Thursday, November 27, 2008

CHEATING TARTAR SAUCE. for a little hangover

after going out to the royal court to see 'wig out' with alice and her family (a really funny song/dance/tight pants packed play about New York transvestites) i ended up back at the 1965 office with some reprobates drinking cheap red wine til the early hours. i've been pretty hungover all day. so fish has been on my mind. fish with tartar sauce, because i love vinegary foods when i feel like this. so on the way home i picked up some red snapper and made a cheats sauce to go with it. this fish is meaty, and yet flaky and also has a slight smoky scent. it's perfect in fact.

to make a cheating tartar sauce....
finely chop 4 cornichons
and 1 pickled baby onion
and mix with 2 desert spoons of mayonnaise.
grind in lots of black pepper
serve with the fish fried, and the green beans blanched.
yum. i feel better now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CELERIAC GRATIN. thanks to Lidl

i was passing lidl yesterday so popped in and bought some british celeriac (an old family favourite, which cost 38p this time), creme fraiche (i don't know why but i always pick some up when i see it) and a round of perail cheese (made with ewe's milk in the Aveyron, France). it was a bit of a ready steady cook moment, and gratin sprang to mind though rather more like a remoulade in flavour. (a cold french salad with mustard, mayonnaise and blanched celeriac.) so here it is, a hot crusted remoulade. salty, crisp, tender and creamy:

a small celeriac
200g creme fraiche
100ml milk
1 desert spoon grainy dijon mustard
a pinch of maldon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
90g perail cheese

set the oven to 180C. peel the outer gnarly bits off the celeriac bulb. make sure you do this fastidiously so that there is no mud in the creases. now, using a mandolin slicer, whip it into fine sheets. layer these into a baking dish. in a measuring jug mix the creme fraiche and milk. then season with mustard and salt and pepper. taste. pour this over the celeriac and then lay slithers of the cheese on top. place in the oven for 40 minutes so that it is crisp and brown on top and sizzling at the sides.

i ate this with some blanched green beans but i think it would be delicious with some poached fish if you fancy that too.

Monday, November 24, 2008


i often wake up on a sunday morning with an itch that needs scratching. that itch is a sunday morning jaunt down to the farmers market and a quick peruse around primark (my favourite place for frilly knickers and cheap socks). so off i went in my rubbish hickupy car, the crowbar. and it just so happened that my dad was visiting the whitten timber yard so we met up for a strongly brewed tea at the Criterion Cafe too. this establishment has some of the finest signage around. we spent half an hour putting the world to rights while the glass in the windows gradually steamed up before us, and all around us the customers feasted on stewed sunday roasts swimming in gravy, and bacon and toast and eggs and beans.

and down the market i bought some ace and wonderfully plain pork sausages from the game and pork stall and also some delicious eggs. we made a perfect sunday breka to go with the papers. it couldn't really be a better way to start the day, along with some of my tomato chutney.

Friday, November 21, 2008


today's been busy. i've decorated 2 cakes, one for my dearest friends Kylie and Bharat, married today, and the other for Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. And Lord Smiley was in causing trouble. he did a lovely daffodil arrangement as you can see.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


i've just bought all those made attachments that allow you to pipe icing onto cakes.
there is a danger it could get out of hand.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ANOTHER NIGHT ON THE TOWN. the cha cha moon and the rest

after pitching up to the social on little portland street for james' far out jazz session, we were hungry for small amounts of tastiness, which is so often the case at 10.30pm in the centre of london. and then there was a whisper in my ear... "meet me at the cha cha moon". so off we went into the drizzly streets with improvisation in our ears. the cha cha moon delivered exactly what was needed. it's almost like tapas. their small but mounded plates are £3.50 and worth every bit: greens with a fermented bean curd sauce (chilli hot); cucumber and noodles; a wonderful mooli salad with bean sprouts (which has converted me to the latter). it was all great and hit the spot. the bill was £21 pounds for two piglets so it's a credit crunching dinner too.
then on to bar rumba for yo majesty who made me want to become a lesbian, rock a boiler suit and generally shake it down. all in all an excellent night out in london town.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ROSA'S CAFE. Hanbury Street, near Spitalfields.

Zahra and i went to Rosa's on Hanbury street (right near Spitalfields market). it was great and really reminded me of new york, where all the meals i ate where honest and true in their ethnicity, but in a stylish surrounding (rather than the harshly light canteen vibes of so many good eateries in London). And the staff are lovely and there's actually a proper drinks menu, and the food was hot and crisp and swift and tasty and punchy and fresh. mint, coriander, dried chillies and peanuts making various dipping sauces with excellent ingredients.

so, we ate.... cod satay with a peanut sauce (the coating on the cod was more like a tempura it was so fine); battered squid salad with a sweet dipping sauce (really fiery); pumpkin and venison curry (which was, i think, full of tamarind, giving a wonderful sweet sour aftertaste); lamb, redcabbage and chilli salad (which was so crunchy i think they must have made it on the way to the table) and jasmine rice.

go and check out rosa's. really do. and you can find more at



Thursday, November 13, 2008


this WHOLE MEAL SOUP is for 2

This soup is absolutely delicious, warming and perfect for when you feel coldy, which is what i've been for the last few weeks. It’s got everything you need for a vulnerable immune system in one bowl: lots of vegetables, liquid, carbohydrate, pure protein and fat. It’ll cost a pittance and make you feel a lot better.

3 spring onions
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 leek
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 nob of butter
1 large tomato
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 bouquet garni
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 eggs
2 handfuls of riso pasta
freshly ground pepper
Maldon sea salt

Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Then dice the carrots and celery really finely. Slice the leek lengthways into 4 and then slice so that it’s also very small pieces. Finely dice the garlic cloves. Gently warm the olive oil in a medium pan and add the prepared vegetables. Fry lightly for 5 minutes and then add the nob of butter until it melts. Now dice the tomato and add this too. Continue to fry for a few more minutes. Pour over the vegetable stock, add the bouquet garni (if you don’t have one of these to hand, then some sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf will do fine) and turn up the heat. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Warm a medium pan of water with the vinegar on a high flame. Crack each egg into a separate ramekin at the ready. When the water is beginning to boil, turn it to a medium flame, whisk a whirlpool and gently decant one egg. Then in the other half of the pan, do the same with the second egg. After 1 minute turn the heat off and leave the eggs to stand. Now add the handfuls of riso pasta to the rumbling soup and simmer for a few minutes so that it has plumped up and absorbed some of the tasty stock. Serve the soups and nestle an egg on top of each bowl, well seasoned.