Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The International House of Pub Food

When we last left our League of Extraordinarily Tipsy Gentlemen the Quickfire had just been won by Jonathan. The rest of the chefs hope to gain ground by acing the Elimination round where no silly Bravo Housewives hold their fate in their Mystery Meat Bosoms. However our gents will not be leaving the realm of bar because it's a Pub Food Challenge.

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Not just any pub food but British pub food in all it's fried starchy glory. It's either stick to your ribs good or spackle your house convenient, you choose. Since Jonathan won the Quickfire he gets to pick first from the six of what he wants to reinvent. Shepherd's Pie comes off the table. Now the remaining chefs must fight over the rest and fight they do. Our man about fish, Rick Moonen would love to rejigger Fish & Chips but so would my little French Cheese, Ludo. Suddenly it starts to get personal.


Dare I ask Ludo, where do you want Rick to take this meat?


Yeah.....just forget I even asked. Ludo (insert your favorite French surrender joke here) gives and ends up with Irish Stew. We will all come to regret this.

For once, shopping is interesting because the chefs describe the dishes they selected. Fish and chips and Irish Stew are pretty self explanatory but not everyone has had the pleasure of the four remaining dishes. Mark explains that Toad in the Hole is sausage cooked in Yorkshire pudding so he decides to upscale it by making a seafood sausage. Jonathan has Shepherd's Pie which is the lamb version of Cottage Pie where a minced meat is covered by a mashed potato crust and baked. Graham chose the Steak and Kidney Pie which is more cut up beef steak and kidneys covered in a thick sauce and covered with a crust and baked. (I'm sensing a pattern here). Wylie apparently chose Bangers (sausage) and Mash (mashed potatoes) for it's lack of green vegetables. I'm kinda sad that they left out the Jellied Eels as a possible choice.

jellied eel

Maybe next season. The gents get two hours to prep after their shopping. Graham wrestles with cleaning his kidneys. Mark is rolling right along with his seafood sausage.

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I wish I knew what he was using as a casing? Two hours is up and the boys pack their stuff and relocate to Tom Bergin's Tavern, a dark shamrock encrusted place just oozing with pub food or at least pub food grease.

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No time to gawk, you've only got an hour to cook. Or annoy your competition.

love affair

The Love Affair between Rick and Ludo continues in the close confines of the tiny kitchen.

The rest of the chefs seem to be humming right along. That is until Mark checks in on his Toad in the Holes. With only ten minutes left, his oven seems to have either malfunctioned or been turned down or off. For a Yorkshire Pudding, this is not a good thing. We've seen chefs pull amazing turn arounds in the past, will Mark be one of those chefs? Meanwhile despite all his bitching and moaning, Ludo feels pretty good about his chances with his version of Irish Stew.

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I would feel that way too.....if the challenge was to make your dish look like a beautiful piece of abstract art. Time to go to the green leather banquettes and see how our guys did.


In the banquettes tonight are the dueling Gails/Gaels, and Jay & Kelly. Seems James has been given the night off. Ludo is up first.

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The food Geek in me must point out Ludo's use of black radishes. I did a post on this spicy root veggie and knowing how this tastes gives me a good idea of what a wide range of flavors Ludo has got going on here. Immediately the "Questionable Dish" music starts playing in the background. I think Ludo will be taking some of the Critics meat. Rick is next with his Fish and Chips and damned if fish loving bastard didn't chicken fry some luscious pieces of black cod or sable fish. Frying black cod is like frying a big juicy chicken thigh. His fish gets raves. Wylie presents his version of Bangers and Mash next and actually added a wee bit of the green to his dish. The critics seem to enjoy it. Graham tries to apply some Baconization to his Steak and Kidney Pie. Gael Greene seems upset that Graham has eliminated most of the flavor from the kidneys. Mark tries serving his Toad in the Hole with all his fingers and toes crossed in the hopes that no one will notice the gloppy doughy thing at the bottom of the most Food Pornolicious dish I've ever seen.

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I really wish this dish had come to fruition because in theory it sounds wonderful. The critics however, can not ignore the sadness hidden beneath. Jonathan rounds out the final dish with a very simply done Shepherd's Pie with a lamb chop, loose mashed potatoes with a little Parmesan cheese. Stripping the dish to it's essence seems to have made the Critics happy.

Back in the Stew Room, the Battle Royale continues between Ludo and Rick.

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What are they arguing about? Who knows, perhaps the last Red Bull but they do seem to enjoy picking at each other. After Critics Table, I'm pretty sure Rick won't have to worry about Ludo because Ludo takes a beating for his non-Irish Stew. Joining him in the beat down was Mark and his failed Yorkshire Pudding. In the love category are Rick and Jonathan with Graham and Wylie holding down the middle. So who will fulfill their redemption fantasies?

rick and jon winners

He is the Walrus....He is the Fishman....cucucuchoo.

Next up? Watching the watchers.


Making Space said...

Lordy! First off, if Mark's wife was ovulating when he came home from making that, err, dish, and she didn't want to get pregnant, I hope she went to stay at a hotel - in another state. Lordy!

Second, Ludo and Rick. Sorry but LOL

Dani said...

Jellied Eels??? Really???

Buzz Kill said...

Ludo may be a great chef, but he's also a whiny French bitch. How can you F-up stew? The Guinness was a good start, then he went Asian for an Irish stew and any kind of a brown smear on a plate IS NOT APPETIZING. And stew won the last elimination challenge. *shakes head*

I was really rooting for Wylie on this. And I have to admit that I alwyas thought the kidney in steak and kidney pie was beans. Any time I go to an Irish Pub, I always order Shepherd's Pie. I love htat with a Guinness.

Big Shamu said...

MS, Mark is a manly man and that was a manly dish. I have to re-review for any consumption shots.

Yes Dani, Jellied Eel. It was a plentiful cheap protein source back when the Thames was clean enough to support the eel population. Actually I think it was more a street food than a pub food. I don't think it's any worse than some of other British dishes.

Buzz, Ludo did whine quite a bit and not fun whining, just downright bitching and moaning. It would have been interesting to see what he would have done with Fish and Chips.

moi said...

Okay, I'll say it: "Mmmmmm . . . jellied eel."

Jonathan's dish won my heart and my arteries.

The thing about French men? They're all very well and good until they start flapping their mouths. Ludo just makes me want to smack him with a wet noodle.

Heff said...

LMAO !! "Bravo Housewives Mystery Meat Bosoms" !

That place sounds gassy....I.H.P.F. ? Yeah.

Sharon Rudd said...

Ah, yes, the dreaded "Questionable Dish" music.

Meanwhile, did you see this piece about finding a little bit of San Francisco in the midwest, about Debbie Gold as well as Justus Drugstore?
We'll look forward to a full report.

Big Shamu said...

I hadn't seen that but Justus Drugstore is on my short list of Karmic Kitchen local roadrips. Thanks for the linkup.

I wonder if they calculated the Gas Factor in the judging of the dishes?

Making Space said...

Eggy - I read that article but the thing that really got me was that Jonathan Justus wrote a lengthy comment and then responded to some other commenters as well. I loved his take on what he and his partner are doing there and the place sounds fascinating.

Sharon Rudd said...

MS, thanks for the heads up on the comments. Hadn't read Justus' comment until you mentioned it. Very compelling!

Shamy, sounds like the Drugstore is worth a road trip (of course, you live much closer than I). In any case, looking forward to hearing how the viewing party at Debbie Gold's went.

LaDivaCucina said...

First of all: Ick! MS can we leave the word "ovulating" out when discussing food? blech!

Secondly, that toad in the hole looks rather rude! I never got to Campanile when I lived in L.A., shame....

I agree with Buzz, Ludo is a whiner but a train wreck I just love to watch!

Third, what the heck is the fifth photo? Jellied Eels? OUr Brit neighbors keep threatening to bring some to our next bbq. Not a fan of this type of food, must admit.

Remember a dinner at my ex-MIL's friends house in Sydney and about to tuck into this luscious brown gravy and mash with bits of what looked like beef. Took a big bite and to my dismay, it was steak and kidney! It's hard to maintain good manners when you are gagging while trying to be oh so discrete spitting a mouthful of food into your napkin. I was busted by hostess and decided honesty was the best policy. "Sorry, dearest Claire, I am not fond of offal, wasn't raised on it" and just ate the veggies.