On The Menu: Congee; Federica; M&S fish cakes; EAT 17's bacon jam; Athenaeum Hotel

 

This week I've been eating...congee

A few months back, while interviewing the writer, chef and all-round nice man Simon Hopkinson for My Life in Food in these pages, he mentioned congee, a Chinese porridge, which, he said, was great for hangovers or as a comforter when you're feeling under the weather.

Well, at the end of the last week, the weather was heavy and I was definitely under it. Bored, sneezing and with a head that felt like it had been weighted with building sand, I went to Kam Tong, an unfussy Cantonese restaurant in London's Queensway, under chef Chris Kwan, formerly of Zen Mayfair,

I had the congee with 1,000-year egg. Out it came, a steaming bowl of a translucent rice boiled off in stock with the alkali-cooked eggs swimming in it. The eggs were a delight of squidginess but just footnotes to the rice itself, which had a texture looser than porridge with a deeply savoury flavour. It didn't cure, but certainly cheered me.

A swig of Spain

Say hello to Federica, the new drink from Valencia in Spain. Billed as a sort of Spanish take on Limoncello, it's made from lots of sunny ingredients such as oranges, grapes and other citrus fruits from the eastern seabord city. Sound a little tame, right? Actually, it kicks well beyond it 30 per cent alcohol content. Although the bottle suggests mixing it into a gin and tonic or adding a dash of it to a jug of sangria, I thought it was at its best served on the rocks with lots of ice. Let's just hope the sun returns so we can drink it outside, as the Spaniards do. £24.99, selfridges.co.uk

Fast fish cakes

After a long day at work it's nice to come home and unwind by cooking dinner from scratch. But sometimes, when its 8pm and you're starving, you really can't be bothered. Well, for those times you can do worse than the new range of fish cakes from M&S. The two haddock and minted pea creations are particularly great, the fish not overtaken by the potatoes, while the Thai prawn and cod gets a thumbs up, too. The cod, tomato and pesto version, less so. £2.99, marksandspencer.com

Bacon jammin'

Food mash-ups are mercurial things. Sometimes they work (think Heston's bacon-and-egg ice cream), sometimes they definitely don't (garlic beer, anyone?) and sometimes you don't know what to think, as with EAT 17's bacon jam. It sounds appalling, but bear with me. Firstly, it is, in fact, not a jam but an onion chutney – which straight-away makes it more conscionable. And tastewise it's actually pretty good. The mix of bacon, balsamic vinegar, onion, sugar and lemon really hits the spot when smeared on a burger. £14.44, amazon.co.uk

Top teatime

Looking for a place to go for afternoon tea? Don't head to The Ritz, carry on a bit further down Piccadilly to the Athenaeum Hotel, which has just been named the Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2012. Apparently, it was its orange-blossom scones that won it. Sittings are at 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm daily. £28.50, athenaeumhotel.com

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there