Why English Food Doesn’t Suck, part 2: The Harwood Arms

6 05 2009

The boss had been in a really bad mood this week.  And if that isn’t annoying enough, it’s one of those contagious bad moods that makes everyone else irritable.  Not a pleasant work environment.  So today I’m going the blogging-as-diversional-tactic route – I’m just going to pretend I’m still in London, enjoying a fantastic gastropub meal.

Warm onion tart - like quiche, but English

Nick and I arrived at The Harwood Arms a little stressed.  Let’s just say that the scale of the London Underground map is VERY different from that of the Paris Métro.  (A short love note to the Métro, if you’ll indulge me.  Métro, I love you.  You get me anywhere I might want to go in 45 minutes or less.  Your spacious platforms and large-windowed cars almost let me forget that I’m deep in the bowels of the city.  Your lines are well organized and beautifully color-coded.  You are never more than a 5 minute walk away.  I only wish you would run all night so I’d never have to take the Noctilien again.  Love, Camille)

A hearty appetizer salad

Anywho, we showed up rather late for our reservation, but our anxiety was instantly assuaged by the cheerful host.  He showed us to our rustic-yet-elegant wooden table and quickly brought two pints of local beer and a muslin sack filled with bread.  A square of slate supported the butter, and a small bowl of Maldon sea salt accompanied.  We perused the menu and made our selections.  I started with the warm onion tart with Monty’s cheddar (I can call it that, because I bought some earlier that day at Neal’s Yard Dairy), and Nick had a salad bursting with flavorful garnishes including roast pumpkin and some mushrooms we imagined had been foraged that morning.

When in England, you must eat game.

As we let the refined country cottage atmosphere soothe our jangled nerves, the main courses arrived.  Both Nick’s gin-braised venison (pictured above) and my crispy rainbow trout (pictured below) looked and smelled heavenly.

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The Long-Awaited French Fruit Tart Recipe…

4 05 2009

…can be found today over at Andrea’s delicious blog, Cooking Books.  It combines recipes from Chocolate & Zucchini and Desserts by Pierre Hermé, plus a little of my own know-how.  Here’s a taste:

Crisp, buttery crust, creamy filling, and sweet fresh fruits - the perfect dessert!

For the full details, head on over to read my guest post!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

Joe Interview

3 05 2009

I’m honored to be the first pastry professional featured on Joe Pastry‘s new series, Joe’s Real World.  It is, I suppose, the first official interview I’ve ever given, so head on over to read his great questions and my attempts at coherent answers. 

Joe’s Real World I: Camille Malmquist

While you’re there, the rest of his site is both interesting and informative.  He thoroughly examines baking and pastry techniques, as well as giving fun history tidbits and backstory for all your favorite baked goods.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

Breizh Café

1 05 2009

So here we are, the first of May.  It’s a jour férié, which means that almost nobody is at work today.  Instead, they will gather at Place de la République to march in support of (or against) whatever issue is important to them.  I stumbled into this défilé last year by accident, and I’ll be doing my best to avoid it this year.  The Tamil Tigers have been there since Tuesday – I guess thay wanted to make sure to get a good spot.  There are a few people working exceptionellement today, notably the scientists who work on things like genetic sequencing of flu viruses, for example.  Which brings me around to why this post is a day late.  Judging from the news last night, everyone was going to be dead of swine flu by morning, and I preferred to spend my last hours enjoying a bottle of wine with my husband.

Breton Cider and Drinking Bowls

Since it looks like we’re all going to live for at least another day, though, I’m going ahead with my last Breton cuisine post.  (Anyway, it’s a holiday, so it’s not like May has officially started yet, right?)  Last Sunday evening (!), Nick and I dined at Breizh Café, a mecca for enthusiasts of that quintessential Breton creation: the crêpe.  Of course we ordered cider – we chose one that was described as “dry” by the menu, and recommended by the waiter.  It was served in little earthenware bowls.  I always feel kind of silly drinking out of a bowl, but when in Rome…  The cider itself was less than impressive.  It was dry, as in  not sweet, but it had none of the tart apple complexity I was hoping for.

Roulade with Andouille and Flags

Fortunately, the meal looked up from there.  We started with a rolled galette (savory buckwheat crêpe) filled with Andouille de Guémené and cheese.  (“What kind?” I asked, hoping it would be some as-yet-unknown-to-me Breton cheese.  “Gruyère,” came the reply.  No dice.)

For the main course, more galettes:

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