Praise the lard: a beginner’s guide

lardLard. Lardy. Or as the Italians romantically refer to it: lardo. The associations with shivering rolls of chubby flesh being chased around the playground are comic yet laced with danger. Far from innocent yet not proven guilty, accusations of raising cholesterol and clogging arteries have outlawed lard to the margins of our kitchens. Instead, taking centre stage in the frying pan is lard’s sexier, slimmer (and expensiver) continental cousin- olive oil.

But are we doing the right thing by cutting down so dramatically on something that tastes so good? Read More

London Skyline By Carl Warner

I’m a foodie and I (dare to) know it, so kiss my foie gras.

Foodie (or foody). Gastronome. Epicure. Foodista. Gourmet. Gourmand. Foodlover. A complication of words to describe the very simple act of “ingesting things and then pooing them out,” ( Those words with obvious Latin or French roots are understandably class specific, yet it is the term ‘foodie’ that seems to cause most food writers and chefs to throw their eggs out of their Le Creuset pans. Read More

On eating alone


Eating alone, if it has to happen, is best celebrated. Copious amounts of vino locale however, in the broad light of day on a travel assignment in Ravenna once sent me into odd existential paroxysms of self-consciousness: that we die alone was confirmed as the waiter whipped away the second set of place settings with an expression of ‘non si fa’ (translation: it’s just not done). Read More

Stealth dining

Jerusalem artichokes and scallops replace placards and protests in a new type of political activism

A complicit, smiling stranger opened the door in a blue and white stripy apron. She ushered us downstairs to a room that looked like a baby restaurant: three tables laid for 16 diners, a screen in front of the loo and a wood burner. This was a restaurant but not a public dining space; a living room with no sofas in sight; someone’s house with total strangers walking through the door.

A few times a month, in three locations across Bristol, a new (ish) food phenomenon is taking place. It’s more pop-up than Come Dine With Me. This is a dining experience in the intimacy of someone else’s home that you pay for, advertised by word-of-mouth, twitter or facebook. Address and menu details are emailed a few days later.

It was like walking into a party when you don’t know anyone: all panicky smiles and hasty introductions. I had soon forgotten all names. Our places were neatly marked out, we chatted to our two new dining ‘friends’ and waited for the room to fill so that we could 1) stare at new guests as they entered and 2) eat.

We opened with nibbles and sherry, recently reclaimed from the grannies as an acceptable aperitif for those under 40. Alcohol, as always, proved the great leveller. Middle-aged ladies, a single man, a group of 20-somethings and two single ladies d’un certain âge, soon eased into the sounds of laughter, chat and the occasional squeal common to all dining spaces whilst the chefs moved invisibly between us with water refills and new courses. The BYO policy for booze meant that each party or couple catered for themselves, with a list of recommendations for each of the five courses posted on twitter for the dedicated.

Portions were small but exquisite tasting, prepared with a care to presentation and taste you would expect at a friend’s dinner party rather than in an establishment catering to paying clients. It was seasonal and ambitious British fare that had the Italian confidence to rely on simple, delicious flavor combinations. It all felt a bit naughty and tasted better for it. Was it illegal? Probably, but I’d say it was more a polite fingers up to the establishment from a generation whose only experience of political activism is choosing between Sainsbury’s or Waitrose, locally-sourced or organic, Hugh or Jamie. Long live the revolution I say.

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Saffronbunny waves goodbye to the leftovers of 2010 …

… and speculates on the new foodie trends for 2011.

2010 was cupcakes, all sugar and no substance (a marketing dream) and the year in which a swede was not a swede but a turnip when in a Cornish pasty and all across the country (yet to reach Cornwall) secret supper clubs were springing up in people’s homes. So what delectable trends will be amusing our bouches in 2011?

Apparently Homer’s favourite snack will go posh, yes gourmet doughnuts will replace vacuous cupcakes, veg growing will be a vertical affair in the cities, cherry juice is the new pomegranate and foraging is now a double Michelin starred activity, thanks to best restaurant 2010, Noma.

I’m also pinning my pinny to the resurrection of the medlar and the quince, fabulous forgotten fruits. Top foodie moments for me in 2010? Discovering Hope’s divine hip ruining pecan and cinnamon buns down on The Lizard (, Nigel Slater hiding in his garden eating homemade jelly on the telly and Cornish Blue getting big cheese at the World Cheese Awards.

What can we expect not to change in 2011? Expect the consumer conscience-wringing of what to buy and where to source it to continue (cue: four celebrity chefs in a sardine tin), supermarket food labeling to remain an esoteric art and for the Cornish food revolution to continue. So get out there and find tonight’s dinner in the hedge while eating a doughnut without licking your lips and you’ll be bang on trend for 2011.