Wednesday, 28 April 2010

High Peak Food

I had these scallops in a local Dorset eating place. They were horrid. Smelt fishy, not in a good way, and had been microwaved to the point where the edges had gone hard and crusty.

The scallops below were eaten in another local hostelry, very small and shrivelled, and I had no leaves or bread to mop up the garlic butter so I had to ask for some. 

We were in The High Peak this weekend. So of course we ate a lot. The above is yet another variation on the ubiquitous scallop. These were some of the best I've eaten lately, resting on some very lush, moist black pudding. I'm giving up on scallops until an imaginitive chef comes up with something new. How about deep fried in a tempura batter? Why not?

These two photos are of our Roast Sunday Lunch in The Fallow Deer in Chapel en-le-Frith, Derbyshire. Yes-two massive Yorkshire Puddings. That's gravy in the brown jug. The vegetables were fresh and lightly steamed, the roast beef was good. This plate of food is far more hearty than most Sunday lunches where I live and only cost £7.95. Locally some places charge almost twice that. Of course we couldn't eat both Yorkies but most plates were going back to the kitchen empty so plenty of diners managed to eat them. Or maybe they gave them to a friend.

On cooking. With all these baby leaves being presented as a garnish on many dishes and they are so very small why not go back to mustard and cress?
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Friday, 16 April 2010

I Say Yeah Yeah

I had a girlfriend when I was a teenager who loved modern jazz. I loved it as well but her idea of a good Saturday night out was to go to Ronnie Scott's in Gerrard Street in Soho, sit in rows on hard chairs and Be Cool just watching and listening to modern jazz. This was in the 1960s and all I wanted to do was go Boy Shopping. I did appreciate the music. I even saw Tubby Hayes play there, but I would  dream of all the pulling I wasn't doing in more lively places where you could dance and just meet blokes. Eventually we came to an agreement. Every other Saturday night we'd go to dance clubs and pull and in-between we'd go to Ronnie Scott's and appreciate.

I didn't go to Ronnie Scott's again until the mid 1990s when musicians from my town were playing there alongside Jacqui Dankworth and we went to support them and we had a memorable night. More than a decade later and I was back again this week. This time to see Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Not the Blue Flames of then but the saxophonist Alan Skidmore, trumpet player Guy Barker and wonderful to see Alan Dankworth, son of Johnnie and brother of Jacqui on bass. What a line-up of world class musicians playing jazz, rhythm and blues. Georgie Fame's vocals are as rich as ever, as are his good looks.  

Doesn't Alan Dankworth look like his Dad? Jacqui more like her Mum Cleo?

Ronnie Scott's, now in Frith Street in Soho, has had a revamp and is now smart and lush. Morty booked us a table right in the front so we had a first class view of the band. Georgie went from his battered Hammond organ to the piano doing his own arrangements of Van Morrison, Hoagy Carmichael, African based music and just one tribute to The Olden Days with a blasting rendition of Yeah Yeah. It sounded even better with the heavy jazz emphasis from such wonderful accompaniments. He sang a beautiful song that I've only heard sung by Frank Sinatra called 'No Not Much' as he told the audience that the late Robert Palmer had recorded it as well. That's what I call good taste.

The first time I saw Georgie Fame perform live was in a South London Town Hall in the 60s. That night everyone stopped dancing to crowd around the stage as his magic pulled them in. Rather watch and listen than dance. In the Flamingo Club in Wardour Street in the same era when it was a smoky jazz club with a terrific atmosphere. The next time was here in Dorset in the 70s doing a live gig with Charlie Watts and Ian Stewart (Stu) the original co-founder of the Stones. More recently in our local Arts Centre on tour with his two sons, one on drums and the other on guitar. It moved me seeing him with his talented boys backing him as I thought of those days when he was a young stud and I was a young bit of skirt.

Funny How Time Slips Away.