Sunday, 30 August 2009

Raymond Blanc recommends...

Raymond Blanc graced the RBS Main Theatre last night with his presence and he was as lovely and entertaining and passionate about food as his television appearances would suggest. I'm a terrible cook who lives vicariously through cookery programmes (Blanc's 'The Restaurant', 'Masterchef' and its celebrity variant, anything with a good montage scene and fabulous tasting sessions...), so it was a bit of a thrill to hear him talk so engagingly on his life and journey as a chef, from nurse, cleaner, glass polisher and tray carrier, to Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons today. Getting him to tell me a quick and tasty recipe started out as a dare, but after he'd spoken I found myself propelled along to the end of the signing queue to do just that. Even though he'd been sitting there for an hour and a half, patiently answering questions and signing books, he indulged my bizarre request and said, 'we'll do a fish bouillabaisse.' My spelling bee skills failed me in the speed and nervousness of the moment. So he said, 'ok, we do a stew instead'...

Enough for 4 people:
200g cod steak with skin on
2 pinches of salt
4 twists of black pepper
40g unsalted butter (my one wise moment was to ask if the butter should be salted or not)
capers (he initially said these could be optional but changed his mind at the end and said, no, they're lovely, keep them in)
diced croutons
2 tablespoons of parsley (I seem to have written 'parsnip' but know that to be wrong - see point above about nervousness)
juice of 1 lemon
50ml of water

Season cod with salt and pepper
Panfry cod on both sides for 4 - 5 minutes till caramelised
Start to melt the butter on a medium heat (if it's too high it'll burn) and add the hot water to form an emulsion. The water should sizzle onto the butter (is this how recipes are normally written and am I making sense? RB certainly did, though my notes, less so)
Pour emulsion over the fish and add your capers, parsley and croutons and squeeze lemon over.
Tuck in.

If life doesn't give you enough time to make a four minute omelette, life isn't worth living.


  1. Good old Raymond, giving us a great event and a lovely recipe to boot. Did I mention he has my phone number? I think I did. Once or twice. If only he actually would call...

  2. I was particularly impressed by the Edinburgh audience reaction to one of his tales of Japanese food. (I hope we get permission to publish the audio here!) The chef cut a fresh octopus,left it quivering on the plate, added wasabi, and then - sesame oil.

    Why the oil?

    Because it would stop the suckers on the octopus clinging to the throat on the way down...

  3. Just a note to say you can now enjoy the event online on the media site: