Welcome to the revival of our blog, From the Back of the Shelf, with the first Cookbook Quote. We'd love you to send us suggestions from any forgotten or undiscovered gems gathering dust on the back of your shelves to add to what we hope will become an entertaining collection.
To kick off here is a period piece from The Complete Book of Curries by Harvey Day, published by Nicholas Kaye Ltd, 1966. It may have originally appeared in The First Book of Curries published earlier in 1955. It is part of the introduction to a chapter called 'Rice Dishes' and argues that rice has played a part in forming the English character...
Today is the Keralan festival of Onam! No better time to watch Mridula Baljekar, cook, television presenter and multi-award winning author, introduces us to the Hindu festivals of Diwali, Onam and Holi.
In Part 1, Mridula talks us through the meaning and celebration of each festival, the various foods that are eaten and what they represent.
In Part 2, she shows us a selection of festival dishes in more detail and demonstrates one or two simple recipes.
Look out for her book Vegetarian Cooking of India as well as Great Indian Feasts for an entirely new twist on traditional festive food.
The quintessential English summer drink has to be Pimms. Or Pimms No. 1 to be precise.
Wimbledon is starting tomorrow and this English gin sling is what we want, despite the current lack of sunshine. Jane MacQuitty of The Times has sussed out how to make it from scratch for a version, "Cheat's Pimms", that packs more of a punch than the original which has been degraded over the years.
The basic recipe is quite simply:
1 measure of 40% gin
1 measure of red vermouth
1/2 measure of Bols Orange Curacao
Top up with a decent lemonade, ice, cucumber, borage (or mint) and see you on Henman Hill!
Buddhist monks enjoying the contents of their alms bowls at The Chiswick Thai Festival on Sunday.
What an amazing display of Thai food from at least 10 restaurant stalls - dish upon dish of curry, satay, noodles, salads, fritters, as well as Thai iced coffee and Singha beer, tropical fruit and coconut ice cream. Particular highlights were nahm dtok, a North Eastern salad from Charm in King Street, Hammersmith (beef, mint, coriander, chilli, lime, toasted rice, etc.) and mango with sticky rice from Krungtap in Earl's Court.
There are great recipes for both, of course, in David Thompson's wonderful Thai Food.
Nosh for the box tonight features Ghana and Holland, spanning both of todays World Cup matches. Jollof rice is a sort of Ghanaian paella, though different versions are found all over Africa, and is infinitely variable according to available ingredients.
And how about a kopstoot or two to wash it down?! Details here.
I was somewhat taken aback to discover that a local deli/restaurant has started charging for a glass of tap water. DelAziz, a popular hangout in Fulham, put on 10p per glass of water for myself and my companion. This was not for walking into the place asking for plain water and not ordering anything else but asking for some water to go with our meal. That's the last time I'll frequent the place. Has anyone else experienced such mean spirited service?
One of those great web discoveries is Carolyn Tillie's food-inspired jewellery.
Carolyn told me that she studied Metalsmithing in California but spent the next ten years in the food and wine industry. She has now turned her hand to producing "gastronomically-inspired jewelry to whet the appetite".
Her themes include Champagne, Just Desserts, Bento Box and Farmers Market. The food bits in the jewelry are reclaimed and recycled Japanese gumball machine toys, known as 'gashapon' which are decoratively set in sterling silver and 14k gold. There's lots more here.
Things occasionally get bought, put on a shelf and forgotten about.
Pre-Christmas stressed shopping, I'd grabbed this elegant cone-shaped little bottle as something different for non-alcohol drinkers. Sounded deceptively traditional, Cox's Apple and Plum cordial.
On Christmas morning (not great forward planners here) a last minute challenge was to find a way to make one very small bottle of home-made sloe gin (or was it vodka?) go round ten guests. A much loved book, Cocktails: How to Mix Them was still on top of the piano where it has lived for many years having been passed down through at least three generations. Undated, but with the feel of a war-time utility edition, it is by "'Robert' of the American Bar, Casino Municipal, Nice, and Late of the Embassy Club, London".
Robert had the answer - and we had the ingredients: Sloe Gin Rickey. (1 or 2 lumps of ice, the juice of half a fresh lime, 3/4 gill of Sloe Gin, fill up with cold Soda). Perfect! So was the non-alcoholic version, invented as the doorbell rang with the first guest, 50/50 cranberry juice and ginger ale. It matched exactly the light raspberry-coloured Rickey, the forgotten cordial in the pretty bottle abandonned on the sideboard.
We've only just opened it. It is absolutely delicious!
(More from Robert's Cocktails will, undoubtedly, follow)
Just heard that a Danish restaurant has been voted the world's top eaterie. Amongst other offerings they serve carrots with the soil still on them so that "you can reconnect with the earth". I know exactly where my boot would reconnect given half the chance. What absurdly pretentious twaddle. Glad to hear that Heston B is still up there. He's a genuine English eccentric in love with the theatre of food and I doubt whether he could even spell the word pretension.