So we said goodbye to an old friend this week, our dishwasher that has been here since the restaurant was started in about 1980. It’s a real workhorse, but has actually just worn out literally. It’s one of the only things we kept when we bought the place nearly 5 years ago. So we say hello to a new one that probably won’t last anything like as long! They are amazingly expensive ranging from 1500€ to anything you like. Fortunately we only need a small one. It’s been really quiet business-wise so we have been able to install it and get the old one in the car ready to take to the dump. No mean feat, I can tell you, they both weigh a ton and only muggins here to help Dave. I hate lugging heavy stuff around. I’m just too weedy! Still, it’s done now. Did you know that industrial washers differ greatly from domestic ones? They have a 3 minute wash and rinse cycle – compare that with domestic ones that can take all night!! I’m tempted to get one for the house when we redo the kitchen, if only they were a bit prettier! Perhaps we could hide it behind a cabinet or something.
And on to my latest favourite ingredient – semi-dried tomatoes. I have discovered that if when you buy them you whizz them to a rough purée and then put them back in their container, you can add them to your dishes as a nind if seasoning and they add a deeply savoury note to them. For example, as a seasonal special I have had a fricassée of seasonal mushrooms on the blackboard. Last week it was milk cap mushrooms, this week it’s grey chanterelles. I wish pickers would also clean them though!! Anyway….heat a pan to hot- my aim is to sear them so they get hot without wilting and going mushy so that they retain their texture as well as taste – then throw in some garlic, parsley, dried tomato purée and the mushrooms. If using a delicate one like chanterelles, they need literally only a couple of minutes, so do them last minute and don’t take your eyes off them. Then throw in some spinach or red chard. Season and add a drop of lemon juice then whisk them out of the pan without any further ado and pile on top of bruschetta. Et voila! Enjoy!