I’m going to aim to post an odds-and-ends piece each Wednesday, to avoid nickeling and diming everyone with annoying short posts, and also to avoid feeling overwhelmed with having to keep up with everything food-related that enters my consciousness. Thoughts? If it’s too long, perhaps next time I could split them into a post for general food and eating items, and another for my own cooking efforts? Anyway, here goes.
Richard Lehmann’s Journal Watch: You don’t need to read everything in this post, but dig down halfway to find out why salt’s link to heart disease is still an open question, and then to the end to see why you shouldn’t order crab in a restaurant in England.
I’ll be writing more about my nascent gardening activities, but this article from the Guardian has gotten me jazzed about the idea of growing my own potatoes, in containers.
Someone on the BBC this past week – I’m afraid I can’t remember who – quipped that you can get someone from the North of England to eat anything if you wrap it in pastry. Or something like that. Anyway, Brits do like their pies, and have even gone to the trouble of surveying the quality of the pies in football stadiums. I’m actually fairly pleased with myself that I have not yet succumbed to the lure of the unctuous vapors emitted by West Cornwall Pasty Co. (warning: annoying pirate-themed Flash website), which has a kiosk in every London train station I’ve seen. (I confess that I have, however, eaten a chicken and mushroom turnover from Delice de France, which really amounts to the same thing.)
Having gotten word of a Tuscan supper club in London via my friend Hsien-Hsien Lei, I am intrigued to delve into the underground restaurant scene here. The London Foodie is a blog that focuses on this niche; Bellaphon, with his usual welcome cheek (and Asian food bent) visits quite a few as well, along with his many regular restaurant forays.
Speaking of Asian food, I’ve now walked past Baozi Inn in Chinatown three times, and am really looking forward to braving the spice at this Szechuan eatery. (Bao are buns but also, basically, Chinese pies.)
What I’ve cooked this week:
Raspberry rugelach (very nice, but a lot of work)
An Indian meal featuring chickpea and spinach curry (good) and Patak’s mini-naan (bad – I really need to try making my own)
Tagliatelle with blue cheese sauce, improvised from a couple of recipes. The only downside was the walnuts, which I bought at a health food store and which didn’t taste very nice.
Bagels. I need a new recipe, and based on my reading of a very helpful troubleshooting website, I also need to keep them from overproofing, which makes them swell up and take on too much water while boiling. They were marginally better than my first effort, though. Easily available smoked peppered mackerel and very good cream cheese – both from Tesco – made them worthwhile.