A Foodie Weekend

One of my main passions is food – both cooking and eating – so last weekend was foodie heaven for me. Friday night dinner at Nottingham’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Sat Bains, followed by a prize trip to the Waitrose Cookery School and an overnight stay in London, which I won with my celeriac and parsnip soup recipe at the Diablo Supper Club website!

Winning dinner at Sat Bains would be one of my dream prizes, but unfortunately in the last 5 years I’ve seen one solitary competition for a meal there (…and I didn’t win it!). So we saved up to go there as a treat – our dinner companions were my good friend Di and her husband Paul, who have a son the same age as ours so it was a real bonus for us all to get out for the night!

We booked the Chef’s table for the evening, which is a private room with a sliding door so you can see (and hear!) all the action in the kitchen. 

Anyone who follows Sat on Twitter (@satbains1) will know he’s a fan of fruity language, so it was certainly entertaining! At the Chef’s table you don’t get a menu – instead you’re served ten ‘taster’ courses, so it’s a real surprise (of course, you need to tell them if there’s anything you can’t/don’t eat, because you could be served anything!)

For our meal, we enjoyed sweetcorn soup with popcorn, pork belly and piccalilli, salmon with oyster sauce, leek gratin with hazelnuts, pearl barley with herbs and 7 year old parmesan, duck liver parfait with tangerine jelly, wood pigeon with chocolate, Waldorf salad with celery pannacotta, and slow braised shin of beef with onion powder. These dishes were a lot more complex than I’ve made them sound in that quick rundown, but it’s the simplicity of the ingredients that makes them so special and delicious.

The desserts featured an unusual take on tiramisu, an amazing chocolate, yogurt and cumin cake and a refreshing finale of rhubarb and tarragon with ice cream. Unfortunately I had a rotten cold so had zero sense of smell, but the food and the lovely Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir the sommelier recommended tasted wonderful even without the aromas! 

Sat is a fabulous host and whisked us off to see his new development kitchen after our meal – I know he follows me on Twitter so perhaps I should tweet some not-so-subtle hints about how he should run a competition to win a meal and overnight stay there!

Feeling suitably hungover, we were up early on Saturday to drop Ryland off with Nana before Rob and I travelled into London to check in at the Radisson Grafton Edwardian Hotel. There, we caught taxis with the other winners – including my friend Jane from Competition Grapevine – and headed for the Waitrose Cookery School.

The first floor venue is only a few months old and is beautifully designed, one end with an array of wines and glasses, and the other full of kitchen workstations. We browsed the hundreds of cookbooks on the shelves before we were invited to take our seats for the wine tasting. Rob and I have done wine tastings before, and I thought this one was particularly well-presented and explained – we tasted 7 wines from the Casillero del Diablo range, all from Chile. Here’s Ray, the wine expert (he used to be Gordon Ramsay’s sommelier at Maze you know!):
With everyone looking a bit more rosy-cheeked, we moved into the fabulous cookery ‘theatre’ where we discovered what we were cooking for our three course meal. 
We were shown how to create a chocolate fondant, and then ushered to our kitchen workstations to get dressed in our aprons and get to work! We were on the same workstation as Konrad and Camilla who were an absolute scream. Rob kept skiving off the kitchen work to take photos though, I wasn’t impressed but at least he got this nice photo of Jane and I in our chef’s whites!
 After refrigerating the fondant mixture, we were back in the theatre to see chef James cook the monkfish and tiger prawn salad with tomato vinaigrette, which we recreated and then sat down to eat. We were told to try two different wines with our dish, to see which worked better and I was surprised how much better the wines tasted with food!

For main course, we cooked steak and chips with Béarnaise sauce and for dessert, we served our fondant with a white chocolate and Grand Marnier ice cream. By this time, I can safely say we were all slightly merry!

After all that, I think we were all grateful to get back to our hotel rooms and crash out – what a weekend…

6 Responses

  1. Helga16 says:

    great post sounds fab

  2. clarateddy says:

    what an amazing prize. one you will always remember

  3. That looks brilliant – glad you had a lovely time!

  4. Lesley says:

    Double yum! You are indeed a superlucky lady, what a fab weekend.

  5. GrapeVine says:

    I see the chocolate fondant is tsaking a starring role here too! I am VERY enviousof your meal at Sat Bains.

  6. WhiteLily says:

    Wow!!! Amazing!!! The chefs table looks a bit scary though! That is a great photo of you and Jane! *waves*

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