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Somerset Maugham

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Entries in pork (9)

Sunday
Dec172017

Pozole Rojo

This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of a 3 part series I am writing exploring lesser-known religious traditions in December from around the world.

This spicy soup with hominy and slow-cooked pork shoulder is a party favourite in Mexico. It is often served at Las Posadas festivities, celebrated from 16th to 24th December.  However, the religious significance of the dish precedes this Christian festival. Corn was a sacred plant for the Aztecs, so they cooked pozole to mark special occasions.

It is a great party main because it is easy to make in large batches (this recipe serves about 8-10 people) and there are lots of garnishes that guests can add to customise their bowl of soup.

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Tuesday
May312016

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:

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Monday
May092016

Banh 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.

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Wednesday
Dec232015

Bigos

Buon Natale, Wesołych Świąt, Merry Christmas. 

I'm writing this from Bormio in the Dolomites, a mountain range in northeastern Italy. This morning I braved the cold at first light and walked halfway up the nearby snow-capped peaks. I hoped to capture the sunrise, but my camera did it no justice at all. After several hours shopping for Christmas lunch I headed up to Bagni Vecchi, the ancient thermal baths just out of town:

Today I am sharing a Polish Christmas recipe called bigos. I have been writing a series for Borough Market about food and identity, where I interview traders about the foods that are important to them. One of my interviewees, Ewa Weremij, is Polish. She told me that bigos "is a special dish for the Christmas time". You can read more about the Christmas traditions that Ewa and her family observe on the Borough Market blog.

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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.

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