Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I had a lovely weekend in Edinburgh. It’s an amazing soaring city, and I’d forgotten just how beautiful and stylish and humorously gentile it is. Each meal we ate was impeccable. The first was a delicious thai on hanover street, Muang Thai, ( where we ate a Scottish beef salad (you could tell the raw ingredients were top notch), chilli scallops (they were so hot that my mouth started talking jibberish), perfect pad thai and a duck curry. It was just what I want from ethnic food. That is, really sophisticated and packed with sour, hot, sweet, and tender sensations. This meal was followed by a Michael Smiley stand up show ( and lots of weather fighting beer around New Town.

My hangover was so intense the next day that we just managed to stumble to my old haunt valvona & crolla (, where I nursed myself on a full Italian fry up including a slice of polenta. They even do coke floats here.

The finale of our Edinburgh escapade was a damn good fish and chips that we spied en route back from the Tracey Emin retrospective (wonderful). D'Alba D'Oro is run by an Italian couple and they sell, on top of the wicked haddock and chips that we merked, many champagnes and cognacs. It’s got a lovely friendly atmosphere and the walls are lathered with booming local reviews. This was the perfect preamble for a live set from The View at Caberet Voltaire (another old haunt from my university jollies) where they larked their way through old and new numbers to a frenzied, fantastically dressed crowd of super-fans.

Go to Edinburgh for 36 hours, and eat brilliant cheap and fun food. I woke up on Monday aged 28, and it couldn’t have been a better place to start the next year of my life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


these are a real must. when i was in france a few weeks ago, we went mushroom picking. the sheltered wood was wet and warm, just as the mushroom loves, and it made for a jolly afternoon. we could practically see these little stained, yellow, pink and brown friends growing before our eyes.
so in honour of this dreamy afternoon, i made a fresh chanterelle risotto (and cunningly had some proper chicken stock at the ready, complete with fine strands of delicious dripping french chicken meat)

i highly recommend finding wild mushrooms (i sell these dry though, as do many good delis). you can find really nice wild mushrooms in WILD CAPER (brixton market) and also CRUSON (camberwell church street) and if you can bring yourself, i'm sure WHOLEFOODS (kensington high street) would do a fine selection. the flavour is much more various and woody (naturally). and there is something pretty reassuring about having to remove mossy strands from their little delicate stems.

(incase you don't know... fry up a shallot in lots of butter and extra virgin olive oil. then add the wonderful wild mushrooms, and coat. now add the risotto rice, and seal. bit by bit add fresh proper chicken stock. and a wine glass of dry vermouth. when nutty turn the heat off, add another nob of butter, and a few handfuls of peppery rocket. place a lid on the pan for 10 minutes, then heap of loads of parmesan (the good stuff), give it a good whip up with a wooden spoon, and serve with coarsely ground pepper. done)

i'm off to edinburgh on the weekend, and plan to eat the best fried breakfast.... i can't wait.