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Dealing with January: Lomo con Leche (Pork cooked in milk)

lomo con leche

I hate to open a post on a negative, it’s not my style. Especially, on what is my first proper post of 2010 (hello 2010!). However, here it is: don’t you just HATE January? I mean, really hate it.

I’ve always struggled with January. I feel I need someone to lift the sky. Did someone remove one of the tent poles that was keeping it high off my head? And what have they done to the colour? Where is the light? Why is everything so grim? Someone please put it back to the way it was! I’m getting desperate. Nearly four weeks of it now, and it’s still going on. I feel a little miserable.

I remember as a child hearing about an Irish professional cyclist (yes, you did read right), who spent 6 months abroad over Winter every year, and the remaining 6 months in Ireland. As an adult with a healthy does of realism, I can see now that that was most likely a tax ploy, but as a child I thought: genius! that’s what I am going to do. 6 months away, avoiding those most depressing of months, January and February. I haven’t done this , of course. A part of me still anticipates that I may make it happen. Maybe not 6 months, but next January somewhere other than here, would be seven kinds of wonderful.

As I wander the streets, avoiding the puddles and skidding on occasional ice, damning the snow of early January and damning the sky, shaking my fist at dissolving snowmen, and kids with snowballs, I feel grumpy. I hate feeling grumpy but it won’t go away. I want to kick things. I need to sort it out. I need to lift my mood. I need to eat something comforting with a big, bold and spicy glass of red wine. There’s no money, and lots of time. That means frugal cooking with the occasional treat.

What to eat, what to cook? Slow leisurely cooking yields tender meats and big flavours, and plenty of time for that indulgent glass of wine. Red meats, with red wine, heady sauces, spices. Fresh fish makes a cheerful and bright supper, and I feel healthy and light afterwards. It’s also quick, bonus. The real treat for me recently was pork cooked with milk. Creamy, tender, rich, yielding, it saved me from several hours of looming crankiness, it was luscious.

Now, if you’ve not heard of it, pork cooked in milk is a common Italian dish, Maiale al Latte. I had seen the recipe in one of my River Cafe cookbooks, but the one that really grabbed my attention was a Moro version with added spice, some cinnamon, entitled Lomo con Leche. It also used fresh bay leaves, one of my favourite fragrances, a gorgeous addition to most dishes, and with milk, sublime.

So, I had to try it. Dutifully I went to my butcher, securing a loin as specified by the recipe. I chose just over 1kg, the recipe specifying 1-1.5. Removing the skin and most of the fat, saving this for some crackling which I would have seperately, the ultimate fatty and crispy indulgence with flakes of salt dancing on top.

I chopped some fresh thyme and rubbed it into the joint with sea salt, browning it on all sides, and then sitting snugly in my 20cm Le Creuset pot, I covered it with the milk, added the bay leaves and the cinnamon and let it cook, keeping an eye on the meat, as loin is quite delicate, not having protective fat to keep it moist, it’s easy to overcook.

The recipe said an hour to an hour and a half, for my kg an hour was plenty, almost too much, it’s worth using a meat thermometer to determine when your loin is perfectly cooked at 65° – 70°. I also used less milk, in my 20cm pot, a liter was plenty. I was a little disappointed that the sauce didn’t have the rich caramelised and nutty brown nuggets that theirs had in the photo, however, the taste was terrific, comforting, nurturing, rich. This was a perfect January dish, tearing you instantly away from the tortures of this grim month, and whisking you to a moorish village with heady flavours and colours. Maybe I just had too much wine at that point.

Don’t be put off by the photo, it ain’t pretty but it’s mighty tasty. We had it with greens and potatoes.

The recipe is adapted from the original recipe,taken from The Moro Cookbook by Samantha & Samuel Clark

It supposedly serves 4, but I say 3.

Ingredients

1-1.5 kg boned  pork loin, with skin removed
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 litre full fat milk
sea salt & black pepper

Method

Trim the pork of excess fat and rub all over with salt, pepper and thyme. Place a large, heavy saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the pork and seal until golden brown on all sides, but not too dark.

Pour off any excess oil, add the cinnamon, bay and milk and bring to a gentle simmer, turning down the heat if necessary. Cook slowly with the lid half off for an hour or so, turning the meat occasionally, or until the meat is cooked through, but still juicy and tender, or until it registers 65° – 70° on your meat thermometer.

The milk should have reduced into caramelised, nutty nuggets, and made a wonderful sauce subtly flavoured with cinnamon and bay. If it needs more time to reduce, remove the meat until the sauce is ready.

Taste and season. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

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Farewell to 2009! Another Year Over [Part 5]

Picture 357

And so, not so speedily to the conclusion, the final part of the 2009 roundup.

I left you mid-way through September, where I was now becoming firmly established at the market and enjoying the camraderie, meeting customers, and they liked the food. Fantastic and heart warming, it urged me to continue, given I had the time now in the absence of work. Some lovely people came back and told me how much they had enjoyed it. Long time readers introduced themselves, including one lovely lady that was visiting from the US. I really got a buzz from it, even when up at 5am. And folks, I am no morning person.

Covent Garden Real Food Market - Week 6

The year would not be complete without speaking of the Blaggers’ Banquet. Conceived one night at an Action Against Hunger launch, we proceeded to take over Hawksmoor, some weeks later, and cook and serve all of the food, took care of the drinks, had an auction, and ran the auction online for a month following.

It was perfectly imperfect. Perfect because the diners loved it, the food and drink was great, there was such good feeling and we raised a lot of money. We’re almost there, hoping to announce the total and hand it over in the next few days. Imperfect because we had little time to do it, lots of things were rushed and we made some bad choices. Hello ebay and paypal, due to become a nightmare for those working on the auction, especially poor Kavey. They cancelled our account at one point, which meant that we couldn’t auction everything that had been donated, but we did what we could. But, more about all of that soon.

Lunch at Iberica

What else? I had a lovely lunch at Iberica, but never found the time to blog it. Eat with your eyes – lots of photos here.

I went to the Koffman popup on the roof of Selfridge’s and thoroughly enjoyed it. Review here.

Pierre Koffman - Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridge's

Pierre Koffman - Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridge's

I had a fantastic time at Ham Class at Brindisa, Borough Market.

I did a market stall in Soho, and 4 days in a row at Covent Garden Real Food Market for London Restaurant Week. I managed it all, solo, coming out the other side of it a dash frazzled.

Picture 357

A brief trip to Portugal for the European Wine Bloggers Conference, a really interesting and fun weekend which I wrote about here. I met lots of new wine folks, and learned a lot from them. Portugal itself was a revelation, the people were so generous and warm, particularly on the trip to the Douro and some wineries, which I still need to write about. Life started to get really busy after this, and I have a number of posts to catch up on.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

Time started to whizz by, and before we knew it the Blaggers’ Banquet arrived in a flurry and was gone.

And, already it was December. Life was intense, there was lots going on, particularly lots of challenges, I felt I was barely keeping up. I made a comforting Gammon & Cabbage Soup with some leftovers, wrote about my beloved lahmacun, and had a great day at Covent Garden Real Food Market, sharing my stall with Sig of Scandilicious, which was a happy accident, the market was oversubscribed that day, so we shared.

I had some fantastic bangra sausages and chilli vodka and did a spot of Irish dancing with tuition at new supper club, The Civet Cat Club. I had a very good lunch with some excellent wines at the cavernous Galvin La Chapelle.

Lunch at Roast with matched Chapel Down Wines was a lovely exploration of English wines with some very English food, overlooking Borough Market.

My last day at Covent Garden Real Food Market came around, and it was a lovely one. A busy Saturday, with lots of cheerful festive customers, lots of friends popping by, and lots of prosecco. We did the market through the snow which was mighty cold, but very pretty. We finished the evening at one of my favourote spots, Terroirs, I really must blog Terroirs soon! I hope to go back to market this year from April. I will announce here when details are confirmed.

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I had two lunches that I’ve yet to blog, a great wine lunch at Rousillon matched with McGuigan wines and a lunch at Alimentum in Cambridge.

Last recipes blogged for the year were Toasted Pita with Mozarella, Tomato, Onion & Roast Tomato Dressing and a delicious mulled wine.

And that’s it! Bye bye 2009, I can’t say I’ll miss you, we weren’t always friends. It’s taken me so long to finish this series, it was a lot of work, going through all of my photos, and tidying things up. I wanted to do it though, and I hope it wasn’t too painful for you!

2010 looks very cosy, and I look forward to settling into it. I am anticipating lots more cooking and a new camera to replace my stolen one (soon, I hope!). I plan to explore video, visit lots of new places here and abroad, and am anxiously awaiting investing in some new gadgetry, starting with a kitchenaid with some attachments, some sous vide gear and that’s just the beginning. I am excited and full of plans for food, travel, and fun.

Bring. It. On. I say, I am ready! What’s that you say, it’s already started?! Best get my skates on then.

Bringing the gear home from the stall

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Action Against Hunger: Emergency Campaign in Haiti


Action Against Hunger got in touch today about their emergency campaign Haiti, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you. These poor people had nothing to begin with and now with the earthgquake the country is devestated. They need all of our help. Whatever you can donate will be very well received.

HAITI EARTHQUAKE:

ACTION AGAINST HUNGER MOUNTS EMERGENCY RESPONSE

International humanitarian organisation Action Against Hunger | ACF International is putting in motion an emergency response to help the survivors of the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti yesterday. An emergency response team is on its way to reinforce the 100 ACF field workers already on the ground, and additional emergency supplies, including water, sanitation relief equipment and food supplies will be flown in later today.

ACF’s immediate priority is to ensure its entire staff is safe. The organisation’s offices have been severely damaged, many of its supplies have been destroyed and communication channels are down. ACF teams on the ground are preparing to assess the damage and evaluate the needs of the survivors. ACF is also preparing to transport relief supplies, such as water treatment stations and cars from Gonaives to Port au Prince.

“The extent of the devastation is still unclear in the country’s capital, Port au Prince,” said Action Against Hunger’s Executive Director, Jean Michel Grand. But for a country already contending with endemic poverty and an insufficient water and sanitation infrastructure, the effects of this earthquake are catastrophic. “Our teams are extremely concerned for the survivors’ welfare, particularly, access to safe drinking water and food supplies. Chronic malnutrition rates in the country are already high, and it is likely that food supplies have been destroyed.”

Action Against Hunger has implemented programmes in Haiti since 1985, carrying out emergency measures in the areas of health and nutrition, areas of health and nutrition. Since 2001, we have focused primarily on food security and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in both emergency and development contexts in Port de Paix, Gonaives, Anse Rouge and Jeremiah.

Action Against Hunger has launched a public emergency appeal. Call 08456 003618 or visit www.actionagainsthunger.org.uk.

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Farewell to 2009! Another Year Over [Part 4]

Boooo! I’m back. I’m back with the last portion of my round up. Can you take it?

It’s been quite a few days since my last one, mainly due to unsavoury things like work, unpacking, and all of those dreaded things like L-A-U-N-D-R-Y.  Those perpetually boring and dreary tasks. I am not even half way through and I am doing it slowlly but if I start to write I feel guilty for skiving, sheesh. A girl can only do so much before losing her mind so I am back for a little post. Forgive me if I whizz through this installment.

Back to the kaleidoscopic tour of my 2009. A year full of food, wine, extreme busy-ness, a smattering of chaos and a small bit of travel.

Covent Garden Stall - The Girl & The Sleuth

I left you last at August. I was just about to begin my market stall at Covent Garden Real Food Market. Well, I say just about to begin, all that I knew then was that I would be doing it just once. I was working at the time and could only get the actual day of the market off which made for much late night slicing of cucmbers for relish, and early rising to make many large and alien looking soda breads. Nothing is straight forward, and our prosecco delivery was scheduled to arrive at the market at 11am.

Smoked Salmon and Soda Bread w/ Cucumber Pickle

So, not having the experience yet that would make me baulk in horror at this, I attempted to get myself and my wares to Covent Garden on the tube. Many hours later, I was sore from exertion, but mainly from laughing. We had a fantastic day, Denise dishing out the Bisol Jeio Prosecco, and me piecing together the soda bread and Frank Hederman smoked salmon, completed with cucumber pickle.

Covent Garden Stall - The Girl & The Sleuth

We had lots of visitors. So many from twitter, and lots of people that read our blogs. It was a unexpected and fantastic. The heavens opened in the early evening and it rained, with a vengeance and wrath, but we would not be beaten, and we were the last to leave, as pickled as the cucumbers and very happy. That evening haunted me for weeks later, we certainly made an impression.

Jars of cucumber pickle

How could we resist an invitation back? My job was finishing, so I couldn’t come back the following week but we were there the week after, and the week after, and the week after that, for many weeks leading right up to Christmas. Who could have guessed? Certainly not me. It’s hard work, really hard work and ridiculous hours, often 5am through to 9pm, with a glimmer of a break for a quick dash to the loo.  It’s not easy to make money, it’s probably the worst hourly rate I’ve ever made.

Covent Garden Real Food Market - Week 3

Why do it? I really loved it and I accept that I am learning, the challenge isn’t the cooking but everything else that has to be considered. I carried on for 5 months, slow roasting pork for 8 hours and serving it with spiced apple relish in home made bread rolls (blaas from Waterford), slow roast lamb shoulder with smoky aubergine relish, chickpea and chorizo soup, spiced pumpkin soup, black bean chilli, pumpkin spinach, goat’s cheese and chilli rolls, caramelised onion and goat’s cheese tart, blackberry filo tart and favourites chorizo and pork sausage rolls.

Chorizo & Pork Rolls

The market is closed for now but I am hoping to go back this year. Watch this space, when I have further details I will post them.

Lille

I had a fantastic trip to Lille (A Lille Adventure), was listed in Saveur’s Best of the Web and made
Chorizo, tomato, cannellini bean & coriander brunch and Spiced duck legs with pancetta & coriander potatoes.

Little Foodie Break in Lille

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/niamheen/3855364303/” title=”Lille by Niamheen, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2598/3855364303_999d101bb2.jpg” width=”380″ height=”500″ alt=”Lille” /></a>

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August finished with a lovely Australian Wine Tasting at Bibendum where we sampled some really good wines, favourites of the night for me were from d’Arenberg, and some great food including wagyu beef and hot smoked kingfish.

Bibendum Wine Tasting - Fab Wagyu Beef.

September, I got creative with my food, only kidding but I do love this photo!

Sunday Brunch: food with a face

But really, September started with a bang with a wonderful evening at Dine with Dos Hermanos at The Bull & Last. My first trip here, I was extremely impressed by the honest and brilliantly executed food and the charming staff.

Dine with Dos Hermanos at The Bull & Last

Dine with Dos Hermanos at The Bull & Last

I had the Hawksmoor Burger. Rich and intense, I loved it and went back and had it again. I may be having one tomorrow too.

I ran A Little Cookery Course and we had lots of fun.

Junior Apprentice had a stall at the market, I believe it will be on TV soon. Hilarious.

Covent Garden Stall - Week 4

I made Beetroot, Tomato & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets with Mint

Hosted Guilty Pleasures: Part Deux:

… and that’s it for now. I promise Part 5 will be the last one and then I will get on with 2010! I have some recipes to post already.

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Farewell to 2009! Another Year Over [Part 3]

Farewell to 2009! Another Year Over [Part 3]

A smattering of lost January, June, July and a little bit of August

Champagne Room at the Annual Bibendum Wine Tasting

I was a bit remiss in the first portion of my 2009 round up forgetting a number of things that happened at the start of 2009. Little things like an enormous wine tasting taking over the entire Saatchi Gallery from Bibendum Wine which was an amazing introduction to so many wines. The gallery was divided into rooms, champagne room, fine wines room, French room and many more.

Not content with having all of this wine to sample, we also had a Twitter Taste Live there a multi location wine tasting where tasting notes are shared online in 140 characters, over twitter. It was fantastic fun. Anthony Rose, wine  writer for The Independent joined us for a while.

Twitter Taste Live at The Saatchi Gallery

I had lunch beforehand at Scotts of Mayfair, which was perfectly nice, but didn’t blow me away, and a mention in the Independent in June 2009 as a Grub 2.0 food blogs to devour, which was another lovely surprise.

I also forgot a few little things from June. Well, that’s a lie, I just wanted to finish the post as quickly as possible so neglected to include them, as the post was starting to addle my tired brain. You see, while in Ireland, I only had mobile internet via a Three dongle, and could only get reception when perched at the end of the couch by the corner of my sisters living room. At that it was slow and constantly cutting out. Do you see how devoted I am to this cause?

Now I am en route home, via many trains, and my dongle has given up the ghost, having lost its identity after the trip to Ireland, it no longer knows its number, and I am damned if I do. So I am researching flickr on my phone, searching those photographic memories, as my actual memory just doesn’t do the job. I am stuck in a freezing cold waiting room, thanking all that is good and holy that I had the foresight to wear an enormous bulky jumper, trying to ignore the smell of pee, and the myriad selection of teenagers socialising and desperately trying to impress each other. I am trying not to snarl, but I am doing a very bad job of it. I am tired people, this is difficult.

Hot Stuff, Vauxhall

So, in June, now a proud member of the work Curry Club, I went to Hot Stuff in Vauxhall with some colleagues. A local and very popular restaurant, I had heard a lot about it, and it was high on my list. It’s been compared to Tayyab’s in the quality and price range, it also appears to have a similar cult status. We descended en masse, well a masse of 9 or 10, and ordered almost everything on the menu. It was all light and fragrant, and mostly delicious. It impressed and I want to go back.

I attended a book launch for a self published book by Aneke Spacie, Twisted Favourites, and Tony Hadley turned up! All true. It was really interesting, and inspiring to see someone who is so fired up. The food is lovely too. Further details here.

Tortilla pizza!

I resurrected the tortilla pizza with a myriad of different ingredients, this was my favourite version with smoked buffalo mozarella & oak roasted tomatoes, topped with chilli fried rocket.

Broad bean & prosciutto carbonara

I made marrow lasagne, an old favourite I have yet to blog and a good one for the veggies. I also rolled out some summer pastas, prosciutto and broad bean carbonara and crab linguine.

marrow lasagne

I experimented with Bavette from Jack O’Sheas, Mark Hix style, marinading overnight in olive oil. It was sensational.

Bavette

The next culinary stop was Tapas Fantasticas off Brick Lane, a mini festival showcasing Spanish wines and food, featuring Spanish restaurants from London and some chefs that had come from Spain. Sadly it disappointed as we had to queue for far too long, and when we got in there, I found the crowd all elbows and rudeness. Having sampled some really good food, and some ok wine, we decided to leave. I am sure there was great wine there, but I was finding the experience stressful, and was happy to go relax elsewhere. I often think that these free festivals would benefit from a token charge of even just £5, as the crowd control, queuing and competitive elements would be very much reduced. We’ll see, hopefully this year they will agree. One of my food highlights there were these little Moro kebabs which were like kebabs squared with regard to flavour. There were also wonderful little croquetas from Asador Sagartoki in Spain.

Tapas Fantastica

Tapas Fantastica

Also in June, I was experimenting a lot at home, and created a flickr photo set entitled “Experiments with Minced Meats”. I had lots of fun with this, creating a new and favourite spiced lamb meatballs in an aromatic tomato sauce, chorizo and pork meatballs, and lots of different types of burgers. I wasn’t regimented with these as they were the early stages of recipe development and so quite loose, so they weren’t blogged, but I hope to complete these soon.

Chorizo & Pork - the meatball experiment

At the end of June, I had one of my favourite culinary and London moments of 2009. I went into work very early, determined to sample the new Fernandez & Wells breakfast. So early in fact that I was too early for them, and had to go for a cup of coffee nearby. The breakfast was great, featuring Italian pancetta and a fried egg on a superb and enormous Flour Station muffin, with a Monmouth filter coffee for company.

Courgette flowers

I walked through London afterwards, edging towards my offices in Victoria, and with plenty of time to spare took a detour through St James Park, bumping into the allotment on the way. Curious, I peered my head around, and started talking to one of the allotment gardeners. I spied juicy tomatoes, bountiful herbs, and bouquets of courgette flowers. COURGETTE FLOWERS! Oh, how I want them. They are so hard to find, especially looking like as healthy and glorious this.

Deep fried courgette flowers

I asked the gardener what they did with them. I give them to a lady friend of mine, he replied, she cooks with them. Oh, I retorted, disappointed. He asked what I would do with them, and I listed a flurry of possibilities. He looked around and said, well, she won’t be in until later this week anyway, so do you want a few to take home. YES, PLEASE! I was delighted, they were so pretty and bright, here comes the vegetable bride.

So, off I went, excited and full of stories of great breakfasts, new found enormous breakfast muffins, and altruistic gardeners, but I was first in the office that day, so reluctantly I consigned my floral cargo to the fridge and uploaded my photo to twitter to share my bright yellow news. Later that evening I stuffed them with Irish cheeses Crozier Blue a bold and creamy sheeps blue cheese, and Knocklara, a sharp and tangy sheeps cheese made locally in Waterford. I battered them with tempura batter, deep fried them, and then drizzled them with honey, as they did at Dehesa and Salt Yard, and proudly presented them to a visiting friend. We devoured them in seconds. If a courgette could shriek, it would have done so that night. Blog post here.

Then July rolled in. Summer was here and I was happy as could be with long walks in St James Park soaked in sometimes sunshine at lunchtime. The only downside was the appalling lunch options in Victoria, and my lack of time to make any of my own. I was out and about too much you see.

Next, a fillet steak dinner at home with rocket and horseradish cream. I had a fresh horseradish root to play with and I fancied a change. This was followed later that week by a trip to one of my favourite London restaurants, the Peter Gordon’s Providores in Marylebone, this time to the Tapas room, the cheaper and more casual downstairs option. We munched on ginger and garlic roast pumpkin with goat’s curd, grilled artichokes, cape gooseberries, black vinegar dressing, walnuts and sumac lavosh, crispy crab and tapioca cakes with sriracha yoghurt,  Cyprus lamb and bulgar wheat köfte with orange and olive salad, Turkish yoghurt and pomegranate molasses dressing, sautéed garlic snails on chorizo mash with oloroso and parsley, twice cooked middlewhite pork belly on massaman lentils with spinach and sambal bajak and spring rolls of confit duck and chicken, shiitake and feta with green chilli jam. It was an excellent meal, and the wine list is really great, offering some lovely wines by the glass, allowing me to try a few different ones.

Now even more obsessed with courgettes than before, I was desperately seeking a courgette plant at precisely the time when nobody was selling them, they were no longer seedlings you see and all the sensible folk and the planners had snapped them all up. I had just given up, when I happened upon an unlikely supplier, a flower stand in Covent Garden Jubilee Hall market that had one courgette plant and one aubergine plant, which I nabbed immediately and proudly carted home to North East London. I am one of those people that desperately wants an allotment, but I can’t even get on the waiting list for my local one, so two little plants in my small rented garden were the height of my gardening achievements last year, and at that, the aubergine bore no fruit. I do have my herbs of course, but they hardly count. I want to grow vegetables. Some chickens would be nice too.

My courgette plant

The rest of the month I stuffed mushrooms, made salads and went home to visit my tiny new niece. Five spice duck breast was a flavoursome mid month supper.

I attended the launch of Cherry Aid at Le Café Anglais, sample lots of wonderful English cherries and wolfed down some excellent cherry based canapés from chef Rowley Leigh. That was a really interesting day, and a very worthwhile cause, cherry farmers were there promoting their English cherries, some of which are breeds which they are trying to revive. As with almost all producers that I have ever met, they were passionate and knowledgeable, and trying their very beast to succeed in a world which is increasingly dominated by blandness and chains. So, this year, get out there and try them, if we don’t they will surely disappear.

Cherry Aid
Cherry Aid

Following this I attended one of my favourite wine tastings of the year, an effervescent Italian Wine Tasting at Bibendum Wine. Representatives of each wine were on hand to tell us all about them, feed us fantastic food favourites being the Venetian nibbles to match the Bisol Jeio and Credo. We had a great night, and wandered home with a box of cherries and wine leftovers (shame? Us?). The next day, there was a trail of cherries reminiscent of the breadcrumb trail in Hansel and Gretel, it would have been easy to find us, if you could be bothered.

Bibendum Wine Tasting

Eeek, it’s still only July! Are you still with me?

Roast mushroom soup failure revealed a delicious bruschetta with chive cream, and there were many further interpretations of brunch. I roasted some pork belly for friends and paid a first strip to would be favourite Jai Shri Krishna.

Roast Spiced Pork Belly

Visiting friends gave me lots of opportunities to cook. Pea soups, spiced roast pork belly, chickpea and pomegranate salad, burnt aubergine, peppers and tomato salad, lentil & spinach soup with harissa croutons and strawberries with balsamic vinegar and honey.


We ended the month perfectly with Dine with Dos Hermanos at Casa Brindisa, a great event with lots of interesting people, good food and delicious wines and sherries. Thanks Simon!

The Spanish theme continuted with a Tio Pepe sherry & tapas evening at Camino in King’s Cross, somewhere I had frequented regularly during my many years working locally. It was a really fun evening. Charles Campion came along, and sadly (for him) had to briefly endure some sherry fuelled ranting from me.

IMG_4316

I had been approached about doing the Covent Garden Real Food Market, and thought that it might be fun. I also really liked the idea of, for once, having people taste and eat my food. What to cook though, that was the question that rattled my petite addled brain. As I was working full time, I could only commit to one time, so we settled on a date. It would be difficult, as with the project I was working on, I couldn’t take any days off around it, but I wanted to do it, so decided that I would make it happen.

What to serve, given the time constraints? It had to be high quality, and something I would be proud off. It should have some cultural relevance. I am very proud of Irish food, and am always slightly dismayed when people with no experience of modern Irish food culture disrespect it. But, I had no time.

Belvelly Smokehouse

Then, a brainwave. What about Frank Hederman Smoked Salmon? One of my favourite things in the world. In Selfridge’s it retails at somewhere around £70 a kilo, so that wasn’t an option, besides it wasn’t always in stock, but what if I went home and went straight to the source? I would love to visit and see the smokehouse anyway. That was it, a perfect plan was starting to hatch.

On Holiday In Ireland

On Holiday In Ireland in August

Fishy Cargo

So, I contacted Frank and arranged a visit on a rainy trip home for my nieces christening, and after a lovely half hour at the smokehouse, wandered back to London with an enormous box of smoked fish, that fellow passengers eyed with caution and perplexity, and airline staff ignored. Clearly I wasn’t travelling RyanAir. I felt it was only right to have an open brown soda bread sandwich with Frank Hederman smoked salmon in the airport bar which I thoroughly enjoyed, save the iceberg lettuce, but that is one of the downsides of lunching in an airport bar.

Frank Hederman Smoked Salmon on Soda Bread at Cork Airport Bar

I then embarked on a culinary adventure that would carry me through to the end of the year. What a lovely surprise. Come back and read my next installment for the details.