Food corner

"Diet sensibility-wise I find myself straddled several yards short of the spooky Eat Nourish Glow brigade ... yet far from a woman who eats a double-stack patty with onion rings dipped in chipotle mayonnaise at lunchtime guilt-free. Although, if I’m honest, I can, and have done, and several photos of me exist on the internet standing at parties with my arms around gaunt, size 6 showbiz chums resembling, in relative terms, an amiable Tyrannosaurus rex that has entered a toddler’s sandpit."

Grace Dent

Twitter feed
Aleppo pepper Alicante all spice almond anchovy apple apricot Argentina artichokes asparagus aubergine autumn bacon banana basil beef beetroot bergamot berry biscuit bistro bloggers Bolivia Borough Market bread breadcrumbs British budget Buenos Aires bulgar wheat burrata butter cabbage cafe cake Calais capers caraway cardamom carrot cauliflower chard cheese chick peas chicken chicory chilli chocolate chorizo Christmas cinnamon clams cloves cobnut cocoa coconut cooking class Copenhagen Córdoba coriander cornflakes courgette flowers crayfish cream cream cheese creme fraiche cucumber culinary catastrophe cumin daikon Dalmatia delivery dill dips Dubrovnik Easter easy Edinburgh egg eggplant fennel feta fettuccine ffine bean filo fine dining Finsbury Park fish fish sauce five spice flour food aid food anthropology French game garlic gastropub gherkin ginger gluten free goat's cheese golden syrup greengage Guinness halloumi ham harissa hazelnut hibiscus honey horseradish humanitarian relief Islington Istanbul Italian jam Japanese juniper Kent ketchup kielbasa Korean lamb leek lemon lemongrass lentils lime London loquat Madrid market mascarpone Mayfair Mendoza mid-range milk mint mirin monk's beard morcilla mozzarella mushroom mussels mustard Nahm Natoora Nepalese New Nordic New Zealand noras oats olive olive oil onion orange Oxfordshire paprika Paris Parmesan parsley party pastry peanut pear peas pepper Peru pickle pine nuts pizza pomegranate pomegranate molasses pop-ups pork potato prawn preserved lemon prosciutto Provence providore prunes Puerto Iguazú pulse pumpkin purple sprouting broccoli quail egg quick radish ragu ras el hanout raspberries red pepper paste refugees restaurant rhubarb ribs rice ricotta rocket rosemary runner bean saffron sage San Sebastian sausage shallot smoked mackerel smoked salmon sorrel soy spaghetti spinach spring squid stilton stock street food sugar sumac summer supper club Sydney syrup Tabasco tagliatelle tahini take away tamarind tarragon tart Thai thyme tom yum paste tomato tomato paste tuna Turkey veal versatile Vietnamese vinegar walnut water chestnut white pepper wine winter yoghurt

La Cuchara de San Telmo

Last week I spent a glorious week in San Sebastian gorging and sunning myself in that order daily: breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, dinner, drinks, snacks. My friend Jenny asked me whether I went on any nice walks. “I mainly walked to restaurants. That was nice.”  

I was with my parents, who are foodies but not into fine dining so I skipped all the big names and went with recommendations from Spanish friends instead. As my friend Iván pointed out, when you can eat so well wherever you go in a city, it’s not really worth bothering with fine dining.

Click to read more ...


Babatunde's jollof rice with chicken

I have an affinity for West African people. Whenever I find myself attracted to a person of African descent, they inevitably turn out to be (a) Nigerian or (b) Ghanaian. At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation based on the behaviour of 3 ex-partners, the downside of this is that they are near impossible to pin down for any kind of social arrangement. The upside is that when they finally do commit, there is bound to be jollof rice on the table. I can live with that.

Jollof rice is perhaps the most popular dish in West Africa. You will find it at every large social gathering and small ones too. In Nigeria, you can even get it as a side dish at KFC.

It is said to have originated in Senegambia and to be named after the Wolof tribe, but like any such claims when it comes to food, this is fiercely debated by other West African nations. I have heard a Ghanaian and a Nigerian argue for almost an hour about where jollof rice is really from and who makes it best (their mums, of course).

Click to read more ...


Radio, Copenhagen

Can Danish people please feed me everyday? I mean look at this:

It’s not even a DSLR shot, I took it on my iPhone and I haven't even bothered with post-production.

New Nordic cuisine might just be my favourite thing to eat right now. And not because it’s trendy or was last year and I’ve just caught on. Because it’s brilliant.

It tends to sound and look deceptively simple. When you taste it, you might be fooled, because the flavours work so well together that it is as though you have always eaten them that way. But don’t be deceived - there is an incredible amount of care, attention and precision behind the combinations, the cooking and the presentation.

Click to read more ...


La nonna Pettineo's ragu

For my 30th birthday my friend, Geraldine, sent me a care package from the USA, which included a handwritten recipe and photos of her nonna’s ragu. Like everyone with an Italian grandmother, she says hers makes the best. And like every Italian grandmother, hers doesn’t follow a recipe, so you have to watch her to learn it.

A few years ago, Geraldine and I got into a friendly debate about what constitutes the best ragu and what one should call it. (You can read about that here). I argued with her about it, but mostly for the sake of it. Actually, I was very keen to learn her nonna’s secrets.

When she next visited her, she watched her make it and wrote down all the details step-by-step. The recipe is written in Geraldine’s beautiful cursive handwriting and comes with lots of notes and tips:

Click to read more ...


Bahn mi, Sydney style

I was so excited when I first saw bahn mi in London. They were one of my favourite lunches when I was a growing up in Sydney. There was a Vietnamese bakery next to my school where most kids used to load up on doughnuts and cream cakes. I preferred to spend my pocket money on 'Vietnamese pork rolls'.

For $2.50 you could get a Vietnamese baguette slathered with pate and mayo, crammed full of cold pork cuts, salad and pickles and finished with soy sauce, a few sprigs of coriander and a sprinkling of chilli. 

I have found few places in London that make them like this, perhaps because the French and Asian flavours sound like such a bizarre combination. Actually, I think that’s what makes it unique and interesting. It speaks to Vietnam’s colonial heritage and is a great example of fusion cuisine that really works.

Click to read more ...