Tag Archives: dessert

FooD @ Moor Hall

I had been waiting for this for a while. I randomly saw a tweet about a new restaurant with rooms opening about 10mins from where I live that would have ex-executive chef of L’Enclume Mark Birchall at the helm. I knew I would have to give it a try. I don’t even remember how long ago it was, sometime last year I think, they had a lot of building work to do first so I just kept an eye on it.

Well the wait was finally over. The restaurant opened its door a month or so ago. I booked within a few days but like all new restaurants I like to give it a few weeks to settle in before going. It could have been open years, service was really good, better than a couple of places I’ve been that have stars. Although there was one point the table next to me set fire to their menu (by accident, I hope) and there was a little confusion about what to do. I doubt sorting out a menu on fire was on the training list. It reminded me of when we went to L’Enclume and a drink (maybe a dish) was dropped and about 10 people came running out of the kitchen to sort it out.

The sommelier needs a special mention. Engaging, really knew his stuff, all good pairings. I’ve been disappointed with sommeliers at other restaurants. I don’t drink wine at home, the only time I ever drink wine is usually with a tasting menu and the first time was at Sat Bains where the sommelier at the time was amazing. Since then none have been close. The sommelier at Moor Hall could be as good, maybe just a little bit more detail about what flavours the wine brings out in the food and the food brings out in the wine and he would be perfect.

Well, the food, what can I say? Every dish was on a scale of good to great. Usually there is at least one dish I don’t rate or even actively dislike but everything was done really, really well. There is an obvious massive influence from L’Enclume from the bespoke stoneware plates and bowls to the style of dishes. One dish in particular I have had three versions of now, first in The French, then at L’Enclume and now here. The beef in charcoal. The first time in The French it was Ox in coal oil which at the time was wow. Raw ox that tasted like it had just come off a BBQ. The second time was venison at L’Enclume, the coal wasn’t as strong but the meat was more melt in the mouth and all the little pearls accompanying popped with flavour. The dish was still good at Moor Hall but the beef didn’t standout, the charcoal wasn’t noticeable and the extras overpowered it a bit. Being a bit nit picky here but that dish at the other two places stood out, here it wasn’t in the top five. If i hadn’t had a similar dish before I’d probably have said it was great.

Anyway, I went for the 8 courses. Something that I really like is when you get a bunch of other things besides those eight. It came to 14 in total, 15 if you count the bit of prosciutto with pre-drinks. Standouts for me were the Baked Carrots, I really like contrast of temperatures so sticking something frozen on is great. The Grilled Scallop with cauliflower may well have been a standout dish, the purée and grilled cauliflower we fantastic and the scallop was so meaty. The toffee apple like desert is another winner.

A trip to Moor Hall has also added another thing to the list of what I would get if I won the lottery … a cheese room!!!

I’ve been waiting for a star in Manchester for a while now but instead I think there is a contender that a place 5 minutes down the road from where I live will actually get 1 (or 2)  first. I recommend you go see for yourself before everyone else finds out about it.



Guest Blogging

Well last week a blog I started reading  due to a rant about craft beer had a guest writer. The blog in question is Booze, Beats & Bites  by Nate Dawg, go check it out, do it, do it now. The first guest writer wrote about Booze and then Nate wrote on Twitter that hundreds of people were lining up to write on his blog. I wanted in and being a cheeky bastard that’s fond of baking asked if I could do a Bites piece. Then, BOOM, just like that I was a guest writer. Nate had already found a Beats blogger and I completed the set with Bites.

So go check out my guest writing for Chocolate Stout Peanut Butter Marshmallow Brownies here http://www.boozebeatsbites.com/2012/07/bites-guest-blog-chocolate-stout-peanut.html

I thought I would write a couple of notes about the recipe. I took a brownie recipe and then just added some other ingredients in quantities that I thought would work well. I wanted to add stout, so to work out how much I needed I actually added it to the melted chocolate until I could taste it. Obviously this makes the original batter a lot wetter. This meant that I had to cook it for longer than usual so that it wasn’t too gooey. I think if I made them again I might add 50g of flour extra to combat the liquid. But then I might add a bit more sugar to combat the extra flour. But then it wouldn’t fit in the same tin.

The marshmallows melted during cooking, upon further research a lot of recipes use marshmallow fluff which doesn’t seem to melt. Either that or they put the marshmallows on top for a couple of minutes at the end of the cooking.

They still tasted good, but in a few weeks I might have another go.


When life hands you Lemons…make Lemon Cake!!!

Well Mrs TramP started her job down in London a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been job hunting (anyone got an Analyst job going in London?). Last week I felt like baking after a hectic week of interviews but having left work and being home alone I decided against making a cake or cakes that I would ultimately have to eat all of myself. Luckily Mrs TramP is back for the weekend so I can bake, eat most of what I make and pretend she had at least half. As this week has been seriously hot I decided to make something at least a bit summery, and wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (what am I saying).

Lemon cake it was, but which one? Searching through a few of my many many cook books it came down to a battle between the French Men. Michel Roux vs Raymond Blanc. Both recipes are very similar, the main difference being the glazing technique they each use. Michel Roux made two smaller cakes and Raymond Blanc just one, as I had the correct size tin for Raymond Blanc’s recipe I opted for that one. So lets get down to business….

Lemon Cake!!!

  • 5 Medium Eggs
  • 300g Caster Sugar
  • 140ml Double Cream
  • Zest of 3 Lemons Finely Grated
  • 25ml Dark Rum (finding miniatures in Manchester was a pain in the arse)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 80g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 240g Plain Flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 50g Apricot Jam, warmed
  • Zest of 1 Lemon Finely Grated
  • 3tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 150g Icing Sugar

This is another cake that needs the oven heated to 180°C. Grease and line a 26x9cm loaf tin and set aside until ready to fill.

Grab a big bowl, chuck in the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, rum, salt and melted butter. Whisk that all up nicely then sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk it up again until lovely and smooth. Basically that’s it, wasn’t hard now was it. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin you prepared earlier, level out the top and bang in the oven for 50mins to an hour. Once cooked turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. This is where Raymond and Michel differ the most in this recipe.

Michel had an extra shot of rum that he sprinkles over the cakes as they come out the oven and then lets them cool down. He bangs the oven up to 240°C. Heats the jam up and covers the top and sides and leaves for 5 mins. Then mixes the icing sugar and lemon juice (no zest)  in a bowl to form a smooth icing and spoons over the top, he then whacks the cakes in the oven for 20 seconds to set the glaze.

As I said I chose to make Raymond’s cake so carried on with his technique which is a bit different. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, brush the cake with the warm jam then leave for 5 minutes to set. Mix the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar and warm on a low heat to 35°C until smooth. Brush the icing evenly over the cake and leave to set again for  a couple of minutes. Bang the cake back in the oven on a baking tray but turn the oven off and leave for 3-5 minutes to dry the glaze.

Take the cake out of the oven, allow to cool down before slicing and enjoy with a nice cup of tea (I don’t actually drink tea).