On the Menu: Chilli con carne; good pans; Diversity Role Models charitycarnival; chutney; Bistrotheque
Food news and reviews
This week I’ve been eating... Heston’s chilli con carne
On Tuesday Heston Blumenthal made my dinner and I have something to report – he loves butter. I tried his chilli con carne, his carraway carrots; I tried his Apache potato mash and it was butter, butter, butter.
I quote him: "Carrots love being cooked in butter, rather than water," and of the chilli: "Flavoured with butter with a real bite!"
I should admit that he wasn't in my flat's elevator-sized kitchen, sweating over my hob, worse luck. I was trying his latest Waitrose offering – the quotes are on the box.
Butter aside, they are as good as his other stuff, if in a more everyday way. The lively combinations have been put to bed (mustard ice cream, anyone?), instead we have carrots with real snap, mash as smooth as unction (a little too smooth maybe) and a chilli in which the meat has bite and the sauce has a nice umami tang. As fine a thing as you'll get in microwaveable plastic. Mains: £4.89, waitrose.com
Good pans once meant cast-iron pans and cast iron meant heavy pans. It was something approaching an immutable rule: they heated evenly and you could put them in the oven without worrying about fumes. Problem was they cost a fortune and you needed a gold in shot-putting to lift them. So it was arm ache, or fumes. An unhappy choice. The Michel Roux Jnr Chef Pan is a nice middle way. It heats evenly, for a start, and quickly, using a new-fangled thermolon non-stick surface, which requires less heat to get to temperature and is happy in the oven. £70, green-pan.co.uk
The Diversity Role Models charity carnival takes place at Paramount, the bar at the top of the London's Centrepoint tower, on 25 October. DRM has a serious anti-homophobia message, but the evening event itself is full of fun: booze, food and music, too. And there will be lots of celebrities to chat up as the auction – with lots including tea with Downton's Lady Mary, a ceramic by Grayson Perry and swimming lessons with Mark Foster – takes place. diversityrolemodels.com
My gran used to say that the best chutneys came from Yorkshire. Her reasoning was that the residents of God's own county were all so tight-fisted they never considered throwing anything away – so they evolved, like Darwin's tortoises, an advanced skill: making fruit into chutneys. I have no doubt that my aged relative's reasoning is wholly without foundation. But on the basis of the Beetroot and Ginger chutney I purchased on a recent trip up there, her conclusion may be sound. It is the beetroot that rockets Raydale Preserve's into new realms of loveliness: it goes from sweet, to gingery, to earthy. £2.60, raydalepreserves.co.uk
Bistrotheque opened in 2004 but remains one of the coolest restaurant in London. Just ask Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z, who threw a dinner party for little sis Solange there in the summer. The spanking new dining room now has a spanking new bar, Manchichi. Head down, you never know who you'll spot. bistrotheque.com
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