-black-rice-pickled-walnuts-trompettes-and-sage

Service feels disorganised and at times cold, although swift, so it wasn’t long before a main of parmesan gnocchi arrived. Pillowy dumplings, ceps (whole and puréed) and truffle were mighty in umami and danced with burnt (in a good way) onion shells and iron-rich cavolo nero. Fillet of John Dory was less successful (the next table sent theirs back). While well cooked, with a soft poached egg and wet mustardy colcannon, it was one-dimensional.

Burnt lemon cream with shortbread was nearly as sublime as the lemon tart on my last visit (that really is a must-order), while chocolate brownie sundae was as playful but sophisticated as the young diners sitting near me with their parents for their highfalutin Sunday lunch.

The bottom line

People are eating differently now to 25 years ago, but as ‘accessible’ as Phil is trying to be here, there’s still a trufflely whiff of the old school. If you can afford it, go, just to experience Phil’s food, but brace yourself for the bill.

Total for two, excluding service: £138

Food: 9/10

Service: 7/10

Vibe: 6/10

Total: 22/30


Our punter says…

We dined at Elystan Street for lunch, and the warm greeting was indicative of the service throughout – friendly and effective. But no need to trouble the sommelier; steep wine prices did not encourage experimentation, so a well-priced IPA and a refreshingly inexpensive cranberry juice had to do.

A light and frothy langoustine bisque with a delicious potted shrimp toast started proceedings in exactly the right way. The shrimps were warm, plentiful and comforting. However, a crab and avocado salad with radish and spring onion was let down by overly salty crab.

roast-grouse-with-celeriac-and-pear-puree-autumn-spring-roll-and-elderberries

The sauce accompanying the confit duck with ruby chard, roscoff onions and trompettes main was a little too salty for us, but the duck itself had beautifully crunchy skin with a pink middle. Absolutely bursting with flavour, and nicely accompanied by a Loire red – the cheapest glass available at £9.50. The roscoff onion echoed the duck, with browned top and perfectly soft centre. Smoked haddock, soft poached egg, colcannon and grain mustard was also a success; the haddock was just opaque in the centre, and the egg oozed delight.

So to the finale: a crisply acidic burnt lemon cream topped with delicate caramelised sugar, which added a subtle crunch. It came with shortbread to balance the acidity – an accomplished dessert. Our favourite, however, was the decadent chocolate brownie sundae. A sublime end to our meal, with its richness, velvety chocolate sauce and moist, gooey sponge.

The bottom line

By 3.30pm lunch service had come to an end and the atmosphere – pleasant and buzzy – was just starting to flag. However, fewer people meant the room could be admired: we loved the clever use of mirrors, which made an already large, airy room seem higher, wider and bright, even on a drab day. But as good as the food was, I probably won’t be returning – simply because it didn’t justify the asking price.

Total for two, excluding service: £119.25

Food: 8.5/10

Service: 9/10

Vibe: 8/10

Total 25.5/30

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