Video: January-March 2017 Food and Cooking Favourites

It had been such a long time since I’d filmed something for the blog that I’d almost completely forgotten how. So please forgive the odd ramble as I take you through some of the food and food-related things I’ve loved in the first part of this year, from dazzling sweet-sour citrus to two very good books, afternoon snacks, and a new and slightly sticky obsession…



What’s in the fridge? – Mehrunnisa, London

You can read Part One (my fridge) of this series here, Part Two – my friend Emma in Tbilisi’s fridge – here and Part Three – my friend Juliet’s – here.

My friend Mehrunnisa and I met through work – as in the day jobs – and I can’t quite remember how we discovered a mutual love of food as a medium for stories and histories. Suffice to say we have discussed a range of topics related to our shared interest, although now that we work in completely different departments, snatching a quick five minutes to talk cookbooks, politics and culture is a little more challenging. Mehrunnisa is the author of the lyrical blog come•con•ella, which explores her heritage through food. You can also find her on Twitter and her Instagram account showcases her love of (and eye for) food, light and shadow, and urban architecture.

Who do you cook for?

my husband and i

Do you have a cooking philosophy or approach of any kind?

i think of my cooking in terms of ease and practicality. it is only when i got married and had to cook several nights a week that i realised what mama meant about the drudgery and boredom of day to day to eating. this is especially true for those of us who are tasked with cooking. with that in mind, it has to be quick but have a mix of flavours and textures.

Where do you buy your groceries?img_0165

a combination of places. i do the bulk of my groceries on ocado. this means things like canned beans, grains and lentils. i buy fruit and vegetables at my local grocer and sometimes through farm drop or farm direct. meat and fish come from the latter as well. or from the local butcher depending on how organised i am.

Tell us a little bit about your kitchen (including fridge and cupboards). Is it minimal or cluttered?

my kitchen counters are home to a few gadgets, most of which were bought by my husband. so we have a kmix (which was a christmas present), a bread bin, a nespresso machine and a basic food processor that has an s-blade, a blender and grating attachments. other than that there are are jars for coffee, tea and sugar plus peanuts and assorted spice, oil and vinegar bottles. i have a small cupboard for tins and dried goods plus a small metal bin for grains. flours and nuts compete for space on a bar trolley that is also home to jars of home made jams and chutneys.

img_0155What’s in your fridge?

a block or two of hard cheeses, some condiments like sriracha, miso and mango chutney. milk. i always have yoghurt handy plus a tub or two of ricotta. the vegetable drawer usually holds onions, lemons, some soft herbs, ginger, garlic and chillies that make your eyes water.

What are the three most useful ingredients in your kitchen?

yoghurt, eggs and tinned pulses.

What three foods are always in your fridge?

img_0171yoghurt, sriracha and ricotta.

Is anything currently missing from your fridge?

something is always missing…

What ‘treats’ do you keep in your fridge (or cupboards)?

some manner of dark or super milk chocolate. on days that i bake, there will be cookies or biscuits in a recycled biscuit tin.

What foods were always in the house when you were growing up?

sourdough bread loafbread. some manner of baked goods as mama was a prolific baker. large bars of cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate. there was always a big dish of lentils and a meat based curry. whatever fruit was in season.

What three gadgets or tools are most important/helpful for you when cooking?

microplane grater, the s-blade attachment for the food processor and a mortar and pestle

If you had to make yourself a meal with the food in your fridge (and pantry) right now, without going to the shops, what would you make?

i would make a cumin spiced cous cous with chickpeas and caramelised onions. i would add plenty of chopped soft herbs and the flesh of preserved lemon. i would serve it with harissa yoghurt and some toasted almonds.

When there really is nothing in your fridge, where do you go out to eat?

we order in from a local chinese delivery. we will have chicken corn soup (because it tastes so very much like the one we used to have in pakistan) followed by ma po tofu for me and some sweet and sour dish for my husband. he will of course eat a fair share of my ma po tofu as well.

September food and cooking favourites

October has been an exceptionally busy month at work – it always is – and it took a lot out of me to get a food favourites video up, hence why this is up very late. It’s a short and savoury line up featuring a great brunch spot in south-west London and a new lunchtime favourite. I also extol the noble virtues of eating oozing, melting strings of cheese.

What’s in the fridge? – Juliet, London

You can read Part One (my fridge) of this series here and Part Two – my friend Emma in Tbilisi’s fridge – here.

13442503_10153550800491759_787005479245608244_oMy friend Juliet and I met – as you might predict – at university, where she rapidly gained a reputation as a pretty extraordinary baker. Back then the mighty cupcake loomed large in her repertoire, but she had conquered the macaron well before we donned the graduation cap. She is still an admirable baker – she kindly shared her recipe for matcha choux puffs – but her skills go well beyond the kitchen. Juliet has upholstered chairs, knitted cup warmers, handmade a skirt, built a picnic bench and passed the GDL. She’s a solicitor in London and while her days might be spent in the office her nights are definitely spent in pursuit of fabulous food and travel – as can be seen on her Instagram. Despite leading a very busy life, she has an admirably impeccable kitchen.

Who do you cook for?

Mostly myself, but I love having friends over and cooking for them too.

Do you have a cooking philosophy or approach of any kind?

If I’m cooking for someone else, even if it’s just one other person, I like to really think about what I’m making. I want it to be special and something they’ll enjoy eating. If I’m on my own, I’ll happily cobble things together from what I have.

Where do you buy your groceries?

I’m a Sainsbury’s girl through and through! I grew up shopping at Sainsbury’s and even now that it’s not my nearest supermarket, I go out of my way just to shop there.

Tell us a little bit about your kitchen. Is it minimal or cluttered?

My entire life is minimalist. I find clutter too stressful, so I try and keep things organised. That’s not to say that my cupboards aren’t packed with crockery, utensils, Tupperware and dry goods, but everything has its place. Generally, I try to keep the worktops clear, save for a few appliances.

“My entire life is minimalist.” She’s not joking…

What’s in your fridge?

I had a dinner party at the weekend, so I’m working my way through all the leftovers. In addition to my staples, I’ve still got some tomato sauce left. I managed to get through the chorizo, escabeche and chocolate cake the other day though…

What are the three most useful ingredients in your kitchen (and why)?

This is a really tough one! Flour, butter and eggs. I always have these on hand. They’re so versatile! If I have a craving to do some baking I can usually cobble something together with other ingredients I keep stashed away. Eggs are probably the hero ingredient though. Even if I’m not baking I can always do something with eggs, whether it’s frying, scrambling or poaching them, just to add a little extra protein to a meal.


What three foods are always in your fridge?

Soy milk, jam and apples. It sounds like an eclectic mix.

Soy milk – I honestly prefer the taste of soy milk to regular milk. I buy the pasteurised stuff so that I can just keep two or three cartons in the fridge at a time.

Jam – I have lots of half empty jars of jam. I’m not sure why, but I just can’t seem to get through them.

Apples – I probably eat an apple a day, because y’know, it keeps the doctor away.

Is anything currently missing from your fridge?

Not really. Apart from a few staples, I try to buy food as I need it. My biggest fear is having to throw food away because it’s spoiled.

What treats do you keep in your fridge (or cupboards)?

I really try not to have treats in the fridge/cupboard at home. I like to eat healthily, so I try to remove the temptation to eat sugar laden treats.

What foods were always in the house when you were growing up?

My house growing up was the complete opposite. We had (and still do) an entire drawer full of cakes, biscuits and pastries. My mum is continuously panicking that supplies are running low.

What three gadgets or tools are most important/helpful for you when cooking?

I love my K-mix equipment! I have a kit that has a stick blender, soup blender, electric whisk and a blender. That’s really handy and will pretty much sort me out for anything I want to make. I also recently acquired a K-mix stand mixer, which has been brilliant. It’s the only way to safely make Italian meringue. The last tool I couldn’t live without is a sharp knife. Everyone should have at least one.

If you had to make yourself a meal with the food in your fridge (and pantry) right now, without going to the shops, what would you make?

If you had to make yourself a meal with the food in your fridge (and pantry) right now, without going to the shops, what would you make? So many options! I’ve got some gorgeous slow roasted tomato sauce leftover from the weekend. I could toss that together with some pasta. Alternatively, I have some salmon fillets and sweet potato fries in the freezer. I’m sure I could turn that into a delicious dinner.

When there really is nothing in your fridge, where do you go out to eat?

Living in London, I’m spoilt for choice. Near me I have a choice of chain restaurants in Canary Wharf (Wahaca is a favourite of mine). If I’m craving something that feels home cooked though, I would go to The Eagle in Clerkenwell. It’s not really near me any more, but I still spend a lot of time in that neighbourhood. It’s a great place to grab a casual, inexpensive, freshly prepared dinner.

What’s in the fridge? – Emma, Tbilisi

My lovely friend Emma and I met at university when we stayed in the same hall of residence and rapidly bonded over a shared interest in food (combining Oreos, peanut butter and bananas; dyeing water green; and baking and eating Presidential cookies all featured) and TV (Veronica Mars especially). (There was more to it than that, but you get the idea). Emma is originally from the US but now lives in Tbilisi, Georgia, and writes the fabulously informative blog Cookies and the Caucasus, which is a must-read if you are planning a trip to Georgia (her post on how to have the iconic Georgian dinner out is an excellent start). She kindly agreed to open her fridge door for this series (first post here).

img_0605Who do you cook for?

I cook for myself, and about half the time my boyfriend eats with me. I like cooking for others, too, but I usually do that at friends’ houses, because my flat is small (the kitchen is good-sized, but it takes up half the flat).

Do you have a cooking philosophy or approach of any kind?

I try to cook one big dish on the weekend that will keep throughout the week for lunches to bring to work and quick dinners, so that tends to be a stew/curry or a salad. I often wind up working around one ingredient, either something Georgian that I don’t know and want to explore, or something non-Georgian that I’m so excited to see that I snap it up first and figure out what to do with it later. I don’t like touching raw meat, so I don’t cook a lot of meat. Sometimes I’ll buy a rotisserie chicken, or raw meat pre-cut into the necessary shape so I can just throw it into the pan.

Where do you buy your groceries?

Mostly at the grocery store across the street from my house (it’s called Universami) and at the grocery store across the street from my friend’s house (Furshet). I also stop at the fruit and vegetable stand on my way home if I’ll be cooking, or if I have time to wash and cut something for the next few days. I make it to the Carrefour Hypermarket about once a month, where I can get more specialty ingredients.

img_0966Tell us a little bit about your kitchen. Is it minimal or cluttered?

I rented the place furnished, so I can’t take any credit for the kitchen. It’s recently renovated, so the cupboards are quite nice. Sadly, though, the oven doesn’t work, only 3/4 of the burners on the cooker turn on, and I was in the flat for 2 and a half months before I got a fridge…so you could say it’s minimal.

What’s in your fridge?

I just got back from my post-paycheck grocery shopping spree, so my fridge is quite full right now. I’ve got a lot of condiments–I like to keep both the Georgian and American basics around, and I also like to make curries and stir fries, so I have the basics for those, too. Summer produce season is in full swing–you can see mulberries, blueberries, lettuce, and ekala (it’s, like, a twig…the scientific name is Smilax excelsa) [Ed: sarsparilla is part of the same family]. I’ve also got herbs and a big head of broccoli in the veg drawer, in addition to the stuff not in the fridge.


What are the three most useful ingredients in your kitchen (and why)?

img_0957Garlic, olive oil….I can’t think of a third that’s at the same level. I’ll eat pretty much anything with garlic and olive oil on it. I suppose salt is necessary for the garlic and olive oil to do their magic, so that’ll be number 3.

What three foods are always in your fridge?

Some sort of fermented dairy product (usually matsoni – Georgian yoghurt – but often kefir or ayran – Turkish thin buttermilk), eggs, hot sauce.

Is anything currently missing from your fridge?

Like I said before, it’s fuller than usual as I just got back from shopping. I realized when I got home that I had forgotten to put parmesan on my list, so that’s missing. Usually all those ingredients would be turned into dishes, and there would be stacks of containers in the fridge. That’s the plan for this evening.

What treats do you keep in your fridge (or cupboards)?

I don’t really keep treats around…I make myself walk to the store if I have a craving. I always have tea, which is comforting, so I guess it can fill the “treat” slot.

What foods were always in the house when you were growing up?
Fruit, lots of varieties of cheese, tortillas

What three gadgets or tools are most important/helpful for you when cooking?

I only have three gadgets: an immersion blender, a WonderBag, and a julienne peeler. They’re all fairly new to me, and have really expanded my repertoire!

If you had to make yourself a meal with the food in your fridge (and pantry) right now, without going to the shops, what would you make?

I’m going to make some pkhali (Georgian vegetable puree) this evening, so I’ve got the ingredients for that. The obvious dinner is to cook up those ravioli, and I’m sure I’ve got pesto in the fridge somewhere. I’ve also got lovely tomatoes. But more in line with the spirit of the question, I’d make an herb omelette, as I have lots of herbs lingering in my vegetable drawer, and I always have eggs. The cheese I have, smoked sulguni, wouldn’t be my first choice for an omelette, but in a pinch I think it would be fine.

When there really is nothing in your fridge, where do you go out to eat?

Khachapuri, preferably adjaruli, but whatever’s hot at the local bakery will suffice. If I’m too lazy to cook, I’m usually also too lazy to go anywhere, but I want to give a shout-out to our embattled Kiwi Cafe. Often when I go there to meet friends, I’ll get a dish or two takeaway to preempt running out of food in the fridge, because they cook the kind of things I like to cook, it just saves me some effort.

August 2016 Food and Cooking Favourites

I feel like a slightly tentative snail or bear or other creature that habitually creeps from a comforting hibernating environment to say – hello! I’m here! I made a video! I have created content! I have not, despite appearances to the contrary, been smacked entirely unconscious by work, which picks up a head of steam around this time of year sufficient to blow us into December.

I have still been eating and reading and enjoying things, which brings me to my August 2016 Food Favourites, which, looking at it now, is centred around the theme of comfort: comfort food (meatballs), reading (Laurie Colwin) and TV (the Great British Bake Off). It’s a reminder that the weather is getting colder as we moved into autumn but also that things are starting to get more strained and stressful in the office as the deadlines hit us like arrows).

I filmed this a few weeks ago (it’s just taken me a while to get my editing act together) and my gushing about the Great British Bake Off and expression of it as a genuine national treasure of a show now reads as oddly ironic and a little bittersweet. (For those of you who don’t know, the Great British Bake Off, a BBC institution, has moved to the commercially orientated broadcaster Channel 4, which specialises in edgier programme aimed more explicitly at the youth demographic – or, as almost inevitably described, ‘yoof’. It’s inevitable that the unique character of the show will be lost now that the two presenters and one of the judges have declined to move channels).

What’s in the fridge? Part I – my fridge

This photo was not taken in SW London

I mentioned that I was starting a new series interviewing people about the contents of their fridges and cupboards, purely for fun, because I absolutely leaving reading those look-inside features in magazines. Even though it’s a bit odd to interview oneself, I am kicking the series off with a look at my own fridge, cupboards and kitchen.

I’m 28 (for another week!) and live in south-west London with my boyfriend. I work full-time and cook for myself and David; I do most of the cooking.

Do I have a cooking philosophy or approach of any kind?

Last year I realised I had gained quite a lot of weight. Some of it had accumulated piecemeal since leaving university, but the majority had come on while I was studying part-time for an MA (while working), especially after I experienced a bereavement during this period. I worked very hard to lose weight and dropped 24 kilos (around 4 stone, or 52 pounds). This experience pretty much informs my approach to cooking: I want it to be light, filling, nourishing, and not set me back. I also love to experiment in the kitchen and use my cookbook collection, but most nights of the week I need to cook something that won’t take too much time to make. Weekends are more for experimenting, but even then I’m often busy.

I buy organic, free-range chicken and free-range eggs. I occasionally buy organic vegetables; organic is important to me because the impact of pesticides and intensive farming on biodiversity is alarming, but the heart and the wallet cannot always be aligned on this one.

Where do I buy groceries?

We usually get a lot of our food from supermarkets. David does most of the shopping; we do one big Sunday shop at Lidl, and anything we can’t pick up there we get from our nearby Sainsbury’s. I work near a large Waitrose and will pick up bits and pieces from there during the week; it’s also where I pick up slightly more left-field ingredients. I do regularly (but not weekly) order fruit, vegetables and meat from Farm Direct; I love the quality and the provenance and being able to bypass the supermarket structures, but I have a tendency to get overexcited by the beautiful and often unusual fruit and vegetables and order an excess of stuff, which keeps us going for a while but often leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m trying to be a bit more mindful of what we can actually reasonably get through in a week. Occasionally items (often stuff to make granola) will come from health food shops, usually Holland and Barrett and Alara, which I have been going to since I was a student, or very occasionally Planet Organic (there are two near where I work, which is a lot of Planet Organics within a smallish area of Central London. The demand surprises me because of how expensive they are, but I guess it works for them…)

Talk about the kitchen


My kitchen is big by London standards. It has a large expanse of worktops and plenty of storage space. The problem is that it’s also very, very cluttered. I would prefer that this wasn’t the case but I don’t think I can get away with not mentioning this! I’m not a minimalist when it comes to anything in my life and I have heaps of cooking gadgets, utensils, serving dishes, bakeware, you name it. There are usually a few cookbooks cluttering up the surface, too. I currently have about seven different types of flour on one shelf. I use shelf extenders from Lakeland to create more storage space; they are piled high with spices and condiments, and also a jar of ginger preserves I bought to make a Nigella Lawson recipe but which I haven’t opened yet.

What’s in the fridge?


I wrote this on a Monday so the fridge is reasonably full (since, as above, we shop on Sundays).

I always have skyr in the fridge , usually the Arla brand, as it’s sold in Sainsbury’s, though at the current moment there are three types (vanilla, plain and strawberry) from a brand called Esja, which a friend recommended. It uses organic British milk and is very smooth, thicker and not quite as tangy as others I’ve tried; it’s delicious, and I stocked up recently while it was still on offer at Planet Organic. There are several cheeses: light halloumi (I often go for the ‘light’ version of feta and halloumi and don’t care if this compromises my ‘foodie values’), a chunk of mature cheddar, and parmesan. I also have a tub of Yeo Valley Vanilla Yoghurt, which is half full ; it’s not a typical purchase for me, though. We have half a pack of bacon, and I’ve decanted a box of strawberries into a plastic box lined with paper towels in the hopes that this will keep moisture away from them and keep them fresher for longer. I slice them up in the mornings and eat with the skyr and granola. There are some blackcurrants but they’re hidden at the back, and the multiple boxes of cherries I bought have been taken to work for grazing. There are also several very small containers, the kind intended for salad dressing, filled with egg whites dotted in various places around the fridge.

Moving down a shelf, I have half a pepper and half a lemon, each saved in a Food Hugger (they really do keep cut up vegetables fresher and it’s greener than constantly using clingfilm). There’s a bit of leftover applesauce in a container; every Sunday I make chicken, potato wedges/oven chips and serve it with applesauce, which is a very traditional homey Belgian meal. There’s a tub of cut-up carrots hiding at the back of the shelf and several plastic containers which hold chillies and ginger. I find if I leave them at the bottom of the vegetable drawer loose, I forget about them entirely and they go to mush.

In the vegetable drawer, there is a bag and a half of rocket, an infinitely useful salad leaf which makes everything taste and feel a bit more robust, a bag of watercress and two packets of endive, which I ended up taking to work as a snack. At the very bottom there are three leeks, and a packet of chives is in there somewhere.


Finally, the  fridge shelves hold random spreads and condiments, such as preserved lemons. I also keep maple syrup in the fridge as it goes mouldy quite quickly outside. There’s also a jar of homemade kumquat and passion fruit marmalade (the recipe is from Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke). Finally, some ketchup, mayonnaise, milk and a bottle of dessert wine. The bottle of dessert wine is an outlier; we don’t usually have it in the fridge but I fancied some on Friday and opened the bottle, which an intern gave me as a gift when she left (she was paid, before anyone gets prickly). I did feel a bit odd that she gave me a gift when she left, but it was very nice of her.

The fridge is small and we don’t have a freezer, just a shoe box-sized space at the top which just about fits some peas on a good day. When we were looking at flats, the trade-off seemed to be freezer/electric stove or no freezer/gas stove. I went for the gas stove. It was the right choice. Because the fridge is right on the floor, the back shelves can  sometimes be a little awkwardly inaccessible. Despite its tiny size, things do go missing at the back. In my most recent clearout I found a metal tube of anchovy paste whose origins baffles me.

At the time of writing the freezer space is entirely frosted over. This happens regularly; defrosting the fridge is a damp ordeal and one we frequently put off. There is some scone dough in the freezer at the moment, believe it or not; obviously it’s both totally invisible and completely inaccessible. Probably very well-preserved, though. Since writing this we (by which I mean my boyfriend) have defrosted the freezer but the ice monster is rapidly taking over again.

What three foods are always in the fridge?

The most useful foods in my kitchen are probably eggs and avocado. What I like about both of them is they make any food a meal and are appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plus they are really delicious. They even go well together! Both do need seasoning to lift, though. I really like Maldon sea salt – I know it’s a horrible cliche in the UK among middle-class foodies – but lime juice is also essential for avocados.

In the fridge, we always have butter – which is funny because I rarely eat it. I still like to bake, though. There’s always a 4-pint bottle of semi-skimmed milk in the fridge, because my boyfriend has porridge every morning, barring summer, when he has it with muusli. We go through a bottle a week, which I think is quite a lot for a household without children. My breakfast rotates between a routine of green smoothies (by which I mean spinach and banana – I don’t do hardcore things like kale and coriander and broccoli); overnight oats (in which case there’s always a tub of my favourite Yeo Valley 0% Greek yoghurt); or my current routine, skyr with some kind of homemade granola and fruit. Very rarely I will eat toast and jam – these days, it’s often homemade jam, since I caught the preserving bug.

Outside of the fridge, we always have garlic and onions – the basis of so many good meals – and also a jar of honey, as I take a spoonful in my tea.

Is anything currently missing from the fridge?

Usually there are bits and pieces missing because I usually can’t get everything I need from the one Sunday shop, but there wasn’t anything glaring at the time of writing.

Whar treats do I keep in the fridge or cupboards?

The aforementioned weight gain and weight loss challenge mean I avoid stocking up on things like chocolate and cookies. They do make their way in there but I only buy them when I have a craving. I usually try and snack on healthier things such as Medjool dates when I want something sweet, often with a little almond butter. I think Medjool dates are starting to become quite unfairly maligned in the food world because of their very close association with the clean eating trend, but of all the things clean eating has introduced me to, it’s probably the best. Normal dates tend to be a little drier and sometimes even mealy, whereas Medjool dates have a soft and tender flesh and so feel richer and more satisfying to eat.

What foods were always in the house when growing up?

I grew up in Singapore and of necessity we kept literally every item of food in the fridge, barring dried rice and beans, to ward off ants, which were everywhere. It took me years of leaving in the UK to get out of the habit of putting opened bags of sugar and jars of honey in the fridge. We always had brown rice, tofu and brown lentils in the house – my mother is a yoga teacher and we were both vegetarians for a long time. A lot of people say they don’t like brown rice but my palate is utterly acclimatised to it. We always used firm, silken tofu, but I only discovered that it’s normal practice to press it when I moved to the UK. I’ve posted about one of the classic dishes of my childhood, crispy tofu with broccoli and rice.

What three gadgets or tools are most important/helpful for you when cooking?

I love my food processor – it’s a real boon on work nights if I need to, say, slice or chop up a lot of vegetables. The food processor has a jug blender attachment and I use that constantly, usually for smoothies in the morning and for soups to take to work. I used to love my stick immersion blender but I am completely converted to a jug blender now.

However, probably even more important is my large, heavy chef’s knife. It had been left behind by a previous tenant in one of the flats we lived in and I really like it. I sharpen it from time to time, not as often as I should.

I’m also completely in love with my fine Microplane graterI’m also completely in love with my fine Microplane grater, which actually purees garlic and ginger and turns the tiniest scrap of Parmesan into a mountain. It’s a cliche but I can’t believe I lived without it for so long!

I also would struggle in the kitchen without my electronic scales – I measure almost everything I eat, which is boring but necessary for me to stave off weight gain. I am often reliant on my kitchen timers for anything from cake to tea. Timing the tea is my boyfriend’s habit – he wants it brewed for four minutes with the precision of an Orwell – and I’ve picked it up.

If I had to make a meal with the food in the fridge (and pantry) right now, without going to the shops, what would I make?


I am literally about to go and make a watercress and bacon salad with a poached egg and (homemade) sourdough soldiers. So I would make that.

When there really is nothing in the fridge, where, or what, do I eat?

It’s rare that the fridge and cupboards are bare  – usually this only happens when we come home from holiday or something. I wish I could say that in such circumstances we’d venture to our nearby Wahaca (one of my favourite places) or Franco Manca for a sophisticated foodie dinner. But really we’re much more likely to go to our local fish and chip shop or (if very desperate) to buy a pizza at the Tesco Express down the road, which is, yes, in a petrol station. This is why I always keep my fridge well stocked! Usually it’s more effort for me to leave the house than to scrounge something from what we already have. I even cooked on the day we got back from New York

What’s in the fridge? A series


In the book Fight Club, the nameless narrator returns home from a business trip to discover that his condominium has been blown up. Numb and distraught, he walks around the debris of his possessions (a scene evocatively captured in the film version of the novel). The police tell him they suspect the compressor of the fridge provided the spark which caused the explosion.

Oh, not my refrigerator. I’d collected shelves full of different mustards, some stone-ground, some English pub style. There were fourteen different flavours of fat-free salad dressing, and seven kinds of capers.

I know, I know, a house full of condiments and no real food.

The refrigerator described by the narrator reflects the bleak message of Fight Club: his life has the trappings of fullness, but there is nothing to provide nourishment. The variety and diversity of the condiments he is able to purchase and consume (or collect) do nothing to disguise the spiritual poverty of his existence.

I’ve been obsessed with this sentiment ever since – and indeed, my boyfriend has started to worry about my habit of texting people to ask them about their fridge contents. The idea that contents of the fridge and kitchen cupboards can reflect who we are is obviously compelling, and there’s some truth in it. Surely the Puy lentils, goat’s cheese and sundried tomatoes of the 1990s said as much about the era as the chia seeds, frozen bananas (for smoothies) and mashed avocado says about the 2010s?

So for this little series, which I think will run fortnightly, I’ll be sharing the insides and insights of our fridges, starting but not limited to my own.

Show me your fridge, and I will tell you who you are…

Video: July 2016 food and cooking favourites

I had to send my camera in for repairs due to a ‘broken pixel line’ earlier this month. While it enabled me to catch up a little on blog writing without the distraction of photography, I did really miss being able to photograph and film when I wanted. It was very nice indeed to be reunited, and I threw together a belated video on my favourite food things from July. I definitely feel like fun and play became, inadvertently, a theme, from messing around with biscuit making to a short, snappy, entertaining food read. Very summer appropriate…