In my last post I showed a picture of Dr Thomas’ birthday cake that Angus the AGA City60 so effortlessly produced. A beautiful light and aerated sponge wrapped in chocolate with flowers on top. Here is how I made it and some tips on how to make it extra light in texture – the AGA way.
I’m sure you will agree that colour is a vital part of visualisation, after all they say we ‘eat with the eyes’. Today filing is all about Brazil and I’m looking forward to a day of colourful explosions. I’m thinking of images I’ve seen on the TV from the Rio Carnival and thinking about how these will work with the 13 colours of AGA that are available. You know the drill, jump on tube, Google for information about today’s dish and arrive at Divertimenti to film with the chef.
I love a Prosecco party. Well if we are in times of austerity I’m prepared to remove champagne from my list but not the bubbles. I have to keep my standards. I’m finding some great bottles out there and unless told, one could hardly tell the difference (or so I tell myself) www.drinkaware.co.uk It was one of those evenings a few weeks back I was invited to a friends apartment on the South Bank; you know, one of those idyllic views at dawn as the sun illuminates the clouds bright orange as it sets overlooking Big Ben, the Shard (I swear there is not a street in London you cant see it from) and the BT Tower amongst others. You get the picture. I hear this deep voice as I enjoy the panorama to hear “Hello. How are you?”, very well indeed was my polite response. I am Alin from Romania was the response in deepest Eastern European accent.
When I think of Barbados I think of glossy brochures of romantic holidays, grilled fish, but ironically not Deptford in London. Street food is really taking the global cookbook and food world by storm, looking at London, and it’s huge rise in street food like Brixton Market and that of the South Bank the flavours and love of this inexpensive food have more to offer than any Michelin fine dining meal I have ever had, it’s the food of the people, cooked by people in front of you sharing culture and life in a market stand. That’s where Mark comes in, a man in a pickkle.
In today’s society social media is the new advertising. About a year ago a lady called Nina started to follow me and became very Twitter friendly with her likes, re-tweets and favoring my posts. As I started to research Nina I realized she was on a mission to revolutionize African food in the UK with fusions of Europe. I was intrigued, and I wanted to find out more. Different and clever speak volumes to me.
It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch. Or so my mother told me, I have always been noisy in my hope that no one is looking! It was at a drinks event with the Guild of Food Writers I met Mridula Baljekar, a quiet and polite lady, she had just finished cooking at No. 10, I was intrigued to find out more.
It was 2003, I was working as a recipe writer for Le Cordon Bleu cookery schools, based between London and Paris – I was living the “tale of 2 cities” with a beautiful 4 Oven AGA in dark blue in the main demonstration kitchen. I used to work early and late so I could test the ideas of Escoffier and Carême the grandfathers of modern day French gastronomy on the AGA in London. Just like the Dickens book I was the peasant working for the aristocracy, but it taught me my food knowledge. My revolution was food. It was at that point I met Marlena Spieler, she had just returned from winning the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and was going to present a guest evening at the school. Who was I to know that 10 years later after winning the award myself I would be sharing a stage with Marlena, cooking in Paris at the World Cookbook Awards in the Carrousel de Louvre, and yes, the smell of our cooking made the Mona Lisa smile.
“What’s in the box James?” It’s a strange question to be asked when sitting down for lunch. It was 2004 and I was at a work conference in Kyoto, Japan. The box queried was a bento box, the first time I had ever eaten from one and I did not recognize any of the beautiful food items, but boy did they taste good.
Do you ever feel you are a failure by the diversity of cuisine you serve to your family? Today I felt like that. Over breakfast my German significant other asked what cuisine I was looking at today in my global tour of London foods. “Ireland” I said. The reply was “so, we are having stew for dinner again”. I was taken back, shocked to my core, upset. Surely I have introduced other native foods from the emerald isle to our South London kitchen. I can name more German foods than most, tell you the sound cheese from Frankfurt makes. I feel hurt. At that point I thought I would look in the freezer, and there it was, soda bread, potato bread and you guessed it, stew, I felt better and started to talk about todays dish. Barmbrack.
It’s the hottest day of the year and I’m finding out about food from the Republic of Mozambique in Divertimenti and cooking it on the AGA. Not only am I excited about finding out about a new cuisine that is Portuguese in influence, but also I know the kitchen will be cool as I’m cooking on the new electric AGA Dual Control. If you need, either a new cooking utensil or a state of the art AGA, Divertimenti in London is the place go. Divertimenti stocks everything you could imagine for the kitchen and a world of other products, all to help you cook food from all over the world too. I do wonder what they use for cooking equipment in Mozambique?