Takeda AS Gyutou, 10 Year Review

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Pre thinning

Ever read a proper kitchen knife review? They’re usually found on specialist discussion forums, places that regular people with an interest in food rarely visit. Those forums are subsets of knife-as-weapon forums and crossover with gun forums. And in them lie a whole world of crazy. I’m not into all that, I’m only really interested in kitchen knives and have been for a long time. This Takeda knife was bought over 10 years ago. So it’s probably time to review it. I think this timescale is a reasonable user testing period. Continue reading

The Other Side of Brum Chinatown

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Suckling piglet and rice £8.60

Chinese food, you’re probably getting bored of it by now. Takeaway sweet and sour pork comes way down the fast food list after curry, Nandos, KFC and new wave “streetfood”. Going out for a meal? Sesame prawn toast, chow mein, lemon chicken, shredded crispy duck and all the other Anglicised Chinese food is seen as the safe option for a crowd with fussy eaters. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The Chinese food that I know has never been like that anyway. With more and more mainland Chinese folk living in the city, the options are expanding beyond the watered down Cantonese fare we all grew up eating in the UK. Fiery mouth numbing dishes from Sichuan, mutton skewers from the North, hotpots and hand-pulled noodles. Never let them show you the English menu ever again. I’ve written guides about the great mainstream food you can get in Birmingham Chinatown but now here’s a guide to get really under the crispy crackling skin of Chinatown. Continue reading

Rossopomodoro, a non-review

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Arrivederci we hope

I don’t do restaurant reviews on this blog because, well, you don’t need me to tell you all those Michelin starred restaurants in town are really good. Or that restaurant with the overwrought plating and pretentious mission statement is all style over substance. Or that balti place is just another balti place. If you’re into food then you know what you like and you don’t need a score out of ten from me*. So you don’t need me to tell you that Rossopomodoro in Selfridges is the only good pizza joint in Brum. That could be the shortest restaurant review ever, if this was an actual review, but it’s not because Rossopomodoro closed today and you don’t review restaurants that don’t exist. That would be nonsense.  Continue reading

Tacos, from masa to mouth

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Grilled cheese tacos with BBQ wagyu brisket and pico de gallo

Brits get Mexican food wrong all the time. It’s often confounded with Tex-Mex. Anybody proclaiming nachos or burritos as their favourite Mexican food needs to check their chicken fajitas at the door. Tacos is Mexico’s favourite food. So it’s great that the UK is finally catching on and you can find tacos on every other streetfood slingers repertoire. Tacos are infinitely customisable, pork, beef, chicken, cheese, salsa, heck even kimchi. Anything goes! It’s a blank canvas for cooks to express themselves. So why then have I never eaten a good taco in this country? Continue reading

Hotlinks

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If you know me then you know I love sausage. To me it is perfect food. Maybe sausages are the oldest food processed by humans. You take all those spare animal bits, smash it up (saves you having to chew it) then stuff it into those other tubey bits to keep it altogether. Not much has changed from prehistoric times. Simple and perfect. Continue reading

Refugee Community Kitchen, Calais

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My friend Audrey Gillan suggested we should volunteer at the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais. Who as part of a larger network in L’Auberge Des Migrants cook up to 2000 hot meals everyday to refugees stuck in the infamous camp in Calais known as “The Jungle”. We’d batted the idea around for months, the heart willing but minds and bodies experiencing the kind of inertia that by each passing day makes resolution more and more difficult. It took an unusual burst of energy, a “now or never” attitude, 3 days of frenetic planning and stuffing my Volvo full of donations that found us driving to the door of the French warehouse on Sunday May 1st. We met some amazing people in the two days helping in the kitchen and cooked a vast amount of food. In the end seeing the happy faces of the refugees eating the meals we cooked was ample reward for our small endeavour. Continue reading