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the fat delicatessen, london sw12

why is it so tricky to find the perfect easy-lazy neighbourhood restaurant? by easy-lazy i mean the kind of place you can go to when you’re tired, need smile-inducing food served by a friendly face, in a place with the kind of energy that carries you towards relaxation and a willingness to face the world again.

the area of south london where i live is blessed with lots of good restaurants but i’ve yet to find this kind of place on my doorstep. thankfully, though, i’ve found exactly this not too far away (and it’s en route from the office so is just fine for stressful weekdays).

it’s in balham, it’s been there for almost a year (the anniversary of its opening is next month) and it’s called the fat delicatessen.

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bacon + chocolate = ?


so, mo’s bacon bar, what’s that all about? apparently it’s a combination of milk chocolate, crunchy, chewy pieces of applewood bacon and alder wood smoked salt.

this chocolate bar was a gift from cheryl, a friend from san francisco, and amazingly it has been sitting, untouched, in my kitchen since early september. no matter, it has now been opened and will be disappearing very soon no doubt.

it’s an intriguing combination. salty, smoky, sweet-but-savoury are all appealing facets of bacon, which could make it a good partner with chocolate. and smoked salt has to be a winner. however, since trying a marmite and guinness truffle based on similar reasoning i’ve been feeling a bit nervous of exotic chocolates.

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a late discovery


i’ve discovered sausages later than most. in fact it has only been in the last year or so that uncured sausages (i’ve always been excited by salami, chorizo etc) have been things that i’ve bought, not just for someone else, but because i’ve been looking forward to cooking and eating them.

ok, i did start by using them in ways that where they could be described as “disguised” but i’ve moved on. i’m now enjoying trying different types of sausages and different ways of cooking them and this dish, which sees them baked with tomatoes and fennel, is as good as it gets.

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italian jaunt: gelato!


one of the highlights of our recent trip to italy was discovering that the italians like to indulge in their gelato. ordering at least one twin-flavoured coneful of the creamy stuff every day, therefore, i felt as though i was showing an appreciation of the country’s culture (rather than stuffing my face like a greedy child on a seaside holiday).

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italian jaunt: siena


moving into tuscany, siena (another hill town with escalators!), was our next stop. siena is a beautiful, albeit very busy and touristy, city that was wonderful to explore. il campo (pictured above) is the star feature - a medieval piazza with gently sloping red-brick sides and an abundance of space to sit back and enjoy the late summer sun.

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