Monday, January 23, 2012

Chairman's Reserve 'The Forgotten Casks' rum

If you've never been to Gerry's of Old Compton Street, remedy that straightaway. It's the best offie in London - not that I spend a lot of time hanging round offies - with every drink you can possibly imagine.

They also have a thing about rum, hence a monthly rum promotion which this month - as it was last month and apparently next month* - is the Chairman's Reserve 'The Forgotten Casks' from St Lucia distillers - a sumptuous rum that tastes of dark, fudgy muscovado sugar. At £26.50 (around £29 elsewhere) it's a bargain.

The story goes that the rum was produced after the company discovered a number of casks which they'd thought were lost after a fire destroyed part of the distillery in 2007. I haven't tasted the regular Chairman's Reserve so can't vouch how special they were but it did pick up a gold medal and best in class trophy at last year's International Wine and Spirit Competition. The perfect drink for the last dark days of January, anyway.

* So possibly only a new rum every three months but hey, who minds that?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pashmak Persian fairy floss

As one of those people who no sooner sees a weird dish or ingredient than has to try it I was never going to be able to resist the offer of Pariya Pashmak Persian fairy floss on the menu of Riverstation in Bristol this week.

As the name suggests it's a bit like candyfloss but not as wiry or sugary - more like the texture and appearance of a soft toy or cushion filling to be honest. It comes in several flavours including pistachio, chocolate, vanilla and rose and you can buy it by the bag from Harvey Nicks and branches of Ottolenghi. (And Selfridges, which stocks a saffron flavoured one, so I'm told.)

What on earth does it taste like? Well the vanilla one wasn't wildly vanilla-y but the chocolate one was rather nice - like a whipped up Galaxy or a milky mug of Cadbury's chocolate.

I can imagine making a fabulously kitsch Valentine's dessert - a sundae topped with a sprinkling of rose pashmak, perhaps, or a pavlova with a furry topping like a mad Ascot hat. You could have a lot of fun with this.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five more blogs

New year, new blogs. Except that I’m hardly quick off the mark. January 13th is a bit late in the day to kick off a month’s blogging. It’s been a hard few weeks though which I won’t bore you with.

Anyway great new blogs keep on appearing or at least drifting across my radar. Here are five (and a few extra links along the way just to make up for my tardiness):

I met wine writer Philip White in Australia last month and immediately took to his iconoclastic and thoroughly un-PC blog, Drinkster. Full of anything that takes his fancy such as this recording of Robert Wyatt’s Sea Song and an old French poster headed l’alcool empoisonne lentement. The sidebar bears his credo “relishing the power concealment brings, I refuse to hide.” Good for him.

Breakfast by the Sea
A blog I discovered through food writer and photographer Dan Lepard, written by Heather from Brighton (which is on the south coast of England for those of you who don’t know it). Nothing flashy in the way of words just simple recipes beautifully photographed. Charming.

Forever Eggsploring
I like a blogger with an obsession and David Constable’s is eggs. Not just eggs but scotch eggs. That’s right - an entire blog devoted to scotch eggs which David describes for the unenlightened as "consisting of a shelled hard-boiled egg, wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried". You’d think there wouldn’t be enough to sustain a blog but David has found them. He also has another food blog called David J Constable. His review of the Rainforest Cafe is memorable.

The London Review of Sandwiches
Talking of obsessions one of my favourite bloggers Helen Graves has come up with a sharply written new blog this week: the London Review of Sandwiches. No problem sourcing material for this I’d have thought simply finding the time to post. Helen’s main blog Food Stories is already regularly updated and she also blogs for AOL as well as having a pretty demanding day job. Still, as she puts it “I am sandwich loving lady”. You can’t keep a good obsession down.

Less of a read, I suppose, more of a business idea, this is the website/blog of American food writer Molly O’Neill who runs writing courses for food writers and bloggers. Before you jump up and down with excitement and think this would be a great excuse to go to the states the sessions are held online or via conference call over a period of weeks - great for busy bloggers whose writing has to be fitted in round the day job. She also writes a blog which addresses interesting subjects in the world of writing and other interesting blogs and podcasts like Spilled Milk and Edible Radio. Thanks to Ruth Reichl for this heads-up.