Gastrono-me’s Gemma Simmonite says it’s been a long journey and a few lessons have been learnt on the way, but now it’s time to start getting excited for life as we once knew it
So, we finally have it! A precious date to reopen and a series of dates when life for us all will start to return to normal. . . if we can even begin to remember what normal actually was.
On May 17th, we can crank up our ovens, fling open the windows and doors and welcome you all in once more, which to be honest feels just as exciting as waiting for Christmas circa 1977! It’s been the longest most surreal time, and the thought of it ending and the thrill of being able to serve again is practically intoxicating.
From a personal perspective I’m as keen as anyone else to be cooked and served for. Even though I breathe, eat, sleep food for a living, I definitely have become a little weary of the constant meal merry-go-round. I’m looking forward to the joy of perusing a menu, whilst sipping a chilled glass of wine and at the same time listening to the clink and chatter of friends around me – just thinking about it gives me a shiver of excitement.
Being in the hospitality industry has happily never spoilt the joy of dining out – I still feel complete exhilaration from eating out at great restaurants and witnessing skilled hospitality in action. I’ve always been struck by restaurant guru Danny Meyer’s quote: “A great restaurant is one that just makes you feel like you’re not sure whether you went out or you came home and confuses you. If it can do both of those things at the same time, you’re hooked.”
I think that’s what I’ve always hoped to create, a feeling that one is, of course, most definitely ‘out, out’, but not so much that it feels starchy and awkward. I want our guests to feel at home in our surroundings, to relax and to ultimately feel welcome and treated.
And god damn, do we all need to be treated. To be encouraged to forget the horrors of the last year and to simply enjoy – whether it’s a good plate of food cooked for you without having to shop for it, cook it or clear it away. A friend’s company over a coffee, a haircut by a professional without the fear of a wonky fringe, or more simply but more powerfully, a hug.
We know it’s going to be gradual; we know it’s going to be tentative at the start, but there’s hope and that is very, very welcome.
If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s taught us to find the joy in smaller things. What with holidays or outings cancelled we had to settle for fun and escapism in our living rooms. Simplicity has in a way been liberating during a time of extreme limitations. This is something I’m always going to try to remember, that it doesn’t have to be bigger to be better, that a game of monopoly with Mike and my daughter can create as much laughter and joy as a night out. That breakfast burritos made with anything to hand, but made with a loving hand and shared on the living room floor are still sinfully delicious.
Over lockdown we took the opportunity to publish as many recipes on our socials and website as we could. The biggest joy for me was seeing customers try out our recipes and send me photos of their achievements – every single one made with love and care, be it for an occasion or just because they held one of our dishes in their hearts and memory.
Now it will be our turn to take care of you, and hopefully put smiles on all your faces and to make you feel at home whilst being deliciously NOT at home!
So here it is one more easy Gastrono-me favourite to try before we are all reunited again. Take good care of yourselves and let’s all start counting those sleeps x
In this recipe I’ve given you the basic filling starter for our breakfast burrito, but you could add anything. . . some sexy sizzled chorizo is always good, or some deliciously seared halloumi. But the sky is the limit when customising your burrito – a few favourites of mine are refried beans, lime and coriander rice, and I love jalapenos for a bit of bite. Mike likes almost a full English in his by adding diced sausage, bacon and hash browns. But whatever you choose makes sure to cram it full of flavour and you won’t be disappointed! If you’d like to see the accompanying video on how to wrap and roll you can find it on our Instagram page @gastrono_me
For the scramble
A splash of double cream
A good pinch of salt
A knob of butter
Whisk the eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter in the pan, add the eggs and scramble gently until just set.
For the Pico De Gallo
2 tomatoes flesh removed and diced
1 green chili diced, I like the seeds in for heat, but you can remove if wished
1 red onion diced
A small handful of fresh coriander chopped
A sprinkling of chilli flakes
1-2 clove of garlic chopped
Juice of 1 lime
A splash of olive oil
Combine all ingredients together and chill until needed.
I’m leaving the amounts for your preference, but just be aware not to make it too soggy or too dry. And remember, you can fit a lot more in a burrito than you think!
A pack of good quality flour tortillas
Grated cheese – I like a blend of mozzarella and a little mature cheddar for flavour
Guacamole, or sometimes I just use freshly-sliced avocado
Beans – you could try black beans or the more popular refried beans, but baked beans are delish, too!
Crispy snipped bacon
Chopped sausage, or veggie alternative
Lime and coriander rice
Make your scramble, and line all your filling ingredients up ready.
Warm your tortilla slightly, this makes it easier to wrap.
Start with the scramble, then layer all your other chosen ingredients on top.
Fold the two sides in, and then lift them up and over your filling. Then tucking tightly, roll the burrito forwards whilst bringing in the sides, this may take a couple of practices but once youknow how you’ll never forget!
Sear the burrito both sides in a hot dry pan.
Wrap in foil and cut in half – the foil catches all the delicious bottom bits and helps to stop them landing on your chest!
Read Gemma’s blog at gemwithrelish.com
Gemma is executive chef and co-creator of Gastrono-me, Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 277980