There’s a curious brunch on the London horizon and, sugar, it ain’t Ozzy. Nein, it is Berlin style and, if you haven’t already, you’re going to be hearing a lot more about it soon. When I first met Noemi, founder of Bruench pop up, I had no idea that brunch was big in Germany. You see them as more hearty stews at dusk and back for an early night folk, right? Wrong. Berliners especially are streaks ahead of us in the strong brunch game. Whilst smashed avocado on rye was but a twinkle in one’s eye (yeah, I rhyme), Berliners were lining up to enjoy funky bottomless brunches based around the best 3 B’s in the breakfast dictionary: bread, brunch and booze.
A neighbourhood pub is one of the cornerstones of Great British culture. Nowhere else does them as we do. In Brazil, a ‘pub’ is actually considered an upscale bar; it’s a swanky place, a place to impress and certainly not an every day joint. In Britain it couldn’t be more different. There are few vitals that make a good pub a great pub; namely quality food, drinks and ambience (at good value, of course). Recently I visited a good contender in this; The Hour Glass pub in South Kensington.
If you're searching for sushi so smooth it's like butter and feels like it melts in your mouth - that’s what you'll get at Takahashi, a modest pocket of a restaurant in South Wimbledon, capable of 20 covers at a push. We took a selection from the specials and regular menu and were not left disappointed.
Have you ever eaten something and mid-chew been floored with memories of far flung time and place? Those fish and chips reminding you of holidays with your grandparents as a kid, retro chocolate bars (for me Freddie Frogs) of messing about after school, Mr Whippy ice creams of rainy British Summers….the list goes on. Of course you have, we all have and it’s not whimsy - it’s science. The part of your brain that helps store memories (the hippocampus) is linked to your body’s smell receptors and to the part that processes emotion. When you take a big whiff of something during eating, it pulls up all the memories of when you last ate it along with how you felt when you did! Science asides, it’s a powerful phenomenon and some of my favourite things to cook are ones that evoke memories from growing up back home in Yorkshire.
Jacob’s Creek are celebrating these memories in their Our Table campaign. Together with Lisa Faulkner, actress and winner of 2010 Celebrity Masterchef, and Novak Djokovic, world number 1 tennis player, they’re putting on a special pre-Wimbledon dinner this Thursday to showcase a number of dishes inspired by the special memories of its attendees! Dishes will be matched with copious wine by ozzy wine giant of the last 160 years, Jacob’s Creek, and I’m delighted to have been invited too!!
I grew up in Yorkshire and we take pie very seriously indeed. Ths Fish Pie was a staple of my mother’s, adapted from one by her beloved Marco Pierre White, and I used to love it when she cooked it for me and the family. As a kid this was probably the best thing I’d ever tasted and this is still the best recipe for Fish Pie that I’ve ever come across.
Nestled in what might just be the greenest nook in England, is The Churchill Arms. Right slap bang in the post card picturesque village of Paxford, near Chipping Camden, the pub sits, looking out over the nearby green. It’s a very English sort of pub. Yellow stone, polite shrubbery and a slate roof. Inside it’s airy and bright, with a small bar and a larger dining area. It’s certainly not an old man’s boozer and has a country cottage vibe.
Usual readers of FoodGoblin will not normally turn to it for views on healthy eating and ‘free from’ recipes. The food we eat and write about is real, full flavoured, prepared from the heart; our writers, undoubtedly greedy. However, on odd occasions I do come across dish that compromises not on flavour but more so on calories which can only be a good thing with summer now upon us. Whilst not impossible to do, creating interesting flavours that are light and healthy can be done, but we all know that more thought needs to go into making quinoa taste as delicious as butter laden vegetables!!
Recently I posted my road trip guide to Oxford and the Cotswolds (link here) and mentioned my stay at Keble College, Oxford. I wanted to post a separate piece to elaborate on it a little more and share more photos of this wonderful spot!
Britain is a fabulous place to visit. 34.4 million foreign visitors a year (2014) agree with me, with the United Kingdom being the 8th largest tourist destination in the world! So why don’t the British agree? 58% percent of us will leave the UK this summer alone for destinations far flung…or not so far flung - 75% of British holidays stay within Europe, with Spain by far being the most popular destination. The number of Britons holidaying domestically fell by 21 million between 2005-2008, in part due to increased availability of cheap holiday deals.
Now…all of you, my readers, know how much I love travelling, but to know where you’re going, first you’ve got to know where you’re from. With this Instagram postcard sentiment in mind, this year I’ll be embarking on a series of UK road trips to explore our great island’s destinations. And where could be a better choice to kick all this off but these, most quintessentially ‘English’ of destinations: Oxford and the Cotswolds.
In the green, green vales of England’s Cotswolds The Wood Norton nestles. Whilst it nestles discreetly, tucked against a hillside, it also does so grandly. Some might even say it sprawls. It was built in 1897 by the Duc D’Orleans, the exiled French nobleman, as his home away from home and included eccentricities such as a bear pit complete with swimming pool! This site was lived in by his family and frequented by royalty, until the early 1900s when it was bought by the BBC. They used this as their base away from London during the World Wars, becoming one of the largest broadcasting centres in Europe - a true slice of war time British history. Now it stands as a magnificent hotel, retaining its original 19th Century French interior features elegantly juxtaposed against modern luxuries.
I visited in March during a road trip of Oxford and the Cotswolds - details of which will be in my next post - but was so blown away by the experience that I felt it justified a stand alone piece.
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