Number Thirty Nine August 2006
Cor blimey! How much heat can an old chef take? It has now been weeks of constant blazing sun, the heat in the kitchen with two ovens and all the gas rings on has taken its toll. Its like the old saying: “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. Sadly that saying and another well known saying: “When the going gets tough the tough get going”, So its with great sadness I have to report that Dan - the well known commis chef and star of Heacham newsletter, and of course international fame of the web - has decided that after five long years that his life as a chef will be no more.
Dan has had a brainwave. I feel this may well have happened when he lost ten pence on the floor one night while we were in a busy service and for some reason Dan decided to bend over and look for it. As he picked up the lost ten pence, unfortunately Dan made a grave mistake. He stood up quickly and cracked his head on the open cupboard door and by the colour of his face and his choice of French words we all decided that it must have caused him a little pain. It was the next day he informed me that he had decided on a much easier way of life. No more standing over a hot stove making wafer thin pancakes or having to remember to put the brown shrimps in the brown shrimp fishcakes. No more white sauces to make, or making sure that all the starter plates are clean and no more making pots of tea for that old chef and no more plates of chips.
The new thing that Dan is going to start is that of taxi driver and, knowing Dan, he will do well. It goes with out saying we all wish him the very best. He has been like a son and his presence will be sadly missed. Maybe one day in the years to come Dan will bang his head again and say I want to be a chef, who knows.
It was during the heat of the day that I had a telephone call from a gentleman that told me that he had just returned from holiday and had read a Sunday newspaper that contained a write up about the restaurant but he could not remember which newspaper. It was the following day, as I walked outside to try and find some oxygen, that a gent walking his dog told me “That's a nice write up you had last Sunday in The Observer” newspaper” and said that he would cut it out and pop it through the letterbox next time he was passing and this he did. We all read the write up with great interest. It said that if you wanted to try the best mussels and samphire the Rushmores Restaurant in Heacham was the place to go. So looking at what had been written the person from The Sunday Observer newspaper must have eaten at the restaurant twice because to comment on the mussels and then to make comments regarding the Norfolk samphire there are several months between the two seasons.
It was on the Wednesday following that the first of the foodies started arriving at the restaurant for lunch based on the write up in the newspaper travelling seventy miles for lunch. But that is the power of the pen - one of the foodies told Mrs R. that to get a write up in The Sunday Observer was like finding a chicken with teeth or finding gold on Heacham beach - its really that a restaurant is recommended. The phone started to ring consistently for the next few days. “How do we find you? How far are you from London? Will you have samphire on you menu?” But the most asked question is “Where the devil is Heacham, never heard of it, have you Harvey?”
Stop at the crossroads when you see Norfolk lavender, and then turn left. Sadly the only thing that indicates that there is a village tucked away with really great shops with a wide range of items to offer is a little old sign that says to the beach. Oh by the way, if you enter a village that's signed Burnham Market then you have gone too far.
Heacham in the Sunday newspapers - hopefully for good reasons - it may
pull lots more of the London trade that flocks down to our Norfolk coast
on a Friday and filling up villages like the Burnhams. The make house
prices look like telephone numbers, green wheelies and fisherman's blue
smocks, and the sounds of seagulls. Oh no! No way. On second
thoughts, let’s ask the council to take that sign down. But is it too
you know, Dan the commis chef was responsible for making forty brown
shrimp fishcakes without brown shrimps. So its only fitting that
we offer you this recipe as he is leaving the Restaurant.
The recipe is very simple. Clean and cook your potatoes. Once cooked, mash and leave to cool. Add half the amount of brown shrimps to the amount of creamed potatoes, add chopped parsley, and a good squeeze of lemon juice, season gently with salt and pepper. The next job is to make your fishcakes. Roll these in a little flour and dip in beaten egg and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Pop the fishcakes into the fridge for around an hour and then deep fry in hot oil. Serve with and home made tartar sauce or, as Dan would prefer, 2006 vintage tomato sauce and chips.
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