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"The Queen, in the 65th year of her age (as we were told), very majestic; her face oblong, fair but wrinkled; her eyes small, yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked, her lips narrow, and her teeth black (a defect the English seem subject to, from their too great use of sugar)."

A 16th century German traveller
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Thursday
Mar272014

Regan's beetroot and goat's cheese tarte tatin

“I think that this is the best thing I've ever eaten!”

I think that this is the best thing that someone's ever said about my cooking. I have called this Regan’s tart because this is what he said when he tried it a few years ago in the South of France. 

Usually such a compliment would have had me gushing with pride, but I had to show some restraint. Regan is my cousin Kirsty’s best friend. Kirsty loves cooking to and is very good at it. He said it in front of her. He was in the doghouse.

It has been much talked about since – both Kirsty reminding Regan of his thoughtlessness and Regan angling for a repeat. In this context it was with great trepidation that I offered to make it again this weekend, not just for Regan, but for Kirsty too. Eek!

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Sunday
Feb232014

Incredible Indian at The Red Fort

The Red Fort is not a typical Indian restaurant. No Bollywood music or Ganesha figurines in sight. Instead I am surrounded by tables laid with plush white tablecloths and elegant glass and silverware in a room of tasteful, muted tones. Am I in the right place? The smell of cloves and cardamom suggests that I am.

The Red Fort is in the Michelin guide and the prices on the a la carte menu reflect that, but they also do a set menu, which is a steal at £15 for two courses or £18 for three. Perhaps a little more than an average Indian meal, but the portions are quite substantial and the quality far surpasses anything else I’ve had in London, or anywhere else for that matter.

The elegance of the decor extended to the food. Flavours still packed a punch, but there was an element of delicacy and refinement which gave it an edge over most Indian meals I have eaten. Care had been taken in the selection and cooking of aromatics and spices, which could be singled out and identified, and it was far less greasy than your average Indian meal.

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Wednesday
Feb052014

A humongous helping of Sydney scrumptiousness

This post has taken a while to come to fruition. I got back to the UK in mid-January but it's been straight back in the deep-end with my Masters and work. Plus I have recently started a new blog about Food Anthropology, check it out.

Mostly, though, I have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of food photos I took in Sydney. I worked out that in the 26 days I was there, there were only 3 days when I didn't eat out. One was Christmas Day, the next was Boxing Day and the other was on my last day, when the hangover I'd managed to avoid all holiday, despite drinking everyday, hit me like a ton of Jagerbombs. I spent the whole day in bed with the blinds down, but my sister brought me gözleme in bed so I'm not sure if that day even counts.

I'd love to talk you through each and every dish I tried, but if I attempted that you'd be waiting till 2015. Instead, I have selected around 3 photos from (almost) every restaurant I visited to give you a little flavour of my culinary escapades in Sydneytown this time round.

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Wednesday
Jan012014

Festive food and Happy New Year

A belated Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year. For the first time since my childhood, I am actually awake and active on New Year’s Day. I must be getting old.

I have been doing lots of eating and drinking in Sydney, so much I am not sure I will ever have time to blog about it all. For now, here are some photos of the things I ate over Christmas. I’m afraid due to copious amounts of alcohol, which affects both my sight and my patience, they get rather blurry as the nights progress…

Xmas Eve

Prawns with Dad's "benchmark" aioli

Ceviche canape

Har gau (prawn dumpling) steaming

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Tuesday
Dec242013

Orto, at last

In April 2011, over two and a half years ago, my sister’s boyfriend, Chris Low, and his business partners, Anne Cooper and Louise Hunt, opened Orto Trading Co. This week I finally got to eat there.

It was top of my list coming home to Australia for the first time in 3 years, and it did not fail to impress. OK, I am biased, but Chris really does know what he is doing in the kitchen. His food is interesting, imaginative and inventive. Chris spoiled us rotten, with oysters as an amuse, 6 starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts, all washed down with 3 expertly chosen bottles of wine.

White anchovy and sobrasada fish fingerMarrowbone, parsley, lemon and garlicCape Grim beef tartare and frites

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