Weekends mean cooking

How did you spend your Sunday?

I spent mine cooking. Now, there’s a surprise!
As real as a dish might seem while it is in my head or listed on a menu, I have always felt it doesn’t really come alive until someone else has tasted it. Now that we have tools like Instagram and Facebook, I have the chance to share dishes with a much wider group, more quickly.
The challenge here is making the finished photograph match what was in my head, so even if you ‘re not tasting it, I can still make the image lifelike enough to make you feel we’re sharing that plate of food and all your senses are being triggered. No mean feat.
I am preparing for my last pop up event of 2015. Details are on the website but, for those who haven’t or are not able to make it to central London, I wanted to give you a little peek into what’s coming up on 8 November and how some of my dishes come together. 
One of the starters is duck breast with a celeriac veloutĂ© and a hazelnut and herb crumb. 
The inspiration for this dish came from a couple of places. Firstly, I wanted to create a duck dish that would not suffer from being served to 30 or more people at the same time. As much as I love duck legs, there is something about a meltingly tender pink duck breast that I find irresistible.
This dish started to come together when I was at an awards ceremony in Sheffield. On the menu was a celeriac soup with duck and garlic croutons. It was lovely and reminded me that I don’t use celeriac as much as I should. The duck was shredded and hidden, like treasure, at the bottom on the bowl. 
The soup was rich and silky but as soon as I tasted the duck, I knew what I wanted to do. For me, I wanted to showcase the duck, so it would be centre stage in my dish; pink, tender and begging to be eaten. I knew that hazelnuts pair well with both duck and celeriac, so a crunchy crumb would rescue the dish from being too soft. Sometimes, simple is the way to go and there is nowhere to hide on a simple white plate. Everything really does have to taste good and everything on the plate has to be there for a reason.
Vegetarians have not been forgotten. I love working with mushrooms and thought a plate of earthy, wild mushrooms would pair perfectly with the celeriac and hazelnuts as well.

One of the lessons I took from my time in Sweden with MasterChef was to get a feel for the food and do what felt natural. This dish came together in just a couple of minutes. I think the mushrooms look great, almost falling over each other, and taste as good as they look. 

I hope you like the final dishes. 
If you would like to come for lunch and taste these, and other dishes, you can book tickets on my website
 Duck with celeriac and hazelnut crumb