Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cooking for the Queen and breakfast for Obama

The formidable CCC with Brigade chef apprentices
On an unassuming Tuesday morning, a swarm of chefs enter Brigade restaurant in London. So far, so normal. However, it's the people these chefs cook for that make them a rather special bunch. All of the chefs belong to the gastronomic society, Le Club des Chef des Chef or CCC (try saying that before your morning coffee), which translates as the club of chefs of the chiefs. These men and women are the chefs to the current heads of state, from Her Majesty the Queen to President Obama, and as part of their trip to the UK, they divulged their words of wisdom to the apprentice chefs at Brigade, part of the Beyond FoodFoundation. Read on to see if they spilled any state secrets along the way...

London: the Disney World of restaurant scenes?

A friend who’s been living in Hong Kong is about to return to London, and he’s excited about rediscovering the capital’s restaurant scene. Hong Kong was all very well, he says – you could get just about any kind of cuisine you liked there. But it all felt a bit transplanted, a bit unreal, a bit “Disneyfied”. He’s looking forward to the “authentic” world of London dining.

I fear he may be disappointed.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Taking on the Aussies at Lord's

Lord's cricket ground – note the famous slope of the pitch
Gazing out over Lord’s cricket ground from the MCC Pavilion roof terrace as the evening sun warms your back, you get a real sense there’s something special about the place. In my case, as a non-cricketer, the glass of cold fizz in my hand helped with the feelgood factor, but this temple of sport looked absolutely spectacular in the sunlight. I’d been invited along to the Five Generations of Captains Dinner being given by Australian wine company Hardys to mark their new sponsorship deal with English cricket and, after a glass or two of Hardys Sir James sparkling wine, I was feeling quite comfortable at the crease, ready to take what (wines) the Aussies could throw at me.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday cocktail: boulevardier

A kind of cross between a manhattan and a negroni, the boulevardier strides confidently between the two, and has a swagger all of its own.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Saucepans aren't rocket science – or are they?

It’s not every day a rocket scientist gets involved in the designing of a… saucepan. But that’s the strange-but-true story behind a new pan launched today by cookware innovators Lakeland.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday cocktail: pinked gin and tonic

First, people were content with a slice of lemon in their G&T. Then it was a slice a cucumber instead, then a slice of apple, then a slice of grapefruit…

Party Ingredients, a London catering company, has changed the game again, adding botanicals (the flavourings used in the making of gin) and dried hibiscus flowers.

I have to admit, it does look fetching if you’re trying to impress jaded guests this weekend.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Make authentic pizza – on your gas hob

The Chadwick oven: a game changer?

Until recently, for those who like making pizza at home, there’s been only one way to achieve the authentic crispy-base-puffy-top combo you get from a clay pizza oven: build your own clay pizza oven.*

That’s because the crispy-puffy combo is only achievable at the 400°C-plus temperature of a clay oven, and most domestic ovens only go up to about 250°C (though our flashy Electrolux ovens at work have a ‘pizza setting’ that hits 300°C).

You can still make great pizzas at home, of course. They’ll be delicious and they’ll wow your friends. You’ll just never achieve the exact texture, that mixture of crispness and soft chewiness and – oh, give me pizza now!…

I’d thought about building a pizza oven in our small garden but, like a lot of men who’ve thought about building a pizza oven in the garden, never graduated from the thinking bit.

Then I heard about the Chadwick: a pizza oven you can use on your gas hob.