Sunday, 13 December 2009

Bologne's Christmas Market
I've been away far too long with few excuses but too little time and perhaps my own abject laziness.
After about 6 months with no kitchen I'm finally moved in to my new and quite wonderful one. I have two ovens a combi-steam oven a microwave and the magic just keeps on going. I'll post some photo's next time but this time I want to tell you of my week-end trip to France.
Summer past I thought a one nighter across the Channel might be a treat and so made the appropriate bookings. On Friday morning when I awoke to a cold, wet, dark day I wished I could just roll over and go back to sleep.
Trips I find are rather varied in their pleasures and I firmly believe that keeping things a bit of a mystery adds to the overall effect. We had a delicious lunch in Calais at Histoires- Anciennes,
a small restaurant on Rue Royal,the road leading to the port. Very simple: oysters, ham in Madera sauce and isle Flotante, delicious food eaten in a place packed with people enjoying themselves, then to our hotel.
The Metropole, Boulogne is central they say , difficult to track down might be another way of phrasing it but once the car was parked we wandered through the rather damp streets marvelling at how costly everything is now the pound has collapsed against the euro.
After a very jolly dinner of a mountain of moules and then steak frites spirits rose a little and so we woke ready for all Boulogne could throw at us.

The market was in full cry and these lovely pumpkins showed how chic even a vegetable stall can look. The local stalls seem to be mainly run by smallholders with men and women offering whatever that could on the day. Ramdom sized jars of jam, water bottles of home made soup a few eggs, some home grown vegetables, bread, biscuits and mountains of holly and Misletoe.

I then climbed the hill to the old town and went to the Christmas Market. A truly lovely experiance with small stalls selling mulled wine and home made gifts - a far cry from the awful commercial markets that fill our city centres at this time of year.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Well I'm back from picking olives.

Rather exhausted, due in no little part to Ryan Air’s change of schedule and a lack of drivers to whisk us away from an icy Luton station, I’m once more home in Islington.

Sicily was as ever amazing. The olives are few and far between this year and so picking was rather different. I might have though that it would be easier to pick fewer olives, but with them being so scarce, every tree had to be searched as each and every olive was needed. The moving of the nets also takes time so we did not make such speedy progress as we had thought we might.

Still we finished to whoops of joy and the olives are safely gathered in.

Anna , as usual, cooked wonderful food. A huge bowl of pasta or risotto at lunch and then a delicious dinner each evening.

So that made twelve lunch and dinner parties in a row. I found the pace quite exhausting and was pleased to work off the calories in the olive groves.

The picture above is Anna’s potato salad. A type of Russian salad made with mashed potatoes and an enormous quantity of mayonnaise. It is completely delicious and I’ll post the recipe as soon as I’ve worked on it.

As the oil yield is down this year if you want to try the delicious oil we picked you will have to buy early.

The address is , check out the website it’s great.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Here we go!!!!

Well this is my first post on this site I hope for many more as I tell you of my move back to London from darkest Suffolk and what's happening on my Foodie scene.

Here I am at the St Pancras Foodie Fortnight on stage with the lovely Richard Corrigan of Bentleys and Lindsay House Fame.
Richard and I talked our way through his dem. Both of us had kind things to say about the late Keith Floyd who died last week, with Richard saying that one day you just have to realise that you need an early and sober night. That's when you know you're a grown up!

Richard cooked Dublin Bay Prawns on a bed of chick pea puree with extra virgin olive and I think it could easily be a last supper so clean and delicious was the flavour.

He also spoke of how climate change is affecting oysters here and how , he believes, that pretty soon we'll be able to eat Oysters in May but not September. I wonder how we'll remember that once the useful "R" in the month no longer holds up.