Results tagged “uk”

Cook Skye: 13th-17th Sep 2010

CookSkye.gifIn September, Anna will be helping teach cooking classes at Greshornish House Hotel on the beautiful Isle of Skye, Scotland, as part of Scottish Food Fortnight.  Join her and local chefs for a week of foraging, cooking, preserving, baking, drinking and feasting.

You can download the 2009 brochure (including a full timetable and price list) here.  The programme in 2010 will be similar.

On the road again

Smcarleaving0001.JPGWe're off!  After several weeks of messing about (in the rain) in England - meeting up with friends and family, getting vaccinations, filling out visa paperwork, being scared witless by first-aid instructors - it's time to get moving again.  This time the general direction is south: we'll be going through France and Spain before crossing to Morocco, then through Mauritania (well, we hope so - there is the small matter of this month's coup d'état), Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso before meeting our friends Tom and Jo for Christmas dinner on the beach in Ghana.  There's a (rough) map of the planned route here.  We'll let you know how we get on.  (We also realise we're very behind with writing up details from the last part - particularly Italy and Croatia - Smkikacharlie0001.JPGso we'll try to update you about those too).

In the mean time we've spent our first day on the road in more familiar surroundings: enjoying Canterbury with Kika and Charlie, and feasting on Kentish apples and English cheese.  Thanks guys, and we'll see you in January!

Back for a bit

Smbeachpint0001.JPGSmwhitstable0001.JPGAs soon as we got off the ferry from France we headed north to Whitstable to remind ourselves that English food can really be quite good too.  B&Bs produce delicious (if extremely expensive) cooked breakfasts, restaurants serve excellent tasty fresh seafood, and people drink large glasses of refreshing beer on the beach.  Not at all bad.

Smkentpear0001.JPGSo now we're back in England for August.  We've spent the day pretending to still be travelling, visiting the fruit collection at Brogdale where they keep enormous numbers of apple, pear and cherry tree varieties (amongst others) as a kind of scientific and agricultural gene bank.  But now we're looking down the barrel of several weeks of doctor's visits, visa applications, four-wheel-drive and first-aid courses before we get to leave again to head south to Africa in September.  We'll keep you posted.

Eating oysters in Whitstable

Today Barnaby has been eating rock oysters (farmed ones, but he's only a bear) by the harbour in Whitstable.


Sticky toffee pudding

It was February, it was cold and I was in England.  Perhaps this explains the craving I experienced for sticky toffee pudding.  Having reviewed a number of formulas claiming to be 'the ultimate' or 'best ever', I came up with this version, adapted from recipes from the BBC Good Food Guide and Sharrow Bay.  It's certainly the best one I've had.  Make double the puddings and freeze the others for the next cold day.


Rhubarb and custard

france, uk
No, not the scrawled 1970s cartoon or the tooth-wrenching sweet of my childhood, or even the early '90s hardcore rave anthem of my (very brief) clubbing days, but instead some delicious vanilla petits pots de crème (very French) with some bright pink rhubarb scented with orange zest (very English). 

Smrhubarbcustard0013.JPGI was inspired to make this by a vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb which I enjoyed at Cotto, by far the best restaurant in Cambridge at the moment.  Rhubarb has just hit Cambridge market, so I wasn't surprised to find it on the menu at Cotto, which makes a point of using local, organic and seasonal produce.  Not wanting to get involved with gelatin this particular afternoon, I changed it to pots de crème.  They were easy, beautiful and delicious.

Getting ready to go


We're about to start a culinary journey around Europe and West Africa: finding out about (and testing!) the food, and talking to the people who grow, prepare and eat it.

We'll be posting pictures, recipes, food facts and (occasionally) general diary stuff. The "about" pages here have more information about the journey (where we'll be going and roughly when), and some information about who we are and why we're doing this.

But at the moment we're still in Cambridge trying to get everything ready: vehicle, documentation, camping gear, clothes for snowy Poland and sunny Turkey, and so on. And we still need to find some good cheap espresso cups.

Mum's marmalade


When I was 4, my dad gave my mother 'The Times Cookery Book' by Katie Stewart for Christmas, doubtlessly not for entirely altruistic reasons.  She's been making Katie's marmalade every January since.  The house being filled with the sweet-sour aromas of Seville oranges cooking in their own syrup is a favourite childhood memory.  Mum's excellent 2008 vintage prompted me to write it up, complete with her own and Katie's tips.


So, we are STILL in the UK, waiting for our new car (it's a red one, and actually quite old) to be fixed up.  We still have a few essentials to buy (plug adaptors, espresso cups, etc), but hopefully next week's email will come from Paris...

Many thanks to those who have sent us tips for where to go and other useful contacts for our travels.  Please keep them coming.

Arsenal to Akwidaa and a question for you...

Hello and happy new year!

We made it back to drizzle-land, but only just.  As Matt had suspected, being so early for the flight did in fact turn out to be too good to be true, as we still managed to assume our usual position of last to check in.  (Virgin Atlantic had the cheek to imply I hadn't paid for my ticket, which caused some trouble, especially as it turned out to be true.)

So, now we find ourselves both officially unemployed, which is somewhat disconcerting, but also quite exciting as it gives us some time for an extravagant culinary road trip - the result of a couple of drunken conversations involving phrases like 'you only live once'.  Imagine a 'P'-ish-shaped route going around Europe, from the match day burger vans near our house in Arsenal, via Polish babas, as far as Turkish meze, back via Italian gnocchi, and then down past Moroccan tagines and Burkinabe baguettes to Ghanaian fufu.  The goal is to reach our mates Tom and Jo in Akwidaa, Ghana, in time for a Christmas rum punch on the beach - a party to which you're all invited.

Perhaps you can help?

If you can give us any contacts, tips or recommendations that would be really, really appreciated.  Perhaps you or someone you know can recommend beautiful places to stay, yummy foods to try, restaurants to eat in or work in (I plan to 'stage' in a few places), cooking schools, farms, vineyards, dairies etc to visit, mates with good local knowledge and/or a spare bed....  We'll be stopping everywhere along the 'P', but focussing mainly on France, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Mali and Ghana.  This sort of thing.

In return I can offer more recipes, drawn from our intensive research into the cuisines of the regions we visit.  They might not be so regular in future I'm afraid.  For example, you might not get one during the alarmingly long, very deserty and in places land-mined stretch through Western Sahara and Mauritania.  (Don't worry mum, apparently local armed guides can lead you through the worst patches.)

If you can help, please call or email.  Recipes will resume shortly...

Christmas special part 3 - Christmas pudding

It's traditional to make this pudding on Stir-up Sunday, the fifth Sunday before Christmas, so that it has time to mature before the big day.  However, if you can hold yourself back, eat it the following Christmas, as a year or so of ageing makes the pudding so much richer, darker, gooey and complex.  It's definitely worth the wait.  This recipe is very loosely based on one by good old Delia Smith, of course, but is boozier and better (I think).

christmas pudding.jpg

Christmas special part 2 - Twice sherried Christmas cake

california, uk
Perhaps this should be 'California Christmas cake', due to the inclusion of apricots, dates and macadamias.  You don't have to use them - you can substitute pretty much any dried fruit and nuts you like.  These ones worked for me, but maybe because I ate it in a log cabin near Lake Tahoe after inching my way down the freezing ski slopes.  The use of two whole bottles of sherry, however, seems very British, and should work anywhere.

christmas cake.JPG



Rhubarb originates from Mongolia.  The word was coined in medieval Latin and derives from 'Rha' (old name for the Volga river) and 'barbarum' (foreign) - ie a vegetable from the foreign lands east of the Volga.

Rhubarb was pronounced a 'fruit' in 1947 by confused US customs officials who opted to classify by its use in desserts rather than its botanical status.

But rhubarb as pudding, even as food, is a relatively recent concept.  For centuries it was used in China and elsewhere purely for medicinal purposes.  Rhubarb is a great laxative, if you eat enough.



Culinary Anthropologist