Ring in the New Year with £100

It’s competition time again. One lucky reader will win £100 of groceries to kick-start the New Year!

Gastronomy Domine has teamed up with Allrecipes.co.uk again to give one lucky reader the chance to win £100 in grocery vouchers. All you have to do is prove you know your mixed peel from your mincemeat!

For your chance to win, simply follow these steps:

  1. Find the answers to the five questions below by following the links.
  2. Take the first letter of each answer to make the secret code.
  3. Submit your five-letter code at the link below!

If you crack the code correctly, you could win £100 worth of groceries!

Good luck!

1. This champagne cocktail calls for three _____ raspberries.

2. This Icelandic Christmas cake calls for what type of extract?

3. This delectable party nibble calls for what type of oil?

4. What type of butter is called for in this Christmas pudding?

5. Which herb flavours this roast turkey recipe?

Cracked the code? Enter here for a chance to win! The competition closes on January 15, and the winner will be contacted when the competition has ended.

Posting is likely to be slow this week…

I’ve come down with a really nasty cold, and I’m not finding food an easy thing to contemplate at the minute. I’ll be back on top of things as soon as possible – in the meantime, have a look at some of the blogs in the blogroll on the left to get your food fix!

Frivolous non-food post

My good buddy Caitlin, an Alaskan who is so horrified by Sarah Palin that she is seriously considering emigrating (rather than doing what the rest of us are doing and merely mocking her by dressing up in an overpriced red suit, beauty queen sash, shotgun and beehive for Halloween – possibly with a back-to-front B adorning our right cheeks), has tagged me for a meme. I don’t usually post at weekends, but this was sufficiently diverting that I thought I’d give it a whirl.

I have been asked to identify six things about myself. Now, I think you’ve all found out far more about me than you want to know thanks to that interview last week, so I’m giving you six things which are about myself in the strictly locative sense. I do have a study upstairs, but shamefully, most of my work gets done on my laptop, on the sofa in the living room, where I’m currently procrastinating over a magazine article about Mumbai. And on that sofa (and the side table next to it) are:

Plush suction-cup Catbus (from Studio Ghibli’s wonderful My Neighbour Totoro, one of my top three movies ever. Pay little attention to this – I have the taste of an 80-year-old, so the other two are Singin’ in the Rain and Gone with the Wind). Note the plush testicles. And the sandy-toned fella top right.

Here he is again – this is Mr Raffles, or at least part thereof, up close, ‘cos he’s also within two feet of me. Note the withered, empty (and yet delightfully furry) scrotum. Dr W couldn’t look him in the eye for about a month after this.

A bottle of Angostura bitters. I have been making pink gins. Give me a break – it’s Saturday.

One box liqueur chocolates. Empty. See Saturday comment above. (And note also depressed Mr Raffles, bottom left, who has just has his inadequacy pointed out to the whole Internet.) That’s Dr W’s bare foot top right. Ew.

Gargantuan Las Vegas mug. It contains cherry juice (I’m done with the gin now). It’s a superfood, don’t cha know.

This year’s poppy, bought this afternoon. Please think about buying one too.

There are rules and everything appended to this lot.

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I’m not very good at rules and I like watching memes die, so I’m only tagging two people here – GSE, who is the UK’s best lunch companion, and Garfer, who says he wants to kidnap me in a helicopter. Have fun, fellas.

Interview with yours truly

Over at Simmer Till Done, the endlessly delightful and fragrant Marilyn has, for some reason, decided I’m a food blogger worth interviewing. Thanks very much again, Marilyn; I had real fun answering your questions. And I kind of agree with your reader’s comment about the Wolfgang Puck pizza…what can I say. Las Vegas does something awful to the volume switch in my brain that enables me to differentiate between what’s tasteful, and what’s encrusted with white tigers and rollercoasters.

Go and have a read
, and let me know what you think, people, and be gentle about the pizza thing.

Technical problems – fixed

Apologies to those of you who’ve been wondering where the new posts (and, on occasion, the entire blog) were over the last week. Two technical problems, one at my host’s end and one at mine, managed to combine into a freakishly awful whirlwind of complicated things I do not really understand. Bother my classical education. It’s all fixed now – welcome back.

Omnivore’s hundred

I’m distracted today – I’ve been waiting for the plumber to turn up for the last three hours. To pass the time, I thought I’d participate in the most recent foodie meme that’s been doing the rounds. Andrew from Very Good Taste has come up with a list of 100 foods he thinks every omnivore should eat in their lifetime. I’ve eaten everything that’s marked in bold on the list – crossed-out foods are foods I am unlikely ever to find myself putting in my mouth, and those in normal type are foods which I’ve merely somehow failed to try. So far.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J; sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (see – there is something I’m squeamish about after all)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine – not yet, but I’m going to Montreal later this month, where I intend to bathe in the stuff. (I finally ate Poutine in September 08)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores (I finally ate S’mores in Jan ’09, in Portland. And darned delicious they were too.)
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost (can you even buy this outside Norway?)
75. Roadkill (I have a very healthy fear of liver flukes)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (I also have a fear of transfats)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (We used to be served spam fritters at school, and I’ve not eaten it since.)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor (I’m allergic. Lobster Thermidor is more likely to kill me than Fugu is.)
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I’ve tried all but nine – and should have got the number down to eight by October. Update Jan 2009 – we’re down to seven! I already have a list of Montreal’s top poutine joints in my notebook, ready for deployment later this month.

How did you do? Andrew is inviting everybody to take part:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your

Competition – win £100 in Waitrose vouchers!

Calling all Cookery Masterminds!

To celebrate the launch of Allrecipes in the UK, Gastronomy Domine, Allrecipes and our friends at Waitrose are offering you the chance to win £100 worth of grocery vouchers by proving you know your basil from your bay leaves!

To prove yourself as the UK’s Cookery Mastermind you will need to do the following:

  • Find the answers to the five questions listed below.
  • Take the first letter of each answer to make a secret code.
  • If your guess is correct you could stand a chance of winning a bumper week’s grocery shopping.

1. What type of cheese is needed to make Nanmurat’s legendary salad? Hint: Click here!

2. When will Carlota Chmielewski’s Bread and Celery stuffing be sure to please everybody? Hint: Click here!

3. What flavour vinaigrette does Christy use to complement her Brown Rice Salad? Hint: Click here!

4. Fårikål is a dish found most commonly in which country? Hint: Click here!

5. Polly Welby’s heavenly chocolate mousse does not include which poultry product? Hint: Click here!

Got your code? Enter by clicking here!

Good luck and happy cooking!

Better than finding “Allah is love” written inside a tomato

I was sent the following obscene Sainsbury’s cheesecake photo by a reader, who is enjoying looking at it in her fridge so much that she hasn’t eaten it yet. I am almost tempted to start an obscene vegetables week on GD. Almost.

Many thanks to Hannah for both the photograph and the rather brilliant title.


No proper post for you today; I ate poison pate at the weekend and am currently bundled up in a dressing gown under a duvet, sweating gently (and feeling splendidly thin). Normal service should resume as soon as I can contemplate food without needing to run to the bathroom.

Elderflower time!

A quick reminder – it’s that time of year again, so if you’re in a foraging mood, spend some time this weekend harvesting some elderflower heads for cordial and fritters.

You may also enjoy this article from the Times on wild foods, especially if your garden is as full of nettles as mine is, but please do not follow Prue Leith’s example and raid the nests of wild geese for eggs unless you want a serious telling off from the RSPB! If you really can’t live without a June goose egg and you’re near Cambridge, head to the fruit and veg stall outside the Grafton Centre, where they often have a large tray of goose eggs to buy.