Zero to Hero

This week we decided to spread the Alright Treacle love to press, PR and the food fanatics of Edinburgh.

The theme was based on using unloved and unusual ingredients to create exciting and comforting dishes for our well-versed guests - we even managed to serve a few ingredients for the first time ever, which was fab!

The evening started with homemade caramelised onion and fennel seed bread with fresh pesto, and a glass of fizz courtesy of The Bon Vivant's Companion (with a dash of Sacred Rosehip Liqueur from Provenance Wine - delicious!).

The starter of ox heart tartare with butternut squash, radish, coconut, coriander, chilli and lime dressing was perhaps the most controversial. I'm not the biggest fan of offal myself, but after trying ox heart at the wonderful Artusi in London, I became (a bit of) a convert and wanted to put a different spin on it. The spiced butternut puree complimented the iron-rich and slightly Asian flavours of the heart, with crisp radish and toasted coconut adding texture.

The main course was slow roasted lamb belly with aubergine, barley, Provençal vegetables, shredded Brussels sprout, apricot gravy and mint. Pork belly is all well and good, but I think the deeper flavour of lamb is infinitely nicer, and far less fatty when cooked properly. The meat’s veggie accompaniments were fresh and filling, even the dreaded sprouts which we couldn't resist using it - luckily all the plates came back clean! 

Finally, dessert was lemon semolina panna cotta, fennel tart, marzipan, flaked almonds and physalis. After much deliberating, I decided to use semolina, an ingredient that is feared by many as a thing straight out of childhood nightmares. However, it was brought up to date in a light panna cotta, with a slice of caramelised tart, fresh almonds and zesty physalis. 

All in all, a rewarding evenings work, and we loved every minute!

Many thanks to Timeout, Visit Scotland, The List, My Monkfish and the foodies at Freeze Frame Film Club for attending - we hope to see you all again soon!

Photographs courtesy of Isabel McCabe - www.isabelmccabe.co.uk