A Birthday Lunch and a Gentleman’s Relish

Another year, another Birthday, but in the same restaurant, albeit several years apart but weirdly enough with some of the same dishes still on the menu! Is this complacency or is it because these dishes are just so good that they can not be removed from the menu. To my mind it is the latter!

A few years ago we ate at Dinner for dinner, en Famille, at the Chefs table but this time we ate at Dinner for lunch and just Himself and Myself. The service is just as good ( he sneezed and tissues appeared by his side, my handbag was on the floor, a table hook appeared, with apologies and bag was duly hooked onto table). And the food? We took the lunch menu and yes the dishes that were on the menu last time, were just as wonderful as before.

We started with Hay Smoked Salmon, which had its inspiration from 1730 and was served with Gentleman’s Relish.

Next came the pièce de resistance. The Meat Fruit from the 13th -15th century. When is a Clementine not a Clementine? When it is a meat fruit. This wonderful concoction looks like a Clementine but is in fact chicken liver parfait.

Duck and Turnip from absolutely ages ago written about in the edible History of Pompeii Ref Apicius

Of course Heston being Heston, he is not satisfied with one Pièce de Resistance but there are two. The second being the Tipsy Cake. This dates from the early 1800’s as in the English Cookery Book by J.H.Walsh. I don’t often eat dessert, but this is absolutely DIVINE. A kind of Brioche in its own little cocotte with I think a hot crème anglaise and hot roasted pineapple, Umm Umm !

Himself also discovered a red wine which , we decided it was very tasty.( I did have a sip).

Gentleman’s relish was a 19 th century gentry’s favourite and was called Patum Peperium. Why? A play on words, Patum for paste or pate and Pererium from Greek for pepper. The fact that it is made with lots of anchovies and garlic and butter is indeed neither here nor there !Maybe a 19th Century version of Anchovy butter?

To make your own relish you will need

  • 2 cloves garlic peeled
  • About 25-30 anchovy fillets, best to buy tops quality Ortiz is the best
  • 150 grams unsalted butter softened
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • A good grind of good black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme.

Simply blend all of the above either in a mortar and pestle, with a hand blender or in an electric blender, until smooth . Put in a pot, you can refrigerate it but take it out before using to soften, spread on toast, add to Welsh Rarebit, add to Caesar Salad dressing, put onto grilled fish, stuff mushrooms and so many options! And of course the exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. At Dinner it is a bit of a hybrid as they mix it with fine mayonnaise.

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