Archive for

The Old Bakery – Kingsbridge, Devon

If you dream of eating great food that reminds you of sunnier places, how do Roasted feta with peppers, dates and black cardamom or Cappuccino creme brulee, cinnamon and star anise milk and spiced doughnuts sound to you? Giorgio Kostas of The Old Bakery in Kingsbridge, Devon is a chef on a mission.

‘My customers are like family’, explains Giorgio. ‘I want to take them to where I grew up in Australia and Greece, with wonderful, fresh food that reflects the best of the season.’

Giorgio knows how to get the best to the table. His childhood was spent between Australia, where his father taught him to hunt and prepare wild boar and Greece where he cannot remember a time when he was not at the stove.

He fell in love with the kitchen in the islands of Greece, working both for the enduring, four-star Steps of Lindos hotel and an upmarket, bustling local restaurant in Thessaloniki. ‘There were a few tables and no menu, we would cook whatever came in fresh that day.’ Simple, delicious.

Cookery had become the passion that Giorgio wanted to master, he came to Bristol to work for renowned Restaurateur and Chef, Barney Haughton. Haughton’s restaurants Quartier Vert and Bordeaux Quay continue to garner national and local attention for their commitment to impeccably sourced organic produce and intelligent menus.

During that time, Giorgio cooked regularly with Barney’s team for Prince Charles and his guests at Highgrove. ‘What a fantastic kitchen’, Giorgio remembers ‘a really great place to cook using organic ingredients from the estate and these beautiful copper pans dating back to King George’.

Having met his wife, Juliette, the newly-weds moved to Devon where Giorgio soon became Head Chef at the well loved White Hart in Modbury. Eventually, they were ready to find their own place in the distinctive market town of Kingsbridge. ‘Juliette’s family is near and once we saw Kingsbridge, we knew our restaurant was going to be here too’, he says.

Giorgio’s restaurant, The Old Bakery, opened its doors in the spring of 2008. So how does he describe it? ‘We make everything ourselves, from the bread to the sausages to curing the bacon, everything is fresh. You can come for an incredible breakfast, or in the winter months for lunch and dinner we like to serve a variety of beautiful, small dishes, like tapas is to encourage people to share food. Our regular customers often don’t ask for a menu, we just cook them something special.’

Giorgio has a good team around him, his Sous Chef James Gordon Featherstone, is working his way through BBC 2’s Masterchef The Professional heats, the wine list is chosen by Master of Wine, Liam Steevenson with an emphasis small producers from

the Old World and Giorgio’s wife Juliette has made The Old Bakery a place you remember. They offer a fine dining menu on special nights like Valentine’s Day and throughout the summer months. With dishes like Hand dived scallops, fried quails eggs, puy lentils and pickled pears, Roasted wood pigeon, coffee and date purée with almonds and a Dark chocolate and walnut tart with beetroot ice cream, it’s easy to see why people are raving about it.

So if you want to slip away to a place that reminds you of the sun, where you will feel at home, where the chef makes not only three kinds of bread every day but even the table we are sitting at, The Old Bakery should hit the spot. See you there.

Review of Italian Film ‘Love in the City’ or ‘L’amore in Citta’

Love is the City is an anthology film of six segments badly assembled. There is a theme of love that underlies each segment in different and unique ways, but there is no pattern or connection that makes this ‘love’ representative of love in Italy. Without a unifying structure, we feel like poor Daffy Duck from Duck Amuck, constantly subjected to the film’s inexplicably changing tones. We give up ultimately, disappointed and spurned.

This movie could’ve left its happier, lighter moments for the first half, and the bleak, poignant moments for the second. Or vice versa. Its abandonment of an overall rhythm makes it damningly ineffectual. One of the film’s directors (and these are major Italian directors whose best films have been regarded among the finest in world cinema) apprises us seconds before first the segment begins, that ‘we should not be expecting the generic Hollywood style of representation. This movie shall not rouse our passion like a Marilyn Monroe flick’. I’d rather have switched my DVD to Monroe’s Seven Year Itch and be bewitched with her beauty than watch this. Love in a city is sadly a passionless film, cold and colorless as a whole; it’s a modified version of the proverb ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ – here, the six cooks or rather Masterchefs together create no broth!

Instead, each one throws in his flavors, ignoring what the others are making. After the dishes are made, there is a chaos in the kitchen because everybody has created something highly dissimilar from the others: now how shall they serve this to the hungry guests? One of the six ‘Masterchefs’, probably Carlo Lizzani, nervously shows up and tells the guests just how ‘different’ this experience shall be, because the ingredients include non-actors who give first-hand account of their experience. He fingerpoints rival Hollywood offerings, blaming them for being simple, straight and unmemorable. The guests looks on wide-eyed, anticipating something challenging and unique.

Dish number one enters. It’s called ‘Paid Love’, and Carlo Lizzani has prepared it. The name itself suggests that its got something to do with prostitutes. There’s a narrator here who takes his camera to desolate streets at night to film streetwalkers. Many prostitutes play themselves as if they are being interviewed extempore. Vallie is questioned about shoes, Tilde says she takes ten cups of coffee everyday, another talks about being abandoned at a young age. Anna, a harlot with a manly appearance, if filmed at home where we learn ‘she’ll read Mickey Mouse before she goes to bed’. All the subjects occupy the centre of the frame. The bleakness of their existence is captured well. Would’ve been ironic had the interviewer himself used the services of the prostitute at the end, but that’s not what this film intends to show. It remains like a documentary for the fifteen or so minutes it stays on screen.

The next dish is brought out. There is a flurry of excitement among the guests when the name Michelangelo Antonioni is heard. Slowly they see a couple of faces usher in and stand in front of a huge wall. Another narrator introduces them as ‘people who had attempted suicide and were here to share their experience’. Raw stories of unfulfilled love, of deceit are shared by the people, one after the other as they relive their haunting experience. Many unsettling images come up, like when one woman speaks of the moment when she had fainted after plunging into the river, and as she speaks the image of the flowing water is captured as though it’s her that’s floating. It’s an eerie piece all in all.

Dish three is a peppy one by Dinio Risi with waltzing, dancing, swinging, flirting and wall-flowering guys and gals. That’s more than an adequate description for the piece. Dish four soon makes guests quiver with mad excitement as the name ‘Fellini’ is pronounced. This part includes a third-person view of the narrator, a journalist who investigates marriage agencies to learn what people are willing to do to get married. Led by sprightly little boys and girls to Mrs. Cibele’s office, our journalist, after a small talk with her husband, tells Mrs.Cibele about a ‘friend who suffers from a werewolf syndrome and can only be cured if he gets married’. To the journalist’s surprise (there’s no such friend, obviously), Mrs. Cibele agrees to find a girl for his friend and gets him one without any difficulty. Later it’s found that the girl is highly impoverished and is desperate to marry anyone who can take good care of her.

Dish five, the most elaborate one (not in terms of content but rather in terms of duration) deals with an impoverished hapless mother’s love for her child which reunites the two ultimately, inspite of her attempts to abandon him. A haunting score is heard often, as if angels from the heaven above are lamenting this woman’s misery and pathos. But there’s little for us to care for this woman or this child to even bother sympathising with them. Dish six is sexyy, perky and quirky, capturing pretty, glowy busty women from far and up-close, and the never-ceasing dirty male gaze.

Each dish has moments but it is when the six (or seven) ‘Masterchefs’ or directors – Lizzani, Antonioni, Risi, Fellini, duo Zavattini and Masseni and Lattuada – announce ‘That’s a wrap! Thank you for coming to the show’, that the guests (we, obviously) begin wondering “What exactly have you given us?” The sum effect of the six segments is zilch, and that’s what makes Love in The City a devoid-of-director’s-passion fruitless watch.

MasterChef Recipes Make You A Five-Star Chef in Your Kitchen

Many cooking lovers dare not miss a single episode of their favorite reality cookery competition shows like “Top Chef”, “MasterChef” and “Iron Chef”. They want to watch these culinary experts closely as they churn out their signature dishes, before downloading the corresponding MasterChef recipes from the TV show’s website and try them out in their own kitchens.

Few, however, are successful in recreating the dishes in their homes. Most find themselves utterly perplexed that they could not get the dish right even if they faithfully followed the recipe.

Master Chefs explain that this problem is due to the fact that every cook perceives the flavors and aroma of food differently. A perfect dish for a chef may be too bland or too salty or spicy for the homemaker and diner. This is why restaurants – including 5-star establishments – always serve seasonings and other condiments on their tables. Also, every cook prefers to prepare their dishes in a certain way. While the ideal roast for chefs is one with the meat tender and juicy, some homemakers prefer their roasts to be well-done. Because of these two factors, Master Chefs recommend that the homemaker simply make the necessary adjustments to the MasterChef recipes in terms of the seasonings and herbs to be used and the method and duration of cooking.

Be the Master Chef of your own five-star kitchen by recreating or developing a delicious variation of the MasterChef recipes that we have for you below…

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

2 pounds individually quick-frozen chicken breast tenderloin fillets
1 1.4-ounce package fajita seasonings
2 1/2 cups (1/2 package) frozen-pepper stir-fry
Juice of 1 lime (around 1 1/2 tbsps)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 fajita-sized flour tortillas
1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

For Garnish:

Fat-free sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomato

Instructions:

1) Arrange frozen chicken tenderloin fillets at the bottom of a crock pot.

2) Sprinkle fajita seasonings on top of the chicken and add frozen pepper stir-fry and lime juice.

3) Pour the chicken broth over your chicken. Cover the crock pot and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Once cooked, put the chicken mixture inside a bowl.

4) Spoon enough chicken mixture into the tortillas and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

5) Garnish your chicken fajitas with sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomato.

* * * * *

Baked Chicken And Rice

Ingredients:

3 cups water
6 chicken stock cubes
1/2 cube butter or margarine
1 cup uncooked rice
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
8-10 pieces of chicken

Instructions:

1) Boil water in a Dutch oven. Drop the chicken stock cubes into the water.

2) Except for the chicken, put into the stock and water all of the ingredients. Wait for the rice to be partially cooked.

3) Season the chicken with salt and other seasonings as desired. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture.

4) Bake inside the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 400F.