Month: December 2008

The Christmas blog post roundup

You’ve seen my traditional Christmas lunch. What did the other food bloggers do? Not everyone has posted yet (cough, Helen, yes I am looking at you ;-), but I thought it might be nice to do a roundup. Su-Lin, at Tamarind & Thyme, had a porky Christmas, dishing up slow roasted pork belly with fennel, chorizo & potato croquettes and lemon and passion fruit roulade, amongst other wonderful things. Aidan Brooks had a wonderful Christmas lunch. Thai scallops to start, followed by roast goose with goose-fat roast potatoes, roast carrots, truffled Brussels sprouts, puréed parsnip, stuffing and gravy made from the goose giblets and roasting juices. Followed by Christmas pudding made in October. And yes, they’re his words from a comment he made here. Thanks Aidan! Truffled brussel sprouts sound wonderfully decadent. Lizzie, over at Hollow Legs, had roast goose and gravadlax. Board games and Guinness too. Sounds perfect! Fred and Ginger, at Dinner Diary, had roast goose, and made roast goose pie with the leftovers. I’d like some of that pie right now! Chris, …

And so that was Christmas

Christmas has come, and gone. How was yours? We had a fantastic day. Lots of food, wine, chocolate, crisps and lots of tv. I feel as stuffed as the turkey today. As much as I love to cook, I never cook on Christmas Day, as this is traditionally my sister’s domain, now my sister and brother-in-law. They are both fantastic cooks, and it’s always gorgeous. We went retro this year, and had prawn cocktail to start, followed by potato and thyme soup, then the traditional turkey & ham with all the trimmings washed down with a lovely albarino. This was followed by sherry trifle, many hours later as everyone was just too full. Today is St Stephen’s Day, a very big day in the social calendar as in Ireland, as Christmas Day is a “black day” and nowhere is open, especially pubs. It is illegal for them to open, although, sometimes if you know the right people, you might get a drink in one after the Christmas swim. So, no recipe today, just some photos, …

Merry Christmas!

A very happy Christmas to everyone! Or Happy Hanukkah! Or, just enjoy the few days off if you don’t celebrate either :-) I’m in Ireland for Christmas. Dungarvan, Co. Waterford to be exact. My hometown, on the sea and nestled in the mountains. Well, Irish mountains, they’re not that big! I come home every year, at least I always have done, it’s a great time to meet family and friends, almost all of whom are home at this time of year. This one is the exception to the rule, I have (I think) 9 first cousins and a brother in Australia this year. Christmas dinner this year is at my sister’s house, her husband is cooking, and it promises to be a lovely meal. We’ve been tucking into spiced beef all week, and as of an hour ago Christmas ham. I’ve brought one of my favourite wines from London, a bottle of As Laxas Albarino from Brindisa, and I’ll be having that with my turkey. Whatever you do, and whoever you spend it with, enjoy …

Another exciting adventure: judging the Cuisine Cup

It’s been an exciting year, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to do things that I’ve never done before and attend really interesting events and meet some wonderful people. Recently, I had the honour of being invited to judge a cookery competition in London, the Cuisine Cup at L’atelier des Chefs. The competition aims to be a showcase for amateur culinary talent and is held in the UK, in several locations in France, and in Belgium, with one qualifying candidate from each location competing in a final in Paris. There were four judges. Two chefs: Pascal Aussignac, chef at Club Gascon & Will Torrent, an up and coming confectioner and pastry chef, Jerome from L’atelier des Chefs and one blogger (me). Starting at 9am, the 12 qualifying competitors started with breakfast and then started to cook. The only requirement was that it should be an original recipe with salmon as the focus. Recipes had been submitted in advance and the best chosen for the competition that day. The entrants were staggered to allow us sufficient …

Lunching at Konstam in King’s Cross

Regular readers and fellow twitterers will know that I am a big fan of pork belly! An inexpensive but delicious cut of meat, that is transformed into a thing of crispy wonder when given the right amount of care and attention. Spiced with star anise or sweetened with cider and sporting a crispy coat of crackling, it is one of my favourite things to eat in this world. So, you can imagine my delight when a restaurant local to work started serving pork belly sandwiches at lunch time. Not just any restaurant either, but Oliver Rowe’s Konstam at the Price Albert, a restaurant where most of the produce (where possible) is sourced from within the M25. Many of you will be familiar with it from the TV show, The Urban Chef, that tracked the setup and opening of this fine establishment. Prior to opening Konstam at the Prince Albert, Oliver ran a cafe of the same name (Konstam). of which I was a big fan and I was disappointed when it closed in favour of …

A Visit to La Boqueria in Barcelona

When in Barcelona, what does any self respecting food blogger do but visit the Boqueria! I’d been told by so many people that it was a must, and had seen it on tv and read about it on other blogs. So, on my recent hectic weekend trip to Barcelona, I made sure there was an afternoon free to fit it in. Many of you will know Aidan Brooks, food blogger and chef, up until recently he was working in Michelin starred Comerç 24 in Barcelona. I am a very big fan of Aidan’ blog, it’s always interesting and entertaining. I shared a lovely meal with him at The Providore’s over the summer and had always planned to visit and eat at Comerç 24 while he was still working there. It wasn’t to be, as he had moved on already by the time I finally got there. We arranged instead, to meet and tour the Boqueria on a Saturday afternoon last month. Barcelona is a lovely city, and this particular weekend in November it was gorgeous. …

An evening with Ferran Adria

   Ferran Adria, mastermind behind the revered ElBulli north of Barcelona in Spain, visited London last week as part of his book tour, promoting A Day at ElBulli. Now, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t just be going to see Ferran Adria talk, but I would be going to ElBulli to sample his food, me and 2 million other people that is. Every year, ElBulli gets 2 million requests for 8,000 places, so as you could imagine, the odds are stocked against me. I’ll persevere. The talk was to take the format of a Q&A with Observer critic, Jay Rayner. I am not a big fan of Q&A sessions. In my experience, the people with most to say and offer never do, and the people that want to make themselves heard with painful random and often stupidly technical questions are the ones that speak up. I am speaking mainly of film Q&A’s here as I’ve never been at a Q&A with a chef before. So, I put these thoughts aside and made an exception for …