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Showing posts from July, 2010

Losing My Mind

When I'm not eating, I'm singing

Although these days, I have a passion for post-rock and Mike Patton, I think it's fair to say that as I was growing up, my taste in music was fairly theatrical.

The very first album I ever bought was Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (with Jason Donovan, natch). To this day, I can still remember it word for word.

All throughout school and university, I sang soprano in chamber and chapel choirs and as part of an a cappella ensemble. Frankly, it was all a bit Glee.

I even sang tenor in a male voice group (I am female, I just happen to have quite a broad vocal range and I was at an all-boys school at the time - I'll explain another day) where we merrily piped out barbershop tunes such as "My Evaline" and "Old Man Noah".

Sadly, the only time I get to sing these days is at karaoke. Although I did do a tiny set at a company shindig last October, which was a pretty damn cool experience and managed to assuage my rock …

Orange Zest Shortcake, Whipped Cream, Blueberry Coulis (Recipe)

I don't like baking.

Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to reap the benefits, but for me, life's too short to weigh flour. I know lots of people who think this makes me deficient in some way, but frankly I'd rather have my cakes made for me *cough*.

I don't do desserts either. I might spend hours lovingly preparing a meal, but if my guests want a pud they get (a) fruit, (b) some Ben and Jerry's, or (c) Ocado's finest.

Unfortunately the other day, I was forced to make a pudding for John Torode and Gregg Wallace (the original Puddingface). Like I said in the MasterChef cook-off post, I'd found a basic shortbread recipe and then monkeyed with it till I came up with a hypothetical something I could happily call my own.

The first time I actually had a go making my shortcake, it tasted fine, but aesthetically left a little to be desired. In fact, my husband was nice enough to say that it reminded him of the first Ripley Clone in Alien Resurrection. No, I'm no…

Giant Robot, Clerkenwell - The Haiku Review

Giant Robot, Clerkenwell - Space Age Diner
Prawns are giant. Meat
Balls are not. Tasty but dear.
There is no robot.



Giant Prawns (garlic, chilli, oregano) £23.60
You get five


Giant Robot - Spaghetti and Meatballs (beef, spicy tomato sauce, pecorino) £9.65
The "large" portion

Giant Robot
45-47 Clerkenwell Road
London EC1M 5RS
020 7065 6810
www.gntrbt.com




What I expected
EDITED TO ADD: For future pithy nonsense, see The Haiku Review


An Afternoon with John and Gregg - More MasterChef Fun

Asking me if I love MasterChef is a bit like asking if a bear sh*ts in the woods.

I decided to write a blog because I'm working on a Burmese cookbook, and I wanted to know if people would like what I said, but the thing that actually got me started, the first thing I ever wrote about, was MasterChef.

I've had some folk comment that me putting virtual pen to paper about MasterChef is a waste of my "time and talent", that it's low-brow and inane, but goddammit, I'm a big girl and if I think it merits attention, then who the hell are they to disagree?

The fact is, I adore MasterChef with every fibre of my being. It's emotional, it's visceral, it's ludicrous, it's compelling.

By the time you get to the final, you're right there with them, rooting for the competitors, wanting to adopt each and every one of them, to give them all a big hug and to tell them that everything's going to be all right (okay, this may just be me).

But would I ever go o…

Confit doesn't like me - Cellar Gascon, Clerkenwell

I ruddy love macarons. And my favourite so far are the prune and Armagnac ones from Comptoir Gascon, which have shimmering gold dust sprinkled on top (thus making me feel like P Diddy).

But despite frequent visits to satisfy my blingtastic cravings, until the other day, I'd never been to the other outposts in the Gascon empire ie Club Gascon and Cellar Gascon.

The Grubworm, Chris from Cheese and Biscuits and I had planned a rendezvous at Cellar Gascon. I turned up last to find G and C sitting on leather banks either side of a high table with a precarious-looking stool left for me. I took a look at the stool and thought, "That's not happening", but thankfully Chris gallantly offered his seat to me.


We were there for the express lunch menu comprising the dish of the day and a glass of wine for £10.

As you may already know, I don't really do wine, so I asked for a soft alternative only to get roundly mocked by the waitress, who then brought me a glass of cranberry and o…

A Fernandez and Leluu Picnic at the Henley Royal Regatta

It was a bad start. Public transport woes got me to Paddington late, and when I went to get £100 out of a cashpoint, it claimed to dispense the cash to me but decidely didn't. I rang up Lloyds to be told I'd have to file an ATM dispute claim - my word against theirs that I'd been given the money.

Ticked off beyond belief, I then flew up the platform only to see the doors to the train I wanted slam shut. I was mildly mollified though that a surprisingly low-key Henry Conway, knitting dandy scion of disgraced MP Derek Conway, and his chums had also been denied entrance so we were all in the same boat.



Talking of boats, that's why I was there, dressed in regulation-length summer frock, slippy-soled kitten-heeled shoes and ridiculous feathery fascinator - to attend the Henley Royal Regatta, what what.




Ryvita (yes, Ryvita) had invited me to a picnic at their Ryvita Crunch Cafe in the Upper Thames Enclosure. It was hosted by the wonderful Fernandez and Leluu who run a legendary…