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50 foodie things to do before you die

24 Sep
Betty's tea rooms is second on the foodie bucket list (or Betty's house, as I used to call it as a youngster. Surely she lives there?)

Betty’s tea rooms is second on the foodie bucket list (or Betty’s house, as I used to call it as a youngster. Surely she lives there?)

The appliance people at Kenwood have recently released a bucket list of all things food related. It comprises of 50 foods to eat/cook, interspersed with some of the world’s finest restaurants to be visited, before your life can be complete.

I’m not going to use this post to explore the rights and wrongs of the list, but let’s just say the list goes from the sublime to the ridiculous: from fish and chips (errr, obviously) to dining at one of California’s finest restaurants (not so much.) However, it’s an interesting read and it has inspired me to start to think about drafting my own. So, here is the list: how many have these foodie experiences have you tucked into?

1. Take-away with posh plonk

2. Afternoon tea at Betty’s

3. Fresh British asparagus

4. Marinated barbecue lamb

5. Beluga caviar

6. Bread and butter pudding

7. Breakfast at the Wolseley

8. Catching and cooking a mackerel on the beach

9. Dining at Chez Panisse, California

10. Chocolate fondant pudding

11. Eating a hotdog at a baseball game

12. Coffee and croissants at a Parisian cafe

13. Collecting and cooking fresh eggs

14. Cooking a curry from scratch

15. Cornish clotted cream

16. Crispy crackling

17. Curing raw fish at home

18. Dining at L’enclume

19. Dining at Racine

20. Fresh seafood by the sea

21. Chocolate eclairs

22. Woodland glade picnic

23. Set lunch menu at La Gavroche 

24. Blackberry picking

25. Greengages

26. Growing your own vegetables

27. Homemade mayonaisse

28. Baking your own bread

29. Making your own soup

30. Fresh honeycomb

31. Visiting Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech

32. Learning to joint a chicken

33. Dining at the Walnut Tree, Abergavenny

34. Making homemade ice cream

35. Making your own marmalade

36. Early morning breakfast at Carnegie Deil (New York)

37. Cooking a perfectly timed Sunday roast

38. British ale with a scotch egg

39. Guinness at the Stag’s Head, Dublin

40. Pork pies

41. Dawn fry-up at Smithfield Market, London

42. Street food in Kuala Lumpur

43. Sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

44. Take away fish and chips

45. Tapas at San Miguel Market, Madrid

46. Dining at the Seahorse, Dartmouth

47. Toasting a haggis with Scotch whisky

48. Wild British strawberries

49. International wine trail

50. Cooking chocolate cake with your children


I’m on a not too shabby 26. My favourites include street food in Kuala Lumpur (authentic satay is my absolute favourite food in the whole word) and Betty’s tea rooms (I was brought up on Betty’s caramel shortbread. Delicious.) Watch this space for my own banqueting bucket list.


The Fast Diet fry up

8 Apr

Yes, I’m still on the Fast Diet. It was going quite well (5lbs loss) until I got engaged (eeeeekkk!) which is pretty much an excuse to eat out and drink champagne as much as possible for a minimum of two weeks. The diet went out of the window. But now with a wedding to slim into (eeeeeekkk!) I’m more determined than ever so shed a few more pounds.

This post is designed to prove that, even on such a restricted diet, you don’t need to give up your favourite guilty pleasure foods.

A closet fan of the potato waffle, I really fancied some comfort food today and devised the following Fast Diet version of the rather naughty fry up:

  • 2 x Birds Eye Potato Waffles, grilled (210 calories – don’t go for the own brand version, they have nearly double the calories for some reason)
  • 1 x slice of boiled ham (35 calories)
  • 1 x 150g tin of Heniz Baked Beans (109 calories)
  • 3 x grilled mushrooms with a sprinkling of oregano (48 calories)

Total calories = 402

That still left a few calories for a little snack at work. I realise this might not be the healthiest use of my 500 calorie intake, but my Fast Diet fry up hit the spot today.

One of my finer culinary blog posts....

One of my finer culinary blog posts….

El Xampanyet, Barcelona

20 Oct

This place was recommended to me by one very good friend, one very reliable guide book and one client who seems to know everything there is to know about Barcelona. We had to give it a try.

El Xampanyet is a gem. Situated opposite the Picasso Museum, it is the epitome of traditional Catalonia. It serves delicious own-brewed champagne and local cava in traditional 1920’s glasses for just three Euros a pop, which was enough to get me there without the food! But the tapas is to die for. Just a few of the tapas we tried; delicious red peppers stuffed with cheese and garlic, muscles, chorizo, traditional cheeses…and the rest I can’t remember (see above for comment about the bubbly.)

Our first visit to El Xampanyet was on a Wednesday evening and it was manic. Due to its traditional values, it’s a very informal kind of place; a long bar with no seats, right in front of the food where locals squeeze in shoulder to shoulder, chomp on the delicious food and chat to the friendly chaps rushed off their feet behind it. There are tables but I’m not entirely sure how you get one at rush hour – it’s every man for himself. We stayed for one drink and one round of tapas, but after a 3am get up to catch the Ryanair that morning, we weren’t really in the mood for a scrum, so we left.

The following Sunday, we were having a stroll around the gorgeous Port Vell in the stunning sunshine. It was jam-packed full of cruise shippers and the restaurants were full, so we walked back up to La Ribera to have another go at El Xampanyet and we couldn’t have timed it better. The place shuts between 4pm and 7pm for a well-earned siesta and we arrived around 3.30pm. The crowed started to clear, we grabbed a table and rather than be ushered out on the dot of 4pm, we stayed for a bit of a lock in, enjoying at least three more rounds whilst the doors were shut and everyone else drunk up. Bliss.

Well worth a try.

Lock in at El Xampanyet, Barcelona


My funny carrot

28 Jul


I just wanted to share with you this carrot I found that looked like a Barbie doll’s legs.

Vineatily, Leeds

3 May

A wine dispenser? Why have I never heard of this before?

I was delighted today to be introduced to one of Leeds’ newest eateries, Vineatily. In a quiet corner of town overlooking a pretty part of the canal, this Italian bar and deli, which happens to be very close to my office, is set to become my new local.

Run by some very fabulous Italian gentleman who’s English is delightfully broken, the food is 100% home-made and the wine list is extensive.

The menu ranges from homemade lasagna and paninis, to grills and desserts, whilst in a corner of the shop, the gents sell their authentic Italian sauces and snacks. The deli even boasts a wine dispenser (something which I’ll be investigating to have installed in my own home!) Just credit a special card at the bar and fill up as  many times as you like from a range of Italian wines. Brilliant.

I tried the classico panini for lunch – simple but delicious cured meat and mozzarella. Yum. And with cocktails starting from £5.50, you’ll be able to find me there most Fridays after work.

Visit Vineatily at Granary Wharf in Leeds.

Authentically Italian