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

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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

Get in the sea 2015

In the interest of balance and because I know people love to read about the negative, here’s a lighthearted stream of mild invective to end the blogging year. If you read other food blogs, you would think it was incredibly hard to write openly and honestly about bad food experiences. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s my firm belief that if you don’t have anything nice to say about bad dining then you should say it or it’ll stay bad. In the sea goes this lot… Continue reading

Copenhagen, noma vs hotdogs

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IRTD?

I’ve never seen The Bridge nor any of the other Scandi TV noir that is voguish right now. So when at least half a dozen people asked if I went the bridge after coming back from Copenhagen I was bemused, what bridge? There are lots of bridges in Copenhagen, the only one that came to mind was the unfinished bridge that would link Nyhaven to Christiana. It would have made walking from our hotel to noma a five minute stroll instead of a ten minute taxi. You can see it on google earth, it’s a short footbridge with a Knievel sized gap caused by funding wrangles. They’ve been trying to close the gap for years now, we were told by Stuart, sous chef at noma and chief the day we ate there. We’d been planning all year to go to noma with our friends, sisters YKL and YSL. Without their special contacts we’d never have had the experience of dining at four of Copenhagen’s finest restaurants. In dining order; Amass, Relae, Noma and Bror. So special thanks to you both for taking us around and making it such a brilliant experience.

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L’Enclume

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Collage de l’Enclume

If you ask me what my favourite restaurant in the country is I will not hesitate to say L’Enclume in Cartmel. We first went in 2010 and tend to revisit it every year or so, usually in different seasons. Last week was our fifth time and even though in the interim the baton has been handed to a new head chef there’s still that seemingly effortless perfection to the cuisine. At its core are the ingredients, all taken from the lush Cumbrian land and coast. Every bite is a reflection of the season and locale, the essence of every ingredient amplified using cutting edge techniques but naturalistically presented with simple grace on the plate. There’s a sense of whimsy in the way the food is almost too beautiful to eat, but when you get over this the flavours actually hit you between the eyes.

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The Macaron Muse

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Finding your feet

Can you remember the first macaron you ever ate? I can’t. It was probably 10 years ago in a Pierre Hermé concession in one of Tokyo’s depachika. In all likelihood it would have been sublime but I honestly can’t remember because the best depachika are like Harrods’ and Selfridges’ food halls combined with Borough Market and a Taiwanese streetfood market. That macaron would have been followed by a Sadaharu Aoki matcha opera cake, baumkuchen, kouign amann, kabayaki unagi and take home sushi that spoils you for sushi for the rest of your life. I do remember eating my first macaron in Paris, that was in the Pierre Hermé shop on Rue Bonaparte and I’ve been trying to recreate that moment ever since.

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