Archive for the 'Links' Category

The Guardian’s “Best Food Books of the Decade”

The Guardian’s Word of Mouth blog offers it’s best food books of the past ten years. The reader panel, which includes Matthew Fort, Tim Hayward and Jay Rayner have picked some great titles: HFW’s “River Cottage Meat Book”, Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” and Jeffrey Steingarten’s “It Must Have Been Something I Ate”.

Link: Best Food Books of the Decade

Tim Hayward’s Bonfire Night Chilli

Chilli con carne

I’ve just been reading a great article by The Guardian food writer Tim Hayward on how to make the perfect chilli. Tim slow-roasts beef shin and belly pork and then shreds the meat with forks before adding to the chilli. He also recommends adding crushed tortilla chips and used coffee grounds! Some great tips there.

There’s a huge community of committed chilli-heads out there; some of them are so proud of their own recipes that they compete in organised “cook-offs”. Like a curry or a good bolognese sauce, I love reading about how other people make chilli and seeing what sets theirs apart. I love the way dishes like this allow you to improvise in the kitchen and put your own stamp on things.

Here is my own recipe for Beef & Bean Chilli. Like Tim Hayward, I like to use smoky chipotle chillis in my recipe, as well as dried oregano. I was in Napa, California recently and stopped by a Mexican supermarket where I picked up some authentic Mexican oregano. I’ve never seen it available for sale in Ireland. It lends a great flavour to Mexican dishes, being spicier and stronger than Mediterranean oregano.

One comment on Tim’s article recommends adding a dash of bourbon; now I like the sound of that!

Taking Photographs in Restaurants

Maze Restaurant - Irish ox 'tongue 'n' cheek', caper raisin and ginger carrots, horseradish pomme purée

I stumbled across a good article this morning on Chow about taking photographs in restaurants. I thought it was worth posting a link here. Since I started blogging my restaurant visits I wouldn’t contemplate going to a restaurant without being armed with my trusty Canon. Sad, I know. I’m mindful that it might irritate other diners, snapping every dish that comes my way, but I have set myself some ground rules to avoid causing discomfort to my fellow diners.

  • Most importantly, turn the flash off. This can cause problems in a dimly-lit restaurant, which is why it makes more sense for bloggers and amateur food photographers to visit restaurants for lunch rather than dinner.
  • Know your camera. Know how to get that perfect macro shot, first time around. Always use your camera’s macro setting if it has one.
  • Limit yourself to one or two shots per dish.
  • Do it discreetly. I use a small camera which doesn’t look out of place sitting on the table.
  • Don’t be concerned with disapproving stares from other diners. I’m sure they’re too busy concentrating on their own meals. Restaurant staff will not mind either; any good restaurant will not deny you a photo of the meal you’ve just paid for. If anything, it’s a compliment to the chef and the restaurant.

Happy snapping!

Link: London Michelin Stars

Found this post on Urban Path, listing the Michelin-starred restaurants in London for 2009. Some points of interest:

  • there is only one “3-star” restaurant in London, none other than “Restaurant Gordon Ramsay”. He’s more of a ‘sleb and TV presenter these days but evidently he can still impress the judges.
  • there are only eight “2-star” establishments, which include some familiar names: Ducasse, Wareing, Roux and Robuchon.
  • there are thirty four  “1-star” restaurants including our very own Richard Corrigan. He’s listed here as being at Lindsay House, but he has since moved to plusher digs under a new name: “Corrigan’s Mayfair”. I also noticed he’s been included in the “British” section, not sure what he would think of that.