On The Menu: Death by Burrito; Maggi seasoning; Ben and Jerry's; sloe gin
This week I've been eating... burritos
Burritos were originally farm-labourer's food. Like Cornish pasties for warmer climes, a way to keep your meat and two safe as you sweat away the day – and often heir to the same culinary ills. After a monumentally foul burrito down in the American South 10 years ago, I foreswore them as nasty, injurious things, with chewy meat and enough grease to have your arteries calling a good lawyer. But then came smiley Thomasina Miers, and the burrito and I came to be on nodding terms, spoke sometimes, smiled hungrily. Now our lips are often to be found in companionable embrace.
The reason: Death by Burrito at Catch Bar on London's Kingsland Road. What the folk there can do with a bit of braised pig cheek and crackling is enough to have you weep. So rich, so tenderly, lovingly cooked, so textured, even the "deconstructed guacamole" (was it not fine before?) isn't enough to break the reverie. deathbyburrito.com
A bottle of Maggi seasoning, a dark and potent brew, is a constant presence in one colleague's kitchen cupboard. She sprinkles it into most things she cooks, while her husband is so enamoured of it that he coats his crisps in the stuff. But if you don't fancy dousing your ready-salted snacks in a soy-style sauce, Maggi – which has been going since 1872 – also does a good line in recipe mixes, called Fresh Ideas. The roasted apple-and-sage-pork tray bake – brown your chops and apple slice, whack in the pack and pop in the oven – is a cheat's winter week-night winner. 89p, maggi.co.uk
A friend dining at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon claims the table next to him ordered that restaurant's new £75 bangers and mash, which comes lathered in 10 grams of truffle. Leaving aside the surprise it must have caused in the kitchen that someone had just ordered what can only be described as a publicity stunt, can we just take a minute to sit back and say: enough truffle, ta very much. Just because you've put a bit of the stuff in oil and thrown it on tagliatelle or fly-tipped it on a sausage doesn't mean we want to pay a king's ransom to eat it.
A cool idea
Taste nice, do good – that could be Ben and Jerry's motto. It launched a new flavour last week, Cow Power – think fudge, choc, cookies and more choc – with Compassion in World Farming, to highlight welfare issues for cows in continental Europe, where standards aren't always as high as they might be. A worthy cause indeed. And not a little because a happy cow means a tastier ice cream. £4.49, sainsburys.co.uk
With the first frost only weeks away and sloes ripening on the nation's hedgerows, it's time to stock up on cheap gin and crank up your home distillery. Lakeland does a neat eight-piece jar set that is perfect if you're making sloe gin. Start now and it will be ready in time for Christmas. £29, lakeland.co.uk
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