FROM FOAMS TO FORAGING…..

It’s almost Christmas and with a ‘Food Trends 2015′ post coming up soon on mymonkfish we thought you’d like to see Jay Rayner’s predictions for next year first…..There will be food. Some of it will be horrible. Some of it will be really nice….wish we’d summed it up like that. That’s why he’s Jay Rayner, and we’re not.
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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “From foams to foraging, food trends are as silly – and enjoyable – as any other fashion” was written by Jay Rayner, for The Observer on Wednesday 10th December 2014 12.00 UTC

Recently a woman asked me, with a squeaky roll of her eye balls, what I thought about “all those foams and sauce smears” she saw on MasterChef. Around the same time I started receiving requests for my food predictions for 2015. Would it be Korean BBQ or pimped British motorway services snacks or more of that raw food bollocks? Both questions are, of course, flip sides of the same coin; they’re about food fashions, and don’t we just love whingeing about those. Watch Twitter the night a MasterChef contestant pumps up the nitrous gun to produce a carrot “air” and you’d think the tabs had splashed with stolen nudie pics of Emma Watson, such is the outrage.

I was a bit late to the foam game, but I still recall my first one. It was the green tea and lime palate cleanser that Heston Blumenthal was knocking out at the Fat Duck around 2000. I thought it was fabulous. And here’s the thing: I still think it’s fabulous. I love the way a good foam releases its flavour on to the tongue without coating it, so you no longer know where smell ends and taste begins.

It’s not cool to admit it, but I have fond memories of almost every food trend and fad that has come and gone. I remember the thrill of my first McDonald’s in the mid-1970s, and of the arrival of Dayville’s with dozens of ice cream flavours including peppermint fudge ripple. Who could not love that? There was the next wave of Americana, courtesy of Bob Payton with his Chicago Pizza Pie Factories and Rib Shacks, followed in the late 80s by the Modern British Brasseries.

Rowley Leigh put seared scallops with minted pea purée and we swooned; Terence Conran ushered in the glorious era of the gastrodome, and everyone piled their food in towers. And that was great too, because before that food was 2D and now it was 3D. Fergus Henderson made eating inner wibbly bits cool (again) and then everyone started putting their sauces through the soda siphon and now here we all are grubbing about in the hedgerows for our lunch.

Each new food movement looks back on the one it replaces with a barely disguised sneer. They were so unsophisticated back then. Oh, but NOW! Look at us! Nouvelle Cuisine sneered at the cream and butter overload of Escoffier classicism; the modernists sneered at the minimalism of Nouvelle Cuisine; the locavores and foragers sneer at the ingredient processing of the modernists and pretty much everything else. And then a few weeks ago I had a pop at the foragers. At the risk of repeating myself, my beef was not so much with the food that resulted – some of it can be great – but the belief of those involved that their food isn’t just more sophisticated, but morally superior too.

It isn’t. As the great New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik once pointed out, in the novels of Victor Hugo the peasantry are defined by their reliance on what is seasonal and local. The fat wallets get the stuff from far away and, better still, out of season. Food fashions are no different to any other. They aren’t a mark of increasingsophistication. The whirligig merely turns. They are a mark of boredom, of palates sated and appetites blissfully dulled. And that’s something we should never forget. Here then, is my prediction for 2015. There will be food. Some of it will be horrible. Some of it will be really nice. It’s OK. You don’t have to thank me.

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AFTERNOON TEA, IT’S A GOOD THING.

IMG_7851Afternoon tea. It’s a good thing. It should never be rushed. It should always be taken with a very good friend, a friend with whom you can ooh and aah with over every single delight presented to you on a 3 tier cake stand. It must must must be on a cake stand, without a cake stand it simply can’t be called afternoon tea. It must also, in our book, be served with a chilled glass of champers and a huge pot of tea.

Well, luck should have it, that’s exactly what happened at Cafe Portrait last week for Mrs M and her partner in crime, Barb. Barb considers herself an expert on the subject of afternoon tea so her opinions are crucial to this review. From now on she’ll be known as ‘B’, in a similar way to ‘M’ (her of James Bond fame-dom). We should mention however that ‘B’ has lived to tell this tail unlike ‘M’ and her unfortunate mishap at the end of Skyfall….

You do need a strategy for afternoon tea. Loose trousers should form part of this, failing which you’ll almost always fall at the first hurdle. Then there’s the plan of attack…Mrs M usually opts for a top down strategy.  B however always insists on a bottoms up approach particularly when there’s the inclusion of an espresso sized soup cup. Cold soup ain’t good in December so bottoms up it was.

Right, let’s have it. Snuggled in the Snug we were presented with our afternoon tea…which consisted of this little lot…

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Demolition, and then some. Mrs M won hands down, B had to ask for a doggy bag. It’s odd isn’t it because when you see an afternoon tea you think it’s fairly small and you’re more than likely to finish it off no problem. Funny then that by the time you’re up to tier two you’re in trouble, and wondering how the heck you’re going to make it to the penthouse and finish off all those lovely cakes.

Love a sandwich without a crust don’t you? You’d never dream of taking the crusts off at home but when it comes to afternoon tea you can’t get enough of it. The savoury scone with goats cheese and red onion jam was great. We thought they would be as their regular man-size scones sold in the cafe are a particular highlight. The cakes, the cakes, ooh the cakes, all of them were lovely. Nice festive touches too with the mince pie and the chocolate teacake.

The Cafe Portrait afternoon tea is wonderfully dainty and has the right mixture of sweet and savoury. Topped off with a glass of fizz, a pot of tea and ‘B’ chat chat chatting away for 2 hours then it’s enough to send anyone straight to bed very happy indeed. And that’s exactly what happened. For Mrs M anyway….

Cafe Portrait Afternoon Tea_SnapseedAll photos Mymonkfish with the exception of the final shot, thanks to Heritage Portfolio.

Cafe Portrait afternoon teas are served daily from 2.30 – 4.30pm. You can make a reservation online via the website. Thanks to Heritage Portfolio for letting Mrs M and B demolish your lovely tea and for allowing us to wear our joggies :) Elasticated waistbands, you can’t beat em.

WIN! WATCH&WOLF TICKETS ON US!

Competition now closed…..

WATCH&WOLFIf you were unfortunate to miss Jelly & Gin’s showing of ‘Elf’ last night #classic then we’re giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets for next Thursday’s movie which is…..drum roll…..Gremlins! Yes, another retro movie will be showing next Thursday (11th December) at 7:30pm, Hawthornden Theatre, Edinburgh.

Guests will receive packages of bite-sized food and cocktails. The stylish Mr Wolf, will signal to guests during the film when to eat or drink…expect the unexpected, this is not just another cinema visit…

To win a pair of tickets just follow us on Twitter and RT the competition tweet. You have 24 hours….starting now!

If you’re more of an Instagrammer than a Tweeter then ‘like’ the competition pic and you’ll be entered into the draw too. Mymonkfish on Instagram.

And if you don’t win there are still tickets available via the Jelly&Gin website.

Next week we’ll be running another giveaway for the showing of The Wizard of Oz on Thursday 18th December….just how generous are we???

MONKFISH MONDAY, IF ONLY WE’D THOUGHT OF THIS….

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Brock_Davis_05 Brock_Davis_09You’ve said it a million times and now you’ll definitely be saying it again after looking at these. Nothing to add with the exception of you making sure you follow Brock Davis on Instagram to see more of the same, and then some.tool-guide-Bitters

tool-guide-JuicerWe’re starting to feel festive at the Towers and what better way to get in the party spirit but make your own cocktails at home. Studio Neat have compiled this guide of essential cocktail tools to help dispel any confusion, and to get you on the right path to making tasty libations…..it’d be rude not to.
popcornballsMrs M is predicting HUGE things for popcorn for 2015, it’s going to be taking over your lives. So as a starter for ten how about trying out these breakfast popcorn balls as created by Emma Chapman over at A Beautiful Mess, which is a beautiful blog by the way. Favourite it now!
32700098_060_b 32700098_060_fAnd finally, this is DEFINITELY something we wish we’d thought of before but at least Urban Outfitters kindly did it for us…..yay…it’s on the Christmas List :)

THANKSGIVING ANYONE?

We might not celebrate ‘Thanksgiving’ in Scotland (which is tomorrow folks…) but it could be a good excuse to do a practice run for the BIG DAY which is only 28 days away….. The fact is we just needed a good excuse to share this lovely infographic with you from ‘The Savory’ who seem to have it all sussed out. If you’re like us though, we tend to eat a mountain of stuffing and ’1 bottle of wine for 4 people’?! Yeah right…..

Print it, laminate it, stick it to the fridge, we love it.

CALCULATOR_EDITWe put lovely stuff like this on our Pinterest boards,  head on over and have a sneaky peak….