Really Nice Ice

ice cube tray1 680

Bartenders are a very exacting breed. The precision of their measurements and perfect execution of a cocktail is the polar-opposite to my ‘chuck it all in’ style cooking. But having worked at cocktail magazine, Diffordsguide, for a year, one thing did rub off on me: a mild neurosis about ice cubes…. 

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Bompas & Parr: boating on Selfridges’ roof

Breakfast on Selfridges’ roof—the boat on the far right will be floating on the rooftop lake in 2 weeks

My mother always used to say that “no news is good news.” But I’m not sure. When it comes to naughty boys, no news usually means that they’re concocting some sort of cunning plan.

And that’s the thing about Bompas and Parr. They are two naughty boys who have carved out their own niche in the market as ‘jellymongers’ (or “architectural foodsmiths”)… and when there’s no news, it’s because they’re planning something bigger and madder and even more extravagant than their previous stunt…. 

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Bank holiday barbecue

Just a quick post to pay tribute to a blissful bank holiday.

Sausages, burgers, kebabs, halloumi and sweet, sweet corn on the cob. (Thanks Natt – you’re wonderful!)

So…I thought I’d share with you a recipe from the weekend (originally nicked from friends out in Portugal). I’m definitely going to be making it again later on in the week to bring a bit of Monday Bank Holiday to a mid-week Wednesday:

Passion Fruit Caiprinha

1 lime
1 passion fruit
2 shots of cachaça
¾ shot of sugar syrup (mix 2tbs of sugar with 1tbs of hot water to make the syrup – it’s best to make a big jug of syrup at the start of the night if you’re planning to drink several throughout the evening…multiply the amounts but keep the ratios the same).

Nb. One shot is supposed to be 30ml or 1 fl oz – but it’s ok to make the shots smaller or bigger dependent on your mood – just make sure that if you put in more cachaça then you put in more lime and syrup too!

Scoop out the passion fruits, and mix with lime juice and the (cooled) sugar syrup. Taste (and alter if necessary) and then add the cachaça. Stir, and serve on ice. (You’re supposed to use ice chips, but I prefer cubes – they’re less likely to melt, dilute the drink and change the taste.)

We filled a pitcher with ice, and stirred together all the ingredients in that – like making a big Pimms. (6 scooped-out passion fruits, the juice of 6 limes, 12 shots of cachaça and 4 ½ shots of sugar syrup). Phenomenal.


Alembic, San Francisco

Just a quick heads up that my reviews of the best bars in San Francisco, Oxford, Birmingham and Nottingham are up on the diffordsguide website.

Check it out – it’s a very cool website. As well as bar reviews, there’s a great page with a slot machine function to help you use up the dregs in your drinks cabinet with hundreds of cocktail recipes.