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“There is no sauce in the world like hunger.”

Miguel de Cervantes

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Friday
Sep012017

Buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce

Sometime, about a year ago, I discovered quite how easy my favourite chicken wings are to make. 3 litres of Frank’s Hot Sauce and an artery busting amount of butter later and I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse. Yep, that’s right. Buffalo sauce contains just two simple ingredients: Frank’s Hot Sauce and melted butter.

The blue cheese dip that inevitably accompanies them is another fantastically simple and calorific concoction – shop-bought mayonnaise and creamy blue cheese. No wonder America is the world’s most obese nation. This discovery has certainly added a few inches to my waistline.

I'm going to go with blessing in any case because sitting down to a plate of buffalo chicken, inhaling the saucy meat then sucking each bone dry before proceeding to run my finger (and sometimes tongue) around the plate to lick up every last speck of sauce is the true definition of finger lickin’ good.

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Wednesday
Aug302017

Short & Sweet: Ellory

Style: Modern European

Budget: Depends how greedy you are. Around £100/head if you want to do it properly, i.e. all the dishes you want, a nice bottle and some aperitifs and digestives. Good value for money at this level.

Venue and atmosphere: Michelin-starred restaurant without the ponce or hefty price tag. Converted warehouse space with minimalist design that somehow manages to feel warm and unpretentious. 

Service: Manages to strike that perfect balance between friendly and efficient, casual and knowledgeable. Ask questions – they are very willing to help and you will be expertly guided towards good decisions. 

Food: The dishes at Ellory appear deceptively simple, but there is clearly a lot of thought behind the combinations, which both surprise and delight.

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Tuesday
Aug082017

Rack of lamb with smoked aubergine puree and harissa

I think I have finally worked out why it has become fashionable in recent years for restaurant menus to simply list key ingredients rather than call their dishes something.

Rack of lamb with smoked aubergine puree, caramelised spring onion, crumbled feta, kalamata olives, harissa and a sprinkling of pistachios.

That's how a '90s menu would probably have described this dish. It’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? But choose a few key ingredients and list them like this and you have something much more appealing:

Rack of lamb | Smoked aubergine | Harissa | Pistachio

Same dish, different sales pitch. Which would you order?

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Wednesday
Jul192017

Harissa

Harissa, if you haven’t discovered it yet, is a vibrant Middle Eastern condiment that can be added to many dishes to give them a zesty hit of sweet and spice and all things nice.

It goes particularly well with lamb. I often use it as a condiment alongside roast lamb, coated lamb chops in it, slathered it on burgers and my new favourite, in a bun with merguez sausage, mayo and rocket.

It can also work with chicken or a meaty fish, like monkfish or hake, so long as you are not too heavy handed. I love adding a tablespoon or two to a tomato-based stew, such as my chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew or albondigas. You can also stir it through mayonnaise or yogurt to give them a bit of a kick.

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Thursday
Jun292017

Oxtail Ragu, simply the best

People often ask me what my favourite food is, a ridiculous question for someone who lives to eat. I try to explain that it is like asking a musician to choose just one song, a film buff their favourite movie, a theatre critic their favourite play… and so on. 

“Well then, what about a favourite cuisine?”

Nope, can't answer that either. It all depends on my mood, the weather, where I am, what I had earlier, what I’m planning to have later, is it Saturday morning? is it Wednesday night? The list goes on.

BUT one thing I do know for sure would be on my desert island list - if someone superglued a pen to my hand, chained me to a desk and forced me to write one - is a rich and hearty, melt in the mouth, slow-cooked (I’m talking days, not hours) ragu with fresh pasta.

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