On the menu: Vietnamese baguettes, a cutting-edge cookbook, brandy, bangers and a smokin' kitchen tool
This week I've been eating... Vietnamese baguettes Banhi mi is one of the happier leftovers of French colonialism in South-east Asia. The weighty sandwiches combine the best of France (warm, crusty bread) with the best of Vietnam (spicy meat and lightly pickled veg), and are the stock-in-trade of Keu Deli on London's Old Street.
The canteen-style restaurant is the third in a chain that includes Caytre and VietGrill (also in Shoreditch) and is decorated in that uncomfy way – echoey bare walls, dark-wood seats, glaring lights – that aims for Brooklyn, but just ends up numbing your bottom. Suffer on, though, because the sandwiches are well worth it. We ordered spicy duck (£5), which had the essential outer crispiness and inner softness, and was the size of a man's forearm. Better still was the mackerel (£5), which was equally packed, with slivers of pickled daikon balancing the unctuous fish. A novelty, maybe; but a novelty done well. keudeli.co.uk
Knives are to cooks what brushes are to painters. So Allegra McEvedy, co-founder of the Leon chain, has taken a novel tack with her new cookbook Bought, Borrowed & Stolen and designed it around her collection of knives. Each of the 19 sections starts with a knife McEvedy has picked up on her travels – eel knives from Japan, filleters from Scandinavia – and then reproduces her favourite recipes from that country. They're all the real deal, ranging from Malawian pumpkin curry to Cuban banana daiquiris. £22.50, octopusbooks.co.uk
The best of the bangers
Bonfire night is little over a week away. And as much as 5 November is about explosions in the sky, it's also about food. Kudos to Waitrose and Heston Blumenthal, then, for releasing their new range of sausages in time. First up are boerewors, a mixture of pork and beef with a twang of garlic and red wine. Next, lamb and coriander, which are unadventurous, but fun. While the best of the trio are the duck and cherry, which produce wafts of spice and duck aroma as you wait for them to crisp up on the grill. £2.99, waitrose.com
A smokin' kitchen tool
Fancy doing a little home smoking? Check out the new smoking gun from molecular cooking brand Polyscience. The battery-powered gadget allows you to add a smokey aroma and taste to everything from fish to veg without flame-grilling. Ferran Adria, eat your heart out.
Brandy shows its age
Like women (and men) of a certain age, cognac has traditionally been rather demure when it comes to revealing its age to the world, instead relying on descriptions such as XO (extra old) and VSOP (very superior old pale). Fine if you're in the know, but otherwise quite confusing. Courvoisier is to break with the irratating tradition, though. Its 12-year-old – light and vanilla-y – proudly displays its age. As does the complex and spicy 21-year-old. Definitely worth a sip.
£48 and £159, courvoisier.com
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