winter cake and sandwiches

closed for winter

I was busy that morning, so I couldn’t talk too long when she called.

There was a new menu item that no one had even SEEN before, let alone ever tasted, so I really need to get it prepared immediately. After that, served to all the staff and managers and make sure they knew exactly what it was they were trying to sell!

I remember one waitress telling a customer that Eton Mess was “just like strawberries, cream and meringues that had fallen on the floor and you’d scooped them back up onto the plate before anyone saw you”. No, actually that was a real story, not something I’d heard from a friend of a friend…

“So, what time are you free?” she asked. We arranged to meet at that little French place ‘Le Pul’ or something, it was called. They served cake and sandwiches – good coffee, too. Pretty central and not too far from my place. I didn’t really feel like going to a restaurant that evening, I was probably going to be  preparing and eating new dishes most of the day so wouldn’t be hungry at all anyway.

I’d been there a couple of times. First of all, the visa place was right across the street so I’d waited here while they went through to make sure all my paperwork was in order. One time I had spent the morning in the museum and was starving and found a tasty sandwich that was made well. Continue Reading

not all who wander are lost

logoIf you take a quick look at the logo at the top of the page with the tag line ‘cook your way round the world’, you’ll notice straightaway how it differs from the one in the picture at the top of this post (look lower! Yes there! That’s better!)

It took me a while to think of the original idea, the logo, the colours and the ‘tag line’ which was rather adventurous-sounding:’not all who wander are lost’ – I am master of my destiny! Took me half the night to put together the logo itself on a unknown photo editing programme, because I’d never done anything like that before. It had a hint of travel, adventure, explorer and a generally enviable lifestyle in exotic locations but all with a greater purpose. Continue Reading

the missing mango macarons

mango macaron

When I woke up the next morning, she had already gone…

She was sitting in the corner, deep in her magazine, one of those glossy ones, with the cool clothes. She looked up just as I was passing by, smiled briefly and went back to her reading.

Back in the kitchen, we were deep in checks that would keep us busy for the next hour and when things were calmer I grabbed my knives, cleaned up, changed and made my way to the front door. I liked going through the main dining room on the way out, and not the back entrance, just to see what was going on, if everything was more or less OK and if there was anyone I knew to sit and have a coffee with. Today, no one, and I was in no mood to sit and chat, just too wiped out.

She was still there, and she stood up as I walked by. “Are you going to leave without talking to me?” read more to find out what I answered

can you spare some of that smoked salmon sandwich?

salmon cream cheese sandwich
This was going to be MY smoked salmon sandwich, and no one else’s. He did look hungry when he walked up to me and asked: “brother, are you gonna eat that all by yourself?” He probably hadn’t eaten for days, but he was polite enough and seemed friendly

What was I going to say? I wanted to tell him, Look, I’ve waited a few days to find some free time to grab a fresh loaf of that bread, you now, from that store across town that is so popular they always seem to run out of everything by noon and I never get a chance to get there till later. a little bit on the expensive side for that neighbourhood, but worth the long walk and the waiting in line. You know the one I’m talking about, right?

and then I’ve found a tub of that really god creamy cream cheese, I’ve had it in the fridge at work waiting for a chance to open it up and use it exactly on a sandwich like this one – with the smoked salmon and lemon-orange zest, bit of thyme to help it along the way. Continue Reading

baking is friendship

melting point

 

Baking is friendship…

The set up: how do you solve that question? Transporting FIVE THOUSAND glasses or plastic cups around the city, abroad, or to the planet Mars, each month without damaging the precious contents inside?

Precious contents, you ask? Well, the usual: fresh egg yolks, a little sugar, butter, fresh cream and milk, a HINT of ginger the slightest TOUCH of lemon grass. Like I said, the usual, but for pastry chefs, rather precious…

So, meet our little guinea piggies: from left to right we’ll call them Paul, Alex and Maria (or even, for our Russian friends, Pasha, Sasha and Masha). Continue Reading

shoot me – food photography tips 1

in-case1
For a long time, I had been preparing so many dishes and never taken a moment to take any photos of them. No one had even suggested any food photography tips to me, and because I always felt I needed some fancy high-tech equipment and a camera with all the bells and whistles, special ‘food’ lens and a big umbrella with a flash and maybe even an attractive assistant holding one of those floppy silver discs…

In the end, things were much simpler than that Continue Reading