Food corner

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

Somerset Maugham

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Simple and delicious smoked mackerel pate

 I can’t believe I ever used to buy smoked mackerel pate from the supermarket when it is so damn quick and easy to make.

A few months ago, the boyfriend and I went on a rather uninspiring daytrip to Maldon. Why? That is a very reasonable question and one I put to him quite bluntly at the time:

“Why Maldon?

“I thought it would be nice to get out of London”

“But why Maldon, what is there to do or see in Maldon?”

“There’s a river and a quay, we could have a picnic.”

“There’s a pond and heath in Hampstead, we could walk there and save the drive.”

 “The sea salt you like comes from there.”

“I have some here.”

... and so forth.

Anyway, you know who won. The boyfriend knows that throwing food into the equation usually tips the balance in his favour, so he offered to buy me lunch. Had I known the choices I would be presented with upon arrival in Maldon, I would have stayed put. However, one good thing was to come of this lack of culinary choices. Mackerel.

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Firezza pizza al metro

Following  an unfortunate accident on Saturday, I was incapacitated in the cooking department last night, so the boyfriend offered to order a pizza delivery. We are fortunate enough to have a Firezza pizza about 5-10minutes walk from our house, which is about as good as it gets in the delivery department; the pizza, not the distance. The fact that it is only a short walk to collect the pizza might also be seen as fortuitous, but we are lazy and pay extra for the privilege of being so. In fairness though, the delivery does arrive piping hot having spent barely 2 minutes in transit.

Firezza deal in pizza al metro, or pizza by the metre, a name which is almost literal but for the fact that each pizza is actually only half a metre (which for logistical reasons is quite understandable) and different toppings are ordered by the quarter metre.

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Dad's best-ever chocolate brownies


Since I am currently experimenting with an entirely new way of cooking (see my last post, measuring up), it may take a little longer to get my own recipes into a workable state, so I thought I would start with someone else's.  

The Flour Power City Bakery, which has stalls at all the major London farmer's market and some further a field, claims that their ultra chocolate brownies are 'Absolutely the best in town!'; a claim which I seek to challenge. Notwithstanding the fact that I think my Dad's brownies are the best-ever, I think many a brownie I have tried has beaten them by a mile. What the Flour Power brownie is lacking is that essential rich, chewy, fudgy quality which makes a brownie a brownie and distinguishes it from a slice of chocolate cake. And the secret? A sticky tar-like concoction made from butter, brown sugar and lots of it! 

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Measuring up

Well, now the time has come to write some recipes and I am realising that I don’t measure up. Not in the sense of feeling inadequate, but literally; I rarely measure anything when I’m cooking.

I am currently reading a book by Jenny Linford called Writing About Food and was relieved to discover that this is a challenge faced by many food writers. Linford introduces her section on measurements with the welcome news that “Some food writers feel that there is now too much emphasis on quantifying ingredients in recipe-writing” and that many feel constrained by the need to measure every ingredient, rather than improvising. Good, I am thinking, so a handful of this and a pinch of that will suffice, this is going to work for me.

Bad news.

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Humble beginnings

I thought I ought to start by introducing you to my humble kitchen:

 I would much prefer my kitchen to look like this:

Image source:

But alas, living in London is expensive and that dream is a long way off. So I make do with what I’ve got and have learned to adjust reasonably well (so long as no one gets in my way when I’m cooking).

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