Monday, July 16, 2018


What I ate on my travels.

Some barbecued venison in Essex:

Some barbecued lamb in Gloucestershire:

A might pile of miscellaneous meats at the Anatolia restaurant in Hackney:

And a pile of kebab meat from a place in West Hampstead called, I kid you not, Lezziz Express, which turns out not to be an outpost of lesbian separatism, but a halal joint.  The yoghurt sauce was hiding a multitude of sins.  And I was left thinking I should have ordered the chips and cheese: ah well, there'll be another time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


I was in Mistley, in Essex, on the river Stour, and my companion and I went into the Mistley Thorn, a pub that’s been in existence since at least 1805, and in its current manifestation is a gastropub that specializes in seafood “with-a-glint-still-in-its-eye” (their description).  And on the menu was something I’d never eaten before - “seaweed crushed new potatoes.”  I ordered it of course, and it came looking like this:

I’ve been trying to find out how many species of seaweeds there are.  The online Seaweed Site offers a “selection” of 200, and I can’t tell you what kind came with those crushed new potatoes but the combination worked really well, a slight chewy texture to the seaweed and a lot of saltiness – not going to argue with that.

There are so many things that go well with potatoes, all the way up to caviar.  And as fate would have it, a reference on Facebook (thank you Steve Duffy) led me to this ancient news item.  It’s from the Sacramento Union, 7 May, 1916.

Now, my experience with morphine is essentially medical, and I seem not to have the right body chemistry to become a real fan, but having taken it after surgery, I can definitely say I didn’t emerge buoyant, my lips wreathed in smiles, my eyes a-sparkle.  In fact my mouth tended to hang open and my eyes roll back in my head.  But maybe it’s different when potatoes are involved.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Well, I said that I’d be eating pies while I was in London, and I wouldn’t lie about a thing like that.  On my first day in town I ate this one (not all of it), a Brace and Dram Wild Game and Whisky Pie, from Fortnum and Mason. It took a certain amount of imagination to convince myself that I could taste the whisky.

A week or so later, again from Fortnum and Mason, I bought this one: a (ruinously expensive – best part of 9 quid - really) Mutton and Caper Pie, which I thought could have used a few more capers.

And it so happened that I was staying close to a Marks and Spencer.  Now, M and S is no Fortnum and Mason but they’re not bad, and by no means ruinously expensive, and so in those moments when I was in need of comfort I wandered in and bought items such as these Mini Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, which were perfectly good.

I also scoffed down some of these Dinky Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.  Yep, thay really call them that.  In general I don’t want my food to be “dinky” but I was prepared to make an exception here.

I suspect there is some alternative universe in which Marks and Spencer sell micro pies, or bijou pie-ettes.  I’d probably be happy to eat those too.