Restaurant Review – Jabu

We're going to Jabu tonight, we haven't been for quite a while. Last time we went, I wrote this:

 

Can't believe I haven't mentioned Jabu before, but it seems not, or at least I can't find it. Went out with John, Guinness, the Lawsons, Julia, and Julian, for a pre-Eastercon gathering as some people are heading up today and will miss the regular pub this evening.

Jabu is a Chinese Fondue and Dumpling house, a dark pine and orange plastic cafe. Each table has an electronic hotplate. First course is a choice of fresh steamed dumplings, Northern Chinese style. Lamb and Coriander is one of our favourites, there are beef, pork, chicken and veggie based ones, heavy on the seasoning and with lots of interesting textures. £4 for 12, with dipping sauces, one soy/vinegar, one chilli/sesame. Then they bring a wok-style pot, with a divider down the middle. You choose two flavours of broth (chicken and spicy for us), they fill the pot and put it on the hotplate. Little plates of goodies (from a long, long list) arrive and you cook your choice in the broth. More dipping sauces – sesame paste, sweet chilli, garlic, wasabi/soy. Goodies last night included squid, salmon, scallops, chicken, paperthin sliced beef and lamb, assorted veggies, udon and slim noodles, and a softshell crab. You can also have a range of tofu, meat and fish balls, mushrooms, seasonal veggies, more seafood including about four types of prawns, and tripe. After you've played the cooking game for a while and run out of things to experiment with, they bring small bowls and you have the last of the noodles with the now concentrated and flavoured soup. A few pieces of cut fruit for dessert. Tea to drink throughout, they have a full menu of Chinese teas and will explain the differences. The main waitress is a phenomenon, permanently bouncy, enthusiastic about everything, will show you how to cook things if you're wary, and scurries around refilling tea, soup etc  as necessary. It was a fun evening, it's a highly social event with lots of messing about. Seven/eight is about the maximum number, though, even then people were having to stand up or stretch to reach the pot. And stunningly cheap – it worked out at £10 per head for a good 2 – 3 hours entertainment and gorgeuous food. Healthier than your average Chinese meal as well, with no deep-frying or overly sweet sauces. Yum Yum.

EDIT – I did mention it before, just didn't tag it properly. Fuller review here – nothing much seems to have changed, though! http://frandowdsofa.livejournal.com/77301.html

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Classic Spinach Dip

How could I have forgotten this one? a staple of every party of the mid-eighties. This is from an ad in Bon Appetit December 1986.

Take:

  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1.5 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 packet Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix
  • 1 x 8 oz can water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped

Mix the whole lot up well, chill for a couple of hours, so that the soup can dissolve into the dip. There was something about this one that was really yummy. The salt and MSG, I expect. You could easily make this healthier, with a low-salt low-fat soup mix, and low-fat fromage frais or similar instead of the cream and mayonnaise.

 

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Posted in Recipes. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

Things to do with Goose

The Cuisine for December 1984 also had a retro-article on goose cookery, it's not worth writing out the recipes, they were fairly standard, but some of the ideas were a little bit different. And would do fine for duck too.

Liver – dredge with seasoned flour and cook in goose fat on a high heat, serving with a jammy sauce made with prunes soaked in Madeira, onions and tart apples, with a little marjoram at the end.

Casserole – with onions and mushrooms, finished off with double cream, french mustard and fresh parsley

Ragout with bacon, turnips, cloves, bay leaf – caramelising the turnips in goose fat and sugar before adding them

A very complex stuffing for goose, making a cornbread with crumbled Italian sausage in it, mixing that with dried orchard fruits and mushrooms. Served with chestnuts braised with celery and goose gravy until coated and caramelised, and honeyed yams. I wouldn't do all three of those, it would be far too sweet – and certainly I'd want a watercress salad on the side, or a raw cranberry relish, or something very tart and sharp.

 

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Cranberry Lime Chutney

We've been clearing out a bit, and I came across a box file full of my old American magazines. A copy of Cuisine, from December 1984, not only had full-page ads for cigarettes, but also some interesting recipes. This Cranberry Lime Chutney was a reader request from Rooney's restaurant in Rochester NY, where it was served with mesquite-grilled mallard breast. It's really simple, just put all the ingredients in a heavy pan, boil, simmer, stirring, until thick, which should take about 45 minutes. It looks like a proper preserving chutney, there's enough sugar and acid in there, it would certainly keep a while in a sealed jar in the fridge. They suggest that you could serve it warm.

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large orange, peeled, pith removed, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith) peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice

Read and post comments | Send to a friend