Month: July 2010

Bitesize: Serpentine Gallery Sleepover, Michelin Star Pop-Up at Cowes Week, Festival Brazil at the Southbank Centre and Ping!

Bitesize is back! Every 2 weeks, I will be publishing a selection of interesting things, almost all food and drink related that you may want to do. Serpentine Gallery Sleepover Professional insomniacs or those aspiring may want to check out the sleepover at the Serpentine Gallery. The Serpentine Gallery and the V&A will stage a unique overnight event of talks, films, experiments and a midnight feast in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010 designed by Jean Nouvel. Artists, architects and musicians amongst others will host activities throughout the night, exploring ideas of mapping sleep and the psychedelic qualities of insomnia. You might want to go, because jellymongers Bompass & Parr will be presenting Power Trifles trifles,  containing either calming remedies or powerful stimulants which may keep you up all night (they’re everywhere, right?!). There will also be a Bombay Sapphire Twilight Bar serving specially created night-cap cocktails. http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2010/06/park_nightssleep_overfriday_30.html Cowes Week Cowes Week is the one of the UK’s longest running sporting events (beginning in 1826) and one of the world’s best know sailing regattas. This year will see …

A Fine Brunch: Homemade Soda Farls, Morcilla & Eggs

I am quite lazy in the morning, but quite demanding of what is put in my mouth. I only want good bread, to scoop up the runny yolk from my Old Cotswold Legbar eggs, but don’t want to travel to get it. In my neck of the woods we have some great Jewish bakeries but Saturday is Sabbath and they are all closed. What to do? I don’t want to spend ages proving bread (even though I know I should). So, back to my humble roots I go, it’s time for soda farls. Fried Irish bread, especially for breakfast. That statement is not dismissive. Soda farls are terrific, and so easy to make. The same as making soda bread, bar the cooking process which is so quick. The farls are cut from the round of dough, and fried on each side for up to 8 minutes over a moderate heat, delivering crisp bronzed farls , perfect for tearing and dipping into your gorgeous egg yolk and scooping some morcilla. I defy you not to chomp …

Braised Gem Lettuce, Broad Beans, Peas & Ham with Quails Eggs

As I peered down at my green fingernails, I wondered if it was worth it. Of course it was. I love fresh broad beans and double podded (big pod and little skin removed) is the only way to go. So succulent and sweet, and with fresh peas, well, that’s summer sorted, right? Fresh peas I love too. Folk say they’re overrated and that they lose their natural sweetness a couple of hours after being picked. I love the texture and the sweetness you get with them, and there is a certain satisfaction to podding your own. How to make it substantial? Well, braised lettuce is a perfect partner, intensified, slippery and sweet. Some shredded spring onions, and smoked ham cut into strips. Sounds good? Well, let’s make it better by adding some perfectly boiled quails eggs. I love the precision of boiling quails eggs. Dropped into a gently boiling pan of water for exactly 2 minutes 45 seconds and cooled under running water, you will get a perfect soft quails egg every time. This dish …

Join in on the Tapas Revolution

From a brief meeting with Omar Allibhoy, I am convinced that he could start a religion. Such passion and charisma, and boy, can he cook! I would join it for sure. My interest was piqued as soon as I heard about his Tapas Revolution, and when I found out that it was a personal mission, not PR driven or commerce led (he’s not promoting his restaurant, or a book or anything like that), I had to know more. Omar and his friend Danny, both Spanish and passionate about honest home cooked food and both chefs, Omar trained by Ferran Adria at El Bulli is head chef at El Pirata de Tapas, Danny is the head chef at a school in Elephant & Castle. They are perplexed as to why people don’t cook tapas at home. We go to great lengths to make curries and pastas, but tapas rarely ventures beyond some fried chorizo for most. They want to change that, so they have plotted a T on the map of England, and are whizzing around it on their 50 …

A Very English Afternoon: Polo, Picnic, Afternoon Tea & Champagne at the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup

Well, there’s not been many recipes here, has there? And sincere apologies for that. I try to keep things balanced on this blog, recipes, reviews, recommendations and travel but I’ve hardly been in lately, so recipes have slipped. Woryy not, I have two whole days pencilled in for cooking this weekend and I will be making marshmallow, tarts and lots of lunch/picnic stuff. There should be lots to look forward to in that regard soon. I’ve been taking advantage of the summer, there’s so much going on and we actually have nice weather too. Nice weather?! Who would have thought. I’m pink and smiling and thoroughly enjoying picnics in the parks, dinners al fresco, supper clubs and so many other things. It feels like London is bubbling over with exciting things and smiling people. Some cranks too, but I’ve come to ignore them. So, Polo? Eh? I know! Well, I’ve been in London 9 years and I have never been so I could not resist the invite. What is it all about anyway? Men on horses with sticks, chasing a …

We need to talk about Josper

Josper! Whazzat? That’s how our conversation went yesterday afternoon, when the Josper (pronouced H-osper) was introduced to the conversation. I started to explain, retreated and promised that I would write about it today. A Spanish super hot charcoal oven, only 9 restaurants in the UK have one, and happily, I am well acquainted with three: Hawksmoor, L’Anima & most recently Chapters. You can see from the temperature dial at the top, how intensely hot these ovens get – up to 900 degrees. I stood next to one when the door was opened at 850 degrees, and the heat that erupted was so intense that I jumped backwards involunatarily. As you can see, I like to live on the smoky edge. Clearly, this isn’t a normal oven, and the quality of the food produced from it is far from normal too. Such intense heat and the charcoal coals produce fantastic charred perfectly rare Longhorn steaks at Hawksmoor, tender and smoky mackerel and juicy steaks at Chapters and smoky and tender bright orange mussels at L’Anima. And that’s just the …

The Complete History of Food from Bompass & Parr

So, you’ve read a few reviews of The Complete History of Food, I would wager, by now. That culinary dream team Bompass & Parr have once again captured our imaginations. They’ve somehow acquired an enormous abandoned house in Belvedere Square for a few days, and have transformed it into a mind bending, sometimes nerve wracking but always entertaining food & drink experience. At 15 minute intervals, small groups are ushered through the experiences in waves of anticipation. Greeted by a wizardly looking gentleman, an overview is given, then a cocktail prescribed. I was told that I was phlegmy (I do have a deep voice and I have been out a lot!), and was prescribed a corresponding cocktail to increase my yellow bile. I was feeling quite bilious as it happened but I kept schtum and made my way to the medieval pirate ship, constructed in the garden. We had to traverse a pool of live eels, via very narrow platforms. My nerves gave way, I am way too clumsy to attempt this, and they kindly let …