High in the hills of South East London there’s a portal to another time and place. Not a police box or wooded park, nor the back of a wardrobe. It doesn’t announce itself with strobing lights or whooshing noises. It’s almost diffident really … except that it seems kind of impossible. It’s an unpaved lane, pot-holed and dusty, lined with squat little cottages that leads into the briefest of shaded woods and then bursts into a glorious vista of the entire city. It’s invisible from either end – I doubt if many more people than those who dwell on the lane even know of its existence.
Charming though all that is, that’s not what makes this spot the aforementioned portal. What makes this lane an enchanted pathway to the past is that recently it’s been simply covered in blackberry-laden brambles.
The past I’m speaking of is, of course, my past. My childhood, to be exact.
When I first ventured down this lane a few weeks ago, and my eyes fell on the jet clusters of berries swarming over the lane walls, I was instantly back in a hot English summer of my childhood picking blackberries alongside the train tracks with my siblings and my Granny.
The refreshing chill of iced coffee is well-documented. Some have even suggested we’re approaching an iced coffee tipping point. To that I say, “Balderdash!” Iced coffee is here to stay. Especially at TransAtlantic Towers where it absolutely central to my morning routine.
THE LOW-TEMP LOWDOWN
The iced coffee I drink most often is from the pitcher I keep chilling in the fridge at home. This is the coffee brewed by our usual grind and brew machine that has been left to cool and then is poured into a fridge friendly container and chilled. What could be easier? After all, we’re making coffee anyway; ModParlPhotos needs his coffee in the AM as well, though his preference is for a steaming cup of joe. No coffee goes to waste because I can just add it to the existing supply.
Cooking might be the last thing you want to do while on holiday, but there’s a lot to be said for self-catering holidays.
You get more room for your money on self-catering holidays than you do from all-inclusive.
You set the schedule – with young kids, this makes keeping to routine a lot easier.
You’re more in control of the menu on self-catering holidays.
You eat what you want when you want on self-catering holidays.
Makes managing dietary restrictions easier.
But I know the idea of having to cook (and wash up) makes it sound less holiday-like and more like just moving the housekeeping to a new location. But cooking doesn’t mean it must be done in the same way as you always do. Take a holiday approach to cooking: take some shortcuts, mix things up, relax your rules.
Let’s get the weather moan out of the way first thing: “SHEESH, it’s hot out! No, seriously – so hot.” Well done. We have fulfilled our clichéd social obligations. Now, on to something useful and constructive.
I don’t know about you but while I love the summer sun, relentlessly high temperatures with very little breeze – which is what we’re having here in my part of the UK at the moment – wears me right out. I become lethargic, cranky and even the simplest tasks seem like major undertakings. So what’s the solution? Well, if I was still living in Houston where heat and humidity are a daily fact of life except during a few weeks in January and February, the answer would be AC. But I am not in Houston – or even the US – so AC is not as common and the answer is circulating fans, lots of water and choosing a summer sun approach to eating. What do I mean by that? I’m glad you asked. Continue reading “The Summer Sun Approach to Eating”→
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? I mean thinks like freakshakes.
Would freakshakes have been anything more than an isolated incident or a culinary blip if social media didn’t exist? Seriously – apart from being perfect for grabbing attention on Instagram, what have freakshakes got going for them? Continue reading “Social Media-Driven Snacking”→
Not relevant to anything but I was just struck anew at how absolutely beautiful cocoa pods were.
And that got me thinking about the beauty of food in general. Frequently I see my facebook timeline fill up with art as people try to find a balance for the stress, bad news or uncertainty that the news (endlessly reposted and retweeted before our eyes) can bring. I can see the appeal of that but I’m a food person so I went looking for pictures of food that served the same purpose for me. Here are some of what I found. Continue reading “Food … in the Eye of the Beholder”→
I am quite often found – on a Monday morning – down at the Puritans Radio studio talking with Peter Evan Jones about food on the ‘Jones on Food and Travel’ program. This Monday was no exception and this week the topic was food worth traveling for. CNN Travel made some bizarre choices – including ketchup (not a food, in my opinion, much less a food worth traveling for), buttered popcorn (another head scratcher) and potato chips (honestly?) which is what prompted this segment.
What food is so good that you would tackle traffic, airport lines and baggage restrictions to reach it? And yes, my better half – I mentioned the tapas from Bar Pinotxo in La Boqueria in Barcelona. 🙂 When do we leave?
If you’re a fan of food and/or travel, the show is on every Monday from 10-12 (UK time) and I will be posting links to the whole program as well as my segments for those who prefer to catch it later on. This week’s whole show can be heard at bit.ly/PuritansJan16
“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.” – from the article below.
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 do you do with too many lemons and a ginormous mint plant? Well, if you are me, you grab the vodka and you start infusing.
As I found out last year, making lemon vodka is super easy. And if you ignore all the advice about letting it sit for two week and let it sit twice or three times as long, what you get is so smooth and so lemon, you’d swear it was limoncello.
It started a few weeks, back, under the cover of night. I’d been aching to try it for a while, but it seemed so difficult and dangerous that I was nervous about an actual attempt. I’d read about it of course, and even seen a few videos on one of those specialty YouTube channels. They made it look so easy, but still I was afraid I’d wind up with a mangled corpse and a kitchen saturated with blood.
A Decision Made
Finally I plucked up the courage to try my hand.
I waited until I knew there would be no witnesses to catch me should I fail. I brought my victim home, put on my apron and sharpened my largest, heaviest knife. Then, with a drink to steady my nerves, I sneaked up behind my victim, and set to work.
The relief and pride as the job was done were immense. And later, as I gazed down at my victim lying spread-eagled before me and sampled the juicy morsels of tender flesh, I knew I would do it again. And again and again. This was not some dark adventure to try only when the moon was full or when I could hold out no longer against my dark desires. This would happen regularly, perhaps once a week if I was lucky and could find people to share my new compulsion – and if my freezer could hold the rising tide of body parts. I had become a man obsessed.
Yes. Spatchcocking chicken had changed me forever. You may have heard of Spatchocking as “butterflying,” but that’s far too pretty a term for what this process involves. Continue reading “Spatchcock Psycho”→