Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Never buy croûtons again

There's a quotation floating about wherein a French person says that the problem with American food is that American cooks buy their croûtons. The wide variety of croûtons on sale in French shops suggests that this is a fine example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Some French people do make their own croûtons though, and it's so easy that you should too. You're only fifteen minutes away from adding the very best kind of crunch to your salads, soups, and life in general.

Proper garlic croûtons recipe

1/2 a baguette (of any vintage up to but not including rock solid)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
grind of pepper
big pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. While it's warming up, tear your bread into small chunks of a reasonably similar size. 1cm x 1cm is about right, but bigger is fine.

2. In a small bowl, crush the garlic into the oil and swirl around. Add the salt and pepper.

3. Spoon the flavoured oil over the croûtons on a baking tray, and mix to coat. Spread the oiled-up croûtons in a single layer on the sheet.

4. Bake for 3 minutes, poke around, and bake for a further 2 minutes, or until the croûtons are golden and crisp.

Then put them on everything you eat, and never buy croûtons again.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sunday sushi session spiralled out of control.

Please send help/mouths.

Shiitake, pepper, bean curd sheets, chipotle Vegenaise, sesame seeds. Help.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Vegan New York City

I just spent an amazing week in New York City, visiting dear friends, eating fabulous food, and generally having a fantastic time.

Two things I have learnt:

1. New York City is full of delicious vegan food.
2. New York City restaurants are extremely dimly lit.

A week wasn't nearly long enough to eat everything I wanted to. Here are some of the best things I did manage to devour.


Probably my favourite meal in New York. I started with parsnip cappelletti. Topped with mushrooms, truffle oil, and deliciousness.

Then I tackled a hickory-basted tempeh mountain, which came with 'roasted fingerling potatoes' ('chips' to you and me), collard greens, a bbq sauce, and a horseradish cream. It was insane.

Lovely friend got a fabulous porcini pasta dish.

I was so happy with the food at Blossom that I managed to make room for pudding. And thank God I did. This cheesecake blew me away. I had to pester the waiter for information on how it got to be so delicious, but sadly he wasn't revealing any secrets.

Blossom is truly amazing. They also have a daytime café place called Blossom du Jour, serving sandwiches and more to go. The Midtown Melt is a stunner, complete with melty divine vegan cheese.

Wild Ginger

Another killer meal was enjoyed at Wild Ginger, a pan-Asian place with a branch not too far from where I was staying in Brooklyn. It didn't photograph very well, but here's the gist of it.

Starters included a wee salad, spring onion pancake topped with a yummy salsa thing, and a mushroomy soup. Not pictured are some drop dead delicious salt and pepper fried mushrooms. They were as good as the Tien Hiang version here in Paris, and that's saying something.

My main course was delicious too: General Tso's 'soy protein'. Better flavour than name, and plenty of leftovers.


I had my first thoroughly positive experience with vegan cheese at this lovely little café in Park Slope with outdoor picnic tables and strict rules about computer use. This tempeh reuben was very tasty, and the Daiya inside it all melty and magical and mmmm.

And here's the 'sNice burrito: delicious also.

Bad Burger

On my last night, we tried and failed to get a table at Dirt Candy. It wasn't all bad news, as we stumbled across Bad Burger's Manhattan branch just around the corner. I had my first milkshake in at least six years. It was chocolate, it was amazing.

And of course a burger. A Shroom Burger to be precise, with a creamy pepper sauce. And of course fries.

Volna Brighton Beach

My favourite day (if I had to choose one) was spent at Brighton Beach. We paddled our weary feet in nice cool water, and completed the spa treatment with cold beers and pickles at Volna, a Russian café with tables  on the boardwalk. The pickles rivalled those I ate in St Petersburg. Especially that ginormous tomato, all garlicky and delicious.

Now with added fork, for scale.