Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2009
Just before Thanksgiving, I found myself having an email conversation around an interesting Harvard Business School post regarding Spanish uber-chef Ferran Adrià and his world-renowned restaurant elBulli. The conversation started with this quote from the article:
“Adrià says he doesn’t listen to customers, yet his customers are some
of the most satisfied in the world. That’s an interesting riddle to
One of the conversation’s participants, Phil, then noted that
“All indications point to Apple/Steve Jobs using the same strategy. El Bulli isn’t at all a mass market success, but the other is. Interesting indeed.”
Gastronomy and my favourite computers, together at last? That really got me going…
Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
So I was digging through old files tonight, trying yet again to get to the point where I have one simple, neat hierarchy of the gigabytes of digital crap which I’ve accumulated in the last 10 years. During the process, I stumbled across a little cache of writing exercises which had never seen completion, and in particular, the effort reposted here. I think I sat on it expecting to polish it up at a later date, but (at least) a year after writing, it made me laugh, so what the hell; I guess it was ready after all…
In the vast pantheon of multinational corporations, few are more hell-bent on willfully causing international confusion and consternation than the Hershey’s empire.
Even after two years on the West Coast, as a Brit I am still not 100% sure what lies under any given tastefully-designed candy bar wrapper.
For example, let us take the American staples “Milky Way” and “Three Musketeers”. Both fine blends of sugar, fat and various unnatural syrups for sure. But for me, years of childhood wonder must be suppressed in order to remember that, in fact, what Americans call “Milky Way” is marketed in my homeland as a “Mars Bar”. Meanwhile the American “Three Musketeers” is, in the Land of Tea and Questionable Dentistry, a “Milky Way”.
(A note for the pedantic: “Three Musketeers” is not exactly the same as the British “Milky Way”. The British version has denser nougat, but there’s a definite shared design ethic going on.)
The transposition of these names is particularly, egregiously confusing, but they’re not the only Hershey’s confections to suffer from odd transatlantic translations.
Posted on Saturday, August 11th, 2007
I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for about 2 years, but somehow it’s never actually happened before now. It’s become a favourite old standby, the only condiment I always have in my fridge, and the recipe I most frequently pass on to friends (usually after rifling extensively through age-old email archives – another excellent reason for sharing it on the web.)
It’s based loosely on a recipe that Simon posted to london.food a couple of years back, but has been through several cycles of, uh, “maturation” (mostly simplification) since then.
The Boring Bits
- Makes 2 medium jam jars’ worth
- Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
- Cooking time: approx. 1 1/2 hours
Posted on Monday, July 30th, 2007
I saw the idea for Mojito cupcakes a couple of months ago on Slashfood, and was intrigued immediately, but didn’t have time to bake anything back then. A friend’s birthday a few weekends back seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the idea, so I took a look again at VeganYumYum’s original page on the subject.
There were a couple of problems with just following the recipe, though. Firstly, VeganYumYum’s page wasn’t so much a recipe as a suggested modification to a recipe – specifically one from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which I don’t have. In any case, trying to follow a recipe whilst also following suggested modifications is kinda tricky (as we discovered). The original recipe was also vegan. Now, I have no real problem with vegan food, but I find Soy Milk to be kinda revolting, and on the rare occasions that I like to bake, I’m a bit of a traditionalist about it. I may try the vegan cupcake thing in future, but not this time around.
So the end result was that we found a “Full fat” Vanilla cupcake recipe and set about modifying it according to the Mojito idea.
What follows is a single recipe which (eventually) worked.
Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2006
So I realised with something of a shock today that I’m coming up on three weeks since I last partook of beast or fish.
I was worried that a serious steak-craving would set in around ten days, but the whole thing has been so painless that I didn’t even notice how long it had been.
There are still adjustments to be made, for sure. I’ve invested in a vegetarian cookbook, simply because my entire frame of reference for meal preparation over the past 8 years (ever since I had a kitchen of my own and the curiosity to experiment in it) has been based around meat dishes; more often than not some kind of “standard” meat-and-two-veg combination.
Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2006
A quick, simple but very satisfying soup, this.
Surprisingly there are very few recipes for mushroom and stilton soups available online, and most of the ones there are seem… wrong. This one borrowed a few basic ideas from Phil Vickery’s recipe, but dispenses with the “wild mushroom” crap.
I’ve no idea why food writers and celebrity chefs the world over will only touch a mushroom if it’s some fancy-schmancy “wild” variety. Bog standard closed-cap mushrooms aren’t highly exciting, it’s true, but they have a wonderful subtly complex flavour and, to my mind, actually work better in a soup like this where the stronger flavours of mushrooms like shitake can end up fighting with each other, and with the other principal ingredients.
Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2005
So after the extensive preamble of the last 3 posts we get to the heart of the matter – my actual plan for experimenting with a meat-free lifestyle.
At the centre of this plan is my “Meat List” – quite simply a list of all the meat-based dishes that I really like; the things I might miss if I turn my back on a carnivorous lifestyle forever.
Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2005
That might seem like a strange sentiment given the content of this blog so far but here’s the thing: I’m not really a hippy; probably more of a pragmatic idealist. I know how I’d like the world to be, but I understand that it’s unlikely and I prefer focussing on what I can do right here and right now, rather than on the general state of humanity.
The problem with your real “I’m a world-changer me” nutters is that they pursue their beliefs about wrong and right with an almost religious fervour, thrusting leaflets into your face at Muni entrances and preaching every-which-where about the dangers of capitalism.
Posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2005
“Could you become a vegetarian?”
It’s a topic of conversation which has come up with friends from time to time over the years, especially, say, in the middle of a steak dinner. And my answer has always been “no”, followed by various reasons (not quite excuses, but close) for that being the case.
But I’ve been examining some of those reasons recently.
Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2005
It’s been a recurring theme for me this year that 90% of the meat I eat is horrible, horrible crap.
Factory farmed, treated with anti-biotics and growth hormones, it’s not even really meat. And when it’s added to a pasta sauce or risotto, made up into a stew, minced into flash-fried burgersÂ or roughly cubed and wrapped in tortillas, it becomes little more than “generic protein” – something to bulk up a meal without adding anything much in the way of flavour and texture.