I’ve written a review of Paramount restaurant for Eat Me Magazine you can read it here
I enjoyed one of the tastiest pizzas I’ve had in yonks last night. Due Sardi is a tiny little Sardinian gem specialising in stone baked pizzas and fresh pasta just next door to Jaguar shoes, on Kingsland Road. Using family recipes and ingredients from back home, they deliver and offer take aways that you can eat at Jaguar Shoes (if you can bear all those solipsistic fashion students). I’d heard plenty of great things, and my friend Rosie (who’s lived in Cagliari and is a bit of an expert on these matters) told me she’d overheard Italian customers putting in orders for off-menu Sardinian specialities – always a good sign.
Mark Hix certainly seems to know his Asian food – I’ve had my eye on the mutton chop curry recipe in his latest cookery book for some time now. I chanced upon his recipe for these lentil and potato cakes on a yellowing scrap of old Independent I’d ripped out around, ooh seven years ago. Gently spiced potato cakes filled with a piquant mango chutney and lentil mix and rolled in coconut, they are the perfect packed lunch fodder and definitely taste more intense the next day. I used fresh coconut instead of desiccated and added some bay and grated ginger to the potato mix. I think a spot of fresh green chilli in there wouldn’t go amiss, or if you can get hold of it, the weeniest dollop of Mr Naga hot chilli sauce.
Hello. I’m delighted to have been featured in an Evening Standard article about the behaviour of flavour and eccentric food combinations written by the brilliant Liz Hoggard. You can read all about it here.
Sampling a crazy feast at The Secret Garden Party I was given a lesson in how key the whole orchestra of smell, sight, sound, texture and hormones really are when it comes to flavour.
Seated around a dining table in the middle of a field with the beautiful and the bedraggled we devoured a gigantic jelly brain, section by section whilst engaging young neuroscientist, Zarinah Agnew explained the differing functions of each – an unforgettable experience.
We were then instructed to clamp our nostrils in a blind tasting of Skittles, and found our tastebuds rendered completely numb. We painted our tongues with blue dye and poked them out at one another in order to count the number of undyed tastebuds – an abundance was indicative of a “supertaster” (one with a heightened palate and increased sensitivity to flavour).We sniffed fruitlessly at lurid green test tubes of raspberry and electric blue ones of apple in an attempt to identify what on earth these might be. When served dishes of tender scarlet spheres of agar agar, without its familiar healthy crunch, it was impossible to pick out the intense taste of celery. Our heads were further messed with when we were poured and asked to describe glasses of red wine. The ever-predictable “berries”, “leather” and “tobacco” were suggested, and we were later astonished to learn that we had in fact been sipping a crisp dry white, that had been dyed. An absolutely genius way of being forced to confront our visual preconceptions and the dominance of the brain over the tongue.
I don’t know about you, but the merest rumour of sunshine and eating outdoors suddenly becomes an absolute priority. This sounds great in theory, if you’re in Hampstead say, or in a nice patch of green, but let’s face it, here in le smoke you’re more often than not going to find your plate attacked by some anabolic pigeon and your bag pilfered by that soap-dodging type who’s been surreptitiously loitering around all evening. The chorus of sirens wailing in every direction generally renders any thoughts of conversation to little more than lip reading and that rogue gust of wind means its pretty much game over before the waiter has even started offering your starter to the wrong table. Suddenly, locking yourself indoors with a nice valium sandwich starts to seem like a champion idea. When I was invited to check out Tom’s Terrace, a pretty little spot in the majestic grounds of Somerset House I was relieved to note that it harboured absolutely none of these elements.
Presented with a table denting spread cooked by Mr. Aitkens himself on a golden summer’s evening I was prepared to be thoroughly spoilt and not reminded of just how spoilt I have become.