Tuesday, 27 March 2007


I've been on holiday for the past week and enjoyed some time in Sussex, London and Copenhagen, seeing some family, some friends and visiting some shops. While it wasn't a very foodie break it still comprised a few good moments. In London we visited Dover Street Market. I had been curious about this place for a while but my interest was really sparked when I discovered that the Rose Bakery had opened a London outpost on the top floor. I first heard about the Rose Bakery when I spied the book and immediately had to have it, an acid green cover containing well designed and beautifully photographed pages to show off the many tempting recipes. Since then it has been on my ever growing list of places to go to the next time I am in Paris, right up there with Pierre Herme and Lauduree. We meant to just have a look, but as soon as we stepped onto the fourth floor the smells meant that, all of a sudden, it was time to stay for lunch. We both had a tart with salad, bacon for me and corgette and red pepper for him, and they were delicious. I wanted one of the little round carrot cakes but couldn't quite manage, maybe it is time to try the recipe.

After a few very cold days in London we headed to Denmark expecting that the weather could only be worse. When we arrived to a cold and grey afternoon we wrapped up and prepared to brave it for a few days. However, the next morning we woke to clear blue skies and that is how it stayed until we left, we even managed to sit outside comfortably, a joy after too many months in stuffy buildings. On Friday night we visited friends and were introduced to the Danish phenomenon of Easter beer. Apparently special Christmas and Easter beers are released every year and we were treated to a can of the Tuborg beer, this particular Paskebryg (Easter beer), is known as 'Kylle Kylle' which I think means Chick Chick although anyone who knows better can feel free to correct me. We really enjoyed this and particularly liked the chick on the cans and bottles. I was definitely more taken with this than with the obsession with liqorice, I don't mind liqorice but I think eating salted liquorice must be an acquired taste.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007


I had seen the Broughton Delicatessen as I walked past the entrance to Barony Street on my way to other places and had thought 'I must go in and see what it's like.' It is scary how many times I sometimes need to remind myself to go somewhere and so it was that last week I finally went in for lunch. I was having one of those days and was desperate to escape so decided to make the most of my lunch break and sit in.

The sun was shining though the large window onto the tables that are covered with red and white spotty oilcloth and I picked one where my back would be warmed by the all too rare March sunshine. I decided on a baguette with rare roast beef, mustard creme fraiche, and rocket. If you order a sandwich to go you just get the sandwich but if you order it to sit in it is a thing of beauty. It comes on a wooden board with a few olives and a selection of the day's salads. I had roasted vegetables, spinach with crumbled black pudding and some chickpea salad all sitting next to my sandwich. I sat, I read, I thought, and by the time that I left I was both satisfied and relaxed and, best of all, it had only cost 90p more than the simple takeaway sandwich. Since then I have been back for more takeaway sandwiches and have looked properly at the shelves piled high with good things to take home and eat, wonderful cheeses, beautiful local eggs, bread, and fabulous home made cakes. I'm already thinking about going for a salad box bursting with good things for lunch tomorrow. There aren't enough of these little gems around so the Broughton Delicatessen will definitely be getting my lunch money.

Saturday, 10 March 2007


Last Saturday I went to my first cookery class since the days of school lessons in Home Economics (I'm still not sure that learning how to put chocolate icing over a bought swiss roll can actually be classified as learning to cook). Thankfully this one day course at the Edinburgh School of Food and Wine was both more fun and more informative than the dreaded HE (which was only ever surpassed in awfulness by needlework classes). During the course of the day I was thrilled to realise that, contrary to previous experiences, I really like lentils. So, after cooking and devouring our three course lunch the chef for the day said that there was just time for a short lesson in the basics of making truffles and proceeded to show how sublimely easy it is to make these chocolatey treats. Since then I have been eagerly wanting to try for myself, so with Nigel Slater's 'Real Foods' in hand I got started. 200g of Lindt 70% chocolate melted into 125g of warm whipped cream, an hour in the fridge to harden a little and I had my truffle mix. I had planned to roll the truffles and dip them into melted white chocolate but soon realised that this was a little too delicate for my first truffle attempt so I settled for rolling them in Green & Black's cocoa powder, which is hardly a bad compromise. Now that this first basic truffle is out of the way I am imagining new and endless possibilities, a few spices, a little fruit, possibly some alcohol...

Friday, 2 March 2007


Over the years I have had my fair share of kitchen disasters. I have made inedibly salty bread (don't ever try to guestimate 5g of salt), attempted disappointing recipes, forgotten to add the eggs to a cake, and enjoyed chickpea mush that should have been fritters. I am a natural born worrier, if it is a part of my life (and sometimes even when it isn't) I'll worry about it and the consequence of disasters, no matter how few and far between, is that trying something new makes me nervous, particularly when that something new is not written down in trustworthy book form.

So with some trepidation I approached the hob to try a pasta cooking method that I first heard about last May while reading Chocolate & Zucchini. I had stored this away in my head for future reference and, when it finally resurfaced from the disorganised chaos, I mentioned it to Chris who said that his Mum cooks pasta in stock using this method. Well, we had some homemade chicken stock in the freezer (speaking of kitchen disasters I'll come back to my frozen stock one day soon) so I defrosted it and got cooking.

With a pan of hot stock keeping warm on the hob, I measured out enough fusilli for the two of us, added a teaspoon of oil to the pan to coat the pasta and then added enough stock to just cover the pasta, handily enough this was exactly the pint of stock that I had defosted but I suppose it depends on the pan you use. I left the pasta to simmer and absorb, stirring occasionally and topping up with water from the kettle as the stock disappeared into the pasta.

While the pasta was busy cooking I started thinking about how to dress it up a little. I peeled two garlic cloves and popped them into the pan with the pasta to start infusing it with garlic. I left them in there for about five minutes, then fished them out and dropped them into a smaller pan with a knob of butter and a pile of thyme leaves. I heated this so that the butter would melt and the thyme would soften with the taste of garlic adding to this pan as well. When the pasta was cooked (which took longer than boiling pasta but not a lot longer, just keep watching and stirring occasionally and top up with liquid as necessary) I took the garlic cloves out of the butter and thyme sauce and threw them away and added the sauce to the pasta. Served with a little black pepper and some parmesan I think this method will be making frequent reappearances on our table.