Sunday, May 31

Chef Simon McKenzie At Home

- May 10, 2020

I love to cook, any one who knows me or has seen me will have seen the evidence, and lockdown has not eased that ever growing waistline. Food shortage? Not if you are a pantry obsessive like me, it’s genetic, I blame mum!

Anyway, the lockdown has created an unprecedented outpouring of cupboard love with people cooking and posting the results on social media. Most of it is great although some of the pics beggar belief, faced with those dishes I would soon lose weight I’m sure.

The number of “join in” opportunities we can see online has grown exponentially too, many of which I would avoid like the plague (perhaps not the best analogy to use right now) but Chef Simon McKenzie At Home had a certain appeal, and here is why.

Firstly I have met Simon, second I have tasted his food, third the ingredients are delivered to your home and finally it is very sensibly priced, very!

So on Saturday, armed with my bag of goodies, I logged on and joined in the fun. The bag of goodies is excellent, everything is in there, measured ready and with a crib sheet of the equipment you will need to proceed.

I tooled up and opened a bottle of fizz to oil the wheels. The format is simple, Simon is on screen showing and talking you through each stage of the recipe. This time a rather stylish restaurant dish, previous classes have been a bit more “gastro pub” but this one he promised could grace the table of any up market eatery.

Now I am not embarrassed to say that I am an experienced home cook and found it easy to keep up with chef as he demonstrated but I liked the fact that we could all send messages and questions and when we had completed a stage we could click a thumbs up to say that we were ready to move on. There was no rush, it was relaxed and fun.

And although I claim to be experienced I learnt things too, Simon’s clever method of preparing a tidy herb crust to top the hake in our recipe was genius and certainly one I will employ from now on so thank you for that.

It was a complete dish too, a herb crusted hake fillet, crushed new potatoes and a fine bean, pea and Parmesan salad with fresh mint all presented with a Parmesan tuile and a divine beurre blanc which you kindly pointed out to all involved Simon that I might suggest was incorrect from the addition of cream! Well in classic terms of course yes, but my word it does make it fail-safe and it tastes brilliant so what the heck.

I loved the fact that as we went along Simon gave us the opportunity to adjust seasoning and do so to our own palate, and also to keep on tasting and asking questions.

All in all this is great fun, tasty and educational and also achievable, you don’t need any specialist equipment, only a few basic kitchen staples and there you have it – dinner!

So what does it cost? Well amazingly the ingredient box is £12.50 delivered to your door, safely and conforming to social distancing. Now that in my view is a bargain, a restaurant standard dish for less than half the price it might be in a restaurant and with the addition of being able to replicate it again and show off you your friends.

Chef Simon McKenzie At Home is available on Facebook, the ingredient boxes are available in Brighton and Hove and surrounding area as well as in Henley and Newbury. Alternatively you can source your own ingredients and simply join in online, but if you are in a delivery area then I suggest you go for the full package as it really is easy and great value.

Next week Simon is creating a Thai green curry from scratch, what’s not to love!

To find out more go to chefsimonmckenzie.com or check out his Facebook page Chef Simon McKenzie: https://www.facebook.com/chefsimonmckenzie


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