Category Archives: Food and drink

How much does good pizza cost?

Like everyone else, I’m aware of the Cost Of Living Crisis — or, “recession” as we used to call it in the old days. (Much as we now say “chumocracy” instead of  “corruption” for some reason). We’re fortunate to be reasonably well off, so we don’t need to count the pennies. But I did find myself wondering whether pizza from scratch is quite such an amazing deal as I imagine.

Let’s do the numbers for a basic, and a more exotic, pizza.

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Four pizzas (and a crust cross-section)

Since I started making my own pizza, I’ve been doing it a lot. I’ve tried all sorts of variations, and made a lot of discoveries [evidence 1, evidence 2, evidence 3]. Today I want to show you four pizzas I’ve made recently.

This one is sun-dried tomatoes and anchovies with soft goat’s cheese. I like to change things up a bit from time to time, and this one is refreshingly different what I usually do. It’s very slightly inspired by the Maria Crazy pizza that they used to make at Pizza Bella in Crouch End, back when we lived there from 2000–2005. Continue reading

If you can have pulled pork, why not pulled chicken?

We love pulled pork, a straightforward way of making even the least appetising cut of the most environmentally friendly mammal meat absolutely delicious. But chicken is even less burdensome for the environment than pork, and cheaper too. Can you do the same thing with chicken? (SPOILER: Of course you can.)

I started by rubbing a whole chicken with the same rub I use for pulled pork: brown sugar, salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika, in a ratio of something like 40:20:1:1.

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Nachos

One day as we were driving back home from London, cruising along on the M4, Fiona out of the blue said “I want nachos”. I said fine, we’ll pull over at the next services and buy a packet. But she didn’t just want the tortilla chips, she wanted the whole dish. So this is what I made when we got home:

Since then, nachos have become a staple part of our diet, and they are delicious. So much better than they have any right to be. Here’s how I do it:

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Risotto à la Jon

I love a good risotto, but for years I could never get it to be really good when I made it myself. That changed a few months ago when Fiona and I stayed with our old friend Jon Wensley, who made a superb chicken and mushroom risotto and walked us through it.

This is the actual risotto that Fiona made, following the recipe, immediately after I posted it.

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Tartes au citron et limon (second try)

Last time, I made my first attempt at baking tarte au citron (lemon tart). I made several mistakes, which I documented, so yesterday I had another go, learning my lessons from the first time. Here is the result:

In summary: this was a big step forward.

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Tarte au citron (lemon tart)

Inspired by watching The Great Australian Bake Off, I found myself wanting to have a go at baking a tarte au citron, or lemon tart if you insist. It is essentially an egg-custard tart with a lot of lemon flavouring in it — zest and juice. I more or less followed Mary Berry’s recipe. Here’s the outcome:

It’s not quite as clean as I’d have liked, but then I had to use the wrong flour (high-gluten bread flour instead of plain, which we’re out of) and I had to cook it in the wrong container (ceramic instead of metal). It tastes great, so I’m happy with it as a first iteration.

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An accidentally sensational pizza

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How much do different kinds of cups of tea cost?

(Grammar note: I think that “How much do different kinds of cup of tea cost?” would be more correct; but it feels wrong, and I am going with what feels right. See also: who vs. whom.)

Last time, I calculated that when I make a cup of tea, it costs 2.34 pence, made up of 0.8p for the teabag, 0.7p for the milk, 0.04p for the water and 0.8p to heat the water. That is using the cheapest regular tea available. But how much do other teas cost to make?

We’ve been drinking Earl Grey for many years, and more recently Lapsang Souchong. Since Christmas, we’ve added Lady Grey to our repertoire, too. We’re buying boxes of Twinings tea-bags for all of these, though no doubt there are more expensive and better options. Let’s look at the prices.

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How much does a cup of tea cost?

However much I might lament the inexorable downward trend of everything that was once bright and good about my country, I was born an Englisshman and am still one today — which means I drink a lot of tea. (That me be the one aspect of Englishness that survives the current apocalypse.)

I am drinking even more tea than usual at the moment, because I am once more trying to lose weight — to get below that obese threshold, into the merely overweight. Tea fills my belly without loading up the calories.

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