emotional highs and lows of being in love.’
If I were planning a meal of this sort, I would avoid anything too heavy or overpowering. concentrating instead on dishes that need to be pored over, foods with subtle ﬂavours and luxurious textures. Kir Royale — champagne with a little cassis — would be a delicious aperitif, and blackcurrants are praised for their aphrodisiac qualities. As a starter, how about a succulent artichoke globe with French dressing, or lightly poached asparagus spears with garlic mayonnaise or butter? It may be as well to approach these latter with caution, The Perfumed Garden, a 16th century Arabian tome warns that asparagus ‘with the yolk ofegg fried in fat, camels’ milk and honey causes the virile member to be on the alert, night and day‘.
I cannot think of anything better than a plate ofvery fresh, warm langoustines in their shells, with lemon juice. You can fiddle with them for hours and they taste delicious. Alternatively, sole, grilled or baked in foil, melts in the mouth. as does plaice, which, though it does not have such a good name, I think has much more ﬂavour. Both fish are much better bought and cooked whole rather than filleted. A salad of cherry tomatoes and avocados could be served with either fish dish and would combine two vegetables with considerable reputations.
In Nicholas Turner‘s book, Aphrodisiacs, there is a wonderful recipe for a sauce to accompany fish, from Greece, 5th century BC. ‘Chop two good handfuls of fresh herbs such as parsley, fennel, lovage, marjoram, chives and tarragon. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan, melt some honey in a glass of warmed wine. then pour it in and boil for a minute. Add the herbs, simmer gently for five minutes, and just before serving mix in two egg yolks.‘
Pudding is easy. There are many dreamy alternatives, but I would go for a dish that is hard to beat for its sumptuous combination of textures. and is terribly easy to assemble: put a spoonful of really good vanilla ice cream in each bowl. On top of this put a slightly smaller spoonful of sweetened chestnut puree. This is available in cans from the best delicatessens and supermarkets. Top this with a flourish of thick double. or lightly whipped cream and finally crush some of those hard butterscotch sweets (in a plastic bag with a rolling pin) and sprinkle them on. There is something indescribably delicious about the chestnut puree, but it is very rich, so this recipe is perfect.
A lighter end to the meal would be a plate of peaches, figs and lychees, all fresh, and served in their skins because they look so beautiful, and halfthe enjoyment is in the paring. As for wines, how about a St Amour
Beaujolais, or an Italian Soave‘.’
m C U
Later in the evening a glass of chocolate with whipped cream or a zabaglione might be a welcome restorative.
A final thought: at an all-female dinner recently, I was served the most insinuating slip of a creme caramel. One of us hens started crowing ‘B—T—S, B—T—S!’ Others gurgled in agreement. Can food actually be Better Than Sex?
FOOD NEWS GLASGOW
I Buchanan's Bar and Restaurant Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 2 Sauchiehall Street. 331 2555. Between the stunning curves of the building and its horrendous carpets, this light and spacious restaurant emerges on the stylish side of airport lounges. Open since September, Buchanan‘s is already becoming very booked up for pre and post-concert meals, and business men are increasingly taking advantage of its central location at lunchtime. That it is run by Letherby and Christopher, caterers for sports stadiums and Glyndebourne alike, is evident from the tried and tested feel of the menu, dominated by safe, ever-attractive bets like chicken breast with mushrooms and cream sauce, steak and sole hollandaise. The table d'ho‘te menu available at lunchtime and pre-concert is £12, while examples ofd la carte dishes are steak and mushroom pie, £6.95, salmon steak with rice and red pepper £14.95, and moules mariniére £7.25 for a starter! The bar is open all day.and serves salads, sandwiches. pastries and coffee. Large and small-scale private functions can be accommodated in the adjoining Buchanan and Strathclyde suites.
I Balmoral Hotel Princes Street. The once black North British is spanking new and open for business. There is a considerable choice of venues within its plush walls for residents and
non-residents alike. The Bridges
, Brasserie, ‘in the continental style'.
has a well-thought out menu which includes light dishes such as sirloin steak sandwich (£5.40), Caesar salad garnished with croutons and Parmesan cheese (£3.75) and a carousel of fresh fruits with fromage frais and walnut bread (£4.30). It is open from 7am until 11pm. The Palm Court salon in the heart of the hotel serves morning coffee, luncheon of impressive sandwiches and afternoon tea. At tea time (2.30—6pm) you can have sandwiches, toasted raisin bread, scones with clotted cream and
' preserves, French pastries and tea or
coffee for £8.25. Like the Brasserie. the Palm Court has an extensive and original selection of teas and coffees. The hotel also boasts two bars, Perrins Wine bar (1 lam—1 1pm) and the tartan-carpeted, red leather-upholstered Lobby bar
’ which stays open until 1am.
I f you wan; to go out to a restaurant
CALL 041 305 5500 FOR THE 907299713 GUIDE DIRECTORY TO RESTAURANTS AND OTHER ENTERTAINMENT IN GLASGOW.
PIZZA YOU WISH
YOUR MAMMA COULD MAKE
30 THE GRASSMARKET EDINBURGH - 225 6464
The List 8— 21 March 199?: