Sunday, December 15, 2019


Like I said, I went to Cornwall, and had a Cornish Pasty in St. Ives.  This one:

The ‘L’ in the pastry stands for lamb, and I know that lamb is not an authentic filling for a real Cornish Pasty. The shop where I bought this one also sold steak and stilton pasties, which I thought sounded OK, but would have been even less authentic.

But this was the least of it – other shops were selling unthinkable variations: Red Thai Chicken Curry!  Chicken, Bacon, Chirizo!!

Later that same weekend, eating at the Seven Stars pub in Stithians I was hoping a Cornish pasty would be on the menu, so I could order one for compare and contrast purposes.  I was disappointed but settled for the turkey and ham pie, which was no less of a pasty than some of those others.

Still I think the real culinary adventure I had in Cornwall was buying a Cornish Hogs Pudding from RJ Trevarthan, Wholesale Butcher and Livestock Hauliers.  And for those who like to know about local sourcing and provenance, the label even had details of where the hog was slaughtered – at the Roskrow Abattoir, Roskrow, Penryn.

When it was cooked, the hogs pudding looked like this:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Hands across the religious divide, in Premier Halal Butchers in Walthanstow.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


If you’re like me, by which I mean (among other things) not Canadian, you may not be familiar with the taste, the look or even the name of Labrador Tea, Nordic Juniper, Crowberry, or Cloudberry. These are Canadian Botanicals, and now, to a strictly limited extent, I’m familiar with all of them.  These along with some other things – Wild Rose Hips and something called Artic Blend - are ingredients in Ungava Canadian Premium Gin.

There was a little cardboard sleeve around the neck of the bottle I bought, telling me about those botanicals, along with some tiny black and white images.  Here they are in colour: see if you can tell which is which. 

Ungava is, apparently, an Inukitut word meaning ‘towards the open water’ and Ungava was a district in the Northwest Territories subject to changing boundaries and administrative status.  It no longer exists as far as I can tell, though there’s still an Ungava Bay.

The gin is incredibly yellow – hence a prime candidate for ‘a yellow, a mellow martini’ (per Ogden Nash) even without vermouth.

Though, just in case, Ungava also make a Vermouth called Kayak.  It contains, you guessed, Canadian botanicals.

Monday, December 2, 2019


In the post-Warholian universe, a large part of the artist’s job involves pointing at things.  Another large part involves framing.  Of course, pointing is easier than framing and here I am in the Photographers’ Galley in London pointing at a 1992 photograph by Hannah Collins titled Sex 2, Plural/Wet.  

The wall text, which I’m standing in front of, has things to say about oysters’ similarity to female genitalia, which struck me as a tiny bit old hat.

The exhibition is rather good and is titled Feast for the Eyes – The Story of Food in Photography largely based on the book of the same name (or maybe it’s the other way round) which I reviewed for the Los Angeles Review of Books: here:

It’s strange, given my love of oysters, that the Hannah Collins image didn’t leap out at me from the book.  On the wall it’s amazing.  And let’s face it, it’s hard to photograph oysters well.

But this is something I go back and forth with.  Sometimes books seem the best way to look at and appreciate photographs, sometimes it seems you have to see them on a wall. 

Still, the one part of the exhibition that really needs to be seen in the flesh, or at least in glossy laminate, are these Weight Watchers cards:

 Over the years I’ve known quite a few people who’ve had success with Weight Watchers, and the system does apparently work for some people, including my own former GP.

Even so I can’t imagine anybody I know tackling the majority of the recipes on these cards, though I certainly do wish someone would tackle the Aspic-Glazed Lamb Loaf and invite me round.