I was lucky enough to be approached by The Royal Mint to help them develop a recipe for ‘Stir Up Sunday’ – the final Sunday before advent, when families traditionally make their Christmas pudding….
I don’t remember my first taste of coffee. I remember my first taste of tea – plastic mugs of weak PG Tips served at 4pm tea at school – part of what I now recognise to be a wartime rationing themed spread. Packet mashed potato was administered with potato scoops, and slices of spam were cut from the block using a bread knife. In the late-nineties there wasn’t the excuse of recent conflict to justify the menu. But I suppose some people just struggle to move on….
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A few years ago I had a conversation with Omar Allibhoy which stuck with me. The Spanish chef and founder of Tapas Revolution was, unsurprisingly, talking tapas. Or the lack of.
When he first came to Britain, he was taken aback by the amount of drinking which took place without food. It’s a uniquely British trait. Walk past Leadenhall Market after work, and you might spot a packet of crisps amongst the pints, but not much else. Or wander down a British high street early on a Friday evening, and you’ll notice that the general migratory route goes from work, to pub, to bar, to club – without a pit stop at a restaurant for some non-liquid sustinance….
Early last week I cooked a three-course meal. I know, no big deal, right?
I usually stick to two courses though. I launch myself into the main course, and then put a pre-prepared pudding on the table. Minimum effort, maximum time to catch-up with friends. But last Tuesday night I pulled out all the stops. I served watercress and soda bread to start, then bavette with chimichurri, and finally a pavlova….