Month: May 2010

A Little Break in West Cork

Hi folks! Apologies, but my next Posh Lunch Club post (from Viajante) will be a little delayed as I am in Cork for a week. Hope to get it up in the next few days. For now I am at home for a wedding in gorgeous Glandore in West Cork. It’s really beautiful here, and very sunny. Sensibly sunny though if I may say so. Not like when it got hot in London last week, and as much as I loved it, I was burned, chomped on by some critter or other while asleep, leaving me with big swollen bites, and it was just that little bit too hot for someone as pale as me with blood those critters can’t get enough of. It always seems better with that sea breeze anyway. I’ve missed the sea, both the water and the salty sea air. I’ve missed my friends too. So, I am going to down tools for a little bit and enjoy it! Not long though, I will be back soon with some food stuff …

The Times: 40 Bloggers Who Really Count

Just over 3 weeks ago, I received an email from a gentleman at The Times. He wanted to let me know that I would be included on a piece on bloggers in The Times that Saturday (May 1st). How exciting! Prompted by this discovery, I managed to get out of bed early on a Saturday (now, that rarely happens), and got myself a copy. Where was the piece? I couldn’t find it. Eventually I uncovered it, in the magazine! I was included in a piece titled “40 bloggers who really count”. What an honour. I was in surprising company too. There were celebrities David Byrne (amazing) and Gwyneth Paltrow (ok!). Inspiring people like Naomi Klein. Two champion fellow food bloggers Dos Hermanos & James Ramsden. And me. I’ve had so many lovely lovely emails from you that I just wanted to say thanks. And also to apologise to those that I haven’t been able to reply to. I get a lot of email these days, from new bloggers that are looking for advice to people looking for …

Some Recipes for Summer from the Archives

How glorious is this weather? I am pink-pink-pink from some exposure yesterday, and as a result, I am sitting inside waiting for the sun to sink a little before I expose my poor skin to its naked rays. I am thinking food and had a browse of my summer archives. Here’s some recipes you might want to try. Eat outside of course, that’s what I am planning to do. Bring on the summer picnics. Prawn Curry Burnt aubergine with sweet peppers and red onion Broad beans, green garlic & mint bruschetta Fregola Sarda with Asparagus, heirloom tomato and goat’s curd Tagliatelle with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovies and Pecorino Chargrilled peach & speck salad Broad Bean and Prosciutto Carbonara Crab Linguine

Intolerant of Intolerance: A Personal Story

Everyone has got an opinion – I have plenty of my own. What grates is when people have got an opinion about something that they have no experience of, especially when they’ve got it completely wrong. I’ve seen many posts accusing lactose intolerants of being food intolerant, for reasons relating to weight, fussiness or the bizarre notion that it’s trendy or a middle class affliction. Jay Rayner had a rant on the Guardian, Ms Marmite Lover had a rant on her blog. I’ve even had people tell me that they are lactose intolerant but can eat milk and cheese, so what’s the issue with me?  So, I thought it high time to share a lactose intolerant side of the story. Being lactose intolerant is not a choice. I adore dairy. I love butter, cream, cheese, buttermilk, I love it all. But it doesn’t love me. It wasn’t clear until my mid 20’s that it was an issue, but for reasons as yet undetermined I was very ill. I have always had trouble with my tum and …

(Cornish) Posh Lunch Club at Tom’s Kitchen

This weeks Posh Lunch Club is a little different. I was treated to a preview of a Cornish Simple Pleasures menu at Tom’s Kitchen in Kensington, a showcase of some of the finest Cornish produce. Very much a fishy affair with MSC certified Cornish mackerel and Cornish mullet fresh from Cornish day boats taking the stage for the starter and main course, with Apple Tart Fine and Cornish Kelly’s Ice Cream (indulgently made with clotted cream) for dessert. A little first on MSC certification. The MSC’s fishery certification program and seafood ecolabel recognise and reward sustainable fishing. By promoting the best environmental choices in seafood, they are helping to protect the over fished and traumatised sea beds, and hopefully, will ensure that as a result, there will be fish available for everyone for years to come. That of course is dependant on us the consumers making more responsible choices and supporting what they do when we shop and eat out. I try to, and it’s becoming easier, there’s a handy guide on their website if you’d …

Recipe: Roast Pork & Black Bean Chilli

On a trip to the butcher recently, I spied a hand of pork, an old school cut that you don’t see so often now and certainly never in the supermarkets. It’s a meaty cut, the lower part of the shoulder, often with some of the leg still attached. It has more fat than the leg or loin but less than the belly or shoulder and so is perfectfor a roast, with plenty of flavour and moisture from the fat, but is not so fatty that you worry for your health. It’s also got lots of skin for crackling and is usually terrific value for money. I predict that it will become the next trendy cut. I roasted it when I got home as this particular evening demanded the simplicity of it, and the time. Unusual to want more time, but I was shattered and wanted a nap as it was roasting.  It was simple with the usual tricks: hot water over the scored skin to puff the skin up so that it would deliver better …

Moving Food: For Me, A Steak

I am cocooned in a sea of boxes and enormous bags full of pointless unnecessary treasures. I have moved house. It started in an organised fashion, but as time escaped descended into more chaotic survival packing, chucking everything into boxes, vaguely ordered by room, vaguely ordered by nonsense. Surrounded by stuff, I was without all of it, for I had no idea where anything was. I know that all you organised kids are tearing your hair out now, shocked at the chaos of it all, but really, isn’t moving always like this, at least on some level for everyone? Faced with the challenge of imminent overwhelming hunger and no plans for dinner, and no clue as to where to retrieve my kitchen tools at short notice, I uncovered the hob from beneath a stack of boxes, retrieved my bright orange cast iron pan as it was easy to spot, and charred a steak which was quickly and hungrily devoured. Steak offers sustenance and it’s speedy food. A good steak tastes great, charred on the outside …

The General Election: Parliamentary Waffle House Election Special

So, that’s that. We voted, and now we’re waiting. The Tories have more votes than anyone else. I thought I should do something to lift my own and your flagging spirits (except for the Conservatives among you that is – you should enjoy this too anyway). On the night of the general election I got myself a ticket for the Parliamentary Waffle House Election Special from Bompass & Parr so that I could watch it unfold with some friends, soe gin, and a bit of fun and surrealism. Think Gin Cloud Machine (a walk in breathable gin cocktail), nail polishticians willing to give you a political manicure, prominent politican pinata, a gingerbread recreation of the gherkin, pork belly sandwiches, pie polls and many more election themed adventures running through the night until 8am. I didn’t last that long, for I had a busy day Friday, but I had enormous fun while I was there, and can’t think of anywhere better to watch the exit polls and initial coverage. For your pleasure, here’s some photos from …

Posh Lunch Club at Texture

There has been a lull in the transmission of Posh Lunch Club – apologies. The lull was only a week, but a week is a long time in politics blogging. I have been busy moving house and it has been a difficult transition. My new place is better located, and lovely and bright, but it is much smaller, and as a result I have a ridiculous amount of excess stuff. This takes sorting and dispensing, so it was lovely to escape from the chaos and indulge in a Posh Lunch with Sig of Scandilicious once more. We had chosen to go to Texture, an Icelandic restaurant near Marble Arch. Iceland you say? You’ve heard of that recently? Well, this is possibly the star in the Icelandic crown. Forget attention seeking Eyjafjallajokull, that infernal volcano spouting puffing ash clouds all over the northern horizon and ruining everyone’s holiday plans. Forget about the collapse of the economy. Londoners, when you think of Iceland, you need to think Texture and you need to go there. Why? Well, it’s …

Drumroll! Competition Winners and their Fantastic Stories

What a terrific response there was to the competition last weekend for the Real Food Festival tickets and the Cornishware mugs. I only wish I could have given everyone something – it was lovely to received so many comments from you all (100 in total!) and to hear some of your hilarious stories. *DRUMROLL* The winners are: The gorgeous Cornishware mugs were won by Zoe Wells. For the Real Food Festival Tickets: Sonia Porter, Zoe Vanderwolk, Caroline Duong & Louise Hughes. Congratulations all! The winners were chosen randomly using the random number generator at http://www.random.org. All ladies this time even though many guys entered. It’s the luck of the draw I guess. Your comments were superb, I can’t tell you how nice it was to hear from you and to get your fab feedback and your wonderful stories and in some cases poems! I hope you don’t mind me sharing some here. They are too good not to :) Next time, I am giving a prize for best comment too. Maybe someone would like to …

Recipe: Israeli Cous Cous, Beetroot Shards, Fresh Buffalo Cheese & Pea Shoots

Some of my favourite dishes are happy culinary accidents. You have a plan, it seems perfect and then for some reason something doesn’t work. Frustrating, but somehow, the solution offers up an alternative that you might not have thought of, so instead of one new dish, sometimes you have two. I found myself in that situation this morning. I have declared May a month of health, of vibrant lunches full of flavour, and of new dishes. I was making it last night, and had some enormous beetroots that I bought at the farmers market on the boil for well over an hour and a half, but they were still hard. I left them in the hot water overnight, hoping that they might cook a little as it cooled down, but they didn’t. I guess they were really very big! So, I was left with some semi-cooked, but still mostly raw beetroots which wouldn’t fit in with my original recipe idea. What to do with them? One thing was for sure, I was bringing lunch in, so …

Make Room for Asparagus

It’s a sure sign that summer is nigh when English asparagus starts to grace our shelves. It’s a welcome moment in my year, as it indicates a splurge of seasonal food availability. I’ve come up with as many recipes for kale as I can manage, and as much as I love it, I am ready to move on. Bring on the wild garlic, asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli, nettles and on and on. The fresher the better, straight from the ground asparagus has a delicious sweetness and intensity of flavour, I ate some raw last year as it gave it’s death squeal on the tip of an allotmenteers knife. I’ve been making the most of the season so far, as I always do, and it’s graced many a brunch, lunch and dinner. What to do with it? Simplicity is key. It’s fabulous steamed or fried and lightly salted and used as soldiers for soft gooey eggs. Yesterday morning I couldn’t resist adding another savoury note by wrapping each spear in the finest of parma ham, drizzling …