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Showing posts from February, 2010

A year in meemalee's kitchen

My name is meemalee and I write about food.

That first part's a lie. "Meemalee" is just a nickname my best friend made up for me at uni. My real name is MiMi which virtually no-one can spell correctly (that's two big M's, thanks). I do, however, write about food.

I always wanted to be a writer. My mum still has a book in which I scrawled my first ever offering at the tender age of three. I'm reproducing it verbatim as a world exclusive:
"A long long time ago there was a man and a wooman. They went to Beflehem. A long long time ago."At the age of five, I wrote a Blytonesque six-chapter extravaganza about a kindly grandfather, his adorable grandson and a magical rocking horse. I was meant to write about what I'd done that weekend.

At the age of eight, I typed up a sequel to the Ramona series by Beverly Cleary. I illustrated it and everything.




At the age of ten, I wrote a storybook called "Dragons in the House" for children (well, for children…

A Fry-up at Smiths of Smithfield

I'm wandering around Smithfields at 8 in the morning in search of sustenance. I can still smell the blood from the market, but that does nothing to quell my appetite.

I've narrowed it down to two choices: The Hope and Sir Loin or John Torode's Smiths of Smithfield. Daddy or Chips? My heart is saying the H and SL, renowned for its legendary breakfasts of double egg, double bacon, double sausage, liver, kidneys, mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans and fried bread, all washed down with a Bucks Fizz or pint of Guinness (lax licensing laws in this neck of the woods). My head is saying that my heart must be on some kind of kamikaze mission, and so SOS it is.



Industrial warehouse chic aside, Smiths is surprisingly welcoming. I pick a table in the window and look at the menu. And then kind of wish I hadn't - they've used that schtick of pricing everything in "pounds and 1/2 pounds" which jars me immensely - why not say "2/6" or "4s.3d." while …

Zilli Green, Soho - Not Just For Veggies

Lord knows that I'm not a vegetarian, though I'm not averse to the odd meat-free day. But when it comes to eating out, vegetarians generally get a pretty raw deal, with one to no options in most cases.

This vexes me particularly as I'd been tasked with organised our works Christmas lunch, which turned into a New Year lunch, which turned into a Chinese New Year lunch, and two of our party are strict vegetarians (rather than wishy-washy "I am a veggie, though I do eat fish" types). For once I want us to go somewhere where they'll be able to choose anything off the menu rather than be stuck with the one pappy risotto.

Vanilla Black seems an obvious candidate, but to be honest is too close to our office for comfort. In the end, someone suggests Zilli Green in the heart of Soho, a new vegetarian restaurant from Aldo Zilli (on the site of Signor Zilli), which is opening just this week. Perfect, I think and so I book.



It's tipping it down when we get there, but we …

Reasons to love Japan #1 - Store My Ducks

I make no secret of the fact that I'm obsessed with Japan. Obsessed I tells ya.

One of the many reasons I am a steadfast Japanophile is this little shop on Takeshita Dori, Harajuku.

I think it sells jeans and stuff, but who really cares.

I'd much rather believe it was an anatine containment facility.


Daddy Donkey and A Tale of Two Guacamole

One of the things I really appreciate about my job is I can take a full lunch hour - none of this dining al desko nonsense. Of course, this means I usually end up buying something stupid. My favourite place to buy stupid things is Leather Lane.

There's the French Rasta who sells fab leather bags, the two pashminas for a fiver stall, the bookseller where I got Tender for a tenner, the snack stall where I found some Bible Bread, and the Age Concern which always throws up gems - last time I was there I found a tanuki. A tanuki!


Said tanuki

There's also some great street food on Leather Lane, like the little Thai stand, the baked potato dealer and the Curry Hut.

The most renowned of them all is of course Daddy Donkey, the burrito people. I've been aware of them since 2005 when I first started working in the area and they were still a baby Donkey - just a tiny stand run by a guy called Joel. Somehow though I never got round to partaking of their fare.



So it was kinda weird to see ho…

Cup-A-Soup. FML

I've mentioned before that a slightly mental part of me likes to stockpile provisions just in case. This extends to my work environment - my colleagues refer to my desk as the Larder, as the drawers are stuffed with Penguins, crisps, muesli bars and other store-cupboard staples. I guess a lot of people do the same thing, although I like to take it one step further by having stock cubes, vinegar, Tabasco and lemon juice rattling around.

The thing I seem to have most of though is Batchelors Cup-A-Soup. I mean, it's disgusting - the croutons are like toaster debris, the peas and carrots like polystyrene peanuts, but I still quite like the taste and there's something vaguely comforting about a "just add water" meal.

My favourite is the minestrone - it has these little ring noodles that bob around prettily, but literally taste of nothing. That's fine though, because the rest of it is so jam-packed with MSG, they wouldn't have stood a chance anyway.

Anyway, the ot…