Wednesday
Jan022008

happy new year!

well, i’m not quite sure how that happened but it’s 2008 – happy new year everyone!

inevitably it’s a time of contemplation, both looking back over the past twelve months and forward into the coming year. i’m always more interested in what’s around the corner and have particularly been thinking about how i want to develop my cooking in 2008.

healthy eating is a theme of eat the right stuff and this will continue, particularly in the early months of the year as i start on a health kick. i also want to continue exploring the incredible variety of foods that different cultures create. i had this as a resolution last january and am ashamed at how little i achieved, so this year i shall redouble my efforts.

i want to make better use of my collection of cookery books. the final months of last year were very busy and i got into a bit of a rut, cooking old favourites or dishes rooted in familiarity. this year i want to broaden the way i approach cooking and learn new ways of putting dishes together, particularly different ways to use herbs and spices.

i want to visit as broad a range of shops and restaurants as possible and regularly have “how to” cooking sessions, hopefully some of which will be shared with friends (this is in lieu of expensive cookery classes as 2008 is also going to be a year of increased frugality! if you want to get involved, let me know). my participation in the daring bakers will also help, pushing me to make dishes i wouldn’t otherwise consider.

i also want to explore the huge range of food-related careers that exist, giving us all a peek into the many ways that people integrate their love of food with their work. the first profile will go live next week, if you know anyone who should be featured, let me know.

finally, and this is specifically related to blogging, i want to broaden the range of things i write about. you’ll know that i regularly contribute to the daily tiffin, focussing on nutrition advice and i want to build on this as i continue my studies in nutritional medicine.

i’m feeling really excited about 2008, i hope you’ll have fun exploring these ideas with me.

Saturday
Dec292007

crazy water, tasty sea bass

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there has been a lot of eating of very rich and delicious meals in the past few days. as a result my mind has turned to lighter healthier dishes which i can use to balance out some of the excesses in which i’ve indulged.

this recipe, for sea bass poached in a richly-flavoured tomato, garlic, chilli and herb broth, definitely ticks the light, healthy and oh-so-delicious boxes but it also managed to taste special and indulgent on a chilly winter eve. a definite contender for a new year’s eve feast i think…

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Thursday
Dec272007

the goods shed, canterbury

we spent a few days in canterbury earlier this month and, on the advice of a friend, went to the goods shed for a meal. the goods shed, next to canterbury west station, is the home of canterbury’s farmers market plus a café/restaurant which is also open in the evening, which is when we visited.

the various stalls were obviously closed and covered in preparation for the next day which contributed to an almost magical, slightly ghostly atmosphere as i walked in. the eating area is slightly raised, lit by candles on the tables and the halogen lights of the open kitchen. carpets hung at the windows and blankets on the walls which, coupled with large electric heaters overhead, kept things cosy and welcoming. as did the gentle hum of chatter, laughter and people enjoying themselves.

the food was fabulous. david’s starter, pheasant and bacon terrine, was a real winner with large chunks of various types of meat interspersed within the coarse terrine. homemade piccalilli added a welcome tartness and i greedily tucked in once my scallops with bean puree and black pudding were finished (it was good, but not as good as that terrine).

when it came to main courses david lucked out again with slow roasted pork belly served with quince and apple. this is my favourite cut of pork and my favourite way to cook it - and it was cooked to perfection with tender tasty meat and crunchy crackling in abundance.

i chose venison, having had a delicious mouthful of venison at konstam the night before. it was lovely and tender and full of flavour, served with chanterelles and puy lentils (which i’d have liked more of rather than the potatoes that also came with the dish).

i decided not to bother with pudding, instead making the decision to steal some of david’s on the basis that every choice he’d made so far had been superb. he chose a treacle tart which he was delighted with but didn’t excite me nearly as much. this was just as well, as i was exceedingly full thanks to the generous portions and i was very glad of the walk back to our hotel.

other meals in canterbury included a christmas party at the abode hotel tavern which was good for pub grub, apart from a tasteless and undercooked pumpkin risotto.

we also stopped off for a few plates of tapas at café mauresque, all of which were excellent. when we are next in canterbury i’d like to try their full menu, washed down by the house rose which is delicious. a portion of their squid and chorizo skewers might also find their way to the table, as we decide what else to order.

and if you do visit canterbury, make the time to explore the cathedral which is truly stunning.

the goods shed

station road west, canterbury ct2 8an

telephone: 01227 459153

café mauresque

8 butchery lane, canterbury, ct1 2jr

telephone: 01227 464 300

www.cafemauresque.com

Tuesday
Dec252007

happy holidays!

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Friday
Dec212007

menu for hope - final day!

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update: the deadline for buying tickets has been extended to the end of the weekend. we've now hit $87,000 - wow!

we've raised over $63,000 but that's not nearly enough. today is your last chance to support menu for hope and have a chance of winning one of the many fabulous prizes on offer.

if you haven't bought a raffle ticket yet, it's dust off your credit card, choose the prize which would make your foodie dreams come true and and make a seasonal charitable gesture by buying a raffle ticket or two. c'mon, what are you waiting for?!?