Asparagus soup topped with ricotta, chives and crispy chicken recipe

Tom Kitchin opened his first restaurant, The Kitchin, with his wife on Edinburgh Leith waterfront in 2006. He received French training from some of the world’s best chef – Pierre Koffmann, Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse.

The Kitchin was awarded a michelin star just six months after opening.

After moving to Scotland to work, The Kitchin was definitely on my list to visit and I was there within 2 months to try out some of Tom Kitchin’s Scottish cooking. Tried the tasting menu and was pretty blown away. I also had a chance to catch a glimpse of Tom Kitchin himself in the kitchen working away!

Anyway, as usual, after a visit to a michelin star restaurant which impresses me, I will start purchasing their cookbooks online.

‘Tom Kitchin kitchin suppers’ is definitely a cookbook to get hold of.

Recipes are not too difficult to follow and I definitely love my creations from his cookbook!

One of the recipes which I am going to share here today which is his ‘Asparagus soup topped with ricotta, chives and crispy chicken’.

Simple yet flavourful.

Asparagus soup topped with ricotta, chives and crispy chicken by Tom Kitchin:

Ingredients:

800g asparagus spears

olive oil for cooking

1 white onion, peeled and sliced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

450ml chicken stock

50g baby spinach leaves

Chicken and ricotta garnish ingredients:

12 chicken wings

olive oil for cooking

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

150g ricotta

1 tsp chopped chives

To finish:

4 asparagus spears, trimmed

extra virgin olive oil

freshly cracked black pepper

Steps:

1) To prepare the asparagus for the soup, snap off the woody ends of the spears and peel the lower end of the stalks. Finely chop the asparagus. Heat a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion, season with a little salt and sweat gently for 2-3 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to the boil in another pan.

2) Add the asparagus to the onion and sweat together over a high heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour in enough of the hot stock to just cover the asparagus. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the asparagus is just cooked, adding a little more stock to keep it covered if needed. Add the spinach and cook very briefly until it just wilts.

3) Tip the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Unless serving hot straight away, transfer to a bowl and cool quickly over another bowl of ice to preserve the lovely vivid green colour, then cover and refrigerate.

4) heat the oven to 180 celcius/Gas 4. For the garnish, put the chicken wings into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the caraway seeds. Heat a large non-stick ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chicken wings and colour for 3-4 minutes on each side. Transfer the pan to the oven for 8-10 minutes until the wings are cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly.

5) Once cooled, pull the meat from the bone. Tear into strips and put into a bowl with the ricotta and chives. Mix together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6) When ready to serve, trim the 4 raw asparagus spears, then cut lengthways into fine slices, using a sharp knife. Rub with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If serving the soup hot, reheat it gently.

7) Divide the soup between bowls and top each portion with a generous spoonful of the ricotta mixture and the raw asparagus slices. Top the ricotta with a sprinkling of cracked pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil around the soup.

Enjoy!

Pollen street social at Mayfair London review

Since I am all hyped up regarding pollen street social at London Mayfair, might as well blog about it! As from my previous blog post, Jason Atherton was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain’s famous elBulli restaurant in 1998. He was also the former chef for Gordon Ramsay Holdings and have worked for Pierre Koffmann, Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White.

A trip down to London calls for a visit to Pollen street social. I always go solo to michelin star restaurants as I always tend to go for tasting menu which others are not keen to go on board with me. So solo is always better unless the other party is willing to sacrifice. 

However, as far as I remember, there was no tasting menu available then at Pollen, or maybe I missed it? I ended up with a 3 course, but heck it was amazing!

Jason Atherton at work!

Lovely interior.

Canapes. 

Starter: Slow cooked egg, full english breakfast.

Chose this as I was too intrigued at how a full english breakfast was served in a michelin star restaurant. 

I have to say I quite enjoy the crisp bacon together with the slow cooked runny yummylicious egg….A very very exciting creative way of presenting an english breakfast in a fine dining style. 

My steak is totally to die for. Lovely thick cut of meat. I thought initially that was it on the plate (was a good portion), and then they brought me the wooden board with more steak!!!! Perfectly done to medium rare. Carrots were sweet and I was totally inspired to cook steak after devouring this! 

Ok. this is just a pic to show my inspiration after dining at pollen street. Cooked this almost immediately at Edinburgh for my friends the moment I got back from London! Just to show how totally INSPIRED I was by Pollen’s steak. Trying to imitate Pollen’s presentation of their steak with an ultimate fail. haha…Lots to work on. 

Ok back to their pre-dessert. This was probably my inspiration in making the cranachan as it was quite similar. This was somehow really good as the raspberry puree went really well with the double cream + touch of cream cheese. The ratio of the cheese to double cream was perfect. Inspirational!

I totally love the dessert bar concept. Being able to appreciate the pastry chefs hard at work.

Nobody would be as silly as me to order sorbets. It was completely refreshing and delicious, just that I could have got the pastry chefs to work a bit harder for my dessert haha

Pastry chefs hard at work. 

The most amazing thing about being seated at the dessert bar is watching the kitchen at work. So I managed to catch a glimpse of Jason Atherton when I was sat at the dessert bar. Maybe not quite a glimpse as I was watching him work for 20 minutes and he then asked the waitress to see to my drinks. 

Orange flavoured financiers. SOOOOO DELICIOUS!!!!

One of my friends will always say that a trip to a michelin star restaurant is incomplete without a visit to their astonishingly beautifully decorated toilets. 

An amazing, incredible lunch at Pollen street social leaving me wanting to try their tasting menu now. 8 courses for 79 pounds. 

Ok. some berry smoothie at Paul after before I head off for my second one michelin star restaurant (Murano) of the day for dinner!

Galvin at Windows review

On one of my foodie marathon visits down to London, I decided to visit Galvin at Windows which is a one michelin star restaurant in London. Truth be told, reason for eating at Galvin at Windows was because of its location, i.e. it is situated on the 28th floor of the London Hilton on Park Lane in Mayfair and overlooking the city, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.

But as you can tell from my pic, I am not quite seated near the window to catch any of that spectacular views.

 

Galvin at Windows is renowned for the signature cocktails. But to be fair, I wasn’t that impressed by the cocktails.

 

Anyway, my red fruity ish cocktail, aka woman in love – thick and very fruity. Blackberry and raspberry puree is mixed with Pimm’s and archers liquor. I am not quite an alcoholic so I don’t know why I decided to go for an alcoholic cocktail, as I couldn’t appreciate what I was drinking.

Menus were based around modern French haute cuisine and is created by Chef Patron Chris Galvin, Head Chef André Garrett.

Looks absolutely delicious! But the moment the spoon hit my mouth, it was cold. Tasted like carrot puree and bacon. Lack of attention to detail. Disappointing.

After eating Martin Wishart’s sea bream ceviche, no other ceviche can impress me.

Scallops ceviche, kohlrabi, cucumber, blood orange and soy.

Didn’t quite like my scallops ceviche. I found it quite bitter and it ruined my palate for the rest of the meal. Regrets.

Ballotine of chicken, foie gras, celeriac and truffle mayonaise.

This was good. But I think after having 2 pretty cold starters, I wasn’t quite expecting another cold dish. Truffle mayonnaise went well with the ballotine of chicken and brioche. Glad we had the brioche as that is probably the only bread I love.

Poached fillet of cornish brill, herb potato crust, enoki, shellfish and dashi broth.

Love the enoki shellfish dash broth.

Food – in comparison to the plate.

saddle of scottish venison, smoked alsace bacon, braised shoulder beignet, red cabbage, watercress and sauce grand veneer.

Although my friend said that this was probably his best ever venison dish, this tasted pretty bloody to me.

In between dishes, we had too much time that we entertained ourselves with portrait shots. I guess that was the only enjoyable moment in the restaurant for me. Not the food, but the company of my good friend in London.

We had too much time that we played with our phones.

To be honest, it took a bit long to serve our desserts. Became a bit impatient.

cinnamon pannacotta, mulled wine foam and orange doughnut.

hmmm….I didn’t quite like the mulled wine foam to be honest…..a bit too bitter but went ok with the pannacotta. not my favourite.. Love the orange doughnut though.

You can tell alcohol in my desserts is a taboo.

 

white chocolate mousse, blueberry compote and green tea ice cream.

Probably my favourite dish of the whole meal. I like the green tea ice cream very much as it was very light and refreshing! One of the best sorbet I ever had. Was inspired to make sorbets after this. Now to find a fridge that fits my ice-cream maker, or perhaps upgrade my ice-cream maker to one that can go without freezing the ice-cream container. 

Best part of the meal was writing postcards and we could send the postcard out of the country as well which was amazing.

95 pounds for a tasting menu. Worth it? That’s is not including the 12.5% service charge. One cocktail was 15 pounds. Overpriced for what I was served. Wasn’t impressed at all. However, my dining companion said otherwise. He enjoyed every single moment of it. I supposed taste is pretty subjective. If you have tried too many michelin star restaurants, everything just becomes mediocre.

Service was good though. Professional and accommodating.

Service: *****

Food: ***

Atmosphere: ****

Price: ****

Perhaps I just had a bad dining experience by picking all the wrong dishes. Felt that some of my dishes lacked attention to detail. Looking at other people’s reviews, they seem to have enjoyed their meals and their dishes surely did looked much more presentable and delicious than what I had!

A nice one off experience eating in a michelin star restaurant situated on the 28th floor, but probably wouldn’t come back again in a very very long time!

Galvin at Windows on Urbanspoon

Holbeck Ghyll review

Ever heard of a michelin star restaurant?

I never did until one of my friends introduced it to me 5 years ago. Even then, I did not understand what it meant until I tried one.

‘ The guide awards one to three stars to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality. One star indicates “very good cuisine in its category”; two stars represent “excellent cuisine, worth a detour”; and a rare three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”‘

referenced from ^ The New Yorker, 23 November 2009, p. 44

Of course, the award of a star also means the exponential increase in price.

I have since then became quite obsessed with eating michelin star restaurants and collecting cookbooks from my favourite michelin star chefs with a desire to recreate to my very best what I tasted at their restaurants. I am at 85% completion of my michelin star restaurant journey.

My collection of michelin star chef’s cookbooks so far. Enough to keep me busy. This is only part of my extensive collection.

There are michelin star restaurants which is impossible for me to get a booking i.e. Fat Duck. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is difficult for me to get a booking due to the last minute-ness with my hectic working schedule.

Waterside Inn, Restaurant Sat Bains and Midsummer house were the michelin star restaurants which I had to give up the bookings as I had other plans ongoing at the same time. But I do want to visit these in the near future.

My first ever michelin star restaurant visit is Holbeck Ghyll at the Lake District in 2009. It was phenomenal. I have never taste such mouth-watering food in my life till then. Credits to the talented head chef David McLaughlin in making it happen.

Holbeck Ghyll have been awarded Michelin star for 12 consecutive years now and is definitely a worthwhile getaway to the countryside for fine food.

 

Virgin Mojito which was refreshing.

When I ate their bread a few years ago, I was so inspired to start baking my own bread!

Unique hot chocolate. Me and Chew Fatt’s obsession.

Amuse bouche: mushroom soup

Date pudding with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce.

Creme Brûlée with apple sorbet, poached apple and apple cider.

One of my favourites! Creme Brûlée was so delicious and well constructed out of the pot!

Tian of crab with avocado and pink grapefruit.

Best end of Cumbrian lamb with Aubergine and tampenade jus.

The lamb was so lovely tender and pink! The aubergine and tampenade jus really went well with the lamb. A heavenly combination! My favourite!!

Braised daube of beef with pomme puree and root vegetables.

Roasted brill with soused vegetables, asparagus and white bean foam.

Holbeck ghyll – my first gastronomical experience. Definitely deserves its one michelin star.

I would recommend paying a visit to this place while at the Lake District. But after I discovered L’enclume which is also in the Lake District, I would choose L’enclume over this! Even so, don’t miss out on both michelin star restaurants!

Holbeck Ghyll,

Holbeck Lane,

Windermere,

Cumbria,

LA23 1LU,

England

T +44 (0)1539 432 375 

F +44 (0)1539 434 743