Category Archives: Travel

Barcelona

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A food nirvana if ever there was one. The heart of Catalonia, a city on a beach – my kind of place.

We visited late summer on this occasion while the mid day heat haze still hangs heavy in the air and the Mediterranean sea retains it’s welcoming warmth after several months of sunshine. Continue reading Barcelona

Catch of the day

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It’s been a truly dreadful few weeks for the UK, I can’t remember a period like it before for utter horror. We made an attempt at escapism and this post is the result, on our way home the events in London of the most horrific fire were unfolding. There are no words, but only to say that hope that there is #justiceforgrenfell and I hope it comes sooner rather than later. Continue reading Catch of the day

The borderlands

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Postcards from the Pyrenees…again

The Mountains form a natural border between France and Spain, but more than that they traverse the historical regions with their distinctive traditions, culinary and otherwise. To the west on both sides of the peaks is the Basque country, wonderful people who are rightly proud of their traditions, food studded with Pimentón, and an incomprehensible language with lots of X’s and J’s. From the beautiful Atlantic towns to the tiny coves that pepper the northern coastline, semi-sparkling crisp white wines like Txacoli (you see, it is unpronounceable but very drinkable!) and dishes that ooze with the warmth of spiced sausage alongside classics such as bacalao (salt cod). Continue reading The borderlands

Mers et Montagnes

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More postcards from the Pyrenees

I have an interesting relationship with Oysters, in that I love them but I am allergic to them. My enjoyment these days being derived vicariously, beside my love.

As he pops the shells open to receive the milky pearlessence within, my mouth waters, for I know the ozone freshness there. Continue reading Mers et Montagnes

You say tomato, I say tomate

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Green Tomato Chutney

On the way back from France last spring, driving north from our place in the Pyrenees, we stumbled on a village fair filled with local people and businesses proudly peddling their wares.

We had stopped off hoping to find a bakery where we could get a pastry to eat in the car but we got more than we bargained for. The place was packed with everything from wonderful produce, breads, cheeses and meats to a flea market area and and lots of farming type equipment for sale. Continue reading You say tomato, I say tomate

South India via south London

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Malabar Prawn Curry

South Indian food is a bit of a theme in our house, not merely because we love food from India, but also because South India has an abundance of seafood dishes to offer, making it very attractive to us.

We love these Keralan flavours, from the traditional Malabar cuisine. Spicy and rich, yet tamarind sour with an undertone of coconut. I always struggle to choose my ‘death cell’ flavours but these must feature, therefore I must cook with them… Continue reading South India via south London

A Pintxos of Catalonia

IMG_6562 “Is it beer o’clock?” enquires one of the group sprawled on sunbeds…

Some murmurs of agreement and then “who has the kitty?”…I struggle to my feet, The DJ is upright and blinking against the Catalonian sun. We shuffle off…10 feet to the little beach bar, placing our order in Spanglais before we ferry mojito’s, beers and café con leche back to the prone bodies with outstretched arms. It’s hard going this holiday lark. Continue reading A Pintxos of Catalonia

A Midsummer House Dream, with celeriac

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I recently went for dinner to Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House restaurant in Cambridge.

Myself and the Marmoset had planned the trip for her birthday – we’d long held a desire to try the food at this 2 Michelin star establishment. Continue reading A Midsummer House Dream, with celeriac

Mystery at the Atlantic Hotel

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My friend DJ Ozz passed a meaningful milestone the other day….so we kidnapped him, for our own entertainment.

The DJ had specified ’just a  breakfast in London’,  but our group of ‘know alls’  felt a collective  sense that ‘just out for breakfast’ was a little dull and this momentous occasion was worthy of a little more sparkle. Continue reading Mystery at the Atlantic Hotel

We’ll always have Paris

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There aren’t really words to adequately describe the events in Paris this weekend, except to say that those carrying out these attacks are not doing their deeds in the name of any religion I recognise and that in fact they are quite simply insane.

The repercussions of such things reverberate through the lives of people who have been close to such events, making you question your safety and that of loved ones in new and unpleasant ways, it leaves a legacy which is hard to shake and that lasts, as does the grief for those who have been lost. Continue reading We’ll always have Paris

Indian Summer, Moroccan Autumn

IMG_4485 Spiced seafood and lentil salad.

Hanging in our kitchen is a calendar which was a gift from our friend DJ Ozz. It has become something of an annual tradition for The DJ to commit one of our group trips to calendar form for posterity and by way of a Christmas present to each of us.

For the past month, our friend Mata’s beaming face has been looking out over us with the deep blue Marrakech sky behind her. I turned the calendar over to OctDSC_0044ober this morning, a little late I know, to see an image of Mata standing in the Souk and it jolted me straight back to the sounds and smells (also mainly being horribly lost) in the old Medina. Continue reading Indian Summer, Moroccan Autumn

Mountain Food

IMG_4299Pan Roast Gnocchi, Cavolo Nero, Chanterelle and Walnut Cream Sauce, with aged Emmental.

(Otherwise known as Italian dumplings,London Cabbage, Scottish Mushrooms, French Walnuts and and Swiss Cheese!)

There are a collection of ingredients that evoke ‘the mountains’ for me. Despite huge cultural and gastronomical differences between the various cuisines of say the Pyrenees and thIMG_4226e French Alps, the north of Italy and the majestic peaks of Switzerland, in my mind and experience there are some common themes and these are best characterised by cheese, cream and butter, mushrooms, and some sort of cabbage, at times sausage…but not this time. Continue reading Mountain Food

Grilled lamb chops and a tale of Turin

 

IMG_4075I realise that my seafood blog has taken a meaty turn of late and I shall return to fishy things soon but for some reason the onset of autumn has brought out our inner carnivore! I think it’s the realisation that we are about to embark on a health regime that will prohibit such things from our diet… Continue reading Grilled lamb chops and a tale of Turin

The Chateau on the Plateau…

IMG_0606“Where is it then?” asks Karl-Heinz. We are presiding over our habitual lazy breakfast on the terrace at the shack in France. A few softly boiled eggs, yokes oozing and richly yellow, gifted to us by our friend JC the farmer… a little creamy yoghurt wIMG_1867ith some mountain honey…a few croissants and some home made jam, the ‘usual’. Continue reading The Chateau on the Plateau…

Searching for something…

IMG_1267I struggled upright, blinking in the brilliant Thai sunlight “does anyone want a beer?” and “yes” came the replies, almost in unison. Continue reading Searching for something…

A Simply Brill day

IMG_3091Whole baked Brill with Clam Broth

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s day, on the grounds that it is almost entirely a commercial exercise, a recipe for rip offs, and most importantly kind of smug. When single you may feel like everyone else is in this loved up club and there are times in life when that may be a bit depressing…and I don’t like to think that someone might feel lonely or low.IMG_3073 However I don’t have anything against people enjoying themselves…loved up, single or otherwise.Neither do I think everyone who is single is sad and lonely, having spent many happy single years – and I am definitely not against romance. That’s my position, just thought I’d clarify it! Just to prove I am romantic, the soundtrack for our lives and the backdrop to our lovely Saturday was courtesy of Van Morrison – here you go…listen along while you read… Continue reading A Simply Brill day

What’s the Story?

 

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Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up
Well, what’s the story morning glory?
Well, need a little time to wake up, wake up.

We have been bad…very bad. For the last week or two, no healthy eating for us, just lots over indulgence and a degree of junk. We are feeling the worse for it and so something colourful and some seafood has become a necessity. Continue reading What’s the Story?

One Franglais day….Cider braised chicken

 

IMG_2751So this morning I was up early, read my favourite foodie blogs, cleaned the house from top to bottom, shopped, walked the doggy, emailed my cousin Cheesecake, did some washing, painted a table, spoke to Rocket (who is somewhere on route driving down from Aberdeen)… all before mid-day.

IMG_2780Whilst I hate housework, there is a certain satisfaction when the house is at it’s best – so I bought it some flowers…

Back to the tale…

Continue reading One Franglais day….Cider braised chicken

Warming Coconut Dal with Chilli Prawn Cakes

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Before anything else, let me just say “Je Suis Charlie”.

For supper tonight, I’m looking for speed, spice and comfort. Maybe it’s the depressing week, or the wild and windy weather – a need to escape to the heat and excitement of India. Continue reading Warming Coconut Dal with Chilli Prawn Cakes