When we arrived the staff were warm and welcoming, keen to talk through the menu and offer recommendations. We started with the guacamole, which came with tortilla chips and parmesan with a honey dip. I would never have gone for parmesan and honey together (I’m not a great fan of sweetness – I bring enough to the table *wink wink*) but on consideration, it works. The salty balance of the cheese was offset nicely with the sweetness of honey – a pleasant surprise. The guacamole was as I like it – chunky, fresh and with a good hint of acidity, however was lacking in enough salt for me. Luckily there was a large salt grinder on the table – at least you can season to your own taste.
Heading down to a Brazilian restaurant on a cold winter’s night seemed like just the right thing for me a few weeks ago - although in fairness I had very little idea what food to expect. After travelling to SA many years ago, all I remembered was empanadas and not much else, but I hoped that whatever it was would have a good kick of flavour to heat me up.
The celebration season brings with it a lot of joy; presents, lessening workloads and copious, copious drinks. I love it and it wouldn’t give me cause to complain at all but for one miniscule, teeny weeny little thing: the set function menus. I can honestly say that I’ve rarely tasted a truly fine one. There’s a formula to a function menu, there has to be purely for the logistics; it’s difficult to cook a la minute (prepared to order) and you have to cater for all those dreadful peasants who ‘don’t like fish’ (unless it’s battered), are ‘terribly lactose intolerant’ (but eat cheddar…) or are highly allergic to green vegetables (greedy). These factors result in menus that are repetitive and commonly dull. There tends to be a lot of chicken breast.
Food and travel are inexorably linked. The flavours and dishes you taste are as synonymous of the countries you visit as the very sand between your toes. They tell stories of the climate, the ‘terroir’ and the culture of lands and history of nations is traceable in every ingredient that makes up a recipe. To eat abroad and eat authentically is to experience a country at its heart. What could be a more true way to travel or, indeed, a more enjoyable one?
Recently I’ve been inspired to create a three-course menu of the most memorable and delicious dishes I’ve discovered in my travels around the world. Celebrity Cruises, who won best ocean cruise line this year in the Food and Travel Awards, are running a ‘Taste of Travel’ menu competition and it’s made me think a lot about what courses these might be, about which far flung food memories I most cherish. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and, being the intolerably greedy food blogger that I am, most of my memories are grounded in what I’ve eaten anyway, so a number of options sprung to mind. All dishes were special in their context. Read on and ‘join me for dinner’; I hope they give you a taste of what can be explored there.
Champagne is one of my favourite things in the world. Whilst sales of it always surge over the Christmas period, for me it is more than a celebration drink. When I can, I drink it all the time and am put off only by the rather tedious requirement to stay moderately sober for my day job. That being said, there is something undeniably lovely about sipping something sparking, dry and slender stemmed over the holiday period. It matches fabulously with smoked salmon or turkey and with careful selection, you can even find types to pair with Christmas pudding.
Trifle is one of life's most unappreciated and often-abused desserts. I have had some absolutely dreadful ones in my time; drenched in shudderingly sweet sherry, soggy sponge fingers disintegrated in the base with curdling packet custard. I've also had some delicious ones.
For me, the trick is to remember that no trifle is better than the sum of its parts. Pay attention to the provenance of its components, give them some love and what could be nicer than a heady combination of tart fruit, creamy vanilla-sodden custard and sweet sponge. For this reason I always make my own custard, and as well as using jam and jelly layers I make a raspberry syrup to add a fresh fruity hit.
Enjoy! Great for any celebration dessert.
Recently, I set out with a spring in my step most out of sorts with the frosty Friday morning it accompanied. Anyone who saw me strolling along Oxford Street might well have wondered what could inspire such enthusiasm at 8am on a day so icy. Since I hold you dear, my readers, I’ll share with you why. I was on my way to one of my favourite places in the whole of London to test out their new 2014 Christmas food hampers! Where else but, of course, Selfridges?
We like to treat you here at FoodGoblin and this Christmas is no exception. I've teamed up with the lovely Toby from TASTE Cocktails to bring you something naughty this Noel.
For your chance to win a bespoke DIY cocktail kit from TASTE Cocktails, containing the premium ingredients and recipes to make 6 cocktails (with a little extra to taste), follow the below steps...
December is closing in and on these cold, winter's nights for me there is little more comforting than a creamy mug of hot chocolate. Jazz yours up with a glug of something naughty; I've used Amarula, a wonderful African liqueur made from double cream and the fruit from the Marula tree. This fruit is picked and distilled in oak barrels. It's like a warmer, rounded version of irish cream and its fruity notes work really well with dark chocolate. Make it even naughtier with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.
Christmas began early for me this Winter. It was a chilly November night when I negotiated the cobbled paths of London Bridge’s backstreets to arrive at a quiet set of business units. I’d been invited to a Christmas party-cum-tasting where, I was told, we were going to learn all about ‘the art of Christmas’. ‘Christmas?’ I thought, ‘How ridiculous. It’s barely even November’. All this nonsense about Christmas songs and ‘getting in the spirit of things’ still irked, and the Grinch very much reigned in my mind. The idea of planning my Christmas meal certainly hadn’t registered.