FOODIE NOTEBOOK: JANUARY

January has been a great month for this food buff. Deciding that food is my passion, I wanted to commit to writing it about again. The ...


January has been a great month for this food buff. Deciding that food is my passion, I wanted to commit to writing it about again. The great thing about using this "notebook" feature, is using it to keep a record of things that have inspired me, and hopefully, those who read it.

Books
While the weather outside is in the minus, I have been curled up each morning, before work, with Julia Child's autobiography "My Life in France." I'd read the book "Julie and Julia" many years ago, after seeing the film of the same name. Although both women never met, their interconnected journeys fascinated me. Shamefully, I have only just got around to reading Julia's book.

Her story is one of self-discovery. Never really knowing what she wanted to do with her life, she embarked on a course at Le Cordon Bleu and learning to cook French food became her raison d'etre. I am hooked with her story and can't wait to read more. 

Eating Out
I try to be selective with where I eat out now. I like to rely on the recommendations of friends, and one place I enjoy visiting on the odd lunchtime is Bru Coffee. Their triple cheese toastie and a mug of chocolate chai are perfect for this time of year.

At Home
Speaking of toasties, I have busted out the toastie maker and straight into experimenting with different fillings, breads and butters. Right now I am using unsalted Italian butter from Antica Cremeria, which I picked up at my local branch of Carluccio's. It's perfect for melting on top of fresh bread, ready for the toastie maker.

Podcast
Off Menu with James Acaster and Ed Gamble is the perfect blend of comedy-meets-food. Food lovers and comedians James and Ed, interview a guest each week, in their magical restaurant. It's worth repeat listens.

FOOD YEARS RESOLUTIONS 2019

Revisiting this blog has been a joy. Going through the archives, seeing the places I've experienced and the people I've met have...

Revisiting this blog has been a joy. Going through the archives, seeing the places I've experienced and the people I've met have been greatly inspiring.

Although I stepped away from this blog for over a year, my love of food, drink and discovering new places remains unchanged. It's been interesting to see what has changed over the years. Many places I enthusiastically blogged about are no more. The units they occupied have changed businesses over the years, proving how disposable our high streets have become. 

Many of my favourite places such as Tea and Cake, KL Canolog, Chaiholics have all disappeared from the Cardiff landscape. Penylan Pantry is flourishing.

Things are always changing.


With this new year, I have decided to make a few changes. They are all food-related, of course. I've never been one for the gym. 

1 - Reduce Food Waste 

This is a big one for me. I have always been pretty vigilant in making sure that I use up all the food in my fridge. With the party season leaving me with a seemingly endless mountain of snacks, cakes, and booze, I aim to give away or use up all of it. As well as making sure I shop smart, I can't let food expire - I can make a meal out of anything! At the end of each week, I aim to have an empty fridge. Food packaging is another area what I want to tackle too, and plan to write about that at a later date.

2 - Host More Dinner Parties

The majority of my favourite dining experiences have been at a dinner party. Even something as simple as pulled pork and cornbread muffins can create a laid-back gathering with friends. I'm kicking off this resolution by hosting a cheese and wine night. Being a cheese connoisseur (and often drunk on wine) this was the logical first party to host in 2019.

3 - Actually Learn to Bake

I have been saying this for years. It hasn't happened yet.

There have been times where I have romanticised a few days off work pottering about in the kitchen, baking some shortbread. Maybe even a Victoria Sponge. The reality is more like standing around, eating biscuits and forgetting all about my Betty Crocker dreams.

What food resolutions do you have for 2019?


(please bear with me while I re-post my previous content - I deleted it by mistake!)





FOODIE NOTEBOOK: APRIL

I recently posted that I wanted to shut this blog down. I thought I would start afresh on a new blog, with a different approach. Then I...


I recently posted that I wanted to shut this blog down. I thought I would start afresh on a new blog, with a different approach. Then I decided that was too much hard work, and that I had already put everything into this blog. Then I migrated the admin over to my primary email address. Then I accidentally deleted all the pictures, save for the picture of my face on the right-hand side. But, in doing so, it has actually worked out for the best. I've decided to delete a bunch of content that I no longer feel is relevant (Burger & Lobster, anyone?) so that it feels fresh again. I'll update the pictures a little differently too. 

Life takes a lot of turns and I wasn't really travelling much, or taking pictures. I had nothing to write about and nothing positive to say. This year will be different, and I aim to take this blog in an entirely new direction. I have shut down some things that weren't working for me (Facebook page, G+ page) and will only focus on using Twitter and Instagram. I know it's supposedly better for visibility and analytic jargon I don't care for, but it just feels like more work without the payoff. 

While I'm working on restoring the pictures and cleaning house I recommend the wonderful blog Life's a Feast. I hope, one day, that will be my life. 

I'll be back.

FOODIE NOTEBOOK: MARCH

It might be all doom and gloom with this Brexit malarkey, so cheer yourself up with some of my foodie finds! You can share your favouri...


It might be all doom and gloom with this Brexit malarkey, so cheer yourself up with some of my foodie finds! You can share your favourites in the comment box below.

What am I cooking?

This chicken shawarma recipe from the Tesco Real Food magazine. The magazine is usually the first port of call in my kitchen these days. There are so many cookbooks out there that it's sometimes overwhelming trying to pick new ones. Magazines are always on trend, and they almost, always, have a recipe for roast chicken.

Books

I've always got a food memoir on the go but I often have a hard time tracking them down in the UK. Most of the time I order them from the US, however, Cardiff Library does sometimes stock a gem like MFK Fisher's Long Ago in France: The Years in Dijon.

With an ever increasing amount of coffee table cookbooks, the late Nora Ephron often mused that food was more of a fetish than activity. The existence of her self-published cookbook is legendary. But The Most of Nora Ephron covers some of her most well-loved food and drink essays. My favourite is the story of her local Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.

Elsewhere

This video from The Perennial Plate beautifully captures the mundanity of doing something you love.


Online

Our own Hang Fire Southern Kitchen talk about how they made it to the top. A really inspiring article with Companies House.
























INTERVIEW WITH AVANT-GARDE VEGAN

Today on the blog I speak with Cardiff vegan chef Gaz Oakley, also known as Avant-Garde Vegan. Gaz has a dedicated social media following ...


Today on the blog I speak with Cardiff vegan chef Gaz Oakley, also known as Avant-Garde Vegan. Gaz has a dedicated social media following and a popular YouTube channel, which features his cooking videos.

What inspired you to start cooking vegan? Has it changed the way you think about food?

I have always cooked, I became a chef at the age of 15 and went full time at the New House hotel at 16. Nearly 10 years later I’m still cooking, the only difference is I’m vegan and cook vegan food. I made the transition nearly  2 years ago. I love pushing the boundaries and experimenting with vegan ingredients.

As a chef, what is the most valuable piece of advice you've received so far?

Definitely not to waste anything. Also to work efficiently as possibly keeping tidy and being organised. In terms of the actual cooking process, is to season at every stage of cooking with salt & pepper. And often lemon juice. Doing this really brings out flavours. No one wants bland food!

Where are your favourite places to eat in Cardiff? 

My favourite place to eat is Anna Loka Cafe. Love the relaxed atmosphere, and the food is excellent!

Are there any upcoming projects you can share with us? 

I have lots of things in the pipeline that are all works in progress.. so all I will say is..stay tuned to my Instagram, YouTube & other social media @avantgardevegan.