Growing up in a household where Punjabi rotia and English casseroles each had their own places, Vicky Bhogal revels in placing ingredients from different cultures side by side. In the introduction to Flavour, she talks about making the most of imported as well as local foods, explaining her own democratic approach to ingredients. She revels in comforting risotto as much the tartness of tamarind, the garam masala of her Indian childhood used as much as Italian peccorino.
From Burdass-Reared Wold’s lamb to Ampleforth Abbey Apple Tart Tatin, Andrew Pern’s Black Pudding and Foie Gras is as firmly rooted in the food of Yorkshire as his Michelin-stared establishment is embedded in the village of Harome. Andrew’s Star Inn is a 14th century country pub in North Yorkshire which opened 13 years ago. He laughs as he recalls that it all started with just three people – himself in the kitchen, his wife Jacquie working front of house and her mother behind the bar. Now they run a total of seven interlinked businesses in Harome, including self catering cottages, a deli and a butcher’s shop, employing some 120 people.
Great research is the key to Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land. The subtitle – A Portrait of American Food–Before the National Highway System, Before Chain Restaurants, and Before Frozen Food, When the Nation’s Food Was Seasonal – explains the what of the latest book on food from the author of Salt, Cod and The Big Oyster.
I’ve just been enjoying the trailer for Julie & Julia, a film based on two books: My Life in France by American chef Julia Child and Julie Powell’s laugh-out-loud memoir Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep plays a suitably patrician Julia, while the lovely Amy Adams takes on the role of Julie. Check out the trailer below and watch out for the film, which should be out in Ireland on 11 September. I just might have to smuggle Little Missy in to the cinema!
While I may not be able to do quite as much cooking and baking these days while tethered to the couch by Little Missy and her demands for food, I can always read about it and – as every new mum knows – online shopping is your friend. The results of a few precious uninterrupted minutes with the computer earlier this week landed on the doorstep today for my reading pleasure over the long weekend: Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook and Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking.
I miss Arbutus bread. One of the great advantages of working in URRU Mallow was having regular access to good quality bread – I used to eat the sesame seed-encrusted brown crusts for work breakfast (you can’t sell them but I think they’re the nicest piece of the whole loaf), regularly bringing home spelt or rye loaves or, for a particular treat, one of the tomato and basil breads or a couple of croissants, to be heated up for the following morning’s breakfast.
Despite its title, this is not the kind of book that you’ll pick up if you’re really wanting to learn how to cook. Cooking Lessons could as easily be titled Life Lessons, the kind of things that you learn as you experience – in journalist Daisy Garnett’s case – a few years spent working in New York, a series of disastrous boyfriends and thinking time sailing across the Atlantic en route to resuming life back in England.