Near to where I stay in Nice is a small family-owned bistrot next to a corner filling station. A nearby van sells wood-fired pizzas to passers-by. Chez Michel has outside tables under a red sun-blind that doubles when it needs to as a rain cover. There are usually three or four dishes of the day, simply cooked and good value. I had to leave for the airport after lunch, so I chose to eat it nearby at Michel’s. I opted for the veal Milanaise, a veal escalope dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and lightly fried. It was very appetizing, and while the chips were tasty, too, there was about three or four times the quantity I could actually eat! I ate outside in the warm sunshine and enjoyed a chilled glass of Provence rose wine.
Archive for the ‘Madsen’ Category
They take French wines very seriously at the Green Man and French Horn in London’s St Martin’s Lane. I used to go there many years ago when it was a pub serving real ale. Now it’s a French restaurant, tiny and crowded, with a huge wine list of French wines listed by region. They might take French wines seriously, but I chose one with a touch of humour, Le Telquel. It means “as it is,” appropriately enough for an organic grape, naturally-produced wine, but it also sounds quite like ‘teckel,’ French for dachshund, and hence the drawing on the most un-French-looking label. The sommelier looked nervous when I ordered it and insisted that I try a taste first, just to be sure.
I found it very fresh indeed, an unexpectedly young red wine. It has a deep purple colour, with a tang of cherry and cranberry. When the bottle came and I drank from a full glass I found it spicy with more berry fruits and a slight mineral edge. It was actually slightly petillant, with a light prickle on the tongue, and as evidence of bottle fermentation, there was a little sediment at the end. I drank it after that first taste diluted with a little water. One puzzle was that it clearly said “pinot noir” on the list, but scanning notes on it, I read that the wine is a blend of grolleau, gamay and pineau d’aunis. I suspect the latter might be true, because there was a gamay-like feel to it. I regard it as an interesting novelty, but I don’t think I’d make it a standby.
This is finally it. St Stephen’s Club in Westminster closes its doors for the last time at the end of the month. It had a small but devoted following as the only club in the area, and certainly the nearest one to Parliament. It closed as a club in December, but remained open for functions. Prime Minister David Cameron liked it as a venue to unveil policy initiatives, and the Adam Smith Institute favoured it for lectures, receptions and evening events. The ASI’s last function there was on Monday March 25th for a book launch for my “Silver Dawn.”
I used to enjoy lunch there, not in the restaurant, but in the bar, where a few dishes and sandwiches were on offer. I went there on its penultimate day, Wednesday March 27th and enjoyed one last serving of their fish and chips, a change from the beef and horseradish sandwiches on brown bread that I usually ate. Two of us shared a bottle of prosecco, and then it was finally over.
As fast food goes, fish and chips probably predates the hamburger. The first fish and chip shop was opened in London in 1860 by Joseph Malin, though a blue plaque at Oldham stakes an earlier claim. The dish was a staple in the working class diet, made possible by the use of trawlers to fish the seas around Britain, and the appearance at about the same time of deep-fried wedges of potato. As a child I had fish and chips several times a week, usually for a late supper rather than for the main evening meal itself. It is nutritious with plenty of protein in the fish, carbohydrates in the potato and the batter, and energy from the fats. There are vitamins, too, if the traditional mushy peas are eaten with it.
I had it for lunch at Balls Bros wine bar on the corner of Buckingham Palace Road. The fish was beer battered haddock, served with chunky chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. For reasons I never understood they provide a wedge of lemon. I never use it, since if you squeeze it over the fish it softens the batter, whereas what you want is firm, crunchy batter, as this was. It was nicely cooked and presented and made for a very satisfying lunch, while bringing back fleeting memories of childhood enjoyments.
The outgoing chairman of CUCA always holds a dinner in college near the end of his or her term in office. Ingram held his in Selwyn College. It started with a cava reception, then we moved across into the hall for the meal itself. It began with chargrilled chicken salad, and went on to pan-fried loin of lamb on a bed of cous cous with minted yoghurt dressing. The lamb was deliciously pink and tender. There was ginger bombe with spiced apples to follow, but I was too full to eat it. I did, however enjoy coffee and college mints. The wines served were an Alandra Branco 2011 Esporao, a Las Condes Merlot 2011 and, of course, the college port.
Gosh. It’s been nearly 15 months since I posted on the food blog. I’ve enjoyed reading Robert’s posts since he revived it. Then he asked if I’d like to post myself from time to time. Why not? I just made a moussaka with a few short-cuts, not in the Delia ‘cheat’ league, but very convenient nonetheless.
I made the meat sauce early by cooking minced lamb on the stove-top, and carefully spooning off all the fat that came out. I added some purple onions I’d fried, Napolina tomato pasta sauce, and tomato purée (double concentrate). For the cheese sauce I made one of goats’ milk and cornflour with grated cheese melted in.
I tried something new with the aubergine, pricking the skin and microwaving it for 4 minutes to soften it before slicing it into strips. Then I layered the meat and tomato sauce, strips of aubergine and cheese sauce, and repeated it for another layer, finally topping off with grated cheese to form a top crust. I gave it 30 minutes in the oven, though everything was already cooked. It was good, tangy and appetizing. Bon appetit.
The day has finally arrived when anotherfoodblog closes. We began in late April 2006, five years and eight months ago, and since then we have posted pretty well every day, and usually twice a day. The blog began when I took over the Singleton Diet for about 20 days, and liked doing it so much that a group of us started anotherfoodblog.com, powered by WordPress.
The blog will remain up, in case anyone wants to check up on recipes or restaurants, but I will no longer be adding new posts. It’s possible that Mike or Xander might have some in reserve to put up, and even I might post something really special. But otherwise this is it, the end of an era. It will be quite a shift, not taking out my camera when the food is ready!
We built up a surprising following, averaging 35-45,000 visits per month, 190-200,000 hits. And about 120,000 pages. We never took advertising or took a free meal. I will continue with my day job, of course, at adamsmith.org and will from time to time update my own website at madsen-pirie.com. I have two books coming out soon, “Economics Made Simple” from Harriman House on January 16th, and “Think Tank – the Story of the Adam Smith Institute” from Biteback Publications on February 16th. There will no doubt be launch parties with nice canapés and wine for both. If you’d like to be invited, ask email@example.com.
The only other thing for me to say is what fun it has been. I talked to the others and we all enjoyed sharing a little of our lives. So thank you to our loyal readers. And goodbye.
Ooh, I was just given a box of fichi ricoperti from Carluccio’s. They are sourced from the hilltop town of Aiello, and are chocolate coated figs stuffed with walnuts and orange peel.
“Inside the bijou factory adjoining Aloisio’s parents’ home, the sugary scent in the air of toasting figs mixed with melting chocolate is intoxicating. A group of women in striped overalls and hairnets sit quietly chatting as they cut each fig in half and delicately stuff it with candied peel and toasted walnuts.”
Mmm, I can’t wait to try them. And this is a good post to end on because the next one will be my farewell…
Lots went into it. I dipped a couple of cherry tomatoes in boiling water so I could remove the skins. I chopped spring onions, mushrooms and a red pepper. I used chicken stock, and cooked the pepper first for a few minutes, before simmering with the other ingredients. Then I added the chopped chicken, already cooked from a previous meal.
So after a short simmer I served it. Next time I’ll take he skins off the peppers along with the tomatoes, because it’s more awkward doing it in the dish. However, this is a great soup, and a pretty healthy one after that Christmas excess….
I prefer a light red wine with goose. Not a strong, fruity shiraz, but maybe something milder and European. One of my publishers solved the problem in style. They sent me a Christmas bottle of Vin de Pays du Vaulcuse, with a seasonal sprig of holly on the label. The publisher is Harriman House, who on January 16th, 2012, bring out my “Economics Made Simple”. Wait a minute, though. What else does it say? “Authors Reserve” and my own name below that. How very cool! The wine was good, too. I might just save the empty bottle…