Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Week beginning March 3rd - Shrove Tuesday and Lent menu

Religious or not this is the time of year people tend to give up meat, alcohol, sugar, butter and anything else that is deemed indulgent. Weather it’s for lent or for losing weight and getting ready to bare a little extra flesh in anticipation of longer days and tanning in the park.

Before we toss all fun consumption aside for 40 days and 40 nights and roam a metaphoric self-disciplined desert we must celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Shrove comes from the word shrive which means to ‘confess’. During the middle-ages Christians would confess all their sins on Shrove Tuesday before the start of Ash Wednesday (Lent). This also involved a feast of foods such as fat, butter, eggs and anything else that was deemed rich and banned during Lent. 

In honour of Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras meaning Fat Tuesday) we will be serving a mini stack of pan-cakes filled with coffee mascarpone and sponge fingers that have been infused with a syrup of foraged yarrow. Yarrow is a green-stemmed leaf with a feathery appearance and small clusters of white blossom that sprout from their tops in summer and autumn. Originally yarrow would appear during mostly in summer months, however we’ve seen it popping up throughout winter and this year it has decided to keep growing all year long. Yarrow has a sweet herbal scent, similar to Chrysanthemums and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries to stopping bleeding or reducing fevers. I often infuse milk with yarrow, later using the milk to make a custard-based desserts; yarrow flavour is a great substitute for vanilla. 

The second part of this menu is dedicated to cutting out rich foods and treating our bodies like a disciplined Buddhist monk. We‘ve cut out the meat and fat and replaced it with healthy grains, vegetables and protein-enriched foods. Ash Wednesday is the start of a 40-day challenge, dedicated Christians strip themselves of all things that may be considered fun in honour of Jesus 40 day fasted through a hot desert. Most modern religious folk give up one thing during this time, whether it is sugar, alcohol, cigarettes or romance. This doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious amazing food of course. You just need to get a little cleverer and disciplined with your cooking methods. Our first lent item to feature on the menu this week is protein-enriched pretzels, salted bread dough made with flour and water. Pretzels are the symbolic bread of lent, the shapes distinct knot represent arms in prayer. Our recipe is incorporated with protein powder to keep the energy levels up and sustain those whole eat them throughout the day. Our pretzel dough is boiled in bicarbonate soda water to give them a dark, dense, shiny and crunchy surface when baked in a very hot oven. For those of you who shall want to give into temptation like myself I recommend you have these pretzels lightly toasted with cream cheese, we will have protein cream cheese on offer as well, willpower is not for everyone.

Our lunchtime menu this week is focused on health, textures and vibrancy. You’ll find salads with roasted purple mooli or black radish garnished with ash-covered cheese (purely for symbolic reasons), to black rice and foraged wild cabbage to glass noodles with hot smoked salmon.

If this all sounds a bit too healthy for you I suggest you contradict this week’s health kick menu with a calorific brownie and full fat latte. Amen.

Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.60
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit) 3.70
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Ciabatta roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.90
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with home made preserves 1.90
Pumpkin seed and apricot fruit toast 2.40
Banana bread 2.40
Porridge with choices of cinnamon, dried fruit, chopped nuts, honey, golden syrup or compote 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 1.90
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet Muffin: Yarrow tiramisu pan-cake 2.40
Savoury Scone: Protein pretzel 2.40
Rhubarb friands 2.40
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.40
White chocolate blondies 2.40
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Afgan Biscuits 2.00

Soup: Spiced lentil 4.50

French retro baguettes 5.00
Ham, grapefruit mayonnaise, avocado, tomato, rocket
Aubergine, sweet chilli, thai basil, goats cheese, spinach

Foccacias 5.30
Smoked salmon, buckthorn hollandaise sauce, cucumber, spinach
Tomato, mozzarella, pesto and rocket

Salads: 5.50/6.90
Black rice, wild cabbage, almonds, roasted potatoes, pickled lemon and black pepper.
Rhubarb, hot smoked salmon, glass noodles, celery, carrot, chilli, fish sauce, peanuts, coriander and mint
Roasted purple mooli and green beans with ash cheese.

Tart: 4.40 or 7.90 with salad
Semolina pastry filled with almonds and ricotta, potato and spinach

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