Prague Food Festival 2012

 I was looking forward to writing a post that is more than just a selection of photos and captions, but somehow that’s simply not meant to be. With work-related stress and what seems to be an never ending succession of birthday gifts to knit my poor blog has taken a bit of a hit. I am now more likely to be found filling in job applications and writing personal statements than blog posts. As a result I have accumulated a backlog of ideas to develop and events to report on, items I am sadly only able to pick up with a month’s or so delay. Well then, I need to tackle this shortcoming and on that note I give you Prague Food Festival 2012. Continue reading

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Flavour of Liverpool

Here’s the deal. I’m still slowly getting used to the idea of living in Liverpool. I’m taking my time, but then I’m not one for instant gratification. Even so, over time I found places I like, places that gradually make this town feel like my new home. Places like Bold St Coffee, where I’m a weekend regular, and their baby brother offshoot, Duke St Espresso Bar. There will always be need for places where knocking back a £1 shot of espresso can remedy even the vilest of states. In an age of overpriced lattes Duke St Espresso is a refreshingly minimalist affair – in a room the size of our entrance hall coffee, tea and toast and accomps are on offer. No indecisive dithering and hold ups at the till. The unforgiving efficiency only slows down, and the punters get a chance to sit back and look around, when the coffee’s begins its drip feed filtering process. All we can do then is wait for physics and chemistry to do its thing.

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Eating Indonesia – Part 2: Bali

My browser session with a million opened tabs including WordPress threatened to fall over last week when I tried to upload 60-odd photographs into a single blog post – and, I worry, so would readers’ interest in what I ate whilst in Indonesia. (Perhaps time to upgrade my ridiculously outdated version of Firefox? I stick with version 3 for its familiar buttons and the Half Dome skin, combining my love of rocks and resistance to technical change.) So, in the name of greater good I split my Indonesian adventures into two geographically defined chunks. Here is the second installment, should you be interested in what Expat Gourmet got up to in Bali.

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Eating Indonesia – Part 1: Flores

There’s a first time for everything, and I’ve had a lot of first-times recently. The most momentous event of those was, of course, venturing further than my backyard, Europe, to ‘somewhere exotic’. Indonesia. With a little bit of extra cash on my hands for the first time in my life, and prompted by my backpacking grandparents’ adventurous trip planning I thought why not. We arrived in Bali, travelled through Nusa Tenggara and finally returned to Bali to spend a few days in Ubud. With only a minor existential dilemma to ponder I did not intend the trip as a means to ‘find myself’ in an irritatingly egocentric, self-fetishistic manner, but to ‘eat, shop and walk’ like the tourist I undoubtedly was – with a great deal of sun burnt skin thrown in for a good measure. If I prayed it would have been to live to see another day after boarding a selection of dubious looking propeller airplanes that have clearly seen too many winters. I took thousands of pictures over the two short weeks, here is a selection of food-related, and entirely food-unrelated photographs.

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The Best Kind of a Club

The first rule of Pudding Club: you must always talk about Pudding Club. Every smallest event in life must be compared to something that took place at Pudding Club, little  allusions to Pudding Club must be inserted into the most improbable conversational settings and you must forever bang on about Pudding Club to your friends so that eventually they won’t be able to take it any longer and will undertake the pilgrimage and be evangelised willingly, and one day, given enough time, resources and meticulous organisation Pudding Club  will take over the world in an inspired act of urban terrorism, perhaps hijacking millions of bank accounts and blowing up a few skyscrapers in downtown New York. Perhaps not, we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime Pudding Club continues to meet once monthly at Cuthbert’s Bakehouse, concentrating on less ambitious goals of instant gratification, lavishly indulging their addiction to refined sugar and plotting gradual, creeping world domination through the love of good puds.

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Sourdough Love

My uncle owns a bakery. While this does not mean that I have a claim to the title ‘bakery girl’, I did grow up eating what could today only be described as ‘artisan baked goods’ and bread and I have a very special, if thorny relationship.

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Brown Sauce

Expat Gourmet loves a good bacon butty and is known to spend inordinate amounts of time and effort on tasks made redundant by modern way of life.  Making own brand brown sauce is a logical consequence, n’est-ce pas?

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My New Kitchen Companions

‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever‘, said someone down the pub the other night. Keats and I agree.

This Christmas I requested ‘I don’t know, something beautiful’. The genius that is my mother who knows me like the back of her hand managed to interpret that statement in the context of my love of culinary items and my rather Howard Roark-esque hate of ornament. This hate does not apply universally; I will wear jewellery if it passes the test of my strict standards of simplicity. And so white and grey are my favourite colours, lines must be straight and Cath Kidston is my arch enemy.

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How to Mend a Broken Relationship

No recipe, no photos this time, just an opinion piece. Unfortunately I’m not in a position to offer romantic advice – the relationship I’m talking about is with food. That’s right, a relationship that previous generations would never have even thought of as such. Unless you could afford extraordinary luxuries food was dealt with very matter of factly – you either did or didn’t have it. There was simply little to reflect on, discuss or study. These days food is at the heart of many a heated debate, certain obsessive types blog about it, some people even read those blogs and thousands of studies, some with astoundingly large private or public funding, have been carried out on the subject. Fascinating as they are, the reasons why such a massive shift took place are far too complex for me to discuss in this post. Recently the issue often discussed by writers in the niche subject of gastronomy was confirmed by a number of major studies, and concern over the nation’s diet and eating habits was voiced at the highest level. I have little faith in the powers that be, yet you know something has to be seriously amiss when it gets debated in the House of Commons.

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Linzers and No Bake Swirl Log

My apologies for harking back to Christmas, which I am sure we are all sick of. I know if I see another turkey recipe I’m certain to go on a killing spree. That said, what I’m going to share with you today is pretty special – the culinary equivalent of family silver, you could say. Delicate Linzer biscuits and this exquisite black and white log have long been firm favourites among our family Christmas cookie recipes. And it is impossible for me to write about these little sweets before Christmas as they are made because it’s not me that makes them. So please excuse my lousy timing, hopefully the fact that I still have a practically untouched box of Christmas cookies sat in my kitchen helps to explain it. I know at this time when we must all pay for our collective sin of Christmas binging I should be writing about salad. Well, rules are there to be broken, even those fake ones created by marketing companies and glossy magazines.

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