Category Archives: Food and drink

Sushi in Hamburg

I just got back from Hamburg, a ten day trip that is my first significant travel since the start of the pandemic. Among the many delights of that trip, I count this sushi:

It’s from Kōgai Sushi, Valentinskamp 89, 20354 Hamburg, Germany, and I highly recommend it. So much so that in fact I went there three times during my ten days: once with my colleague Jason Skomorowski, then again with a group of three or four other colleagues, and then on the last night with a group of 11 friends and collaborators from WOLFcon 2022, which had just finished.

Annoyingly, Kōgai has no website that I can find, but you can see a bunch more photos on Google Maps. Highly recommended if you happen to be in Hamburg.

Fine dining at Purslane, Cheltenham

Since the pandemic started, Fiona and I have basically stopped eating out. We figure that in the risk/reward calculation, spending hours in a roomful of strangers in exchange for more convenient and slightly better food that you can make at home or get from a takeaway is generally not a trade worth making.

But there are exceptions.

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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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