Tuesday, April 25, 2023


 Say what you like about Pola Negri, but she knew how to pose with a glass:

But really, who can really compete with Bette Davis? - a glass and a shoe!

Monday, April 24, 2023


 What better way of celebrating Earth Day and the end of 

Ramadan than with a nice roast pork shoulder?


Cooking pork is isn’t all that – it’s the anxiety about crackling that can make a man lose his mind.  

Salt it or not salt it?  I’d say salt it?  

Oil it or don’t oil it?  I’d say oil it but I’m not 100% sure about that.  

Scald the skin with hot water?  Well, I can see some logic in that but all the authorities say how important it is for the skin to be really dry before you roast it so if you’re going to scald it, it has to be done at least a day in advance, and I can never think that far ahead.


Here’s some I did earlier, quite a long time earlier - I had a better oven in those days:


and here’s one cooked by some fine chefs in Vienna – I can’t even imagine what ovens they have:

In the current case, at the end of the roasting period, the pork looked good but the skin looked at best so-so.  Bits of it looked like acceptable crackling but a lot of it didn’t.


And having done a little bit of research earlier I happened to have found a source that said when in doubt detach the skin and stick it in the microwave.  I had never done this before and frankly it sounded like the devil’s work but I felt I had nothing much to lose so in it went and OMG it worked really very well indeed.  Perhaps not the VERY best crackling ever but not at all bad:

On the plate it looked like this - and yes I know those roast potatoes lack poise - another source of anxiety.

Monday, April 17, 2023



It's not easy to take a good and informative photograph of a sandwich. I think this is largely because it’s hard to glean much about the inside of a sandwich from seeing the outside.  Of course you can open up the sandwich to disaply the ingredients but at that point it no longer looks properly like a sandwich.  I suppose the problem is solved if you only eat and photograph open sandwiches but that seriously limits your scope.


And then (see above and the two below) I was looking at the Instagram feed of Sandwich magazine, a publication which according to its website ‘takes an iconic sandwich and uses it as a lens for cultural essays, features, photo stories and more.’  Well, why not?

They solve the above aesthetic problem by stuffing their sandwiches with such massive amounts of filling you might identify it from across the street.  They’re great photographs, though the sandwiches don’t look at all easy to eat.


The problem was further driven home to me t’other day when I made a sandwich of sliced pork, cream cheese and pickled carrot on olive bread. But you probably wouldn’t know that unless I told you.


And then yesterday I was in the Gardeners Rest Restaurant (do you think there should there be an apostrophe in there?) at Hyde Hall, a place that I think aspires to being a proper restaurant (I mean they have 4 kinds of Sunday roast). The inamorata and I shared a couple of sandwiches  ‘Double egg and watercress on thick sliced granary bread’ and a ‘Pastrami with dill pickles, mustard mayonnaise, rocket and Leerdammer cheese,’ again on thick sliced granary bread.’


They were pretty decent sandwiches but they didn’t make for wonders of photographic sandwich art.  The tomato and basil soup was much more photogenic.  But you know, being photogenic isn't everything, as the first picture in this blog goes to prove.


Wednesday, April 12, 2023


 I had lunch at Soho House this week with some honest film production people.  I hadn’t been there for ages, not since I used to have an agent with loose pockets.


The dining room was very nice indeed. In other circumstances I might have taken a photograph, but there were notices around the place saying you shouldn’t take photographs so I didn’t. This is from Tripadvisor:


I had, in fact we all had, the club steak, chips and peppercorn sauce, which was very good.  The chips came in a metal container, of course; and of course I didn't photograph it.


The menu was satisfying short – but there was one thing on it that threw me sideways:  “hispi cabbage, black garlic, toasted yeast.”  I had no idea that yeast could be toasted but apparently it can.  And according to the Internet, it looks like this:


I often order the thing on menus that I’ve never had before or even heard of.  But there are limits. 


There was also steak tartare on the menu but I didn’t order because here’s one the inamorata made over the weekend (the secret ingredient is venison):

Thursday, April 6, 2023


In anticipation of the Easter festivities we had some rabbit-related food: bunny-shaped crumpets, 


with poached eggs 


and then an actual rabbit


which tasted much better than it looked.


Scholars differ in their specualtions about what was actually eaten at the Last Supper: definitely bread and wine, and if it was a Passover Seder there’d have been eggs, a shank bone, charoset and the ever popular bitter herbs.


So definitely no oysters (Leviticus and all that), but we thought that they added considerably to the festivities.