Posts Tagged ‘rabbit’

He’s Back!

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

About six months ago, I learnt the sad, sad news that one of my favourite local chefs, Robert Owen Brown, was closing the doors of his seriously great restaurant, The Mark Addy. I will admit to weeping a little – this was devastating stuff! His delicious pheasant had made me a very happy girl and I wasn’t going to be able to eat his food ever again. THE HORROR.

So I write to you with great news, kids. My constant interest in Mancunian food news meant that I learnt he had moved to the location of one of my most disappointing restaurant experiences in Manchester and had taken over the kitchen. Two great pieces of information in one big ball of goodness. So when my Australian cousins, Sophie and Kate, came to visit me this weekend for delayed birthday fun, we went for dinner at the re-branded Rosylee to visit Mr Brown.

Clearly not many people have heard that Rob is back in action as the restaurant was basically empty. This did mean we could easily get a table on a busy Saturday night in the Northern Quarter. My previous visits to what was the Rosylee Tearooms had been very disappointing. Not great food being sold at excessive prices isn’t my thing and I had always left feeling very disappointed about what could have been a great restaurant. But I was determined not to let this ruin my experience this time and went there with high hopes and good intentions.

After umming and ahhing over the menu, each of us changing our minds multiple times about what we wanted to eat, we finally ordered – Kate and I both choosing the wild rabbit while Soph went for spatchcock marinated in dandelion and burdock. And it was all so GOOD! My rabbit was flavoursome and tender, served with a little layered potato stack and a couple of vege.

Bunny rabbit

Bunny rabbit

Sophie’s spatchcock was really tasty with its sweet marinade but smokey barbecue overtones. We were three very happy ladies eating good food with a nice bottle o’ red.

Spatchcock. Aka mini-chicken.

Spatchcock. Aka mini-chicken.

Of course, there was then dessert. Kate’s options were limited by her gluten free requirements so she went down the cheeseboard route. Four large chunks of cheese with an excessively large number of packet biscuits (none of which she could eat.) The cheese was great but the inclusion of celery on the plate was a bit odd. Celery after dinner? Really?

Cheese. But mostly crackers.

Cheese. But mostly crackers.

Sophie had the rhubarb and custard fool which was HUGE and required a vote amongst the table as to whether or not she was supposed to eat the twirly decoration on top. We decided it was raffia and therefore not designed for human consumption. I hope we weren’t wrong and the chefs in the kitchen weren’t all hitting their heads in disgust at our lack of food knowledge. Anyway, it was mostly cream and about the size of Sophie’s head so she gave up half way through. Brave soldier.

Foolish rhubarb

Foolish rhubarb

I went for my staple choice on any dessert menu – the chocolate based item. This time it was a dark chocolate tart served with a hot custard and caramel shards. Not bad for a chocolate tart although the filling was very soft and almost liquid and I prefer a firm centre. It was rich, dark and not too sweet, which is always a tick from me. The custard was served in a shot glass on the side and was really just confusing and weird. Custard is always nice but it doesn’t really go with a chocolate tart. A dollop of ice cream would make more sense – may I suggest salted butter caramel? I exchanged my caramel shards for Sophie’s ginger snap as I have never really understood the point of melted and re-solidified sugar. Overall it was tasty but not mind-blowing.

Mmm… chocolate tart...

Mmm… chocolate tart…

Overall this was a very tasty meal and it was exciting to once again eat some hearty and wholesome food served with style. The service at the Rosylee wasn’t great but it just felt like no one had put any effort into training the wait staff. It wasn’t that they were bad – they just didn’t really add anything to the experience. And I still hate the fake flowers on the ceiling. But other than that, the Rosylee is on the improve and I will be going back for more rabbit. And perhaps the Lancashire hot pot.

Wombat (I Mean Rabbit) Stew

Monday, November 21st, 2011

For a few months now, I have been in discussions with another resident of the Récollets (a dutchman by the name of Friso) about how one would go about purchasing a rabbit from the markets and subsequently cook it. Friso had assured me that it was all possible and easy to do and that one day we would undertake this challenge. After many postponements and reorganisations, we finally settled on a dinner date – this last Saturday.

My friend Sonja was in town so she joined us on our rabbit hunting adventures. At the respectable hour of 10am, the three of us met in the front courtyard of the Récollets, asked each other how we all were and then headed off across the Gare de L’Est train station, dodging early morning joggers, homeless people and the usual Parisians who don’t look where they are going. We went to Marche Saint Quentin – a covered market, open from Tuesdays to Sundays, that is a three minute walk from my apartment. In this market you will find butchers, fish mongers, bakers, fruit and vegetable sellers, wine caves, and florists. There are also a few restaurants and speciality product stores selling food from Italy, Spain and South America.

Entering the markets we looked at the price of rabbits at the first shop we passed but continued on to an always reliable boucherie. Tom and I had once bought veal, lamb and beef mince from this boucherie and instead of the mince being a pre-ground concoction of who knows what, the butcher had selected three cuts of meat and then minced it right there in front of us. Who knew mince could be so delicious? The concept of ordering Steak Tartare (raw chopped up meat served cold on a plate) at a restaurant suddenly seemed slightly more appealing.

To our delight, rabbits (lapin) were on special for a bargain price of 6.50 Euros a kilo. It took a while for us to be served, this being largely my fault as I stood taking photos of the little bunnies and talking in English. Clearly we weren’t there for any real purpose other than being stupid tourists. But not the case! Friso stepped up and took charge, wishing the butcher a good morning and declaring he was there to buy a rabbit.

Lapin

Bunnies!

The butcher seemed surprised but accepted the challenge and grabbed one of the poor lifeless fellows and plonked it down on the scales. A three-pounder was perfect for the recipe Friso was working from and he asked the butcher to ‘couper en grands morceaux’. So while we paid our 8 Euros for a whole rabbit, the butcher grabbed his knife and chopped that little guy up into large pieces, butterflying the head and resting it on top of the meat pile. Amongst the legs and ribs and body bits were the heart, liver and kidneys, just in case we should want to add them to our stew. After a brief consultation with Sonja and myself, Friso agreed that it would be best if we left the head and bodily organs out of the stew because no one really wanted to eat them.

The rabbit purchasing process only took 10 minutes meaning we had time to grab a coffee and discuss what cheese we should bring that evening. As it was Sonja’s last day in Paris, she and I headed off to explore the city and left Friso in charge of cooking our little rabbit. We would rejoin at 7pm for the official eating ceremony.

Finally the moment arrived when we lifted the lid from Friso’s Le Crueset pot and the delicious smells of white wine, mushrooms, herbs and bunny rabbit hit our noses. Served with potatoes, I can very happily announce that our rabbit was one of the most delicious little creatures I have ever eaten. He was tender, flavoursome and down-right tasty, and I lift my hat to Friso for his cooking talents. While, yes, that rabbit may have been happier bounding across the fields and making lots of baby bunnies, I can say that his death was very well received and he went down with style, taste and good glass of wine.

This rabbit adventure and a recent cooking escapade of Tom where he bought a whole fish from the markets and stuffed it with herbs and lime and baked it in the oven to perfection, makes me want to become a bit more adventurous in my cooking. There are so many amazing foods to try at the markets but I am usually put off as I don’t know what to do with them. But it appears that simple is best and by finding a good recipe you can make miracles.

Veal brains

Maybe next time I will get the veal brains, sweetbread, tongue or kidneys...

Introducing…

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Take a pelican and point its beak in the air and what do you have? A rabbit! Until approximately two weeks ago, I had no idea how similar pelicans and rabbits are. I started this sock creature with a new feathered friend in mind but he soon started failing on me. For a while he was going to be a tooth with legs, in honour of my recent dental visits but after a bit of fiddling, stitching, experimenting and eye placing, the ultimate sock creature evolved. Readers, meet Walter –

Rabbit

Question is – are they just whiskers or is it an impressive mo?

Walter is an avid lawnbowler and wears his Royal Western Australian Bowling Association – Centenary 1898-1998 badge with pride everywhere he goes. Sadly, Walter lost his eye sight in a horrific bowling accident. He doesn’t like to talk about it but doesn’t let his disability get in his way. He continues to bowl every Tuesday afternoon, Thursday morning, Friday evening and Saturday midday. He used to be in charge of lawn maintenance but found it difficult once he lost his ability to see so now he is the MC at all social events, quiz nights and christmas functions.

Rabbit

He doesn't let his disability get him down

Walter continues an active life style thanks to his white stick. He holds his head up with pride everywhere he goes – sure, he may not be able to see, but his sense of smell is excellent. Everyone in town knows and respects him – even the kids. He don’t take no flack from no one.

Rabbit

Life without eyes isn't so bad

Walter always looks dapper in his red bow tie and he pays particular attention to his whisker-mo. He looks after his health by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and spending lots of time with his 143 grandchildren. He misses his wife who died a few years back from a mistimed road crossing but is proud of his family, his dedication to the community and the part he played in his club winning the 2008 national lawnbowls championship.

On sale soon!