On The Menu: Ceviche; Elizabeth David's Christmas; Pernod Absinthe; Vestal Vaults' vodka cocktails; Pierre Hermé's Pietra chocolate spread

 

This week I've been eating... Ceviche

A year ago if someone said "Peruvian food" – you might have replied "guinea pig". And who would have blamed you? The piebald pet was the outer limit of our knowledge of culinary Peru. But we've come some distance since then, the food of the Andes has now spread to Soho and Islington – and as of last week Mayfair, too.

Coya opened at 118 Piccadilly, a swanky address for a swanky place, specialising in anticuchos (marinated skewers of meat and fish cooked on a grill) and, ceviche, the dish of raw fish in citrus juice.

At Coya, the ceviche is very fine. The sea bream, amarillo chilli, crispy corn and coriander is a stately confection full of zing and vigour. Eating it, you can see why the Peruvians have declared a national holiday in honour of the dish.

Is it a vain hope to think, in an island that likes its fish in batter, it might catch on? Maybe, but sushi managed, so ceviche has a chance. coyarestaurant.com

A simpler way

Often the pleasure in a cookbook is as much in the writing and the pictures as it is in the recipes within. In the new Folio Society edition

of Elizabeth David's Christmas you get all three by the ladleful. In it she rails against the "obsessive present buying and frenzied cooking" of the modern season and advocates a simpler, gentler approach. The recipes are suitably easy to follow and, surprisingly for those more used to her Continental recipes, in the main, English (a dry spiced beef recipe nestles with one for roast pheasant with chestnuts). A beautiful volume from the original domestic goddess. £29.96, foliosociety.com

Pretty Pernod

In a flurry of moral panic in 1915, the French government declared Pernod Absinthe deleterious to the health of the nation (and its artists especially) and closed the gates on the distilleries. Happily, it was revived back in 2008 – and by the looks of the new bottle designed for it by the French record label Kitsuné, it will be drawing in the artists once more.

In vivid blue and complete with the record label's fox emblem, it's just about the coolest thing to have on your drinks' shelf this Christmas. If you are a real connoisseur you can get it with Pierre Gonalons' Cube Bar set with a slotted spoon and dripper, too. Alas, the bar costs £600. A bottle, £40 at waitrose.com.

Bin the gin

The world and its mother may be going mad for gin but at the Vestal Vaults this month and next there will be a strict no-gin policy. That's no problem, though, because the Vestal vodka cocktails on offer at the pop-up bar below The Forge on London's Garrick Street are exceedingly good. Along with a decent Bloody Mary they also serve the Espresso Flip, a warming concoction involving vodka, egg white, Brazil nut syrup and espresso. theforgerestaurant.co.uk

Starting fresh

Years ago I had a French housemate who began everyday by ladling vast amounts of Nutella on to just about any piece of bread she could find. It was, she said, her "happy time". It would have been, I fancy, even happier if it had been Pierre Hermé's divine Pietra chocolate spread and hazelnut instead. £15, pierreherme.com

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss