Well last night I had both. Together. In public...
But before you run a mile, this was a very innocent affair. I was invited by my friend Kat to take part in a blind tasting of the new menu at Bristol's Living Room. To spice things up, it was part of a competition against food bloggers around the country, as well as those round the table (it's amazing what the sight of a trophy does to people!)
Things kicked off with Black Forest ham and a mystery accompaniment containing 3 flavours to guess. I was given a goats cheese mousse, yet somehow I thought it was fig and black pepper. Off to a flyer.
|The champion, showing that cool professional touch|
The delights kept on coming, as did the wrong answers. I promise you, this is much harder than it looks. Still, there were some satisfied foodies as we gorged our way through the best of the menu (when I say we, I mean I - others apparently had more refined methods of tasting. I was just hungry!). I thought I'd perform well on the meat section. Not so. Apparently a mutton shepherds pie is not yet in fashion. It's venison this year, but mark my words...
|Can you tell what it is yet?|
Happily, there were combinations new to me and I actually left the evening feeling emboldened to be more adventurous with my dining habits.
Like a typical bloke, the call of steak is all too often answered. Instead I could be having Glamorgan veggie sausages packed with leeks and caerphilly cheese. Hmmm, getting kicks eating vegetarian food whilst blindfolded and under duress? Hardcore quorn anyone? (I'm so sorry, that is truly appalling).
Anyway, we were treated to every section of the menu from starters right the way through mains and desserts to the cheeses and even cocktails.
|The utmost concentration was required|
But what does this have to do with gardening? Lots. How well do you know your fruit and vegetables with your eyes closed? In fact, do you know food at all? As you know, what I thought was fig, turned out to be goats cheese. My instinct for nutmeg was also apparently mistaken. It was green tea.
Basically I came home tail between my legs realising I don't know my ingredients, my flavours and indeed I have temporarily disowned my tastebuds.
Which takes me back to the reasons I grow veg. It's partly the privacy and wonder of time outside uninterupted, but it's also because I'd forgotten what food was all about. The care and energy needed to grow one simple vegetable, let alone meals all year round. And to know what they taste like fresh out of the ground, well, that's quite a treat.
Having said that, I've not yet found a seed called 'Moroccan spiced lamb' so until then i may be returning blindfold or not to my hosts for the evening. However I am inspired to clear the ground out there, digging up the last of the weeds and turning over the soil ready to plant next year's seeds. Of course, my first instinct this morning was to grab the spade.
But we all know you can't beat a good fork.