My friend Graham was enthusing about the joys of crumble the other week. Obviously it's not as good as pie (that goes without saying), but you can't beat a good crumble with custard (Birds, of course) on an autumn day. For once, I actually managed to get as far as the puddings when we went out for lunch in Chester-le-Street today, so I had rhubarb crumble, topped with a pale yellow custard. Granted, it wasn't a cordon bleu special. But some days, all you really want is good old comfort food, and preferably something that your Mum cooked you when you were small.


Originally uploaded by rachc.
Just working out how to post photos using flickr...so here's some lettuce for your perusal.

Fill in the blanks...

Scotland was (a)___, (b)___, and (c)___ (and then some). If you shouted 'cold', then you'd be absolutely right. It was bloody freezing. To be honest, I'd expected nothing less, particularly as I was going to be floating down the river Tay in a ridiculously small inflatable raft, wearing a wetsuit, but it would have been nice for my suspicions to have been completely confounded.

A Scottish breakfast, by the way, included no porridge whatsoever, which was a bit disappointing. Instead, it was those little portion sized boxes of cornflakes/rice krispies/cardboard muesli, followed by bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast, and a weird slice of Scottish sausagemeat. Pretty much like the English version then, although the baked beans did seem to be conspicuous by their absence.

This week, I have been mostly eating spinach. Spinach, cheddar cheese and salad cream in pitta bread, to be honest. Sounds a bit weird, but I can guarantee it makes the perfect lunchtime sandwich. It's no more odd than having peanut butter and banana, or cheese and marmite. Trust me.


Scotland here we come

So it's off to Scotland for a hen weekend, and some whitewater rafting. I must be completely crazy to be contemplating this in the middle of October...I have a sneaking suspicion it'll be either something I love (like rock climbing) or hate (like swimming in the North Sea - in fact, I suspect it'll have much the same brrr factor).

The hotel we are staying at promises a full Scottish breakfast on its website, so if nothing else it'll be interesting to see how it differs from the English variety. I'm assuming that porridge is involved somewhere along the line (might come in handy as ballast for the rafting) but other than that I'm fairly clueless, and googling it hasn't shed much light on the matter either.


Green Wing

On a completly non-related food posting (unless you count Guy's face being pushed into a bowl of cereal in the last episode), you should definitely check out Green Wing on Channel 4 - possibly the most surreal and hilarious thing on the tv at the moment. While you're at it, you can also catch up with one of the scriptwriters, James Henry, at james and the blue cat. Trust a scriptwriter to write a very funny blog...


'cheeseburger' was the buzz word in 1938, according to a new (UK) list of buzzwords from 1904 onwards. While there's all sorts of vaguely food-related items on the list (see below - it's interesting to see when fast food starts appearing in the public consciousness, followed by the global 'latte' phenomenon), most of the entries are far more odd. Tiddly-om-pom-pom (1909), anyone?

  • bagel - 1932
  • cheeseburger - 1938
  • fast food - 1951
  • hypermarket - 1971
  • detox - 1975
  • latte - 1989



This man understands toast (although his choice of toppings leaves something to be desired - wood pigeon with hedgehog fungus anyone?

Toast is still my favourite food. You can't beat it for breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, or a snack in the middle of the night when you can't sleep. Some people love chocolate, I love toast (though I am partial to a bit of chocolate spread on it, preferably Nutella). The article set me off on a bit of a google anyway, which yielded some rather surprising results...

and that's only the first 2 pages...


This week's links (the weekest links?)

I really must get round to updating this more than once a week. There's so much food-related stuff out there, and I'm missing all of it. Anyway, this week's links that caught my eye included

  • ready made sandwiches are high in fat - so when you're standing there in front of the counter at Boots or M&S trying to decide in 10 seconds what you'll have for lunch, don't reach for the cheese savoury.
  • the holy grail of apples has been unveiled - after £175,000 of research, experts have finally found a green eating apple that will grow in the UK. As opposed to all those greenish/brownish ones that we already have.
  • Bananas have been handed out in Trafalgar Square as an artwork was dismantled after 11 hours and 30 minutes. Apparently it was called 30,000 Bananas. Descriptive, if nothing else.
  • why mustard comes in thousands of varieties, but ketchup doesn't.



Six days in Paris is just not enough. There's too many fine places to eat, too much sightseeing to do, and frankly just too many good art galleries, museums and shops to wander round. Still, if you're there for just a few days, here's my top tips from this trip:

  • Patrick Goldenberg's restaurant and delicatessen on avenue Wagram - not only do they make a mean chicken liver pate, a fantastic pastrami and some great gherkins, they have the best cheesecake in the world ever. I'm not kidding - this was none of your Sara Lee nonsense with a biscuit base, this was a proper baked cheesecake, lightly flavoured with golden raisins. It was so good, I went back twice.
  • Paris Mosque at place du Puits de l'Ermite (near the Quartier Latin) - not only is it a beautiful building, there's also a fantastic tea room (mint tea, of course) and restaurant. The couscous and tagines that we had were really good - I now need to work out how to recreate the lamb and prune tagine...
  • Dehillerin, of course...we spent hours wandering around sizing up saucepans, only to decide that taking an enormous pan on the train wasn't the best of ideas.
  • Cafe Lateral on avenue Mac-Mahon, near the Arc de Triomphe - this place had good bistro food (fantastic poulet au fermier et frites) and more importantly comfy banquettes at the end of a hard day wandering around and really friendly service. We like.
  • L'as du Fallafel in rue des Rosiers. Lenny Kravitz is still on the wall recommending it to all and sundry. We agree.
  • Arthur's sushi bar on rue Villebois-Mareuil - if you go for the 25 Euro platter (enough for two, definitely), you get an amazing medley of fresh tuna and salmon california rolls, sushi and sashimi. The place was deserted, and probably won't last long. It's a shame - the food's great.

Ah well, back to the real world. Time to go and make chicken and leek lasagne...