All posts filed under: Random

Manicomio City Steak & Chianti Night

Preview: Manicomio City Steak & Chianti Nights

I recently found myself in the Gutter, no, sorry, Gutter Lane in East London. Manicomio City, an offshoot of the original Manicomio in Chelsea, are offering a Chianti & Steak Night Special until the end of November. I laid my waistline on the -er- line and went to check it out for you. On offer is a Longhorn T-Bone (750g) from the Ginger Pig, and a bottle of 2009 Castellare Di Castellina, Chianti Classico. The steak is available at lunchtime to share for £45 and the wine also retails at £45, so it is a bit of a bargain at £65 for both. The Ginger Pig is pretty well known in London now, and like most food obsessives, I am familiar with their steak, both from the Ginger Pig butcher shops and also steakhouse Hawksmoor, which uses their steaks exclusively. Great meat and steaks, and I especially love the blue cheese taste the Longhorn fat has. Fabulous. The offer is for the steak and wine, excluding sides and starters and desserts (should you want them), but I am …

Bacon Fudge

Bacon Masterclasses: Last Ones for 2013! Book Your Place Now.

LAST BACON MASTERCLASSES FOR OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER – BOOK NOW Ok folks! Dramatic yes, but necessarily so. I am calling an end to my bacon masterclasses this year. They are simply too expensive for me to run. But I want to teach a few more before I stop and also I want to share some of the new Project: BACON recipes through them. So, if you want to book, do so now. All places booked between now and Friday will be sold at early bird prices (£75 vs £95). I just don’t have the time to manage any admin right now, and would rather fill them (or as close to as possible), and then see you all there. THE SCHOOL I will be teaching them at a wonderful new cookery school in central London, Aveqia. The school is very central, based near Farringdon and is beautiful. The original school is in Sweden and the same elegant Scandinavian design has been used here, and as you would expect, it is a thoughtfully designed and very useful …

Morito, Exmouth Market, London

London: Seafood Festival at Morito

London is a very big city. That is not news but it frequently annoys me. It is the best and worst thing about London. I love that I can pop across to the other side of London and have a whole new and interesting experience. I also hate that I have to do that. I am a bit spoiled by it, I think we all are. I used to live in the North East of London, so popping to Morito for tapas and a swift sherry was always easy. I have written about Morito before, if you are new and unaware of it, Morito is the smaller sibling of Moro, and is just next door. Now that I am down sarf, popping to Moro is a little trickier. It needs to be planned, and you know I hate to plan anything (as much of a key skill that is for any sociable Londoner). However, Morito’s annual seafood festival is a must, so I made sure I didn’t miss it. Morito’s Seafood Festival runs only until …

This Weekend in London: Meatopia. Don’t Miss It.

I may be in Lima in Peru (and really loving it), but a chunk of my food loving soul is very sad not to be in London as I will miss Meatopia. Meatopia is the meaty brainchild of Josh Ozersky, James Beard award winning food writer. We were always going to get along. As Josh says in the recent brilliant Vice Munchies video  (which you must watch), “Every aspect of my life is utterly immersed and overflowing with the juice of literature and the love of food”. Starting out as an academic and historian, he was diverted to food by his passion and knowledge, and started with the well respected delicious tome Meet Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York City. He hasn’t stopped since, and we are all very happy about that. I met Josh when he was in London, and here follows a little about Josh, where you must hit at Meatopia, and some grill tips. Tell me a little about your meat obsession? I have, from a very early age, …

International Bacon Day Tomorrow! Book Bacon Masterclasses in Dublin & London to Celebrate

It is International Bacon Day tomorrow! On International Bacon Day last year, I was on the Theatre of Food stage at Electric Picnic teaching a Bacon Masterclass. Wot larks. This year I am back there again, and will be celebrating in the most bacontastic way possible, which I have yet to discover. There is always great food there, so I am sure I will be fine. What can you do? Any one of these :) Make one my my bacon jam recipes (the rest are saved for Project: BACON next February), and have it with your eggs on the morning. Blitz it fine and spread it thickly on your toast soldiers to dip into a quivering egg. Make my Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Truffles for afters. You really should. I don’t even need to explain why. Book a bacon masterclass in London! I have not had much time to promote them and have yet to set up the ticket system so, the deal is, in my new super swish school the classes are longer and include …

Feasting at Wilderness Part 2: Sunday Lunch at Hix

Back once more to Wilderness and the memory of one of the most fun and delicious Sunday lunches that I have had in a while. The scene is the Banqueting Tent once more, and the chef this time, Mark Hix. Solid English cooking, more live music, the sun, and a hangover that I needed to work my way out of. Standard for a festival, isn’t it? This was medicinal, and a reminder that I need to revisit his restaurants in London again (and try the ones that I have not yet been to). The food served was bright and vibrant, and how I love to eat. Big platters shared in the centre of the table and lots of everything. And who doesn’t love a roast chicken on a Sunday? The whipped broad beans were a revelation, but everything was good. As with the Polpo feast the night before this was generous and big. Wilderness know how to do food at a festival, I will be back next year. This post follows on from my first Wilderness …

Project: BACON on Kickstarter. Liftoff and Lessons Learned.

Project: BACON is go. I am so excited & relieved. It takes 2 weeks for the Kickstarter project to mature and funds to transfer (minus taxes and all that jazz), so I am using that time to plan, sketch budgets and figure out exactly what I can do. It has been quite an experience, good and bad (mainly good and very positive), and I thought that I would share with you some thoughts and some things that I learned as I know that you are curious and some of you are considering this as a route for your own publishing (and other) projects. Firstly, do use Kickstarter. I took a risk, I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I knew I wanted to be independent. For that to happen, I had to be prepared to fail. It was worth it. I have lots of plans for this project and this is only the start. I had sleepless nights, it didn’t help that I got really bad sunburn (the worst that I have ever had) …

Project: BACON is GO – thank you – but there is more that we can do!

So I hit 100% this morning, which is amazing. Not just that, it is a relief and it is so exciting. I can’t wait to get stuck in. Thanks for the support and joining me on this crazy little ride. I have been so touched by how brilliant people have been, the kind messages, tweets and emails that you have sent, and all that you have done to help me get my message out. I am not going to add stretch goals at this point, with 22 hours to go, but suffice to say that all extra pledged means an even better book with more illustrations and photographs. The writing stays the same but in an even shinier coat. I also have great plans for the Bacon Christmas & Halloween Boxes. I want to make them really special and a real treat for anyone who receives them. A flash of childhood through adult eyes, but more delicious. I already know the design but I need to get a designer to realise it fully and extra …

Project: BACON – 29 hours to go | 93% funded | So close

RIGHT. Right now there are probably two particular strains of reader: – excited ones that are hopeful / nervous about Project: BACON (you have been in touch, so I know :) – some who are so over Project: BACON (although I must say even my vegetarian and vegan readers have been terrifically supportive and helpful in spreading the word). The good news is there is only ONE DAY LEFT. One day! Not there yet, there is 7% left to go, just under £1,500 and only 30 hours to raise it. Normal service will resume soon. There won’t be much further mention of Project: BACON on here from the end of this week. After that all bacon communications will be filtered solely through The Bacon Post, a weekly missive for Kickstarter supporters with exclusive new recipes (you can get this by signing up to any reward level on Kickstarter, including just for The Bacon Post at £3). So quick recap – adopts cheerleading pose with pom poms (very sleepily). If you want Project: BACON as a …

Project: BACON – 54 hours to go – 22% to fund

*updated Monday am* SQUUEEE! Nearly there! And I should really be in bed as it is almost midnight on a Sunday and I have to hot foot it to a radio studio tomorrow in the very early morning, but I can’t let this slip at any point now. I have been so careful to be tender about this and not be in your face but this is the final push, and so here I am. I have to be. I am nearly there, but I still might not make it. If you want to see this book, if you want to cook from it, if you want to read it and try out those crazy bacon recipes (in the best possible way) you have 2 days to buy it or it just won’t happen. And I am not exaggerating at all. This has been a fantastically interesting process, and hopefully it is only the beginning. I am so glad I did it this way. I am really tired, bone tired if I am honest, but I …

Announcing Bacon Masterclasses for the Autumn: Book Now for Early Bird Rates

NEW BACON MASTERCLASSES FOR SEPTEMBER THROUGH TO DECEMBER New classes! Huzzah. A wonderful new cookery school in central London, Aveqia, has approached me to teach my Bacon Masterclasses there. The school is very central, based near Farringdon and is beautiful. The original school is in Sweden and the same elegant Scandinavian design has been used here, and as you would expect, it is a thoughtfully designed and very useful space. Those Swedes know what they are doing. On arrival there is a bar, before going to the teaching space with lots of room to cook and also to eat after. This is why I love it, the kitchen is large and spacious with lots of room and all the kit I could need, even a paco jet for making maple bacon, bourbon & vanilla ice cream. After we can all sit down at a large communal & very sociable space to eat and indulge in some bacon bloody marys. The classes will be hosted on Saturdays only, and I am expanding the class concept to …

Feasting at Wilderness Part 1: St John Breakfasts, Moro Afternoons & Polpo’s Venetian Banquet

Many years ago, pre blog, when I was just a normal mildly obsessive individual idling on the streets, I had three passions: food, travel & music. Other stuff too, of course but the core directions I would find myself moving in centred around those. I read more music blogs than food blogs when I first started (which seems bizarre I would agree) but I always loved live music, finding great new music to listen to, and this was the best place to do this. Even as my life became increasingly centred on food, I still went to music festivals and gigs and always, almost without fail, despaired at the food there. Bring on Wilderness, one of a new breed of festivals that takes food very seriously. Not just by inviting some of London’s best restaurants but also enabling them them to create sumptuous feasts. In the centre of the festival site, there is a large restaurant area with a banquet tent which hosted lunches and dinners from Ottolenghi, Polpo & Hix. Surrounding this was St John …

Project Bacon Update: 40% funded, 6 Days to Go & New Reward Level on Kickstarter

So, you are all keeping me waiting, right? Not kicking in until the very end because I don’t need you to? Well, I do. Project: BACON is only at 40% funded with 6 days to go. I have deliberately been very quiet about it as I didn’t want to annoy everyone. I was also quietly hoping that it might just happen, but that is not how life works. So, basically, here it is: I am not going to write this book unless it is supported on Kickstarter, so if you want it, get involved. All you need to do is buy the book upfront, in digital or hardback, you can now even get some bacon stuff posted to you (see below), and you can book a class for you and your friends, all on that fabulous Kickstarter space. I promise that the book will be awesome, I get giddy just thinking of jumping on that magical bacon brick road. I have an ace designer, editor and photographer just waiting for me to say that we …

Project:BACON Update

So, I did it, and I put it out there. It was scary. What if people didn’t want my bacon book as much as me? It is a very public and nerve wracking way of exploring interest in your work, and the good news is that you and others support it (20% of the funding so far has been direct from the Kickstarter community who discovered it on there, amazingly). PHEW. It is exactly one week since I put Project:BACON on Kickstarter and it is funded by 27% as I type. This is fantastic, but I am still a fair way off with just 3 weeks to go. So, I need you to jump on board. Here is another low down, briefly, as my last post was (well) wordy. Go figure. So – Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform. I am basically asking you to buy my next book in advance to allow me to write and publish it myself. WHY? I am a prince certified project manager (I never thought I would type that here) …

Announcing! Project: BACON. A New Book. With Your Help.

I have been asked many times about my next book. I have been thinking about it quite intensely for some time but never quite had the answer (until now). I have been speaking to many authors about their experiences over the last two years. I have met some really inspiring people that have self published their own books and have produced something that is entirely theirs and that they are proud of.  And not because they have failed in the traditional route, but for them, this was a much better option, giving them more control over the output and the book that hit the shelves. Once I decide to self publish, I decided not to pitch this book to a publisher at all. So it is not that I have pitched it and failed, I want to be very clear about that. Combined with the very positive & enthusing experiences that I have had with meeting brilliant self published authors, I know the people that I want to work with to produce my book. I am …

A Fun Evening at Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Summer Party

I popped along to the filming of Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Summer Party, his live youtube show filmed in London. Irish food blogger, author & TV bod Donal Skehan was in town to cook on it, and there were some other Youtube characters involved too. I have to announce my ignorance here, I had no idea who any of the others were, save Donal and Crumbs & Doilies (I had a neighbouring food stall to them in Covent Garden some years ago). The Youtube food landscape is completely different to the blogosphere, and I am only beginning to explore it. It was a really fun evening, and also an education. I have been talking about starting a Youtube channel for – oh – three years now, so my curiosity spurred me along. I love video. It is lively, engaging, fun and a great way of sharing stories of people and places. With food & travel, and travelling as much as I do, there is so much that I could do here, and I feel sad …

Competition: Win a Holiday to the Canary Islands

A rare competition from me this morning, sponsored by Canary Islands Tourism. Best of luck!  Lets face it, the British and Irish summer is hardly reliable, so if you are looking for a break with almost guaranteed sun this year, the holiday specialists at Shineagain.com are offering a chance to win seven sunny getaways in the Canary Islands. Part of Spain but located very close to mainland Africa, this archipelago enjoys balmy temperatures throughout the year. Some islands are known for their lively and family friendly resorts but others offer peace, nature and unique national parks. The holiday will include flights, accommodation, transfers (or car hire depending on what you choose) and other tasty extras including a sailing excursion, guided walks, a diving experience and lunch at some gorgeously located dining spots. How to enter: Choose from one of these island destinations: La Gomera – For nature La Palma – For picturesque scenery Fuerteventura – For beaches Lanzarote –  For volcanic landscapes Tenerife – For a bit of everything El Hierro – The meridian island …

Recipe for Kroppkakor (Potato & Pork Dumplings) from Ninnis in Öland, Sweden

I am sitting here indoors looking out at the summer sun. It is gorgeous. The only mild frustration being an idiot wasp who keeps flying in through my window, only to get stuck and freak out, buzzing frantically for at least five minutes every time. Initially I was helping him out with paper, but I have given up now and am trying to tune him out. My garden in the mornings is like the cast of Despicable Me. The squeaky over enthused baby birds chirping randomness into the air from way too early in the morning. But it is summer, and it is sunny, and I will forgive these creatures their annoying habits. I am sure I annoy them too with my open windows and untended garden. However, I must remind them that I am the one paying rent here. This time last week I was in Öland, making midsummer head dresses and eating dumplings, washing it all down with aquavit. It was a gorgeous day and is now a lovely memory. The dumplings are …

Burger Monday (on a Wednesday) at Shake Shack in London

I got a sneak peak of the new Shake Shack in London yesterday evening, via Daniel Young of Young and Foodish and his terrific Burger Monday. I am not a burger obsessive by any means, but I appreciate good food (natch) and when a friend brought me to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Gardens, NYC, I didn’t have very high expectations. A burger is a burger, right? Right. Well, not really. I loved it. For the simplicity, the size of the burger, the flavour, moisture, sticky cheese slipping over the edge and the the lovely potato bun. It was a good solid burger, and I went back the next day. It became a favourite. Now, they have come to London,  the burgers are made from 100% Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, the SmokeShack (my favourite) features British free-range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon and the concretes (frozen custard blended at high speed, a rich elegant ice cream) include Paul A Young chocolate and St John Bakery products. I focussed on the burgers last night, there is only so much that …