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All posts by Monnow Man
Magnus Nilsson and the restaurant at the end of the universe
Looking forward to seeing Magnus and Valentine at the Abergavenny Food Festival, so reblogging the Festival’s post.
The Abergavenny Food Festival Blog
We are all incredibly excited at the prospect of the young Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson speaking at this year’s festival in conversation with Valentine Warner.
At just 29 years old he has already achieved a remarkable reputation in the food world.
His restaurant Fäviken seats just twelve diners and is located near the edge of the Arctic Circle. Everything on the menu throughout the year is produced locally.
For the second year running, Fäviken is included in Restaurant magazine’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Magnus is cited as one of Europe’s Top 10 young chefs.
René Redzepi of Noma is quoted as saying: “if I had a chance to go anywhere in the world right now, I would go to Fäviken.” Endorsements don’t come much better than that.
Magnus’ cookery apprenticeship included three years in Paris at 3-Michelin Star restaurants L’Arpège and L’Astrance before returning to Sweden…
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Radio Four in Four Minutes – video
I’m not a big sharer of YouTube clips, but this soliloquy by Jake Yapp made me laugh because it was so accurate.
Wild Boar Belly
I fired up the smoker on Monday to hot-smoke all the trout I supposed to have caught on Sunday, but didn’t. Instead I experimented with a piece of Wild Boar Belly and a sort of American Barbecue rub containing brown sugar, salt, pimenton, cumin and love.
Pancetta or bust
Months, literally months after attending a curing and smoking course at River Cottage I got around to making some of my own pancetta. It was easy: the hard bit was worrying that I had made something that would make people sick, but this didn’t happen. These are the pics I took during the process.
When I was a teenager I had phases. There was the cars phase, then computers, followed by tropical fish and logically enough, girls. With middle age it appears that phases are coming back and this year’s seems to be charcuterie: eating, producing and consuming it. When you buy a new car, you suddenly notice how many other wise people have also bought the same model as you. Well, in a similar vein, since becoming interested in charcuterie, I’ve noticed how surprisingly available locally-made cured and smoked goods are in and around Monmouth. So pleased was I by this that did a vaguely arty Instagram photo of some pancetta, smoked pork belly and salami that I bought within ten miles of Monmouth.
My kingdom for a Choucroute Garnie
Sometimes serendipity or perhaps Providence plays a role in the delivery of a meal. One such is a Choucroute Garnie I cooked today. Chance encounters with ingredients that, on their own, don’t promise much, bubble away in my subconscious until I have an “Aha!” moment in which I realise what they could become together.
So it was with the piece of smoked belly pork and kielbasa suasages on special offer at Lidl this week. Buy some then think about about what to do with them. Being a semi-German household there’s always a bit of sauerkraut available. It must be Choucroute Garnie. Of course. Google some recipes. It’s obvious that there is no definitive recipe: it’s probably one of those dishes that exists as a meme, a set of principles. In this case, it’s essentially smoked pork cuts and sausages slowly simmered in sauerkraut, then served on a monstrous platter in its steaming Rabelaisian glory.
But do we have the ingredients? Riesling? Juniper berries, spare ribs, bay leaves, duck fat? Yes to some and no to others. Belt down to Waitrose to get the missing bits and cure the spare ribs overnight. In the morning, I am reminded that Keith Floyd (hallowed be His name) had a recipe for a Choucroute Garnie in his Second Epistle to the Gastronauts, Floyd on France. No spare ribs there. But wait! He adds liver dumplings. I’m about to leap into the car to go and buy some liver when I am reminded by my wife that we have leberknoedeln in the freezer. As one does.
In Our Time for Masons
Suppose you have joined freemasonry recently and are working through the three ceremonies of initiation, passing and raising. You enjoy their uplifting admonitions to personal improvement and want further reading, as it were, to broaden your understanding of the ideas presented in the degrees as well as the intellectual currents that informed them.
Reading, though, is so twentieth-century. You want to listen to easily digestible podcasts that deliver the thinking of top-drawer academics in no more time than it takes walk to commute to work. What you need is BBC Radio 4’s programme on the history of ideas, In Our Time.
What follows then is an entirely unofficial, biased(!) and personal list of IOT episodes you could listen to in the days immediately following each of the three degree ceremonies, with a general category to give a flavour of some of the ideas that inform masonic culture.
Altruism – 23 Nov 06
Friendship – 2 Mar 06
The Oath – 5 Jan 06
Freedom – 4 Jul 2002
Progress – 18 Nov 1999
Rudolph II – 31 Jan 2008
Alchemy – 24 Feb 2005
Baconian Science – 2 Apr 2009
Human Nature – 7 Nov 2002
Mathematics – 6 May 1999
Nature – 10 Jul 2003
Renaissance Magic – 17 Jun 2004
Science’s Revelations – 29 Oct 1998
The Royal Society – 23 Mar 2006
Pythagoras – 10Dec 2009
Virtue – 28 Feb 2002
Renaissance Maths – 02 June 2005
Death – 4 May 2000
The Soul – 6 Jun 2002
Politeness – 30 Sep 2004
The Encyclopédie – 26 Oct 2006
King Solomon – 7 Jun 2012
Paganism in the Renaissance – 16 Jun 2005
Empiricism – 10 Jun 2004
Toleration – 20 May 2004