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RECIPE: Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

I never even heard of toad in the hole as a child. I may have heard it referred to but I always thought that it referred to Toad of Toad Hall of The Wind in the Willows. I was quite surprised to discover it was a joyous and simple concoction of sausages roasted in Yorkshire batter. Delicious!

This is super easy to prepare at home and I am sharing the recipe with you today very quickly, because I really think you need to make it. I have also made this with the cocktail cooking chorizo sausages from Brindisa in a muffin tray. They were so cute I half wanted to tuck them up in bed instead of eating them.

For this, I used common or garden proper pork sausages. That taste of pork and just that. I am not liking the trend of sticking all types of things in sausages. Some things are best left simple (unless they are very good and then I am ok with that).

This makes enough for 2 with 2 sausages each. Or if cooking for 1 as I was, enough for 1 and a big Yorkshire pudding for later. I often cook for 1, and it upsets me that people think it is pointless to do so. We should all cook for ourselves and take pleasure in it.

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

RECIPE: Toad in the Hole

serves 1

Ingredients

1 egg
50g plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt
150ml whole milk
2 sausages
one small tray that will accomodate two sausages and wiggle room
flavourless oil or – indulgently – duck fat

Method

Whisk together the salt, egg, milk and flour until there is no lumps and leave aside for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 200 deg C and lightly roast the sausages in a little oil / fat until they are starting to brown.

Remove the sausages and add more fat, it should cover the whole of the bottom of the pan (or you won’t get a nice crisp bottom). Heat in the oven then add the sausages and pour in the batter until it comes half way up the sausages. Put the leftover batter in another small tin with fat to cook a Yorkshire pudding. Or make a second one.

Roast for 20 minutes, in white time the pastry will puff up and crisp.

Eat with gravy and lots of it.

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My Favourite London Places to Eat (my Top 10 London Restaurants, if you will)

I have a shortlist of must eat places that I visit every time I am back in town. Places that offer comfort, deliciousness and that make me feel right at home. Bowls of loveliness and pies of joy, spicy fabulous curries and fatty fabulous seekh kebabs. This is not a list of anything specific, like my favourite fine dining or cheap eats, but a list of the places that I think about when I travel and head straight for when I get back.

I always promise that I will share these, but I never do. (I don’t know why, I suspect it is because I find things like this a bit of a Sophie’s Choice). There are restaurants that I love that aren’t on here as they are more occasion type places for me (L’Anima, Racine & The Ledbury, for example). They are centred around Soho, and in South London where I live, but these are places that I travelled to before I lived here from the North and East and are destinations for me. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.

So, here you are, enjoy. I know you will love them as much as I do. I have eaten at each one many times. (Photos are random and are a mix of camera phones and random cameras – I will update with proper photos as I go).

Koya – the best udon in London, these are as good as any (and better than some) in Japan. Made fresh daily using the traditional 5 hour under-the-foot method, bonito is shaved fresh for the soup stock (which goes a little way to explaining the flavour and vibrancy). Everything is good here, and don’t ignore the specials. I recently had a divine udon with tempura hake, wild garlic and leek, and I just can’t stop thinking about. When ordering udon, be sure to order tanuki (crispy tempura bits) and onsen tamago (slow poached egg). Served cold may sound odd, but when cold they have terrific texture. I let the weather choose whether I go cold or hot. The drinks list has some lovely sakes, wine, beer and cider. I try to stick to sake when I go. When in Rome (or in London) etc.

Koya, 49 Frith St, London, Greater London W1D 4SG, United Kingdom, no reservations

José & Pizarro – I can’t mention one without the other, José and Pizarro are two restaurants owned by Spanish chef José (yes) Pizarro. José is a relaxed tapas and sherry bar on a street corner in Bermondsey, always full and with a brilliant atmosphere. All of the food is great but especially good are the tortilla, jamon, gazpacho and croquetas. With a glass of sherry, of course (the list is excellent). A 5 minute walk away sits the younger sibling, although it feels a little more mature. A touch more formal, although really not by very much, Pizarro serves a more structured menu and an excellent and great value Menu del Dia during the week.

José, 104 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UB, United Kingdom, no reservations
Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey St, London Borough of Southwark, London SE1, United Kingdom

Prawns at Pizarro

Prawns at Pizarro

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar – Bone Daddies is fierce. It is the type of ramen that grabs you by the chops and wrestles you into submission. Big flavours, lots of heat, and rich broths, this is the real deal and is really considered. The tantanmen was my favourite until I became too weak or it became too hot. Now I favour the super rich and silky tonkotsu, and the kimchi tonkotsu when it is on special. With punchy kimchi, corn, and some fine grated parmesan, it hits every spot, even some that I didn’t know I had. Soft serve ice cream is a must. The flavours change daily, I have had the green tea and I hear that the black sesame is very good. There is a great sake list and this is where I focus my attention, although the Fever Tree ginger beer is pretty good too.

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar, 31 Peter St, London, Greater London W1F 0AR, UK, no reservations

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Bone Daddies Tonkotsu & Sake

Lima – my favourite Peruvian food in London and great cocktails too. The ceviche (sea bream) is the best in town, as is the pisco sour. Braised tender octopus with bubbles of bitter rich olive and suckling pig with lentils are divine, and the chocolate with blue potato crystals – trust me – is a must. I need to go back and familiarise myself with the rest of the cocktail list, I rarely stray from the sours.

Lima, 31 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1JH, United Kingdom

Octopus with olive and quinoa at Lima

Abbeville Kitchen – local to me, but worth the journey, Abbeville Kitchen is a perfect local restaurant. Modern British, I love to go with friends and order some of the food to share, from Desperate Dan style pies (my favourite was venison and pickled walnut) to rib of beef, chips and bearnaise to share. Starters are lovely too, the charcuterie is particularly good. House cocktails make a perfect aperitif and the wine list is very fairly priced and accessible.

Abbeville Kitchen, 47 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 9JX, United Kingdom

Trinity – great food, great wine, accessible prices. Possibly the best priced tasting menu in town. Chef Adam Byatt and his team make many delicious things, but their taramasalata is the best I have ever tasted and their signature trotter dish is divine. Wine matching is excellent, and the prices aren’t intimidating. I brought a friend last year and he goes back now all the time with anyone that he can find that hasn’t been there yet.

Trinity, 4 The Polygon London SW4 0JG, United Kingdom

Pig trotter on sourdough with sauce gribiche, crackling and quail egg at Trinity

Lahore Karahi –  a small and way too bright Pakistani restaurant tucked away in a corner of Tooting, the Lahore Karahi is one of my favourite curry houses in London. I started obsessing about the lamb chop masala, four tandoor lamb chops in a thick, rich lamb masala sauce. I would always have these with the lamb seekh kebabs, and the chicken and fenugreek ones. But then I discovered the haleem. Which is a divine concoction of 3 types of lentils and lamb, smooth as silk and rich as velvet. It is only available at the weekends which is just as well. The prices are brilliant, with main courses circling £7 or less. BYO & no corkage, treat yourself to a visit.

Lahore Karahi, 1 Tooting High St, London SW17 0SN, United Kingdom

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Haleem at Lahore Karahi

Jen Café – I go here for the dumplings and the bubble tea in hungry moments in Chinatown. The dumplings are very simple, Beijing dumplings with pork, steamed and sometimes, if I am in the mood, fried. Always with a dipping sauce fashioned from the condiments on the table: black vinegar, (often a little too much) chilli oil, and a little soy sauce for sweetness, salt and balance. Never more than £10 and always satisfying. Althhough the staff can be quite rude, and they are inconsistent. (Update October 2013 – I now prefer to go to Leongs Legend Continues around the corner for the Xiao Long Bao, which are some of the best in London, and a cup of tea).

Jen Cafe, 4-8 Newport Place London WC2H 7JP

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Fried Beijing dumplings and watermelon pearl juice at Jen Cafe

Gelupo – gelato and granita, in cups, cones or sourdough donuts, there is very little not to love at Gelupo. Blood orange granita is a must, although the recipes are seasonal so be sure to explore. Look beyond the counter to the fridge for some chocolate covered ice cream, ice cream cakes and bon bons. At one point the even sold (terrific) charcuterie from sister restaurant Bocca di Lupo across the road.

Gelupo, 7 Archer St, London, Greater London W1D 7AU

Chilli Cool – I am adding this at the end and slightly tentatively as I used to love it here but haven’t been in a bit so including it here is slightly risky. I do often think of returning for the firey grouper and tofu hotpot, smothered in chillies and spiky sichuan pepper corns, a piece of fish or tofu rescued from the oils beneath is delicious. I was first brought here by a friend of a friend from Chengdu who loves it and did all of the ordering. I have been hooked to Sichuan food since. I last brought a friend who was so shocked by how hot it was – despite my pleas for him to drink aloe vera juice to soothe his palate – that he insisted we leave half way through. If you like hot food, you will love it. I do.

Chilli Cool, 15 Leigh St, London WC1H 9EW

Chilli Cool - Grouper Hot Pot

Have you any favourites that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments :)

Coming soon: more favourite London places, incl for fine dining, posh lunch, cheap eats, coffee, wine, brunch etc.

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Eat Like a Girl Named As One of the Top Travel Experts on Twitter (for food, of course)

When people hear what I do, their reaction is almost always “WOW! You have the best job”. And I might do. It has perks, and it also has pitfalls. My enthusiasm for my journey has compromised my waistline and sometimes my head. Have you ever been so exhausted after a big meal that you had to go to bed, only to repeat it again the next day and the day after? It seems a nonsense complaint and terrible in so many regards, but this is my reality. I am really not complaining at all.

I am starting to reign it all in. I eat out less than I did (but still a lot more than is normal). I walk a lot more (my phone is also a pedometer and it is like a tiny tyrant ticking away in my pocket). But, I will never fully control it, for where is the fun in that? I love it, from tucking in to BBQ pig tail in Barbados, to goose webs in Beijing. I will continue to devote my life to this madness, and store all the experiences here.

So, I was fairly delighted to receive an email this morning from Travel Media Group to say that I have been named as one of the “Top Travel Experts on Twitter”. In food, of course, along with Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern and Rick Griffin.

UHM, ok. I will take it. A little nervously. They are some pretty big players there, but from my little corner of the internet, I will carry on. And continue to love it and soak it all up.

Thanks for reading and you know, if you are not on twitter, you should really sign up. It is a lot of fun and I post lots there that never make it to the blog.

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Hunting Down the Waterford Blaa in Newfoundland (and a recipe for you to make it at home)

Waterford Lane, in St John's Newfoundland

Waterford Lane, in St John’s Newfoundland

Do I need to reintroduce you to the blaa? I probably do. The humble bread roll from Waterford, it is fluffy, square and white with a flour crust, and we are a little obsessed with it. It is thought that it came to Waterford with the Huguenots who called it blanc (because it was a simple white roll), but with our accent and a little time to erode it, it became a blaa.

It is a simple bread, slightly sweet with a little sugar and fluffy with a little butter. Allowed to rise slowly, it is the perfect vehicle for our traditional (and my favourite) chicken and stuffing sandwich. Also, for the occasional tayto (cheese & onion) crisp sandwich with butter to cushion the crisp.

Street art in St John's, Newfoundland, featuring fish (what we know as cod), a huge part of their culture

Street art in St John’s, Newfoundland, featuring fish (what we know as cod), a huge part of their culture

There used to be 60 bakeries in Waterford that baked the blaa, and it never really left it. You never used to see the blaa anywhere else. This has changed recently, in no small part due to the efforts of the remaining bakers, now only 4, who are trying to protect it and have applied for a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). To apply there needs to be at least 3 producers and we are getting low. As a result there has been some press, and I have seen the blaa pop up here and there a bit more.

St John's, Newfoundland. It was common to build houses on stilts, to cope with the dramatic surfaces of the land.

St John’s, Newfoundland. It was common to build houses on stilts, to cope with the dramatic surfaces of the land.

I used to make and sell them at my market stall in Covent Garden 4 years ago, where I made and sold my own food. Not content with doing anything that wouldn’t push me as far as possible and drive me (seemingly) close to deaths door, every day I would make a number of different dishes, always from scratch. Soups, stews, tarts, salads and sandwiches (and all on my own). I would get up at 5am and bake blaas fresh every morning, then serve them filled with overnight roast shoulder of pork and spiced apple relish, or spiced overnight roast shoulder of lamb, with aubergine and tomato relish. They were a hit and I always had a queue, so I ensured that these recipes made it into my cookbook, Comfort & Spice.

A house on the Battery in St John's, Newfoundland

A house on the Battery in St John’s, Newfoundland

I was speaking once with my father about Nova Scotia (as I have a good friend from there who I was visiting). He, previously a master cutter at Waterford Crystal, knew some ex colleagues who had moved to Nova Scotia to set up a crystal company there. And somewhere along the way, my father had discovered that they made the Waterford blaa in Newfoundland, and only there. That sounded familiar.

That had my attention and it has been in my head ever since. Food is culture, it tells you a lot about where you come from and the land itself. Newfoundland has many Waterford connections, not least in their accent which can be very similar to my own. It turns out that this is for a strong reason, Waterford city used to be the headquarters of the seasonal cod fishery in Newfoundland dating back to the 16th century. Many people from Waterford and surrounds travelled to Newfoundland to work in the cod industry as seasonal workers (mainly between 1763 and 1830) and lots stayed on. Their mark is still there, there are many Powers, Barrys, Butlers, McCarthys, in fact there are over 1300 Irish names on Newfoundland now.

I was fascinated and determined to seek the blaa out. I was sure it must be there but my initial research proved fruitless. I contacted the tourism board and a local historian, both super helpful, they tried but could not find my blaa. I was sure it must be there, so I took a risk and thought, if I can find a baker, I will visit. I was sure that they were making them, and that they have just given them a different name.

On my first day in St John’s, I popped into a local pub for a bowl of chowder, and served next to it was what I would know as a blaa. AH-HA! I knew it! What is it? Just a bread roll. But it isn’t. Not to me and most of Waterford at least. The next day I was meeting Lori Butler, a local baker and chef with a passion for Newfoundland food and recipes. We had communicated over email, and Lori had said that she made a bread roll, but wasn’t sure if it was a blaa. I was now fairly certain that it was.

Lori and her mother in law Regina

Lori and her mother in law Regina

We started early, in Waterford Valley in St John’s. We got the dough ready and left it for a first rise. Like most home home cooks, Lori does things by eye and by feel, using recipes that have passed through the generations. We left the dough to double gently and then portioned it into 8, rolling it in flour and leaving it to rise, all cosy and cuddled together, as blaas are.

Proving the dough

Proving the dough

Proving the dough

Proving the dough

Dividing the dough into 8

Dividing the dough into 8

I was now fairly certain that we were making blaas and I was excited. We allowed it rise again, gently on the side and then dusted it with a final flour flourish. We baked it, we tore them apart and I had a bite. This is a blaa, I declared! I knew it! I have found it. It was a little bigger than normal, but it was the very same bread. I was even happier when I discovered the roast turkey and dressing sandwich, which is similar to our roast chicken and stuffing sandwich except that here they pour warm gravy on also. I am taking that back with me. (Dressing in Newfoundland is stuffing made with savoury, in place of our thyme). They drink steeped tea too, something I always associate with my childhood in Ireland.

Steeped tea

Steeped tea

Dusting the bread with extra flour

Dusting the bread with extra flour

 

Ready to taste

Ready to taste

I found them! Lori and her home baked blaas

I found them! Lori and her home baked blaas

Lori had learned her bread recipe from her mother who had learned it from her mother in turn. I brought some with me to give to some other Newfoundlanders who all agreed that they had remembered their mothers making them too.

Here is to history and culture, the kindness of strangers, the food that brings us all together, and a humble little bread that travelled to the other side of the Atlantic and stayed the course.

My Blaa Recipe

be sure to have it with roast chicken, stuffing and gravy – OR – and you have my permission, some tayto crisps and butter ;)

Makes 8 blaas
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A BBQ in Halifax & a Recipe for Foil Wrapped Halibut with Garlic, Oregano & Lemon

BBQ Halibut with Oregano, Lemon, Chilli & Garlic

BBQ Halibut with Oregano, Lemon, Chilli & Garlic

A quick post for you today with a few photos. I am in Halifax now, staying with a fond old friend. When we both lived in London we often met over food and wine. Things are not much different now. We had planned a large dinner with her family, lots of dishes using the best of local produce. I was going to make my bacon fudge. Five minutes into cooking the propane went out. We had no cooker and oven.

What to do? It became a BBQ. Not one dish that we had planned could be made on the BBQ so:

Cajun prawns with grits became lemon & chill prawn skewers. The grits can wait for another session.

Chilli & Lemon Prawn Skewers

Chilli & Lemon Prawn Skewers

Halibut with chorizo, breadcrumb and herb crust became two dishes. Chorizo (the soft fresh cooking kind), tomato & pecorino koftes perched like little spicy torpedoes on the edge of the grill. Oregano, garlic and lemon woke the halibut from its slumber. We portioned it and put put each in an individual foil parcel with a simple marinade. The halibut was local (and bought in the lovely Seaport market in Halifax mid tropical storm) and beautifully tender and sweet, 15 minutes later it was perfectly cooked and delicous.

Chorizo, tomato & pecorino koftes

Chorizo, tomato & pecorino koftes

Chorizo, tomato & pecorino koftes

Chorizo, tomato & pecorino koftes

Halibut with Lemon, Oregano, Garlic & Chilli

Halibut with Lemon, Oregano, Garlic & Chilli

Asparagus and ruby chard met over an open flame instead of in a pot, and I even managed to kinda candy bacon in maple syrup on the BBQ and we served that, chopped into small bite size bits, on top. With more space and the right pot it is of course possible to make fudge, at this point, I decided to leave it though.

Ruby chard with asparagus (which later met garlic, evoo, sea salt and lemon)

Ruby chard with asparagus (which later met garlic, evoo, sea salt and lemon)

Israeli cous cous was briefly sauteed in olive oil before the propane went out. I covered it in boiling water from the kettle in a shallow pan (to about an inch above it). It soaked it all up and then I quickly steamed off the excess water on the BBQ in a foil tray. It then became a salad with goats cheese, confit tomatoes, chorizo (sauteed in a foil tray on the BBQ), red onions and herbs (which I forgot to take a photo of but I was more interested in the wine at that point :)

Prawn skewers & chorizo torpedoes - ready to eat

Prawn skewers & chorizo torpedoes – ready to eat

Sometimes, with a twist of fate and some quick thinking, things just work out better. Enjoy.

RECIPE: BBQ Halibut with Lemon, Oregano, Chilli & Garlic

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes (depending on your BBQ)
Seres: 1 (obviously many more if you want to)
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A Postcard from Niagara

Maid of the Mist at the base of Niagara falls - no time to do it on this trip but definitely next time!

Maid of the Mist at the base of Niagara falls – no time to do it on this trip but definitely next time!

I am working backwards, feeling slightly justified as I am still in Canada, even if I am writing about it the wrong way round. But hey, you have come to expect that now, haven’t you?!

I am a mite passionate about wine. I love the stuff, and I love to visit vineyards, do tastings, and explore the wine culture of any country I visit that has one. I am in awe, and worried for, people that can deny themselves wine and/or pasta. Why? Just, why? Life is short, bring the joy, and buckets of wine and shovel loads of (great) pasta. Carbonara or tagliatelle with ragu for me please! With a gutsy delicious wine. Several Canadian provences make wine, and I have visited a few, the Okanagan, Nova Scotia and Niagara.

My trip to Toronto was short, just 3 days, and I devoted one of these to a trip to Niagara for a little explore. Niagara (famous for the falls) is also a well established wine region, producing some excellent wines including ice wine. I visited two wineries: Trius (where I also had lunch) and Inniskillin (which is particularly famous for ice wines, the were one of the pioneering ice wineries (is that a thing?!) in Canada). I also visited a maple syrup farm, farmer’s market and antiques market, had lunch, and whizzed by the falls. Because you just have to.

Enjoy!

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Asparagus at the Farmer’s Market in Niagara

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Canadians love their pickles

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Maple syrup at White Meadow Farms – all picked in the same season, the syrup darkens as the season goes on

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Dark maple syrup from the very end of the season at White Meadow Farm

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It takes this many buckets of maple syrup from the tree to make one small jug at the end – the tree syrup is cooked down until it caramelises and becomes amber

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Wine in Niagara

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Hillebrand Gewurztraminer at Trius Winery (Hillebrand recently rebranded as Trius)

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Lunch at Trius Winery – their version of Surf & Turf – mini lobster roll served with a wild ferment Trius chardonnay and rib eye mini burger with the Trius red – love the idea and it worked. Delicious food too.

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Hillebrand ice wine – 2007 vintage – ice wine is made from grapes frozen at minus 8 – 10 deg C for 2 – 3 days. Each grape produces only 1 – 2 drops of juice so it isn’t cheap, but it is really delicious

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Rhubarb dessert – behind it was a terrific ice cream cookie sandwich made from an oat cookie and rhubarb sorbet – served with the ice wine above

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Chive flowers (delicious!) with the Trius vineyards behind

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All types of worms – live and available to purchase from this machine at the gas station

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Sparkling ice wine at Innniskillin – one of the pioneering wineries in Canada (especially with regard to ice wine)

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Innikillin ice wine and dessert and cheese pairing at Niagara

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Ice wine grapes at Inniskillin vineyard

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A Postcard from Newfoundland & Labrador

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An actual postcard!*

A street of colourful houses in St John's in Newfoundland at dusk

A street of colourful houses in St John’s in Newfoundland at dusk

I say Newfoundland & Labrador, on this trip I just went to Newfoundland, but lets say the whole thing, if only so I can say that that this is where the labrador dog comes from (they were originally the St. John’s water dog) and also, there is a Newfoundland dog too. And it has webbed feet. Webbed feet! Not just that but a water resistant coat. I saw fantastic over the top puffins, with their crazy orange lipstick. A MOOSE!, some eagles but no whales or icebergs so I will be back.

Not just for the wildlife, I loved it there. It is like a quirky mirror of Ireland on the other side of the Atlantic, but everything is much bigger (N&L is almost the size of Japan but with a population approximately 248 times smaller), and the people there are some of the calmest and most laid back that I have ever met. This is the place to go and detox from the big city.

This isn’t a wildlife blog though, so what of the food? Such fresh cod, cod tongues, cod cheeks, served with scruncheons – diced fried cubes of salted pork fat. What can be wrong with that? Nothing! Don’t be fooled with the fact that these are so called cheap cuts (or have that put you off, cheap cuts are almost always the tastiest anyway), the cod tongue is so light and delicious, fried and encased in batter it beats normal fried cod. If you are worried about eating cod, the cod is caught in a sustainable way now, post moratorium, and is very tightly controlled.

I ate homemade fish cakes (always with salt cod which is not called cod here, it is simply fish), and was shown how to make them too, recipe soon. Moose sausages, pickles, lobster benedict for breakfast. What an indulgence. I saw seal flipper pie, moose pie, rabbit pie, potted seal, potted moose, bakeapples (cloudberries), partridge berries (lingonberries) and lots more. Seal flipper pie & potted seal might sound harsh, but this is a traditional food there, and so I will document it. I had my first Jiggs dinner with Lori and her family.

I also went to hunt the Waterford blaa, which I had heard was there and was determined to find. I found it, in a way, at Lori’s house, but that is a story in itself and I will be back with that soon.

For now, some pictures, as always. See you soon!

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Ferryland lighthouse, where I had a great picnic lunch (the picnics are provided on site and are excellent)

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I grew up by the sea, and this used to be true for me too :)

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A flying puffin!

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Cannonised saints – they are actually standing on canons from the war between the French & the English in Canada

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Flying puffins and murres, three up close and many more speckled behind

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A view of St John’s and the harbour from Cabot Tower, Newfoundland & Labrador

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Cod tongues with scruncheons and tartare at Blue on Water, St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

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Lobster benny for breakfast at the Sheraton hotel, St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

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A murres in flight – Newfoundland

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Baking bread (blaas!) with Lori in Waterford Valley…

...and preparing a traditional Jiggs Dinner which we ate with her family

…and preparing a traditional Jiggs Dinner which we ate with her family

I travelled to Newfoundland & Labrador with the Canadian Tourism Commission

*everyone asks when I post one of these on instagram / twitter / facebook, so, if you are wondering, the postcard was taken using a function on the camera of my Samsung S4.

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Announcing: A Weekend Long Food Blogging Masterclass at The Guardian HQ

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

Picture taken by Pål Hansen for the Observer Food Monthly when I won the OFM Best Blogger Award in 2011

I was extremely honoured to be asked to curate a food blogging masterclass at the HQ of The Guardian newspaper as part of their series of masterclasses. As curator I have asked the best food bloggers in the UK to join me in sharing our knowledge with you. It will be useful, informative and hands on. We are planning it right now, and I will be back soon to share some more details for you.

For now, here are some details on my fellow tutors. There will also be two influential keynote speakers, details on those soon too. The course will run on the 13th and 14th of July and therre are only 36 places. Classes will be taught in groups of 18 so it will be intimate and everyone will get lots of attention.

Book on Eventbrite via The Guardian website.

Niamh Shields – me! – social media, etiquette and food & travel blogging 

You know about me :)

Daniel Young – food criticism for bloggers

Daniel is the “Young” behind young&foodish, a London-based website and food events company. He is the creator of the BurgerMonday, PizzaTuesday, SpagWednesday, WichThursday, FryFriday and CoffeeSaturday series of pop-up dinners, working with such chefs as Giorgio Locatelli and Nigella Lawson. He was restaurant critic of The New York Daily News and has written about food for such publications as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit Magazine and Gourmet Magazine.

Daniel is author of eight books, including The Paris Cafe Cookbook and Made in Marseille. In February 2013 youngandfoodish.com was named one of the 50 food websites and one of the 15 sites the foodies love by The Times. In May 2013 Young was named Online Food Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.

Signe Johansen – recipe writing

Signe is a food writer and cook who grew up in Norway and now lives in London. She trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, and after graduating worked in some of the UK’s top restaurants. Signe has a Masters in the Anthropology of Food from SOAS, a degree in Social Anthropology from Cambridge and has written about Scandinavian food for Sainsbury’s magazine, Delicious magazine and the Financial Times as well as contributing recipes to all the major mainstream and trade publications in the UK.

Signe has recipe tested cookbooks such as Hawksmoor At Home, both the Fabulous Baker Brothers’ books, Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook and the Pitt Cue Cookbook. Saltyard Books published Signe’s books Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious in 2011 and Scandilicious Baking in 2012. Signe’s blog Scandilicious specialises in modern Scandinavian cooking, baking and living and her supper club EatScandi was recently featured in the New Yorker.

Jeanne Horak-Druiff – food photography

Jeanne Horak-Druiff is a South African by birth and a Londoner by choice who has been writing her blog Cooksister since May 2004. CookSister! was named as one of the Times Online’s top 50 food blogs in the world and is also a four-time winner of Best South African Food Blog in the South African Blog Awards. Jeanne started Cooksister at a stage when she did not even own a digital camera, and is a self-taught food photographer who fully understands the challenges and limitations of shooting food in a makeshift home studio with a limited budget. She is passionate about teaching and has run a number of photography workshops both in the UK and South Africa.

Peter Langdon – web design and building your blog 

Peter works on the Guardian web team designing and building web pages and managing digital marketing for Guardian Masterclasses. He has also worked at Amazon and as a freelance web designer on a wide variety of projects. He regularly teaches blogging masterclasses and you can find his own blog here.