Starting with fruits – figs, cherries, raspberries, white nectarines, glorious juicy peaches and clementines.
Moving to sweets and treats – a delicious dollopy tart lemon butter, lemon tart, or a good quality fruit tart filled with creme patissiere and topped with luscious glazed strawberries, or any or all of lemon, strawberry or raspberry gelato. there is also always room for pavlova – or even better, a heavenly mess of crushed meringue folded through lightly whipped cream and fresh raspberries. But really? Any fruit based dessert gets my nod. Although I am quite partial to creamed rice and proper custard.
On to dairy which takes in Goats cheese any which way, but I have a particular hankering at the moment for one we used to get from Simon Johnson’s which was a little pyramid coated in ash or this incredibly stinky washed rind cheese which name has just escaped me completely.
In the meat department I am far more choosy. I could probably quite easily never ever eat any form of meat again and be perfectly OK about it. Go figure. That said, I do love duck, particularly in the form of Peking duck, and chicken – particularly with Asian flavours.
When it comes to carbohydrates, I am your girl. Give me a good quality sourdough (like from Brasserie Breads or Sonoma) with a gloriously green extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and balsamic vinegar and really I am one happy chickadee. Pasta is probably my favourite food base in the world and while I just can’t commit to making it myself (that whole effort/reward issue) I love nothing better than using some good quality pasta to create a dinner that everyone adores.
In the veggie garden, winter is my scene. Celeriac, jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, leeks and so on. That said, I adore using fresh herbs, am quite addicted to coriander, basil, mint and parsley. I think sage is a herb from the gods as is tarragon while proper pesto is up there as well. Peas are another addiction and I can’t quite imagine my world without garlic and all forms of onions.
What foods do you hate
Anything branded ‘lite’. Convenience foods like sauces in a packet, pesto in a jar (which I used last night and regretted immediately), maple ‘flavoured’ syrup and so forth.
Foods you like but are embarrassed to admit
Plastic cheese slices, melted on toast. Packet macaroni cheese. That Kraft cheese spread that comes in a jar. I’m blaming pregnancy on all of these.
Strangest food you’ve ever eaten and enjoyed
I love chickens’ feet at yum cha, but don’t really classify that as strange.
Cooking failures that still rankle
The lime version of my lemon delicious, where I didn’t grate the lime finely enough so it was like eating a lovely light sponge peppered with bullets of bitterness.
A lemon pasta from Stephanie Alexander that was simply inedible.
My first attempt at risotto – a seafood risotto at that – which I served up at a dinner party of 12 friends. The rice was crunchy, some of the mussels unopened and so on.
Ingredients you don’t want to consider living without
Pasta, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion, herbs
Current kitchen conundrum
Dinners that I can make now and freeze. The constant quest for new dinner winners. That I buy things with a specific dish, meal or treat in mind. Then when i go to use/make it discover it’s been eaten or already used (but the packet left behind so I am none the wiser).
Cuisine you’d like to know more about
probably Middle Eastern.
Foods you’ve hated but have grown to love
Brussel sprouts and spinach.