Fusion Food: Seaweed Butter for Martini Canapés


Seaweed butter on a cracker with tsukemono cucumber pickles in the background.


I recently enjoyed a discovery taster menu at the beautiful Michelin-starred Greenhouse restaurant in London’s upscale Mayfair area.


I didn’t have any martinis as I didn’t want to spoil my palette before the dining extravaganza but the setting was beautiful, the food utterly inspiring and the service convivial and professional; in-depth but relaxed. What a treat! It certainly set my martini-obsessed brain into overload thinking of new potential ideas and experiments.


The exquisite nine-course menu contained a range of surprising and inspiring combinations, including cauliflower mousse with crab meat and mint jelly; scallop and yuzu tartare; grilled beef and pineapple and even the most gourmet version of cheese on toast I’ve ever heard of.


Did I mention the oyster, abalone and lettuce ravioli in a dashi stock?

Taking me by surprise once again was the fact that one of the most notable dishes we enjoyed was the bread course near the beginning. We were offered a selection of bread types (I chose the Chestnut bread) and two types of butter with a pinch of salt: one standard doux (unsalted) butter and one mixed with Cornish seaweed. I instantly gravitated to the latter and I wasn’t dissatisfied! The salty, umami creaminess was unwordly.


So being the seaweed obsessive that I am, I tried to make my own version of the butter.

I tried to keep it simple as I’m not very skilled but evidently you can make a pretty tasty version without too much effort. Not a patch on the fine work of the Greenhouse but enough for me nonetheless.


It looks a bit gross but bear with me on this one.


I took 300g butter (I chose lighter Lurpak) and mixed it throughly with a generous punch of salt and three crumbled sheets of nori seaweed.


I then put it back into the butter tub and returned it to the fridge. I’m told it will last until the original sell-by date of the butter. Maybe even a little longer because of the salt. You should also be able to freeze it.


After that it’s fairy versatile! The salty-umami combination, served chilled, is highly tantalising on bread, crackers, oatcakes or rice cakes.


It can also be used to top cooked food such as potatoes or fish.

I’m still playing around with other possibilities.


Inspired by a combination of Japanese makizushi rolls and a traditional British snack I made a triple-decker cucumber sandwich using the seaweed butter and a smear of wasabi, then cut it into small squares to serve with some martinis.

New AND retro.

My friends who normally make fun of me for serving what they term “alien food” said they were surprised to find it quite nice.

Thanks for the support guys!


I also had a go using it with scallops…


As well as in sushi. I’ll blog about these later.

Otherwise I’ll keep on experimenting but if I’m honest it’s really nice simply spread on some good quality bread!

Till the next time…

Swedish akvavit

It’s Christmas time and last night I decided to have a non-martini drink. I’ve previously mentioned my liking for akvavit for midsommar, but I also like it during the winter (to keep warm).
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I put some miniature bottles of akvavit (from Ikea) in the freezer for a day, then served them in heavy glasses and a single spherical ice cube. I like all the different infusions, as it adds a bit of variety to my normal gin diet.

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Skål och god jul!

The Frukostini (the Swedish breakfast martini)

The classic martini will always be my favourite, but of the non-classics, I think this is definitely one of the tastiest (even if it looks slightly alarming).

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The breakfast martini was invented by Salvatore Calabrese in the Lanesborough hotel in London. It involves gin, marmalade, lemon juice and Cointreau or Triple Sec. However, I’ve had some lingonberry jam in my fridge from my last Ikea trip which I thought might make a nice substitute for the marmalade. My imagination went from there.
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I muddled two teaspoons of jam with a laaaaaarge measure of gin (let’s say 3-4 measures). I then poured it into a frozen martini glass and topped up with some wild berry Swedish Rekorderlig cider.

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I dubbed this concoction of Swedish jam, British gin and Swedish cider the Swedish breakfast martini, or… more aptly, the Frukostini (frukost is the Swedish word for breakfast).

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To garnish, I made some toast, cut out a triangle, made a small slit with a knife, and spread on some of the jam.

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And then I drank it. And it was good.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be breakfast time when you drink these…

It reminds me just a little bit of Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development.

“Get me a vodka rocks.”
“Mom, it’s breakfast.”
“And a piece of toast.”

My favourite Arrested Development character.

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk

Skål!

Summer akvavit

Sunday evening, I didn’t want a full martini, just a little pre-dinner sip. London looks green, with the stirring of a summer haze as the sun sets. The approach of the solstice put me in mind of Scandinavian celebrations so I took a bottle of akvavit out of the freezer and poured some into a tall, frozen shot glass, with a twist of lemon peel for a bit of edge.

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