Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs
Jay Rayner of The Observer is the foundation for the Coogan character on the brilliant BBC2 comedy The Trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Bryden and he’s finding it a bit weird to see something of himself on telly as well as much of his admittedly peculiar profession, as he says in his Word of Mouth column last Tuesday.  We have a lot of time for Jay Rayner’s restaurant reviews – not perfect but thoughtful – and for his humble self-awareness that a man who writes about what he had for tea for a living has, in his words, ‘a really silly way for a grown man to make a living’.  Good column and thoughtful comments from readers too.
As long as we’re trawling around the Word of Mouth column, we happened on the brilliant Oliver Thring discussing avocados, a fruit that is fully one third fat. The name avocado comes from the Aztec word ‘ahuacatl’ and that means ‘testicle’.  Try not to think about that next time you’re mushing up some guacamole, which is Aztec for ‘vasectomy’.  No, we made that last bit up.  We particularly like the comment by James Ramsden:

I once explored the avocado/banana similarities by making a banana guacamole with lime juice and chilli. It was minging.

Well, doh, James, though top marks for food experimentation.  Evidently we missed the moment last year when M & S and Sainsbury’s went head-to-head over who precisely was first to introduce the avocado to the supermarket shelves, though the Daily Mail covered the avocado battle in depth.  Good piece from Thring, as usual, and we recommend it.
Bon Vivant has been to Zucca in Bermondsey Street in London and not for the first time.  He remembers being quite blown away by Zucca when it first opened last year and still finds it an excellent spot for rustic Italian food with a modern twist in a relaxed, contemporary setting.  He particularly liked it that he got out for about £30 including wine.  Zucca has been called ‘The River Café for a fraction of the price’ and while there’s no actual river out the window, there’s something in that.
If you managed to miss MasterChefLive last week and would like to torture yourself with what you missed, Mrs Duck’s Foodie Quacks is the place to go because she went and had a fine old time.  And just for future reference, if you didn’t go because none of your friends was free that day, Mrs Duck recommends going solo so you can really explore and not be distracted.  She also gives links to some of her favourite food companies from the Producers’ Village.
On a more international note, Meemalee of Meemalee’s Kitchen blog got to Freemason’s Hall in London to hear the great Rene Redzepi speak on the occasion of the launch of his English Language book Noma – Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine.   As all true foodies know, Redzepi was the winner of MasterChef Professionals 2009 and his restaurant, Noma, (in Denmark) was named Best Restaurant in the World in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year ahead of The Fat Duck and El Bulli.   He uses masses of foraged food, and employs only produce from Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.  He chatted generously about the creative processes that drive the kitchens at Noma to achieve their innovative dishes and great success.  He also read out a letter of complaint that arrived the day after the S. Pelligrino award – very down-to-earth and we like him.
And finally for this week, Gin and Crumpets has let the sow out of the bag on the world’s finest, naughtiest comfort food (drum roll if you please) Pork Crackling and Peanut Brittle. Otherwise known as Pig Candy. It’s a recipe from Jennifer McLagan’s Fat cookbook (full title: Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient with Recipes).  The picture looks, well, edible, and she walks you through her own little variations to make it amazing.  Not for kosher friends, of course, or dieters or coronary patients, but when you get that urge to really indulge, it sounds as if Pig Candy can’t be beat.  Oh, and you have the second pleasure of smashing it up when it sets.  This may be the perfect food.