Stuff White Brits Like, a UK-version of the famed Stuff White People Like website, lists at number 32 “not understanding economics.” Clearly sensitive to such a gap in the market, Madsen has just celebrated the launch of his latest book – Understanding Economics: Economics for non-economists. Perhaps Alan Johnson should be sent a copy…
And so it came to pass that of a cold November evening, Michael McGuinness was once again tempted from retirement to cater for a lavish celebratory affair. The lively conversation – topics of which ranged from thoughts on Downton Abbey to whether the slogan “£9k a year? I pay my valet more!” was an appropriate response to current student fees protests – was interrupted on a regular basis by the most beautiful sound known to man: the popping of champagne corks. Various finger foods were served – king prawns, with rosemary; bresaola, wrapped around a mixed salad (impossible to eat elegantly); minature chorizo; spanish tortilla; vegetarian dim sum.
Two dishes in particular stood out for me, however. First – scallops – with ginger and what I’m almost certain was bok choy. Now I love scallops, so I’m always drawn to them and these were good – seared enough to colour, but not over-cooked and dry inside. The ginger was a surprisingly muted taste, more notable with the greens than the scallops, but that is by no stretch a bad thing. The second dish I’d highlight was the foie gras. I love foie gras perhaps more than is strictly-speaking sensible. In this particular varient, a crusty piece of bread was topped with a fried slice of the stuff, a piece of pear was placed on top and the whole thing stuck together with a small skewer. It was good – I had several. There was something odd about it though, and I had to eat a few to make sure I wasn’t going crazy… fortunately, there was a menu at hand to confirm my suspicions: chocolate. Now, of course, pear and foie gras is a sensible combination and pear and chocolate a classic. All three together? Unusual, yes, but bad? Most definitely not! It worked really very well and surprised a great many guests.
Delicious cakes from Konditor and Cook rounded off the food as we enjoyed coffee and grappa. The indiviual cakes were all decorated with a variety of political/economic motifs – Parliament, a silhouette of Adam Smith, and what may well have been protesting students. As the evening wound up, cigars – Regius‘s Lord Madsen – were taken on the balcony. Fortunately, sufficient care was taken to ensure that fire extinguishers weren’t needed; indeed, throughout the entire evening, not a single fire extinguisher was thrown!