Five Fires for a 60th Birthday

Five Fires for a 60th Birthday

There’s always a challenge when the weather is glorious and I have a booking in the restaurant. Walking into Gloucester Studio and being greeted by a crackling fire is an important part of any evening but it warms up quickly in there and Saturday was hot!

My diners were happy to let it die down and the early courses were cooked on outside fires. To start they had a smoked char siu filled bun steamed in the smoker then sea bass and angostura bitters marinated prawns cooked over my pebble barbecue (served with lightly smoked samphire and smoked garlic mayonnaise). The third course was a hake and prawn potjie.

We got the fire in Gloucester Studio going again to cook the flatbreads which accompanied chicken from the tandoor and two textures of onion. It was cooling off and everyone was happy to keep the fire going now. The meal ended with a wheat, egg and dairy free rhubarb brownie (my diners came with a list of dietary needs), shards of rhubarb caramel, flambeed beetroot, coconut ice cream and a glass of rhubarb wine.

I’m always happy to adapt recipes and over the last few bookings seem to be getting more and more challenges. I’ve discovered all kinds of new ingredients such as ground flax seeds to substitute eggs in cakes and xanthan gum which makes gluten free breads chewier. I’ve enjoyed the research but admit there’s always a slight sense of relief when the meal is over and I can use my regular ingredients again.

On Sunday my husband picked up a frozen pizza (yup, we eat those – particularly after I’ve spent two days preparing for a booking) advertised as having buffalo mozzarella only to turn it over and see both buffalo and cows milk mozzarella on the ingredients. One for him and the kids then but not lactose sensitive me. It can get a bit frustrating but avoiding cows milk products is actually pretty easy thanks to the vegan movement and the fact I love coconut!

I really feel for my diners who have a list of restrictions and it makes me quite sad when they’re apologetic. Hopefully the more we learn about how our bodies work and why they reject certain foods and behave in certain ways (my body is particularly daft and makes antibodies that attack my parietal cells – thanks for that body), the better our needs will be met when we’re eating out and food shopping.

I hope you’re all enjoying the weather and are eating plenty of ice cream or delicious frozen dairy free alternatives.

Flame on.


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