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Archiving Taste Dinner at GV Art with Crystal Bennes

                                                                 Blé de Miracle – Lithographie d’Eugène Graff – 1897

Archiving Taste Dinner

Wednesday 4th September, £45

As part of a series of events at GV Art in Marylebone, and in collaboration with Dr Crystal Bennes, we will present and cook five ingredients for dinner which illustrate divergent practices of modern agriculture and food production, examining old and new seed varieties and hopefully instigating healthy discussion throughout. Tickets to, and more information about the dinner and the show installed in the gallery, Nature Reserves, can be found on the GV Art website, or you can go straight to the purchase page here. We will release more details and menu information soon.


Bread Demo this Sunday

This Sunday Mike will be giving a bread-making demo as one part of the first instalment of the Sunday Senses series - Touch.

Come along and learn a couple of different bread recipes and shapes, and how to make fresh cheese. We'll also be giving away pots of bread starter culture to anybody who would like some.

The demo will be mid-afternoon, and there's loads of other things to get involved in, all evening until 10pm.

The event is at Dalston Roof Park, and will cost you nothing to get in!


Places available for Fresh Cheese Workshop at Stepney City Farm - made with milk from their goats!

Kid goat at Stepney City Farm (Photo: Stepney City Farm)

Please join us at Stepney City Farm on 20th April, to visit the month-old kid goats, and to learn to make fresh cheese. The Dams are very kindly donating a small quantity of their milk with which we will be running a workshop making London cheese, 'certified' E1 origin (yet to be one of the famed terroirs of cheesemaking, but we'll see...).

The workshop will be relaxed and friendly, and is for beginners. There will be a tour of the farm, visiting the goats and picking some garnish, we will bake a little bread, and of course make cheeses. We will be tasting the Stepney cheese against cheese that we will also make with good goat milk from elsewhere, and you are welcome to stay and eat lunch together, or to take your cheese away for later.

Timings are 10am - 1pm, on Saturday 20th April. Places are £25 per person. Directions to the farm are here.

Please note we will be doing some filming during the morning for a promotional video.

A dessert using fresh cheese served at the Wellcome Trust Library.
(Photo: Mike Massaro)


The Endurance - Some dishes from the first week

Sponge with cod's roe and sea lettuce powder

Raw and cooked courgettes with fennel and roasted spelt seeds

Cured bream with pickled radishes, watercress and rapeseed oil

17-hour Tamworth pork belly with smoked plum sauce, puffed pork skin and burnt little gem.

English tomatoes with miso-soaked prunes and Metisse leaves

Brioche doughnuts with green gooseberry sauce

Chocolate milk, made with Madagascan vintage chocolate 'Madirofolo 2008'

Grilled ox heart with parsley sauce, green peppercorns and capers

Hay and malt tart with macerated Jubilee strawberries and lime blossoms.

Malt and beer biscuit with goat's curd, carrots and sea lettuce

Woodpigeon with braised shallots and pickled green elderberrie

Whey ice with sorrel juice, strawberries and lime blossoms

New potatoes baked in embers with smoked yoghurt and crispy chicken skin

Dill-seed cured mackerel with greengages, celery and nasturtiums

Blackberries with yoghurt, malt crumb and lovage


Dinner at The Russet - The Pictures

We cooked a dinner at The Russet, a recently opened venue in Hackney Downs Studios, renovated and run by our friend and frequent gun-for-hire, Steve Wilson (Passing Clouds, The People's Kitchen). Though days away from Christmas, we were not keen on reinventing or deconstructing traditional fare, but on cooking as delicious a dinner as we could from ingredients at their best in December. We prepped dinner on overturned apple crates, helped by David Boycott (@birdfoodblog) and rewarded at the end of our prep day with Steve's rum barrel-aged scrumpy.

The snacks. We served Hackney Wild sourdough bread made by Ben Mackinnon at e5 Bakery, along with our freshly churned, lightly salted butter.

Chopped beef fillet, lightly cured in salt and pepper, egg yolk and capers in raw brussel sprout leaves.

Raw baby turnips and their tops with fried grey mullet skin, lemon gel and lemon thyme.

Yellow carrot 'custard' with fried jerusalem artichokes, purple carrots, chervil and rye streusel.

Steve and Josh

Mussels poached in mussel stock. Roasted cauliflower with mussel powder, watercress juice and charcoal oil.

Mike plating his pork belly main course.

Slowly cooked pork belly with spleen paté, medlars, chestnuts, parsley root and cavolo nero.

Slow-cooked hen's egg, wild mushrooms, cavolo nero, fried broccoli and beet,  for our vegetarian guest.

For the final course, we set up a station in front of the guests with a Kitchenaid and a dewar of Liquid Nitrogen. The dish started with Russet apples, poached and then frozen in nitrogen before being shattered and thawed and golden raisins rehydrated in cider vinegar.

Mike removing raisin meringues from the dehydrator trays and Josh beginning to churn apple ice cream with nitrogen.

David and Mike plating.

Russet apples,  russet ice cream,  raw chervil root,  raisins and apple peel powder.

We served two little sweets with coffee - a mace sponge with caramelised butter and a piece of butternut squash with burnt sugar and membrillo.

An origami frog left for us by a guest


The Lido Cafe Takeover III

Heritage English Tomatoes
Toasted Almond Milk, early Blackberries, Mint and Hampshire Rose Cheese

Monkfish Cheeks,
Twice-cooked, with Marsh Samphire, Pickled Lemons, Chicken Skin and Parsley Sauce

Oxtail 'Tartare'
Cooked for 48 hours and aserved medium-rare with anAlderwood-smoked 62° Egg Yolk,Ruby Chard, Fried Garlic and Rye Bread

Suffolk Large White Pork
16hr Belly with Muscat Grapes, String Potatoes, Wild Fennel, and Chard Leaves
24hr (Sous Vide) Malt and Seaweed- glazed Pork Spare Rib with Plum Sauce

Nitro Aerated Dark Chocolate Parfait
Genoise Sponge, Kentish Cherries and Marsala

Coffee and Snacks


The Lido Cafe Takeover II

The Menu
Tuesday 19th July, 2011

High Easter Sourdough Bread
Homemade Goat's Cream Butter


English Tomatoes
Green Almonds, Quail's Egg, and Homegrown Garlic

Pig Cheeks
English Peas and their shoots, Summer Savory Vinegar

American Signal Crayfish
Brined, and as a broth, with Wild Fennel and Meadowsweet

New Season's Cherries, Toasted Wheat and Wood Sorrel

Roasted Hay Cream
White Currants, Blackcurrant Sauce and Charcoal Tuile




Crayfish Bob's at Two Degrees Festival

We will be serving crayfish caught by Crayfish Bob at Art Admin's Two Degrees Festival, taking place at Toynbee Studios between Monday 13th and Friday 17th June. It is both a chance for us to serve an ingredient we haven't cooked before, and a chance for Bob to explain his quest to eradicate the American Signal Crayfish, an introduced and highly invasive species which has decimated stocks of our native White-Clawed Crayfish. We shall be dressing the crays with foraged and sustainably-sourced garnishes.

The dinner will be served in the courtyard of Toynbee Studios (Map)

The price is 5 pounds per head. More is revealed, and bookings can be made at the
Two Degrees website.

Arts Admin - @artsadm
Two Degrees Festival - @two_degrees, #twodegs2011

Crayfish Bob in action
Download PDF

Images © Crayfish Bob 2011


Gwangju Biennale Celebration Dinner, June 6th


We shall be cooking a special dinner at The Gopher Hole on Old Street on Tuesday 7th June, in celebration of the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea. The dinner, curated by Dr. Crystal Bennes and Beatrice Galilee, will be a performance designed by Food Artist Caroline Hobkinson for which we shall be providing a menu based on food preservation. The dinner will be filmed and the resulting film will be projected at the Biennale in September, at which a similar event will happen.

Tickets to the dinner, which will include four courses and a glass of wine from Chapel Down are available via Paypal and cost 40 pounds each. Tickets are limited, and we would urge you to move fast if you would like to dine with us.

Please advise us of any allergies or dietary requirements at the time of booking either through Paypal or by email - enquiries@blanchandshock.com


'Not For Sale' Exhibition Dinners, March

The retina of a Zebrafish' by Dr. Steve Wilson, 2011

As part of 'Not for Sale', an exhibition curated by Dr. Crystal Bennes (writer, critic and founder of SALON) we cooked a series of three dinners in the offices of Spoonfed in Angel Islington over the course of ten days in March. The menu evolved over the course of the project - we wanted to develop dishes that would feature repetitions of certain ingredients throughout the meal, and some replacements had to be made as the seasons were changing.

Chris at Buntings Butchers in Peckham taking the skin off a Middle White Pork Belly.

Brining Pork Belly, Cheeks and Ribs

Dehydrating Apple Peels to make a sweet/sour powder

Red Apple Peel after being dehydrated and ground with sour Malic Acid (derived from Apples)

Using our Polyscience Smoking Gun and Alderwood chips to smoke a reduction of Chicken Stock, Barley Malt Extract, Thyme and Mustard for the pork belly sandwich.

The last of the season's forced Champagne Rhubarb from Yorkshire, procured for us by Tim Sheehan at Franklins Farm Shop in Dulwich. We cooked the stalks en sous vide with honey, parsley stems and sugar to garnish the pork. We prepared more rhubarb in the same way to extract the juice for the Rhubarb 'Custard' Dessert.

Cornish Mackerel fillets, curing in Sicilian Lemon-infused Salt and Sugar

Brioche buns rising. We have recently been attempting to make our own bread rather than buy it as we used to. We have been experimenting with various recipes from chefs we admire, and have almost reached our perfect method.

Portobello mushroom 'steaks' curing in Thyme Salt for the vegetarian alternative to the pork. they were served with Samphire and Seaweed Powder.

Pork Cheek, cooked en sous vide for 8 hours and deep fried until crispy, to be served with 63°C poached Hen Eggs. Later in the week, the meat garnish changed to Oxtail, slow-cooked in veal jus en sous vide for 24 hours and garnished with Leeks.

The Belly Pork Skin roasted and subsequently crushed into crumbs for the sandwich.

We didn't have time to photograph all of the plates, and so some images of different iteration of each dish will have to be imagined, but here are some we managed to get...
Lemon-cured Cornish Mackerel
Marsh Samphire, Apple Gel, Channel Wrack Kelp Powder
63°C  Poached Hen's Egg
Slow-cooked and fried Pork Cheeks
Middle White Pork Belly Sandwich
Brioche, Malt Sauce, Dried Wild Garlic, Poached Rhubarb and Crackling

Pecorino, Rocket Sauce, Quince Gel, Hemp Oil

Lemon Polenta CakeRhubarb "Custard", Applemint
Apple Balsamic Vinegar Caramel
Maldon Salt
Guests were invited to fish out their poached eggs from the circulating water bath which was installed and cooking the eggs thoughout the exhibition and first courses. We gave instructions on how to break open the eggs, and the diners plated the first component of the course. We then plated the garnishes at the table.
Mike explaining the plating of the egg course.