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Hákarl (Rotten Shark) - The Worst Thing I Have Ever Had In My Mouth

Much as I love Iceland when I visit earlier this year, it's responsible for the single most disgusting eating experience I've had in my life. And no, I'm not talking about that sheep's face.

I've heard about hákarl, or to give it its proper name, kæstur hákarl (Icelandic for "fermented shark"), as being an unmissable and unique part of Icelandic cuisine, so on my arrival in Reykjavik, I'm determined to track some down.

Like svið, hákarl is traditionally served as part of a þorramatur, the Icelandic banquet served at the midwinter festival þorrablót. Luckily for me however, it's available in Icelandic supermarkets throughout the year. In fact I find a packet of rotten shark in a freezer store (Iceland's Iceland) and nearly buy some to take back home, but then realise it might be considered a bit anti-social on the plane.

Made from a type of shark which is actually poisonous when fresh due to a high content of uric acid and trimethylamine oxide, th…

Asian Spiced Pork Pie Recipe - Baking a Behemoth

This weekend I was totally going to make marshmallows using Bertie Branning, my shiny red Kitchenaid mixer, when I found out you needed a sugar thermometer.

So I thought s*d that for a game of soldiers and decided to make a mahoosive pork pie instead. Partly because it's Christmas time and nothing marks the season better for me than fat wodges of meaty pie, and partly because I was inspired by my very short stint as a pop-up pie assistant (PUPA) for the fabulous Bray's Cottage.



Not that I had all the correct equipment for making a pork pie either. Apparently you need a pie mould of some sort. All I had was a big cake tin, which is why I've ended up with a pork pie bigger than my head. But, hells, it looks good and it tastes even better.

Super traditional hot water crust pastry combined with untraditional Asian spiced filling. Fusion - I'm all over it, me.



Meemalee's Mahoosive Pork Pie

For the jellied stock
4 pig's trotters4 white onions2 carrots2 celery stalks4 star …

Edd Kimber's Macaron Class - Making Macs with the Great British Bake Off Winner

I am a terrible student. Firstly, I turn up late to a macaron baking class by Edd Kimber.

Yes, that Edd Kimber, the guy who won the Great British Bake Off hosted by Mel and Sue and judged by the Silver Fox and Nicholas Parsons's sister. A macaron class held by an official baking genius.

And yet I turn up late.



Edd with two D's. Like Edd the Duck. Genuinely.



Secondly, I interrupt his demo with lots of silly questions.
Look at him humouring me.




He makes a salted caramel sauce. He makes the macaron batter.
I'm not paying attention, because I'm too busy inhaling the wonderful sugared scent.




This much did sink in - the best macaron batter must fall in languid waves.




Next, Edd pipes perfect circles of macaron batter, spaced out so they don't merge into some kind of uberon.





We all take turns to copy him, piping circle after circle.
Some more successfully than others.


2001: A Cake Odyssey


Crisp shells of delicious almond joy with perfect "feet".


And now Edd whips up the salt…

Gylne Tider - So Many Blasts from the Past

This made my life both better and worse than before.



This made me both dislike and like Norway more than before.



Amazing.

Just amazing.





"Gylne Tider (Golden Times) is a Norwegian television series that currently airs on TV2. The show ran on television for three seasons, in 2002, 2004 and 2006. In the series we meet presenter Øyvind Mund, cameraman Steinar Marthinsen and sound engineer Ingar Thorsen who travel to meet their childhood heroes."








Also, Andrew McCarthy is still a god.



I still would.

Via Sarah Silverman.

Taste of Christmas 2010 Recommendations

I went to Taste of Christmas at the Excel London today. No Christmas carol this year - I'm clearly slightly less highly strung than I was.

But here's my recommendations for a wonderful day if you're visiting too.



Go to the Campo Viejo stand W50. Watch the lovely Spanish Chef Jose Pizarro whip up wonderful tapas and then feast upon them.

Try some of the wines. Heckle Mark Lloyd who's ably assisting.



Go to the Club Gascon stand. Order the Foie Gras Popcorn - as wonderful as it was last time.

Even if I still don't see the point of the baby corn.



Order their Capon Mango Pumpkin too.

Beautiful, especially the pumpkin puree.



Guess how many meringues they have in their mountain to win a copy of cookbook Cuisinier Gascon by Pascal Aussignac.



Go to the Modern Pantry Stand. Order the Organic Salmon Sashimi, Truffled Umeboshi Dressing, Yuzu Tobiko, wolf it down and lick the plate. I did. I am a tramp.



Also order their Vietnamese style Duke of Berkshire pork belly, mash, pickled bean s…