I think I would consider lemon tart to be the most dangerous dessert. Not dangerous in the way of Japanese fugu or anything, I’m not claiming that it will kill you if incorrectly prepared, but dangerous in that capable-of-completely-abolishing-all-willpower sort of way. There’s something about the irresistible mix of buttery pastry, silky custard, and the snap of lemon that seems to prevent you reaching that overload threshold you get with other desserts. Because it has a welcome acidity from lemons, you can just keep on going without feeling yourself slip into a sugar coma. Until you do, of course, slip into a sugar coma, one that has crept up on you like some kind of saccharine ninja and left you defenceless.Read more
I go through phases with noodle dishes. For a long time it was pad Thai, after I learned the tricks for making it properly (cook the noodles in the sauce, not separately) at a cookery school in Chiang Mai. Then I transitioned to the even easier pad see ew, a deeply-flavoured tangle of thick rice noodles in a silky oyster and soy sauce with scrambled egg and vegetables – perfect once I discovered that ‘having a job’ and ‘spending three hours making a meal each night’ are not always compatible. My ‘diet food’ is a wholesome bowl of Vietnamese chicken pho, sipped soothingly at the end of a strenuous workout, although since I gave up meat I’ve struggled to replace the deep flavour of chicken broth. Then there is tom kha, Thai coconut broth, which always hits the spot no matter what mood you’re in, and to which I add a big handful of rice noodles, though it’s not entirely authentic. When I could afford crab (i.e. before I moved to Denmark), my noodle fix of choice was a bowl of shimmering glass noodles dressed with galangal, yuzu, soy and lime, into which I’d stir fresh crab meat, edamame beans and chunks of pomelo.Read more
My tea habits have become somewhat noteworthy in an office consisting, almost entirely, of die-hard coffee drinkers (many of whom have special mugs/signs on their office doors professing their ardent affection for the stuff). Multiple times a day I stand patiently by the sink waiting for the kettle to boil, carefully decanting fragrant leaves into a flower-shaped Fortnum & Mason strainer which I then place in a mug with the slogan ‘Keep Calm and Drink Tea’. During this precious ritual, one of my colleagues will bustle in, pick up the pot of filter coffee that is always kept topped up on standby, slosh it into a mug and rush out again to deal with whatever demands university life has placed on them that day. I think they think I’m a bit mad, especially because the office has a large collection of various teabag teas, which I ostentatiously shun in favour of my fancy loose leaves. When the office kettle broke, I clamoured for one of those hi-tech models that allow you to set the exact temperature for different types of tea (only a philistine would consider brewing green tea at anything above 79 celsius, after all). Needless to say, my wish was not granted. Denmark is very much a coffee country.Read more
I’ve decided to dedicate a small corner of my blog to a passion that occupies a large corner of my heart: tea. From now on, each month I’ll feature a different favourite tea (or tea company), with the aim of introducing other tea obsessives like myself to exciting and unusual blends. Given that I now have three separate shelves devoted to my tea collection in my apartment, and a further shelf in my office at work, I also consider this a means of unburdening myself slightly of my ever-growing tea knowledge. I hope you love my suggestions and that they inspire you to seek out new brews from all over the world. To kick off, we have the True Tea Club, with their exciting tea subscription boxes. It’s exactly as it sounds: a fabulous collection of innovative blends delivered directly to your door on a monthly basis.Read more
My latest project for Great British Chefs has involved playing with matcha, the glorious Japanese emerald green tea powder hailed for its health benefits, refreshing bitterness and versatility in the kitchen. It also makes a good latte, so I'm told, but instead of frothing it with milk I've been stirring it into cake batters and using it to cook meat and fish. I've come up with three recipes using this beautiful ingredient: a matcha loaf cake with candied lemons and lemon syrup, a soba noodle salad with matcha tea-poached salmon, avocado and edamame beans, and a mango rice salad with matcha-smoked chicken, brined and smoked with aromatic matcha. If you've never tried cooking with tea before, or are keen to experiment with something new, I'd encourage you to give these a try. For all the recipes in one place, head over to my contributor profile at Great British Chefs. Enjoy!