Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby Dock. The new weed in town.


With eyes like her mother 


and a smile like her daddy, 


there's no mistaking Ruby Dock’s pedigree. She’s the love child of Salvation Jane and Lantana.




Like her parents, she's named after a beautiful flowering plant which was introduced into Australia where it thrived to such an extent that it out competed the native flora and is now regarded as an invasive weed.  Ruby Dock, which is native to the desert areas of North Africa and India, was thought to have been introduced into Australia with camels in the 19th century as part of colonisation. It’s seeds are wind and water dispersed and it is commonly found along watercourses. 

Now Ruby Dock has blown into Camden and put down roots by the canal where it has already won fans who are delighted to find shady respite from the noise and congestion of the market.




But blink and you'll miss her as she's a pop up: in this location for 12 months only. During the day she’s serving up delicious breakfasts and lunches and of course, coffee and cakes, and when night falls and the tourists disappear, its wine, beer, cocktails and on trend hot dogs.

So come up and visit the new weed in Camden town.


Address:
44-45 Camden Lock Place
Middle Yard
Camden Lock Market
Chalk Farm Rd
London
NW1 8AF       
    
Opening Times: 
Monday and Tuesday from 8am to 5pm
Wednesday to Friday 8am to late
Saturday 9am to late
Sunday 9am to 5pm.














Sunday, 17 February 2013

The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker


Rub-a-dub-dub,

Four men in a tub,

And who do you think they be?

The Wandering Chef, the Thinkers Balcony, the Candle Stick Maker and Salvation Jane’s very own Head Chef, Tim.
All put out to sea.

It wasn’t a sailing expedition that brought these four whimsically named* men together last Saturday night, but a culinary one, “Supper Club Saloon”, to celebrate the launch of Melba.
*Note to Tim: come up with a quirky alias like… the “Kiwi Chef”?

For one night only, Salvation Jane turned her kitchen over to chefs who regularly host their own Supper Clubs and Pop Ups in venues throughout London. The challenge for these lone rangers was to collaboratively devise a four course menu and cook along side each other for 50 guests. 


There were quite a few Masterchef moments



But on the whole the chefs kept their cool, no one sliced a finger off, and the punters devoured every morsel.




If I had to pick a winner, I’d say it was the Kiwi Chef with his starter. A home side advantage, or a biased judge?

Hake and Kaffir Lime Fish Cakes with Nam Jim Dipping Sauce and Asian 
Herb Salad

The other dishes on the Asian themed menu:


The Candle Stick Maker's 
"Salamagundi in the 21st Century - A Many Component Salad"

The Wandering Chef's "Duck Soup"

The Thinker's Balcony dessert "Kunderian Lightness and Weight 
Bee's Galangal Ice Cream"


Thank you to all the chefs, diners and Melba for a wonderful night.




Thank you also to Antonia Pena for many of these photographs.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Thanks for the memories


I don't want to holiday in countries where the people aren’t passionate about their food. It's not a statement that I'm particularly proud of.  I feel it makes me sound a little shallow, dare I say greedy, but a large part of the enjoyment of any holiday for me is eating. I know you could argue that every country has its culinary gems and sometimes as a tourist you just have to work a little harder to seek out, say, the best pork knuckles in a country like the Czech Republic, slowly sinking under the weight of its national cuisine.

Boiled pork knee with mustard in Prague

When holidays are as few, short and precious as mine, I want a sure thing. Easy wins. A gastronomic guarantee. 

Ciao Sicily. The Italians’ obsession with food and seasonal produce hits you at every turn.




The thing that strikes me most about Italy, particularly after living in London for a few years, is how proudly untrendy Italian food is.  The London food scene is an ephemeral creature, constantly changing as it embraces the latest food trend. 

Honest Burger in Soho

I can barely keep count of the rash of burger joints and southern BBQ diners opening across London. Last year London dining was all about small plates, sliders and Argentinian steak. In complete contrast, the Italians have a national cuisine and restaurant culture which is determinedly oblivious to fads and food trends. Their cuisine is deeply entrenched, regional, seasonal and seemingly unchanging. Even in Sicily, a part of Italy that has been repeatedly invaded, the culinary influences of the Greeks, Spanish and Arabs, while present, never overshadow the strong Italian backbone of the cuisine.

Just because Italian cuisine is unchanging, it is by no means unexciting. Ironically, Italian chefs appear even more creative when they are able to breathe fresh life into the dishes and combination of ingredients that have been cooked and eaten for generations.

Nowhere was this more poetically demonstrated than at La Madia; an unassuming restaurant, hidden in a small industrial town in Southern Sicily, that's deservedly attained Michelin status. Every dish was unique, inventive and indescribably delicious, yet firmly underpinned by Sicilian classic dishes and ingredients. 

Mozzarella, basil and tomato
Octopus salad
Spaghetti with tomato and aubergine
Red mullet arancini
Cannoli
The chef, Pino Cuttaia, in explaining his approach to cooking in the introduction to his menu, sums up the Italian food philosophy:
"I am always asked if there is a food product in my kitchen I couldn’t live without or an ingredient that best represents my way of cooking. Actually there is one ingredient that more than any other defines my idea of cooking. My secret ingredient is my memory. Each one of my dishes has a sprinkle of memory in it."


Thanks for the memories Pino.