Thursday, 8 November 2012

50 Spades of Grey

So apparently, the key to a man's heart is not food, but a blindfold.

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!)

So there I was, trussed up with the finest food bloggers in Bristol, whipped into a frenzy by things I'd not normally, um, sample.

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.


Bristol Bites said...

AMAZING write up! (not sure about the pics of me you've put in there though!)

Great to meet you last night, such a fun evening!

Hapless gardener said...

Ah thank you Emily, great to meet you too and I've added a little caption to your pic to make amends!

linniew said...

This was hysterical. A good fork indeed. (Perhaps you should do for cooking on Twitter what 'Sheds of Grey' has done for gardening. Spoons of Grey?) But how on earth could one be expected to unmix all those flavors, even with eyes open? You were a brave soul and got inspiration for a terrific blog post out of the deal so forget about the trophy. Very fun read.

Dysanovic said...

Nice post Hapless.

You're lucky the person holding the competition wasn't a sadist; I'm thinking of scenes from Indiana Jones (Monkey brain soup) and Silence of the Lambs (human liver).

In all honesty though it sounds like an interesting experiment, and I'd like to see how I would fare.

+1 for the reference to Glamorgan sausages too :D

Hapless gardener said...

Yes! Welsh points, thanks Dysanovic! I did have my concerns that there would be all manner of unmentionable morsels, but I recently tried Sea Urchin sushi so I felt prepared.

Linnie, lovely to hear from you, I hope you're well? V glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your comments. I think there is part skill on the taster and part skill on the chef making sure the flavours come through...

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.