Food corner

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

Somerset Maugham

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Diana Henry's Thai sweet chilli sauce

My sister will be surprised when she sees this. I have always berated her love of the shop-bought stuff. But when I read Diana Henry’s introduction I was intrigued:

“So much better than anything you can buy. It doesn’t have that cloying flavour of commercial bottles, but barks at you with biting, fresh taste.”

This led me to the list of ingredients, which looked very promising. And she is right, it is so much better than the shop bought version. Indeed, it might as well be another sauce.

The recipe is from Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish, a lovely book full of recipes, tips and techniques for the home preserver. “I am a home cook” writes Henry, “I don’t have masses of special equipment and I don’t do things on a grand scale.” Her style is approachable and encouraging, showing that preserving isn’t just for “elderly ladies in floral pinnies or country-based downsizers with a vehicle big enough to transport several dead animals.”

I made this first to use up some chillies which my flatmate, Jen, had grown on our kitchen windowsill.  I liked it so much I decided to make it for Christmas presents in place of my usual jams or chutneys.

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Anthropology of Food Christmas Party

Last Saturday we had a Christmas party for our Anthropology of Food course. One of my classmates, Maria, kindly hosted the event and the idea was that everyone bring something that is eaten in their home country at Christmas.

Well, rules are made to broken and I was the first one to do so. I was planning to make this:

... a canape my family almost always have either on Christmas Eve or Day in Australia, though I can't speak for other families.

Instead I made this:

... which we have never had on Christmas, but I couldn't find the pork mince I needed in Sainsbury's and I felt like making the tart.

Juliana also broke the rules with a palm heart pie, which like her was Brasilian, though not Christmassy:

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Guest blogging for MPN


Sorry I have been so quiet lately. Working four days per week, going to uni one day and trying to get all the work done on the days leftover has been taking its toll. 

I have still been writing a bit, but elsewhere...

At the beginning of this year I did a food writing internship which turned into a longer term role with Media Production Network, a US company who make short cooking videos for several local papers in the Greater Boston area. The videos are accompanied by a short article which is printed in the paper and online. That is the part I was writing. 

I decided that I couldn't continue with that role once I started studying, but I have still been guest blogging for MPN once a fortnight on my favourite things from the world of food blogging.

Here is what I've been writing. Take a look.


Claudia Roden's potaje de garbanzos y espinacas

(Chickpea and spinach stew)

For my birthday my Mum gave me Claudia Roden’s fabulous cookbook, The Food of Spain. I love this book because the recipes are real and unadulterated Spanish food. The other Spanish cookbooks I have are full of extravagant recipes that are difficult or very expensive to source ingredients for in London or which are too fiddly to make for anything other than a special occasion. Roden’s book is full of the kind of recipes Spanish people actually cook and eat regularly.

I have tried to replicate this Spanish staple several times before and, until now, it never tasted quite like it does in Spain. I have a good palate for detecting spices, and got close with that, but I would never have guessed that the key to it’s “rich texture” and “intriguing flavour” comes from a paste made of stale bread fried with garlic blended to a cream with hard-boiled egg yolks and stock.

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The Anthropology of Food

At the beginning of October I started a Masters in the Anthropology of Food. I wanted to wait till I had done a few classes before telling you about it. I could say this was because I wanted to give you a taste of what the lectures are about, but actually it’s cause I didn’t really know what to expect.

When you tell people you are going to study the Anthropology of Food, you are either met with a blank stare or an encouraging smile, inevitably followed by the question:

“... and what exactly is that?”

Well, until a few weeks ago I didn’t really know the answer.

“You know what anthropology is?” I’d reply.


“Well, it’s like that... but related to food.”

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