Sunday, June 28, 2009

cooking and tweeting is so competitive!


Last month Anton Edelman awarded my summer pudding first prize in Nickie Philbin’s Twitter tweet cookoff. Would Clapham’s own top chef, Adam Byatt of Trinity, award me a prize as well, this time for my own choice of theme - “summer tart” ? (no sniggering at the back there!)

I chose as my entry Nigella Lawson’s Nectarine and Blueberry Galette from her Nigella Express book. I chose this because:

1) I have made it before and it’s bloody brilliant, as well as easy and quick.

2) It’s a tart with amazing colour and texture and photographs well (never underestimate the power of visuals, especially in a photographic based competition).

Well. I sabotaged myself immediately when I foolishly picked up frozen shortcrust pastry from Sainsbury’s instead of Nigella’s specified puff pastry. By the time I started cooking, it was too late to correct the error (shortcrust I can actually make; puff? - forget it, especially in the time constraints of the competition deadline).

I thought I could recover my error by skillfully edited photography and keeping mum. Ha. Not mum enough - I tweeted (privately, I thought) a pic of the sad remains of my ‘galette’ to a friend - this was immediately picked up by Maggie Philbin and my game was up! - even her mother commented:

maggiephilbin@edwardclarke: This is v. poor Edward. My 88 yr old Mum now sitting next to me and saying " Pastry is key" "You are nowhere without pastry"

maggiephilbin@edwardclarke: Ruined! Your reputation is in SHREDS. Did you remove bread from #summerpudding without eating?

Well, what would Chef think? Adam Byatt checks out our entries below:

It was so exciting having a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a top restaurant as they prepped for Sunday lunch service. Sunday is huge for Trinity - their location just opposite the Common is just perfect for Sunday lunch, and the restaurant has a fantastic set lunch menu of three courses for £25 per person. For large lunch parties they will even cook joints especially for you if you order in advance. Heading up to lunch the weather was gorgeous, and all of Trinity’s large windows were thrown open to the Common.

Adam was amazing giving his time to judge the competition at such a busy and important time, but he seemed cool calm and focussed, as did his staff who were working smoothly and efficiently around him. A well oiled machine indeed.

He immediately clocked I used the wrong pastry, even from pics with the pastry (almost) edited out! I was hugely impressed at his preternatural skill in picking up the most subtle clues from our amateur photos about the cooking process - even down to oven temperatures!

Reviewing Adam’s comments on the finalists, it is clear that he totally agrees with Maggie’s mum regards the fundamental importance of pastry.

@EdwardClarke - Nectarine & blueberry galette

"Great tart to make with puff not shortcrust pastry. Dock pastry. Nice photos"

@Annraulston - (strawberry, raspberry' blueberry, blackberry glazed tart)  (1st Prize)

"Good pastry, good presentation. Looks well executed and most importantly…inviting"

@ruskin147 (lime tart)

"Significantly overcooked - pastry too short & a little over browned, aerated custard mix. Top tip: never whisk filling before baking"

@stu_art_ist  orange and oatmeal tart  (2nd prize)

"Quite nice - oatmeal base a little thick for my liking; apple sauce a nice idea. Filling well put together - good, clean attempt"

@caalie pineapple tart

"Nice idea! Needs a base though - coconut frangipane would have been brilliant. A base & glaze would have made this a great tart"

"Top tip:  dock pastry in middle with fork to prevent rising when baking"

@Nickiephilbin  - glazed lemon & almond tart

"Looks nice; slightly rustic pastry, slightly heavy with lemons. Good effort. Top marks for styling"

@nigs  Glazed strawberry & blueberry on a biscuit base  

"Very pretty; nice idea. Does tart have a filling? - Would need a dairy filling to balance out. Slightly thick case"

@TrinityRhapsody - 5 minute summertart strawberries on hobnob base

"Nice - good presentation. Good effort for a 5 minute tart, not enough effort for a winner"

@m4rydenovo - chocolate strawberries tart

"I'm sure this was great fun to make. Find concept slightly questionable."

@MaggiePhilbin - passion fruit tart

"A great summer tart, but overcooked. Oven should be at 110c. Stir custard, don't whisk. Otherwise, brilliant effort"

@JimAnning - lemon tart with raspberry coulis (3rd Prize)
Special Photo award - winner best photo for hashtag lemons shot (at top)

"Nice - lemon and raspberry a brilliant combination. Pastry slightly overcooked; slightly heavy handed on icing sugar garnish "

"Top tip: place blind tart in oven and then pour in mix whilst the tart is in the oven rather than transferring a filled mould across the kitchen"

@Andyqsmith apricot and almond lattice tart

"Great to see a lattice tart. Egg wash the pastry. Cook apricots before - otherwise they bleed & spoil pastry. Nice effort"

@Handbagpets -  local asparagus, bacon and goats cheese tart, served with watercress salad and smoked cod's roe.
"Adventurous idea, I’m not convinced the roe is needed and the flan looks a little heavy on egg!"

Thanks once again to Adam for his professional, insightful and very helpful comments.

Big claps for our winners @Annraulston, @stu_art_ist and @JimAnning. Jim also won the special best photograph award. Ann hails from the USA, indicating the power and reach of twitter! Thanks also to Nickie Philbin for organizing the competition.

Well done too to all our entrants; everyone is so brave having their efforts put up in public for critique! Can you do better? - enter next month's competition, which will be specified by this month's winner, Ann. Follow @Nickiephilbin for announcements. This month's competition can be followed on twitter on the hashtag #summertart.

The group photo album is at Photobucket

Adam Byatt

4 The Polygon

Follow Trinity on twitter - @TrinityLondon
Follow Adam Byatt on twitter - @AdamByatt

Next twitter cookoff competition: Summer Sandwich

Previous twitter cookoff competition: Summer Pudding

No comments: