Teddy's jaunt into what he thought to be lighter fare was not. I will say that Teddy is incapable of making tasteless food. So, I think he does define light a little different than the rest of us, or at least me. Having nothing to do with the infusion of butter and fat into sauce and flesh, Teddy seems to refer to "light" food as foods better paired with Cava, rose and white wines instead of copious amounts of red. And to do this, Teddy focused his attention on the cuisine from a country he loves very much indeed: the culinary influences from Spain.
To start off, Teddy wanted to introduce our palates to some tapas. So he provided a nice variety of olives as well as Pintxos 'Gilda', classic skewers of select olives, Guindilla peppers and anchovies. He also provided a wonderful bonita on sweet tomato onion puree smothered on toast. I enjoyed this very much. But at this point, the conversation had somehow shifted to pork, and I may have single handedly (and in a very uncharacteristic manner I might add) insulted our guest of honor by injecting perhaps some odd theories on pork prohibition in Islam and Judaism, the basic concept being that perhaps god didn't actually whisper in the ears of the script writers to stop eating the flesh of animals who "cheweth not their cud." Ultimately, the resulting response concerned me. Given the scare about swine flu these days, were the fragile thinkers of our time going to do everything they could to ensure that pork was going to make its way off the menu? Could it be that Teddy could some day decide to stray away from swine because his delicate mind had been sabotaged and he was now of the opinion that pigs are the root of all evil? After all, he is on this "health kick" and eating less meat. Perhaps our friend had unwarranted concerns about the H1N1 influenza, which got me wondering as to whether our wonderful wild boar prosciutto curing in the back corner of the room was at risk of getting incinerated. So, I can say that I felt much more at ease when I noticed that Teddy had not forgotten his brethren and did include a wonderful tapa of toast bits with chorizo on a white bean puree. I ate our guest's portion happily.
Teddy also provided a very important dish of Quail egg-stuffed artichokes, which was rich and creamy and allowed for the diner to get to the heart of what is important in the artichoke. The picture below does no justice to explain how delicious these were:-
But, one of my favorite courses involved fish on top of a puree of peas, with braised lettuce (avec orange zest) and bread perfectly fried in EVOO. An acknowledgement of his British heritage, Teddy can do wonderful things with peas. For me, peas have typically been an afterthought; a side dish or perhaps one ingredient in a soup or a stew. Never have I thought to puree this vegetable with butter and cream, but Teddy had. And that sweet, nutty butter of peas became the foundation of a perfect seared fillet of cod. This was served with a sauce of capers, parsley and lemon, or 'Grenobloise' as Teddy explained.
Our final meal prior to dessert was roast chicken with a decadent sauce of almond and sherry (with perhaps some garlic, cream and olive oil, I believe), together with courgettes rehydrated with sherry, raisins, pine nuts and thinly sliced orange peel. I know that Teddy's preferences lay towards the darker birds, and my chicken leg was perfectly roasted and held that classic browned crisp skin you'd come to expect of any chick cooking in Teddy's oven. As for the aubergines, these were thoroughly enjoyed and devoured by all.
As a final compliment to our taste buds, Teddy served a very simple dessert of clementines in a shallow syrup of mandarin juice, or perhaps it was 'Moscatel soup', as he stated, topped with yoghurt, slivers of lemon peel and crumbled De Leche cookies. I was told, that he had tried his hand at producing mystical spheres of the wonderful yoghurt topping, but was not able to coax the solution into his desired product. Although he had a couple theories as to why things did not turn out, he needent have been concerned as to why this particular science experiment failed, for the magic was evidently there to allow for this exquisite meal.