Be careful when you comment on friends’ blogs.
There I was earlier this week, reading my fellow Nabber Charlotte’s blog. One of the posts enlightened me as to where in Germany she resides, and as it turns out it’s near Heidelberg. Now if only I’d known this, I would have arranged to meet up with her when we stayed there for a night during our summer holiday – and without thinking, I mentioned this in a comment. Quick as a flash, crafty Charlotte turned the whole thing around as being my fault for not visiting her!! Not for nothing does she call herself the Princess…! As my "punishment" she belatedly tagged me for the meme that she had just completed. This requires me to "list one fact, word or tidbit of information that is somehow related to your life for each letter of your first or middle name" and I’ve decided to give the whole thing a foodie flavour. So here goes…
J – is for Jamon Iberico. The first time I tasted proper Jamon Iberico de bellota from a market in Madrid was one of those culinary eureka moments. This is the dry cured Spanish ham made from the sought-after black Iberian native pigs who are fed a diet of acorns to give the meat a unique nutty sweetness. Up to that point I had been of the school of thought of "why should I pay twice as much for that ham than this ham? Surely the difference can’t be that big?". It can. I paid. I wept with joy.
E – is for Elizabeth David. Her wonderful book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine made me want to board the first ferry for France and never come back. It should be required reading for eveyr schoolchild as it explains and reinforces the idea that simple, excellent ingredients are more than enough for a meal to nourish the senses and the soul. Not everything needs to be improved with a foam or a granita.
A – is for Arbutus, surely one of my favourite London restaurants for its clean, simple, yet welcoming decor, its interesting menu and it’s flawlessly executed food. It’s a fine example of what restaurants in this town can be like but often aren’t.
N – is for my beloved Nigel Slater. The man is a genius and I love him because he cooks the kind of unfussy but scrumptious food that I like to cook in my own kitchen. I have yet to make one of his recipes that did not turn out well, and his Kitchen Diaries is probably the one cookbook I would save if there was a fire.
N – is for Nigella Lawson – because everyone needs some glamour in their culinary life and she has it in spades. I like the fact that she is not stick-thin, I like the fact that she celebrates all the cultures in her family, and I like her cherry bakewell slices. Plus, let’s face it, who hasn’t wanted to describe themselves as a goddess??
E – is for eating – without a doubt one of my favourite passtimes