Social Media-Driven Snacking

I have heard it said that the internet is all about cats. I won’t refute that suggestion – I mean, how could I? Considering how my better half & I pummel everyone with pictures and tales of our felines, to do so would be the HEIGHT of hypocrisy. But in among all the cat memes and LOLcats – there’s a lot of food material as well. And that’s what I am thinking about today – specifically I am thinking about foods that seem to come into being to serve social media.

What do I mean?.

Would freakshakes, for example, been anything more than an isolated incident or a culinary blip if social media didn’t exist? I mean, seriously – apart from being perfect for grabbing attention on Instagram, what have freakshakes got going for them?

I might say the same about those appalling rainbow bagels. I mean, why would you develop such a thing EXCEPT for the visual impact?

So I’m now pondering ways that social media (not just Instagram but the rest too – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.) has has impacted the development of food and food trends. Not just the appalling ones such as freakshaes and rainbow bagels – but things like the craze for macarons? Surely some of that is down to how colourful and beautiful displays of macarons are and how many pictures of them can be found everywhere.

Any thoughts?

Food: To Participate or Watch?

“All of that has led us here, to a strange and mostly uncharted territory where being passionate about food and being passionate about cooking have become two very different things.”

I think the above is true for huge swathes of people who describe themselves and think of themselves as being ‘into food.’ And while I think it is true, I also kinda don’t get it. I recognize the truth of the statement but I don’t understand how one can be TRULY interested in food without being interested in cooking because I’m both.

This doesn’t mean I am a good cook – I’m not. But I am interested in the process and the history of it in addition to being interested in food. I like eating food – hell, let’s face it (and my waistline), I love eating food – but I am interested in MANY things about food. Where it comes from, how it is prepared, how it changes from place to place and time to time, what it represented, etc. I watch cooking shows because of all of that – and frankly, I like watching people cook. At home or on TV. Also – some good tips can be winkled out of them.

What I Learned at Banbury Food Fair 2016

So, the Banbury Town Fair has once again come and gone. As always, there were samples galore to try. We’ve learned over the years that once we’ve nibbled your way through the first batch of booths, had lunch and then nibbled and snacked our way through the rest – the idea of dinner often never occurs to us. But it’s not all about actually eating. It’s also about chatting with people about the food they have brought, prepped, turned into art or just enjoy. It’s an incredibly social occasion and with over 100 vendors, a day full of cooking demos and foodie’s everywhere – I always learn a lot.

This year I learned that in order to make a fruit gin, you may need to let the fruit infuse anywhere from several months (soft fruits like raspberries) to just over a year (sloe). Now, I am not a gin drinker (I’m a vodka girl with mixers, myself) but I tasted the raspberry gin from Foxdenton Fruit Gins and goodness! It was delicious – I can absolutely see baking a Christmas cake with that.

I learned from Anita Chipalkatty (while watching her making jalfrezi – an Indian stir-fry) that while Chinese stir-fry and Indian stir-fry have a lot in common cooking method wise, the chop is very different. Chinese veg is shredded or julienned quite fine for stir fry where as for an Indian dish, the chop is chunkier. It still cooks quickly but retains more individual taste and structural integrity (all the better for scooping, for example with chunks of pepper).

hobbycooks
Anita explains it all – and I was totally listening and not plotting to elbow my way to the front when the “taste the dish” offer was announced.

And sadly while I was not able to get close enough for a clear picture, Restaurant 56 head chef Andrew Scott (Banburian himself) and sous chef Nick Bennett (yes, that was him on Masterchef) did make disassembling a duck look GREAT fun.

We discussed timeframes for smoking beef and pork with Smoke and Spice BBQ – and as a Texas-raised BBQ eater from itty-bitty-hood, let me say the beef brisket with Kansas sauce is spot on! The North Carolina sauce seemed to be going over well too.

brisket
Beef Brisket from Smoke & Spice

The difference, in case you wondered, Continue reading “What I Learned at Banbury Food Fair 2016”

Tasty Tidbits: February News Peruse

Every now and then, I come across foodie stories that I feel compelled to comment on. Then there are stories where commenting to the screen isn’t enough (come on, we all do it) and I do another Fabulous Foodie News Peruse to share those thoughts and opinions with someone other than the cat. This is round up of just those kind of stories.

  • Beans Do Not Belong in Chili” declares the Slate headline. Well, I don’t know about that. I have tried and enjoyed beanless chili but I am firmly in the “beans are perfectly welcome in my chili” camp. I spent my childhood in Texas eating chili and every year perused the offerings at the Chili Cookoff competition at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Beans were found in any number of those dishes and no one spurned them, called them goulash or declared them out of bounds.  I say, “Yes” to beans in chili. What say you?

  • If you consider the fact that potatoes are one of the most thrown away household groceries on both sides of the Atlantic, you might think people were already buying more potatoes than they know what to do with. Add that to the chips, fries and mash consumed by the ton when eating out and you might also think tater sales were pretty good.  And yet, apparently that is not enough for the U.S. Potato Board (there is a board for everything, trust me). What are they doing about it? According to Food Republic the U.S. Potato Board Is Firing Up 500 Food Trucks To Sell More Spuds. OK, who’s not buying and eating their share of spuds? I can’t do this all by myself people!

potatoes

  • Hardly a week goes by when I don’t see yet another article declaring that they have found the IDEAL way to make scrambled eggs. This week is no exception with epicurious suggesting that “The Ingredient Scrambled Eggs Are Always Missing” – oh really? Now, scrambled eggs are one of those things people hold VIEWS on – but my preference for soft/firm/with cheese/without can depend on my mood. I am TOTALLY on board with the addition of a certain amount of really good cheese to a scramble now and again, however. How say you, foodies? Should cheese be ONLY involved when it comes to omeletes or are you happen to cheese up a scramble as well?

eggs_toast

News Peruse: August 29 Edition

In the flurry of excitement over the latest series of Great British Bake Off and the never ending list of culinary observances, I’ve been terribly slack on keeping up with all the food news you can peruse. So, let me make amends by offering these tasty tidbits and interesting ideas I’ve found on my daily wander across the digital foodie landscape.

The Naughty Way to Roast a Chicken

On the way home, I picked up a chicken and embarked on a rather obscene journey with the pan that until this fateful moment lived mostly in obscurity in the back of a cabinet, and occasionally made innocent cakes for sweet little tea parties.

Naughty? No, but intriguing yes! I love the idea of using a Bundt pan (one of the most “single use items” ever, hence we do not have one) to do a vertical chicken (and gain a use in the process). Has anyone done this?

Britain’s Dim Sum Trolleys Are Making Their Last Rounds

“The Italians have antipasti, the Spanish have tapas, and us Asians, we have our dim sum.”

A fab piece by my friend Angela – member of the great food content team known as The White Room. I love dim sum from a cart – sad to see it’s fading here. Obviously, I get the space-based reasons why. Still sad. I shall do my part to keep the tradition alive by trying to get some trolley based dim sum next time I am in NYC (where it is, to the best of my knowledge, still available).

Cookbooks’ key ingredient now design not recipes, says food writer

“In my day you could still buy a good cookbook in paperback with no pictures at all. I doubt if that would sell today. But those books were much used: they lived in the kitchen and got splattered with custard and gravy.”

Reading the above quote, I was confused.  I’m not quite sure where Prue has been but Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat had no pictures and sold very well. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has some diagrams but even those are pretty sparse. There are no photos. The New York Times Cookbook edited by Amanda Hessler has no photos, neither does the Joy of Cooking – even after all these editions. All of these books are still, as far a I know, selling well.

Yes, I have cookbooks with photos – lots of them but I also have plenty that don’t. Yes, I Google recipes – lots of them, all the time but I still look at cookbooks when looking to adjust a recipe or when looking for something new to do. I agree with her that a lot of newer cookbooks are coffee table book and style (and goodness knows size) but that’s partially because so many are TV and celebrity ties these days. After all, food TV is huge huge business.

I don’t agree that this is the tragedy she seems to think it is because I don’t think it’s true across the board and I don’t think this automatically means people aren’t cooking from them. Also – Prue sounds just a TAD bitter. So, in sum: I am not in any way against beautifully visual cookbooks – the Spice Men is a GORGEOUS book, as our many on the shelves of TransAtlantic Towers but I think Prue is seeing what Prue wants to see. People are buying all sorts of cookbooks – new and classic, text and photo driven and many of them are cooking from those books.

The best cookbooks of all time, as chosen by the experts

“… whenever the fingers stopped turning pages and started tapping on the page, I’d know the recipe had been found.”

The previous article prompted this one where a selection of notable cooks were asked about cookbooks that influenced them. And from this piece, I have learned several things:

  1. Raymond Blanc is self-taught ( I had NO idea & I am flabbergasted)
  2. I still have no time for Jack Monroe (because I’m not as interested in Jack as Jack is)
  3. I am not alone in my love of cookbooks that also provide context and cultural info
  4. There are a lot of cookbooks mentioned in the comments that I would really like to take a look at.

Save

Save

Save

Culinary Curation: Food Museums

It’s Museum Week over on Twitter (follow the #MuseumWeek hashtag) and naturally my thoughts flew to food museums. I know there’s a Pasta Museum in Rome (though I have never been) and the SPAM museum is undergoing renovations. I’m compiling a list over the next few days and highlighting a few each day here and on Twitter … Bon Appetit’s list is from 2013 but that was AGES ago.

From Bon Appetit’s List:

  • frietmuseumSPAM® Museum (on Twitter @SPAMbrand)
  • Frietmuseum in Bruges, Belgium
  • Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Japan
  • Kimchi Museum in Seoul, Korea
  • Currywurst Museum in Berlin, Germany
  • Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute in Waco, TX (on Twitter @drpeppermuseum)
  • International Banana Club Museum – now defunct
  • Mariager Salt Center in Mariager, Denmark
  • The Jell-O Museum/Gallery in LeRoy, NY
  • Burnt Food Museum in Arlington, MA

Obviously an update (and frankly a massive expansion) is needed. And who better than Fabulous Foodie to tackle the job?

Fabulous Foodie #MuseumWeek picks for Monday:

  • Museum of Food & Drink (on Twitter @mofad)
  • Cocktail Museum (on Twitter @tMOTAC)
  • Southern Food & Beverage Museum (on Twitter @SouthernFood)

southernfood

June: The Sunny Star of the Culinary Calendar

I don’t know about you but this time of year, I start building whole weekends around food – oh who am I kidding, I do that most weekends. But June is the perfect time to immerse oneself in the foodiness of it all. Days are longer (so grilling pineapple on the grill doesn’t require a flashlight) and warmer (so all those no bake ice box cakes can come out to play) and there are so many food-related days out to enjoy!

Observances-wise June is:

  • straw_iceCandy Month – which in all honesty might be more appropriate somewhere in the holiday-heavy latter half of the year but no matter – candy is candy is candy.
  • Dairy Month – which makes a lot of sense if what you really want to say is MORE ICE CREAM PLEASE but you want to sound healthier.
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month – which makes TOTAL sense scheduling wise – far more than candy. And seriously, what is better on a hot summer day than a really juicy, “tart-sweet-and all tastes in between” fruit salad. And so many “pick you own” options that you could fill every June weekend with them.
  • Frozen Yogurt Month – as I said this time last year, it’s been ages since I had a first class frozen yogurt. And now it;s been even longer. Still searching.
  • Papaya Month – I would have thought this was covered under Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month but possibly the papaya has a stronger lobby than I thought.

Maybe you’re looking to be hands-on with the culinary creativeness but also want to get out of the house and enjoy the summer weather – well, the season of food faires and food festivals is upon us and those are the events for you!

  • grillingThis weekend, for example, if you find yourself in NYC (as I sometimes do) and you’re feeling pecking (or starving) – head over to the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (June 7 & 8 in Madison Square Park).
  • BBQ not your thing? The Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival is June 8 this year as well. One of the key events in the Museum at Eldridge Street Synagogue calendar, this really is a delicious result of everything that makes the Lower East Side/Chinatown such a weird and wonderful place to go. Egg rolls and egg creams? Come on, where else will those two things come together? With acrobats? Exactly.
  • The Food Truck Festival of New England is back again this year – apparently food trucks as a trend are here to stay so presumably they will stop being a ‘trend’ and will now be a ‘given.’ There are 6 festivals planned between June and October – so if you are in Somerville or Worcester, MA this month, keep an eye out.
  • BlueberriesSouth of the Mason-Dixon Line, there’s the 25th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival on June 14. Yes, it’s in Nacogdoches but no you don’t have to know how to pronounce Nacogdoches to attend. I couldn’t pronounce it as a child either and ended up calling it Nack-a-nowhere because not only could I not pronounce it, I could never find it on a map. The fact that I continued to call it that into adulthood is more habit than I desire to needle to good people of Nacogdoches. All 10 of them. No, no – I kid, I kid. Go, enjoy some blueberries and the rest of the awesome food that can be found at food fairs and festivals across the Great State.
  • If Texas in June sounds a bit too warm for your tastes (and having grown up there I can attest to the warmth’s WARMNESS), head up to Colorado and some cooler Rocky Mountain Air. Not chilly but more comfy. And no need to forgo foodie fun either because they’ve got the 26th Annual Pine Grove Rhubarb Festival on June 8th.  Frankly rhubarb isn’t ACTUALLY my thing, the ‘all you can eat Pancake Breakfast’ and the achingly beautiful surroundings are enough to make me want to go.
  • Also on June 7 but more East Coast time than Rocky Mountain time, is the Ashland Strawberry Faire is held in – you guessed it – Ashland, Virginia.

As usual, there are way too many food fairs and festivals for me to list here – but luckily for all of us, the folks at Food Reference have a) more time and b) actually do this sort of thing professionally so they are awfully good at staying on top of these things. Therefore – get yourself over to their June Food Festival round up to find food fun near you this month.

But what if you, potential food festival attendee (like the vast majority of people in the world), are not in the USA? What do you do?  No worries. Food festivals, as I have said before, speak the international language of YUM! In the UK? Check out:

  • picnicIn Cheltenham, there is the appropriately named Cheltenham Food & Drink Festival on June 13– 15
  • In London: Taste of London invandes Regent’s Park once more – this year on on June 18-22
  • Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival June 28-July 60 – held every year since 1999
  • BBQ isn’t just found in the Carolinas, Kansas and all points South and West in the US. BBQ – pulled pork in particular I find these days – has crossed the Atlantic and entrenched itself as firmly as any carbonated beverage or cookie cutter coffee chain. One sure sign of this is Grillstock (or as they say, meat.music.mayhem) – in Bristol, June 7- 8 and in Manchester on June 28–29
  • Apparently June 16-22 is National Picnic Week here in Britain and while the weather doesn’t always say “picnic” to me, I’m more than willing to grab a basket and wade in – so to speak.
  • June 28-29 is the Newbury Food Festival Armed Forces Day Celebration
  • The BBC Good Food Show Summer is June 14 – again in Birmingham, so centrally located, you almost have no excuse not to go.

Maybe you are not so much hungry as thirsty? Have a free day June 29? Head off to Spain’s Festival of Wine Drenching  in Haro, capital of northern Spain’s Rioja-producing region. Yes, you read right – wine drenching. Just you, a white shirt, water pistol full of cheap red wine and 5000 other people with the same. Hijinks – as they say – will ensue. Lonely Planet covers this and many other festivals around the world for June. Not all food-related but food isn’t EVERYTHING.  … I can’t believe I just said that.

All this and I haven’t even touched on the daily June food observances – that’s another posts (or several) for another day. Some, of course, we have already touched upon. But for those who like to plan ahead – keep in mind that soon, the following days will be upon us:

  • choc3June 6  Applesauce Cake Day
  • June 7  Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • June 9  Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day
  • June 11  German Chocolate Cake Day
  • June 12  Peanut Butter Cookie Day
  • June 13  Klutzes of America Day
  • June 14  Strawberry Shortcake Day
  • June 16  Fudge Day
  • martiniJune 17  Apple Strudel Day
  • June 17  Cherry Tart Day
  • June 19 Martini Day
  • June 21  Peaches & Cream Day
  • June 22  Chocolate Eclair Day
  • June 23  Pecan Sandies Day
  • June 24  Pralines Day
  • June 25  Strawberry Parfait Day
  • June 26  Chocolate Pudding Day
  • June 29  Almond Buttercrunch Day

 

Cooking: Learn By Doing

I’ve had a lot of discussions of late about how fewer and fewer people do any sort of actual cooking. As a result of all these conversations, I’ve heard all the reasons – no time, no knowledge, no interest, etc.

While I can’t add more hours to the day and can’t force them to be interested enough to turn to the stove instead of the microwave(*) – I can point out a few resources to address the lack of skill or knowledge.

GRAB A BOOK

Some of the best cooks I know have learned via the tried and true method of trial and error. They got themselves a book and jumped in feet first. By book, I mean a broad-based, broken down step by step book:

That’s the kind of thing to start with – not a themed book based on some TV show chef’s latest outing. That said – Nigella Lawson may be a big star of the TV cookery world but How to Eat (a title which predated the stardom and led to the TV shows) is one of the best books I’ve found, holding your hand while getting your feet wet, so to speak.

covers

WATCH A VIDEO

There are also lots of places online you can read about specific cooking methods and even see them at work. YouTube is awash in people demonstrating recipes at all skill levels but if you want something more structured or organized:

STOP QUIBBLING

I can hear the quibblers quibbling already. “But doing it online by myself isn’t the same as taking a cooking class in person.” No, of course it’s not. Because doing it online by yourself means you can go at your own pace and repeat sessions/episodes as much as you like. Oh and hello? A lot of them are free. Have you looked at the prices of cookery courses lately?

And before the quibble continues, I know that learning on your own – self-driven, self-taught whether from books or online – is not the same thing as learning from a parent or grandparent over a course of years. But people learn in many different ways and – here’s a thought – maybe your parents and grandparents didn’t cook.

My mother is an amazing cook but she certainly didn’t learn from her mother. Dear God, the idea is both ludicrous and appalling. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmother dearly and while she could crochet like a fiend and was hard to beat at canasta, she could and did ruin everything in the kitchen – from toast to  ‘steam in the bag’ veggies to macaroni and cheese. Cooking was NOT her forte and she had nothing of use to pass on to my mother in that regard. My mother is a self-taught fab cook.

JUST GET STARTED

Just try making something. Anything – just to see how it goes.  Pick a recipe that doesn’t require special equipment or skills, or send you to the shops for a pile of expensive ingredients, but which isn’t just boiling pasta and dumping a jar of sauce over it.  Try mashed potatoes – nothing could be easier.

What you need

  • 4 or 5 average-sized potatoes – use the Yukon Gold type potato – not too waxy like the small round potatoes and not as starchy as the baking or russet potatoes.
  • 1/2 or 1 cup of milk or cream (depending on how creamy you like your mash)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp butter (or a bit more if you want super buttery mash)
  • enough salt and pepper to taste
  • a pot big enough to boil your potatoes
  • a colander to drain the potatoes
  • a masher or a large fork for mashing the cooked spuds

What you do

  • Wash the potatoes
  • Peel and quarter the potatoes (though I will be honest, I love leaving the skins on – not only because I like the texture but it’s less hassle and quicker that way)
  • Boil them for about 20 minutes, or until a potato feels soft when you poke it with a fork. (Tip: only put in enough water to cover the potatoes – they’ll cook faster.)
  • While the potatoes are boiling, get the butter out of the fridge, grab the salt and pepper and if you want creamy mashed potatoes, the milk. If you prefer denser mash, skip the milk
  • Get your colander in the sink and drain the potatoes. Put them back in the pot and put the pot back on the stove, with the stove set on the lowest heat setting just to keep things warm while mashing
  • Add butter and start mashing the potatoes with a masher until they’ve reached a consistency you like.
  • If you’re going for creamy mash, this is where you start adding a bit milk and continue mashing and adding milk little by little until potatoes have reached the desired creaminess.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Eat

If you want to jazz up your mash, you can add garlic or mustard, top them with cheese, stir in a bit of hot chicken stock or soup … seriously, you can do anything with them. It’s not brain surgery. It’s food. Try it. No one is watching and if you screw up – so what. Who’s gonna complain? The potatoes?

None of these sites or books or tips will turn you into a kitchen superstar overnight and I’m not saying there won’t be some missteps (even first-class cooks have those). But until you take some action – actually try something, however small – it’s all theoretical. With cooking the only way is to learn by doing and we need to stop equating ‘doing’ with ‘difficult’.


(*) I have nothing against microwaves or ready meals – I have been known to utilize and enjoy both. I simply don’t believe the microwave is always faster and better and it makes no sense (financially or health-wise) to make ready meals the ONLY thing o the menu.

 

Save

Transatlantic Towers Culinary Round Up

There’s been a lot happening here at Transatlantic Towers – much of it being of a culinary nature so I offer this round up of links, thoughts and passing fancies.

As regular readers will know, @dungeekin enjoys making bread but you may not know that he has been experimenting with various flavoured breads. Behold the latest in that effort:

garlic_bread

The crust is always an important aspect of bread results for him (and for me as the official Transatlantic Bread Tester). So it was with great interest that I read “Rustic White Bread from a Bread Cloche” over on The Kitchn (if you don’t know the Kitchn, do check it out. Useful and inspiring). I’ve never used a bread cloche and if the results are as reported, it might be interesting to give it a go. I like the DIY options discussed in the comments as well. After all, if I can do the same with a dutch oven and a pizza stone, no need to splash out the cash on a new gadget. New gadgets in the kitchen always make me think of that Alton Brown advice about ensuring everything in the kitchen can do at least double duty and shunning what he calls unitaskers (with the exception of the fire extinguisher).

Speaking of Alton Brown – I’ve been going back and re-watching a lot of Good Eats. Damn, that’s a good show.  Also, I have to say – I love his Best Thing I Ever Made segments. The one I think made my mouth water the most was the Mushroom Stroganoff (ah the joys of YouTube when you live far away from US cooking channels) Love mushrooms!

Still, one can’t sit in front of the TV or computer screen all day. One must get out and about once in a while so next weekend we’re off to the Thame Food Festival and the Shipston Food Festival. Going to those types of things is always interesting for food folks. A) You’re surrounded by other food folks and quite likely they are doing things or using ingredients you have not yet used so you can not only get ideas but pick the brains of other food folks.  Last weekend was also a bit of a culinary explore – stopped by Daylesford Farm Shop where we stared in amazement at the size of the meringues, stood in awe of the breads and considered ideas prompted by the many herbs and oils on display.

That evening, exhausted from our adventures we relaxed by – what else – puttering about the kitchen, re-orging the spice/herbs cabinet and then @dungeekin produced a Sunday dinner like this:

sunday

Another thing that will be happening soon is the transition of a few of the herbs from back garden to window sill for the winter. Space is the main issue so we won’t be moving all them. Just three key herbs that we use the most and which can reasonably be expected not to try and take over the kitchen windowsill.

We’re trying to be good about how we use the space in the kitchen (and we are lucky in that there are quite a few cabinets) so we cleared out and organized the herb/spices. The tinned, boxed and jar-stored staples also got a check but it really wasn’t until we started re-arranging the cookery equipment itself that Miss Thing decided we needed closer supervision:

cabinet cat

I don’t know that our work was up to her standards – she didn’t LOOK impressed. But then, she is a cat.

Culinary Wool-Gathering

Have Caesar dressing but no greens. So made Caesar tuna for lunch then combined w/ lemon juice & Dijon mustard into a marinade for chicken. So this is what happens when killing time while my bagel toasts. I always have tuna on a toasted plain bagel.

  • I happened to be out in the garage earlier when it once again occurred to me, “Damned we have a lot of champagne for two people who don’t drink champagne.”  We have a lot of stuff in the garage (usefully set up as a spare pantry at one end) but it’s the champagne that always strikes me as particularly absurd. I mean, – what do we DO with it? How many champagne brunches can we POSSIBLY throw? And before you say “re-gift, I confess I can’t recall where a lot of it came from so that’s a no go.  As usual in cases where I am at a loss and my better half isn’t here to pester, I turn to the internet. There I found a few cooking uses for it including a champagne sauce for the poaching of seafood, using it as part of the liquid in risotto, in syrup for fruit – even a glaze for ham (paired with vanilla) . What do you guys do when you find yourself a few too many bottles up of the sparkling stuff? This MUST be a common issue after New Year’s parties, right?
  • Had wonderful brownie this weekend at the entertainingly named Greedy Goose Pub in Moreton-in-Marsh. It was served warm and as they plated it, they added a leaf of mint between the warm brownie and the vanilla ice cream on top. The heat from the brownie sent mint into both the cake and a ice cream. It was LOVELY
  • Last night’s Great British Bake Off involved that key British classic – the trifle. I rather like trifles. They are pretty, multi-layered and oh so flexible. I may have to try making one eventually. I’ve never done it – coming from the US as I do and trifles not being quite as popular there. In fact, I have no recollection of ever having been served a trifle or seen one on a menu there. I might be wrong but no memory comes to mind. I may shoot for a slightly less than traditionally sweet one though as a) hubby is not a sweets fan as a rule and b) I’m currently going through a spice phase and a trifle seems like a good chance to play around with them.
  • Speaking of desserts – Tomorrow is both Macadamia Nut Day and Eat An Extra Dessert Day. Which to choose, which to choose … Now hold on! February is Macadamia Nut Month. If that is the case, why does it also get a DAY? A day so far from it’s month? I smell a rat. In that case, I shall go with the dessert. Or rather desserts as I am told to have an extra one. I think this will do nicely:

dessert