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

Miguel de Cervantes

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Wednesday
Jan252012

Two for ten Tuesday at Public House

It is rare that I get round to writing up a casual dinner date in a local restaurant. It is even rarer that I do so the next day, but I just couldn’t believe the amazing value I experienced at Public House last night.

As I said, it was a casual dinner date and so I did not take notes or spend a lot of time making sure I got the right photos, but looking back on the meal this morning I felt it warranted some attention.

I have only recently started using Top Table; as someone who usually knows exactly where I want to eat and who is willing to pay a premium to eat there, I didn’t think the deals would appeal. I was wrong.

Last week I was supposed to be taking someone to dinner in exchange for their worldly wisdom. It had to be easy to get to from Kings Cross and not too expensive, since I haven’t got a lot of money at the moment. I was pondering various cheap and cheerfuls I know in Islington when my friend, Jen, piped up:

“What about Public House? They often have really good deals on Top Table.”

Suspicious.

“Any good?”

“Yeah, I’ve been there a few times. The food’s great and they do nice cocktails, which I suppose is where they make their money.”

Hmm...

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Wednesday
Jan182012

Pear and ginger chutney

A few days before New Year’s Eve I took my friend Tina, a chef who is visiting London, on the obligatory foodie tour of Borough markets. This, of course, necessitated a visit to Neal’s Yard Dairy. I didn’t actually need any cheese but it is one of my favourite things to do and, if you are going to try everything in the store, you have to purchase something. So I decided to do some sort of cheese canapé as part of the New Year menu.

I started out with grand plans – a pear, Stichelton and walnut salad on chicory leaves – but I decided that a) chicory might be too bitter b) radicchio, my preferred alternative, would be too hard to find and c) it didn’t go with my other Asian themed canapés. I then thought I might try my hand at making oatcakes, which I’ve never done before, and make them really thin with a slice of Stichelton, a slice of crisp pear and a walnut on top. This would work well at the end of the meal, I thought, alongside the dessert canapé. In the end I couldn’t be bothered making oatcakes (I already had plenty to do) and I couldn’t find any ripe pears so I decided to make a chutney.

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Sunday
Jan082012

Pork and prawn wontons with coriander and water chestnuts

Happy New Year everyone! With New Year comes resolutions and one of mine is to start cooking again and writing about it.

I spoke to my Dad this morning and he was telling me about a rendang curry recipe he has been working on. I told him he ought to write it up for my blog,

“It’s been ages since you wrote me a post, Dad”

“It’s been ages since you wrote a recipe; when are you going to finish with South America? I’m bored.”

So am I.

“I’ve been busy, Dad. You know, finding a job, moving house and with Mum and Cha here. Plus I still had stuff I wanted to write about... I am going to start writing recipes again soon though.”

“When?”

“Today!”

So here I am.

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Saturday
Dec242011

'Twas the night before xmas...

Some very dear family friends of ours, Claudia and Richard, always make our Christmas Eve a special occasion with their talent for telling jokes and reciting funny poems. This is one of my favourites and I am very sorry that I will not be hearing it in person this year, them being on the other side of the world in sunny Australia. I will do my best rendition tonight, but it will never be quite the same.

Feign German accent.

The night waz Christmas and all waz still
The stockings waz hung expecting the fill
And nothing waz stirring not even a louse
For fear dat Saint Nick would nix cumerous
Mudder said children go by the bed
And Mudder she fixt the tree instead
She lifts the night dress to carry the toys
And who waz peaking it waz de little boys.
Mudders night dress waz up in the de face
And the children could see a big bare space
Hanz said mudder vee see the toys in de lap
But who is for dat little fur cap
Shush said mudder and she laugh out right
I think I give dat to your papa to night.

 

Happy Christmas everyone. I hope Christmas entails plenty of fine food, bubbles and general merriment for you all.

Tuesday
Dec202011

The Quebradas

One of the most beautiful landscapes I was fortunate enough to see in Argentina was the Quebrada de Cafayate. Quebrada in Spanish literally means ‘broken’ and refers in geological terms to a deep valley or ravine. Despite having lived in Australia for most of my life, I have sadly never been to the ‘Red Centre’ but I reckon the vivid colours of this part of Northern Argentina would give it a run for its money.  

The main attractions in the valley lie along the Route 68 that runs from Salta to Cafayate. As such most things can be viewed comfortably from a tour bus window with little pit stops along the way. This is how I chose to do it because I was lacking on time and I felt I saw everything I wanted to, but it was a little rushed. It would have been nicer to do it at my own pace in a car and at a different time of day, for example early evening, when the lighting is supposed to be at its best and there are less tourists on the road.

So what has this got to do with food? Not a lot really. Of course I did eat along the way, and a couple of things are worth noting, which I will do in due course. But mainly this is an excuse to share the spectacular photos of the valley itself:

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