Category Archives: food and Wine

The Spruce Eats Goes into My Weekly Menu Planner

I have posted about my weekly menu planner — it is a simple digital tool that links what I want to make and eat with a digital platform that enables me to upgrade how I buy and make it.

Very simple. And something that I find is lacking int he digital world. That is, a thing that is for ME – not for THEM.  I use THEIR digital resources, but on my own terms. And I think you should too.

To do that, you should have a list of digital resources that you connect with on a regular basis. I use a number of them, and I find that each one offers different valuable stuff. More recently, I have been watching a lot of chef John videos on Food Wishes. Pretty good – especially for pastry oriented stuff!

So today, I am adding The Spruce Eats. Each day, I will peruse their site for stuff that I think is fun and useful FOR ME, and I will link it to my weekly menu planner.

Stay tuned! I will post results here. Last night, for example, I LOVED the jalapeno vinaigrette that went over scallops – from Chef John. (See below9. I am thinking about what other stuff would benefit – chicken fillets come to mind.

Onward we conquer the world before it conquers us!

Are You a Victim of the Dreaded Barbecue Myths?

Grilling is just cooking by a different type of heat source. But it has its own lore. Just like smoking has its own lore.

BTW, I have a smoking device in my basement, and I have never used it. I just am not a smoker! Not into the lore …. at least not yet.

But back to grilling. How well do you actually do this? I admit that my grilling techniques are not that great. This pot helped me get beyond a few of the myths that hold me back.

Yes, I thought that marinating meat tenderizes it.

Ok. So it will not change your life. I concede that point. But it will spruce up that espresso moment you are experiencing in your morning routine.


You Need to Do the “Full English” in Style, at Least Once in Your Life!

I do not do this. But I know people who love it. If you want to give it a try, you need to know where to find it. The Telegraph offered its top five

  1. The Regency Café, Pimlico
  2. The Guinea Grill, Mayfair
  3. Quo Vadis, Soho
  4. Hawksmoor, the City

This may be all you need, but if not, Londonist goes “all in” with a map and a list. BTW, all of the above except for the Guinea Grill  are featured in the Londonist list. That may be because the Guinea Grill is a bit more of a restaurant. Jay Rayner loves it! And they do a Full English breakfast!

Here is the Londonist list — go to the article for a bit of background, locations, and prices.

  • E Pellicci, Bethnal Green:
  • Maggie’s, Lewisham: T
  • Mario’s, Kentish Town:
  • Hawksmoor Guildhall:
  • Riding House Café, Goodge Street:
  • The River Café, Putney Bridge:
  • Regency Café, Pimlico:
  • The Wolseley, Piccadilly:
  • Terry’s Café, Borough:
  • My Tea Shop, London Bridge:
  • Quo Vadis, Soho:
  • The Orchard, Brockley:
  • The Gantry, Brockley:
  • Liz Cafe, Shepherd’s Bush:
  • Caravan, Exmouth Market:
  • Bistroteque, Bethnal Green:
  • Jackson and Rye, Chiswick, Richmond and Soho:
  • The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell:
  • Ffiona’s, Kensington:
  • The Blues Kitchen, Brixton:
  • The Pavilion Cafe, Victoria Park:
  • The Garrison, Bermondsey:
  • Pedler, Peckham:
  • The Table Cafe, Borough:
  • Honest Burgers, Liverpool Street, Clapham, Tooting and Peckham: 

So, if you want the least expensive? It is the Regency in Pimlico. Hmmm … so what is dining at the Regency like? There is a video. I enjoyed the accent of the dude taking us to the cafe. Enjoy!

Do You Decant your Champagne?

As far as I can recall no one does that … yet.

This may become something, so tune in!

Most fads start with something that only snobs like, and those things trickle down to the rest of us. Fine dining, for example, used to be rather a small share of the food market. The word “exclusive” meant something. Then came Julia Child and the rest, and now we are all food snobs.

These days, natural wine is hip. So too cider. But … cider gets bubbly., And bubbly wines are a special category. That special category may require new types of apparatus.

Like a champagne decanter?

Baccarat champagne decanter

You heard it first here!

It was lunchtime, I was alone in Yorkshire and …

How often does one find oneself alone in Yorkshire?

If you are  Leeds, that might not be such a bad thing!

Grade Dent (who writes amusing restaurant reviews for The Guardian) tells us what she did.

She went to Kirkgate Market

Image result for Kirkgate Market  Leeds

And there, she spent quite a bit of time at The Owl. a bar/restaurant that she reviews.

Image result for Kirkgate Market  The Owl Leeds

Hmmm … Leeds?  It is nearly 4 hours from London in a straight shot north. And according to Grace, folks in Leeds are not unhappy to be that far away.

Leeds is currently hiding in plain sight as Britain’s best city. They won’t thank me for telling you that, though. People enjoying a low-key, Saturday mooch in the gloriously preserved, tastefully re-loved Leeds Kirkgate Market, and stopping for a quick beer and plate of Lindisfarne oysters at The Owl, do not wish for a million cool-hunters from down south.

BTW, Leeds does have quite a thing going on with a number of food and beverage festivals. A cocktail festival? Count me in!


Don’t Forget! Next Summer is Coming. Will Your Ice Cream Making be Up to it?

I have to confess that a while ago, I bought a really fancy ice cream making machine, and … I have not really used it very much.

Bad boy!

But this is typical. It just didn’t fit into my routines!

Ok. Bad on me. But I am not giving up!. I am going back to the basics with this one. The first step is to start accumulating fun ice cream recipes. I have a few already. But I thought this one from Chef John was pretty good.

Errr … so what about you? Are you ice cream ready for the summer of 2020? Go for it!

Help! My Carrots Won’t Speak to Me Anymore!!!

I know. I am supposed to have an ongoing relationship with carrots. Ditto for cauliflower and celery. But sometimes carrots don’t speak to me. I buy a few, but I am just not inspired to cook with them, Ditto with cauliflower and celery.

But this post is about those damned carrots! What to do? The secret to unlock your inner carrot love is to bring out their natural sweetness. You can do this by enhancing that with a whiskey flambe and brown sugar. Chef John offers a nice short video on that (though he does the bourbon without the flambe). Here it is!

Or you might roast them with a few other veggies – I like this way!

Either way, you gotta get into a conversation with your carrots, dude! It is not optional!

To get that going, I have included Chef John’s recipe video in my digital menu builder so that I can be reminded of this fun way to get this nice side dish back into my weekly cooking regime! Will it work? I will keep you posted!