I've always been good at quizzes so, unsurprisingly, it was always my dream to go on University Challenge (I was that kid from Starter for Ten, though I did have a brief flirtation with Blockbusters) and, as a student, I very nearly achieved that dream - I was the reserve for my college team and, wonder of wonders, they passed the auditions and actually got on the show.
So I trundled along with the team up to Granada studios in Manchester in the hope that someone would get food poisoning and I'd graciously step into the breach and save the day. But no, they were all fine. And after that, I graduated and I thought that was that.
This is in my parents' house. Not mine.
Then one day, bored at work, I was reading a trade paper when I saw an ad asking people to apply for a spin-off cal…
Last Friday, I found out that Whole Foods Market in Kensington was running a short Summer Chef Series - a lovely initiative where the public could see free cookery demonstrations by various leading chefs from eg Salt Yard and Min Jiang, although we were encouraged to donate to the charity of their choice*. All the chefs were giving up their time for free so it would have been churlish to refuse.
I bombed it down to the first session to see Tristan Welch of Launceston Place preparing three desserts, which even a pud virgin like me could handle at home. He made Raspberry and Black Pepper "Angel Delight", Banana Split with Rum and Chocolate Mousse, and Cinder Toffee aka puff candy, honeycomb toffee or hokey pokey - all super-simple and gorgeous.
The recipes are all in September's Delicious Magazine, but we were given copies to take away (as well as a welcoming glass of Prosecco), so here's Tristan's recipe for Cinder Toffee.
Hence the little blue badge in the top right of my blog. The Wikio blog rankings are compiled as follows apparently:
The position of a blog in the Wikio ranking depends on the number and weight of the incoming links from other blogs. These links are dynamic, which means that they are backlinks or links found within articles.
Only links found in the RSS feed are included. Blogrolls are not taken into account, and the weight of any given link increases according to how recently it was published. We thus hope to provide a classification that is more representative of the current influence levels of the blogs therein.
No, I don't really know what that means either.
Anyway, the ranking changes month by month, so who knows where I'll be next month ...
The national dish of Burma is called mohinga, a kind of fish chowder with lemongrass and banana stem that's served over rice vermicelli noodles. But arguably the most famous Burmese dish is one called ohn-no khao swè - Coconut Chicken Noodles.
The reason for this is that ohn-no khao swè is generally considered the predecessor of the famous Northern Thai noodle dish Khao Soi - a dish so beloved that it has spawned its own fansites and even essays.
Apparently "khao soi" doesn't actually mean anything in Thai, so it's very likely that the name is just a derivation of khao swè, the Burmese word for "noodles", which literally means "fold pull" ie the method for making noodles.
To add support to this theory, outside of Burma, ohn-no khao swè is also known as khao sway, khauk swe, khaot swe and my absolute favourite, cow suey. That's what happens when you try to transliterate a non-Roman language like Burmese.
I have this friend. Let's call her Rachel. She's one of the funniest people I know, in a charming, often acerbic but never cruel way.
She also happens to be a wonderful cook and bilingual - Spanish is her second language, as she spent most of her youth in Catalonia aka Catalunya, in Spain.
The fact that she's from Glasgow is just the icing on the cake, as it means that she'll slip from a Scottish brogue into perfect Spanish without a blink.
So when she decided to start her own Catalan Cooking Class, I thought "Sign me up!". As far as the online food community are concerned, Rachel isthe Catalan Queen. I was honoured to be invited to attend the inaugural class ...
The Catalan Queen and Gareth Groves of BibendumIt's Tuesday evening - the venue is the lovely patisserie Bea's of Bloomsbury. I take my husband along as I think he'd have fun and it's a good decision as, within minutes, Rachel has us all laughing as she tells us stories about living in Ca…
In my second year at university, I entered the ballot for college accommodation and ended up moving into a house with a female friend and four unknown male entities.
By then, said friend and I were drifting apart, which was a bit unfortunate, and the unknown male entities turned out to be a tad over-excitable, which was even more unfortunate as it manifested itself in the oddest manner. In short, they seemed to spend their days yelling, and giggling, and throwing wads of moistened toilet tissue at each other and around the house.
One day I even woke up to a football being thrown repeatedly - and hard - against the wall by one of them in a travesty of the ghettoblaster scene in "Say Anything". John Cusack he was not - if he was, I might have forgiven him.
I would have preferred this
To be honest, for the most part it was fine - I wasn't indoors much by then anyway, as it was around this time I got together with my husband. But meal-times were still often a battle-scene - once…