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Category Archives: Travel Genre

disaster class?

On a wintry Saturday lunchtime, after wolfing down scrambled eggs, bacon and toast (with brown sauce) I happened to spot a triple bill on BBC2.  Country Show Cook Off.  Never heard of it.  Loved it.  The title sequence tells you all you need to know; a pair of top quality, celebrity chefs travel the country in a gorgeous Citroen van (H type, apparently) trying their luck at winning a rosette at a country show.  And it’s as difficult as it sounds.  As suspected, this show runs weekdays with a new set of chefs each week.  These catch up episodes featured Galton Backiston and Jun Tanaka with the smirky voice over talents of Ainsley Harriott.

Jun & Galton & that lovely van

Jun & Galton & that lovely van

I was immediately struck by the beauty of the vehicle (I’m almost tempted to learn how to drive just so I can have one) and, hold on, the curtain material!  I have that very same fabric for my kitchen cushions.  My kitchen that is an almost exact replica of Dot Cotton’s, I kid you not.  Not intentional either.   Read the rest of this entry »

 

and finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint

“Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”

Thank you, sir, and now the check.

So, me and my friends would regularly chatter on about last night’s Masterchef or the merits of Slater over Stein.  Eventually, those who did not care for food-based telly programmes (I know, they do exist!) cried ‘shut up and blog it!’.  So, here we are.  It has taken me some time but, once outside of my Masterchef bubble, I have realised just how many cookery shows there are!  Bloody loads.

It was requested that I compile a list of current shows so my fellow bloggers won’t miss a morsel.  Happy to oblige.  It took me a while and I’m considering posting a permanent weekly/monthly list so our readers can also keep up.   Read the rest of this entry »

 

man v food v john catucci

I think most of us are familiar with Adam Richman’s Man v Food but for the uninitiated let me explain a little.

His culinary road trip is divided in two with our enthusiastic host showing us around the weird, wonderful and tasty sights of [insert American town here].  We see diners, dive bars, curry houses and BBQ shacks.  The first half focuses on popular local joints – most have customers who have been tucking into biscuits and gravy, chicken wings or cheesecakes for a long time.  There are regulars who have had the same meal every Friday without fail for 20 years.  Adam tastes the signature dishes, sees how they are made and, of course, shoves it down his cake hole.

‘Mmmmmmm. Donuts/beer/erotic cakes’

I admit to an assumption that MvF was fronted by a chirpy chap who likes to eat, more of a student type who likes nothing more than to chug down a few beers and eat as many kebabs as possible.  But he’s not just that!  Each show begins with a quick intro from the man himself: “I’ve held every position there is the restaurant business” so he has the background but he also has the intelligence and vocabulary to match.  He will explain that, yes, he may be a few mouthfuls into a 25lb steak but it’s SO GOOD because the sharp onion relish cuts through the beautifully rendered fat on the meat and the dusty coating of semolina on the chips gives an incredible crispness that compliments the homemade aioli.  Or something.

After the commercial break?  All hell breaks lose.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

greece is the word

With lots of shows cued up on my telly box and the weather waaaay too hot for lil’ ol’ me I decided to have, not quite a marathon, more a fun run of a few of these summery episodes.

One that stood out, initially for good reasons, was ‘Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece’.  One of the myriad Australian shows on the Good Food Channel, this was a 13 part road trip across the Peloponnese for a mother and son.  We are introduced to Blair Milan as an actor and voice-over artist and his mother, Lyndey, a presenter and all round culinary expert.  The moment Blair speaks he is clearly an actor, handsome and confident, appearing in Home and Away among other shows.

They seem to have a great relationship and when they stop in Athens to visit the Agora Market to point at the goat heads, Lyndsey exclaims “having brought him up to be knowledgeable about food I was surprised at how squeamish Blair was – so I decided to make him eat some tripe soup!”  The gelatinous soup is served …

L: “It’s an acquired taste”
B: “Let’s see how acquired … :( it’s not the best thing I’ve put in my mouth!” Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

adventures in cookery pt 2

Having a borderline obsession with Spanish food and liking Rick Stein, I was thrilled at the prospect of his new show as it aired on BBC 2 last year.

Rick Stein’s Spain saw the Steinmeister travel across my favourite country visiting the regions of Valencia, Extremadura, Andalucia and Catalonia to name a few.  As always with Rick you get a bit of poetry here, a reading from Don Quixote there and reminiscences of childhood holidays.  A little later in the year, the series was followed up with a Christmas Spanish Special in London where he cooked a seasonal feast for all the people he’d met along the way and worked alongside Jose Pizarro.  Man, I love JP, he’s my favourite and totally awesome.  It also helps that after recently tweeting my intent to cook a pork stew recipe from his book, he replied “love it!” and followed it up the next day with “how was your stew, did you enjoy it? :)”  YES, IT WAS VERY VERY TASTY, THANK YOU, CANIBEYOURFRIENDPLEASETHANKYOU?

Jose Pizarro with Rick Stein

Ahem!  Anyway, my reason for telling you all this is that whilst glued to the TV, vegging out on the sofa and making Homer Simpson style drooling sounds, I made notes on what recipes I’d like to cook.  Come on, Fanny, stop imagining how lovely this would all taste and do it yourself!   Read the rest of this entry »

 

on the rhode

So, the ever so slightly creepy Gary Rhodes takes us on a trip across China.  I’ve joined him right at the start of his three week culinary journey in Hong Kong and he’s already picked up a couple of lovely ladies along the way.

Two ‘apprentices’ were selected in the UK to join Gary on his travels.  I presume they expressed an interest in accompanying a famous chef across a far away land for nowt, trying some amazing food, meeting lots of nice people and being on the telly … oh, and a bit of obligatory animal cruelty as well.

Melissa and Teresa seem like ideal candidates; enthusiastic with some background knowledge (Teresa’s parents are from China and Melissa recently returned from the Far East on a college trip) they get involved whenever possible.

Rhodes introduces us to the delightful Chef Po and they cook on a waterside set up with the Hong Kong skyline behind them where Gary is told “the Cantonese eat anything that flies except an aeroplane, anything that swims except a submarine and anything with legs except a table”.  We are given a brief masterclass in making soy sauce and how the taste differs between the various types.

Next, Chef Po takes Gary to one of the oldest eateries around where beautiful looking suckling pig is made and Gary has a go at dim sum.  Now, when someone says ‘one of the oldest restaurants in XYZ’ I imagine we’re looking at a Rules-like 150 years minimum but this fabulous local place is a mere baby at 80 years old.  Meanwhile our intrepid Brits are exploring the streets with food bloggers and Gary joins them just in time for some snake soup.  Teresa explains on her UK Food TV blog; “I went for some snake soup at Shia Wong Hip. I have tried it before so the thought didn’t bother me. Hats off to Gary though, because he tasted snake bile. He even drank the pure version, with water rather than rice wine!”   Rather you than me, Gaz!

 

 
 

two lovely italians

Filling the Blanc shaped hole in the BBC schedule is the return of the greedy Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio.  Sadly the first series passed me by.  I must catch up on these as it was an absolute treat.

Gennaro Contaldo and ... Barry Cryer?

In a similar vein to Raymond’s trip across France, the two ex-pats return to Italy to create some lovely dishes and generally make mischief.

The two old friends drove a beautiful car, stole fruit and butchered a pig.  Like you do.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 
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