Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Silvena Rowe

You may have heard of Sivena Rowe. I know I have. She is the chef with the big voice, big chest and even bigger talent for cooking amazing food that leaves you feeling as if you have realised you have fallen in love.
That moment when, as you met your loved one, you cannot help but smile and stare at the ground to hide the excitement in your face as you approach them. The butterflies that grip your stomach with such ferocity, you can hardly breathe.
Silvena Rowe inspires that sort of feeling.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at The Mayfair Hotel last week and was given a tour round her new concept (it can't be called a restaurant, it is far more impressive) which opens tonight.
Quince is a fusion of the "beauty and scents of the Eastern Mediterranean region." and as she described her vision, you could tell she had thought about every aspect of the experience. All material used has a meaning - vintage glass, velvet, smoked mirrors - she wants to customer to be falling into that world - the world where you and your lover exist. No-one else matters. She described it as the place where 'lovers could meet' - delicious, naughty, forbidden and just being taken round the rubble that was Quince in the making, you can see what she is trying to achieve.
A quote from her wikipedia page reads: "The Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava dates back to (1494-1566) and was said to be a favourite of Roxelane, the one-time Harem girl who became the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent."
Says it all really.
Silvena herself has worked in the industry for almost 20 years and has written six books and is a regular on Saturday Kitchen.
Excited to get tasting and will be back with a review super soon.
PS - she has amazing hair.
Here is an amazing recipe from BBC Food website:

Honey and za'atar-glazed spring lamb with salsify and wild garlic purée


For the za'atar
For the lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger

  • 3 tbsp clear honey

  • 4 x 125g/4½oz spring lamb tenderloin, trimmed

  • 4 tbsp butter

For the salsify and wild garlic purée

Preparation method

  1. For the za'atar, mix together all of the za'atar ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.

  2. For the lamb, add the cumin, ginger and honey to the za'atar mixture and mix until well combined. Rub the mixture all over the lamb tenderloin.

  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and fry for 6-8 minutes on each side (for medium), or until cooked to your liking. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside to rest on a warm plate. Reserve any cooking juices left behind in the pan.

  4. For the salsify and wild garlic purée, drain the salsify and place into a pan. Pour over the water and milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and cook for 20 minutes, or until the salsify is tender. Drain, then place the salsify into a food processor with the butter and cream and blend until smooth.

  5. Heat the oil in a a frying pan until smoking, add the wild garlic leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted. Stir the wild garlic into the salsify purée and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  6. To serve, spoon the salsify and wild garlic purée onto four serving plates. Carve the lamb into thick slices and arrange alongside the purée, drizzling over some of the reserved pan juices.

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