Wednesday, 9 April 2014
Monday, 7 April 2014
|Full of chit|
Friday, 4 April 2014
Can ever a foodstuff so ostensibly humble have been so venerated, so lusted after, so - hyperbole klaxon! - fetishised as the burger? Having had to put up with some bloody awful specimens over the years, these sceptered isles have in recent times seen a wholesale improvement in standards, thanks in no small part to a certain London-based chain of grease-houses and all who followed in their slippery wake. Whole websites are now devoted to the things. My own personal epiphany came over a Dead Hippy a couple of years back. Holy effing shit! I remember thinking, as the perfectly calibrated mix of sweet, salt, meat, cheese and tang zeroed in on the cerebral cortex. Pretty much everything else has since then seemed sepia-tinged and tired by comparison, and so I'd basically given up on burgers, deciding that there's a glass ceiling on how good they can be in anything other than the most expert of hands.
Sunday, 30 March 2014
|A table with a view|
Friday, 28 March 2014
And we're up and running. A remarkably fine Sunday gave us the chance to commit our first potatoes to the soil last weekend. We dug over one of the patches that we've inherited from our former plot-mate Toni, having been given the all-clear to take over her side the the allotment. A smattering of horse manure was worked in, the usual trenches dug and in they went. We only planted our first earlies, which were Rocket and some other unknown variety (someone managed to throw out the label...), with second earlies and main croppers to go in this weekend if I get round to it. I'll be digging solo, as Kasia is out of town.
Monday, 24 March 2014
|That's going to take a while to shift...|
Monday, 17 March 2014
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
|Beef Fillet, Asparagus, Morels, Wild Garlic, Nasturtiums|
Sunday, 23 February 2014
|Pulled Pork Bun|
Saturday, 22 February 2014
|One day my son, all of this...|
Sunday, 26 January 2014
You don't see very many approving words written about the Michelin Guide these days. It's out of touch say its detractors, overly in thrall to the signifiers of the Gallic cuisine it originally described. Too many stars here, too few there. Critics, bloggers and other interested parties scratch their collective bonce as Rogan remains starless in Manchester while in London, Ducasse retains all three. The thing has become a running joke and should just be ignored, they say. And yet, and yet. If it wasn't for the attentions of the little red book we may still not have heard about the cooking of James Close at the Raby Hunt, much less have had the pleasure of settling in for a recent lunch of absolutely stellar cooking. So: thanks Michelin!
Saturday, 25 January 2014
This is a slightly tricky one to write up. In an alternate universe, not all that far different from the one you and I both call home, I'd be raving about COOP and telling you that you have to get down there post haste. The chicken is amazing, I'd say. Praise the lord for independent restaurants, just what Newcastle - currently besieged by more mid-brow chain places than you can shake a wearied shrug at - needs, I'd proclaim. Back on this galactic plane however, based on the visit we paid them after their having been opened a week, any such effusions have to be significantly qualified.
Saturday, 18 January 2014
|Hell Hath Fury|
Monday, 13 January 2014
There seems to be a downturn-confounding slew of new restaurant openings in and around Newcastle at the minute. Either there are some foolhardy souls around, keen on ploughing money into new ventures despite the absence of disposable loot in people's wallets, or Newcastle has a restaurant-attending class of citizen sufficient to support all this. Hopefully the latter, obviously. One of the more interesting places to open doors over the last few months is Peace & Loaf in Jesmond.
Sunday, 12 January 2014
Partly because of seeing this video recipe by the excellent American food writer Michael Ruhlman, I decided to get Kasia some Le Creuset mini cocottes as part of her chrimbo box. Like her, they're irredeemably cute and, I thought, nifty for serving a bunch of different single-portion type stuff. Chicken liver pate, set custards and mini-gratins are all on the radar. But the idea of baked eggs struck me as brilliantly simple, and not a far cry from the coddled eggs we used to get treated to as kids. My dad's recipes for chocolate, not to mention peanut-butter, coddled eggs will, rest assured, never darken these pages...
Sunday, 5 January 2014
|What's all this then?|
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
|A restaurant somewhere that, in common with the ones in this post, I haven't been to. Image: Sam Howzit/Flickr|
Sunday, 8 December 2013
|Hey look, an allotment!|
With a fair dose of trepidation I shambled, rigger-booted and sporting a moderate second day hangover, down to the plot this morning. There had been grim communications from the committee to the effect that plots had been broken into and some property stolen. Also, I hadn't been down for a couple of weeks and, well, you just never know what might have blown away or gone tits-up, do you? Fortunately we were not among those singled out by whichever crew of barbarians has been nicking and smashing stuff. Perhaps because our plot's unkempt aesthetic does not lead one to (rightly, as it happens) believe that any especially desirable treasures lie within it for the taking.
Sunday, 24 November 2013
I've held the view for quite some time now that Lebanese is one of the premier pre-piss up cuisines. The conviviality of shared mezze starters, the light and zingy flavours and the wilful contrariness of starting your evening off with a kebab are all very much in its favour in this regard. And anyone who doesn't enjoy scooping up mounds of silky smooth hummus with those airily light breads you get at the start of the meal is sadly defective in a quite significant way. There was no piss-up happening when we visited Al Baik recently to celebrate a family birthday, but I was looking forward to it nonetheless, not least as there had been furtive whisperings that we might take on the "Super Al Baik Special Mixed Grill", of which more later...
|A tree, in a car, today. Fancy that!|
Just back from the plot, which, if things continue apace, is going to have to be referred to in future as the orchard. You see we've expanded our fruit tree empire by 100%, adding an apple to the plum that we planted a couple of weeks ago. Heady times. In so doing we've also rediscovered (we had been once before, but then sort of forgot where it was) a genuinely excellent garden centre. Cowell's, near Woolsington, had an impressively comprehensive range of all manner of fruit trees and were able to dispense some really useful advice about planting them. Never again, Homebase.