Archive for July, 2011

Joe’s Restaurant

126 Draycott Avenue, London, SW3 3AH

I don’t pretend to be an art critic, I just pretend to be a restaurant critic, but the Banksy craze has always puzzled me.

Banksy started stencilling his stuff on walls in East London, but now his japes have come all the way West to South Kensington’s Walton Street, where the very people he presumably despises can pick up an example for a mere £60,00 or so.

The joke is not going to be on them though because, unless some kind of sanity breaks out in the art world, they’ll be able to resell the work in a few years time for double the price. Banksy is in fact helping rich people get even richer. Eat more!

Categories: Restaurant Reviews

The Bonnie and Wild

74 Chapel Market, Islington, London, N1 9ER

The seafood certainly looks game at The Bonnie and Wild and the game looks good too. This old Manzies restaurant, more used to serving Pie and Mash, Jellied Eels and other dishes that my mother claims to love, probably has never seen anything like it.

By day the original interior, all cracked tiles and wooden booths, is presumably home to toothless old pensioners, the dwindling remainders of the area’s once proud working class population, sucking up the aforementioned oddities. Now every Saturday night, bowing perhaps to the inevitable, it’s transformed into somewhere a great deal classier and rather more expensive. Eat more!

Categories: Restaurant Reviews

Blue Monday

No one likes a Blue Tomato

It was all a bit electric blue at the allotment yesterday. Tomato and potato plants, with their leaves fighting to outdo  the blue of the sky, all resemble pensioners emerging from under blow dryers.

This is because we are now entering blight season. Blight is a fungal Phytophthora infestans disease that loves a British summer with its dampness and occasional warmth. It kills the plants slowly, rotting the underground potatoes and turning the tomato fruits black and putrid.

You watch for signs of blight at the end of June; brown freckles on the leaves are the first indication. There is no time to delay, no time to look up clever solutions, the only answer is Bordeaux Mixture. Eat more!

Categories: Grow your own

Give peas a chance

Ready to pop

Why do we grow peas at home? The fact is that frozen peas are about as good as it gets. I’ve been to a pea ‘factory’ in Norfolk and it’s a remarkable operation. The pea harvesting machines don’t stop day or night, the shelled peas are chucked into a lorry that comes alongside and then driven as fast as legally possible back to the units at the factory to be blast frozen minutes after arrival.

Speed is crucial because about fifteen minutes after picking, the sugar in peas starts to turn to starch. This means those peas in pods you see in some upmarket greengrocers and supermarkets are all but worthless. They may look pretty, and you may feel delightfully old-fashioned podding them, but they could be days old. The flavour will be virtually nothing. Eat more!

Categories: Grow your own

Cox Cookies & Cake Cookbook

If you haven’t handled a book with a squishy cover since the nursery, then the Cox Cookies & Cake cookbook may come as a bit of a surprise. It’s wonderfully tactile, very squeezable and rather erotic.

Which is not surprising really as cakes have always been a bit ‘naughty but nice’ and recently have moved into the realms of soft porn.

Anyone who has ever ventured into Cox Cookies & Cake shop in, where else but, London’s Soho will have marveled at the creativity on display there, with beauty and bestiality equally on offer.

With a foreword by Sir Elton John and David Furnish, this book was never going to be anything but high camp but the cakes also speak for themselves.

Wondrous cupcakes such as Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with a chilli-flavoured frosting. Summer Flower Cupcakes and Orange and White Chocolate Chip Cookies are just some of the 75 recipes, on glossy black backgrounds, created by Eric Lanlard and designer Patrick Cox. Read more…

Categories: Cookbook reviews