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"To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."

Somerset Maugham

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Friday
Apr262013

A traditional ragù from Bologna

“I hate the way they call it ‘Bolognese’ here. It’s not Bolognese, it’s ragù.  That is what they call it in Bologna" says my friend Geraldine as we peruse the lunch menu in Arbutus.

She’s French, but her father is Italian and so, more importantly, is her grandmother.

I once tried to argue with her about whether or not water must be at a rolling boil before putting pasta in it. I can’t remember what the correct answer was. I presume it was that it should be and that Geraldine was right. In her words:

“Well, I know you know a lot about food, Vicky, but I think I am going to listen to my Italian grandmother over you.”

It was a valid point, which I only admitted to her now, at least 10 years later.

Geraldine and I like to disagree. It is what our friendship was founded on. Each as stubborn as the other, and always looking for a good argument. So I had replied:

“Well, your grandmother probably makes her pasta from scratch. We’re just using dried pasta.”

Or I wished I did. I can’t remember.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr242013

Happy Anzac Day!

Hey folks,

It's been a while. I have been caught up writing a very long and significant (35%) essay... and then celebrating the fact that I finished it.

Just a quick note to say Happy Anzac Day to my readers in Australia and New Zealand. It is 25th April there (even if it isn't here) and my Dad and sister (if he has managed to drag her out of bed) will be attending the dawn service at this very moment.

If you fancy making Anzac biscuits to celebrate, here is my favourite recipe.

For everybody else, I'll be returning shortly with a recipe for a delicious ragu inspired by a recent visit from an Italian friend of mine.

Vix x

Sunday
Mar242013

Dad’s Provençal Seafood Soup

 

Continuing the French theme, here is my Dad’s take on a Provençal fish soup or stew. It's similar to a bourride, using many of the same aromatics, but without the egg yolks. Also, a traditional bourride is usually just fish, but Dad uses a range of seafood.

I asked him to send me the recipe, which was characteristically vague – a pinch of this, a slug of that, “loadsa garlic”. Having eaten it many times when I was younger I was able to guesstimate, but I have tried to make it more user-friendly for you. However, there are some things that are hard to quantify and that are really up to you. For example, the amount of stock depends on the consistency you want; how much saffron depends on the quality of the saffron and how much you like the taste of it; what seafood you use is up to you, which means it is hard for me to give accurate cooking times.

I made this for my flatmates a few weeks ago and they both thought it was fab. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Dad’s, but then these things never are when you try to replicate them, are they?

“What do you think is missing?” asked Jen.

“I don’t know. A little bit of love?”

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar082013

Les Papilles, Paris

“So what are your plans for Paris? Where are you going to eat?” asks sis.

“I don’t know. I haven’t looked into it.”

“Ha! Whatever.”

"I thought since Mum’s taking me I should let her choose.”

“Well, there’s a first time for everything…”

… and this wouldn’t be it.

Sis was right. I simply cannot go on holiday without spending an inordinate amount of time researching what I am going to eat – street food, restaurants, cafes, bakeries. You name it – it’s on my list.

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Tuesday
Feb052013

A weekend in Paris

At the end of summer last year I had a lovely weekend in Paris with my Mum. I meant to write it up but, like many things, it got put on the back burner when I started my Masters. It is now far too late for me to share the intricate details of each meal I had there, but I still have the photos.

The best meal, hands down, was at Les Papilles, a recommendation from David Lebovitz which is number one on his list of 10 insanely delicious things you shouldn’t miss in Paris. I did actually start writing a review of this, so I will finish it off and post it soon.

In the meantime, here are the photos of all the lovely (and not so lovely) things I ate in Paris, along with details of the dishes and restaurants.

Click to read more ...