Rosie French & Ellie Grace: ‘Everything’s covered in chilli and garlic, which is great for a hangover’
Sunday 22 July 2012
My earliest memory…
EG (on right in picture): Eating ice-creams in Cornwall. We were never lucky enough to go during the summer – we would always go for Easter, when it was really grotty, but we'd eat them anyway.
RF: My mum bringing back pheasant which she was given from the local shoot. It was before game was very fashionable, so my mum thought she was quite ahead of her time.
My favourite cookbook…
EG: Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries because it's so approachable and evocative. I love the fact that he writes emotionally about food, and the photography is beautiful as well.
RF: The River Café Cookbook, The Moro Cookbook and Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty are all big favourites. Also, a food writer who has inspired us both is a blogger in Seattle called Orangette. Her real name is Molly Wizenberg and she writes really frankly about food in relation to her life.
My top culinary tip…
EG: If you haven't got much money, spend what you do have on really good olive oil and really good sea salt and those two ingredients will perk up some pretty mediocre ones.
RF: If you've got a dressing that uses fresh herbs, never add lemon to it until the very last minute, because it will make the herbs go a nasty brown.
My favourite food shop…
EG: The Nour Cash & Carry in Brixton Market, because it was the starting point for all our recipes. It sells yoghurts and spices and pomegranates and pistachios, and all these really wonderful ingredients we use all the time.
RF: I'd have to say the Nour also –because it really is the centre of our universe – but, also in Brixton, A&C Continental Groceries on Atlantic Road.
My top table…
EG: As far as high -end restaurants go, J Sheekey in Covent Garden, as the service is impeccable and the way they value their customers is lovely; and on the lower end, Silk Road, which is a Xinjiang Chinese restaurant in Camberwell. Everything's covered in an immense load of chilli and garlic and it's brilliant to feel that coursing through your veins when you have a hangover.
RF: At the moment, I'm a bit obsessed with Trinity in Clapham. The food is modern British, and it has a great chef called Adam Byatt. South London really needs more places like that.
My guilty pleasure…
EG: There's loads of things that you eat in private that you don't tell anyone about: it's like you almost deny them. The last thing I ate that was a bit weird was a big slab of brie on a digestive biscuit with honey on top, which was really good.
RF: Popcorn from a company called London Kettle Popcorn. My husband bought two massive bags the other day, and we ate them both like robots. The salted and sweet mix is like crack.
The strangest thing I've ever eaten…
EG: I had some curried cobra in Vietnam a few years ago. It was quite good: like a mix of chicken and fish. Though we ate it off a plastic Winnie-the-Pooh plate, which was quite a strange pairing.
RF: Llama kebabs, which I ate while I lived in South America. They were OK: tough, but in a pleasant way.
My pet hates…
EG: That grey, dusty pre-ground pepper you get in dispensers. I'm not sure why you would use it: it's clearly the sweepings from the factory floor. Also, fried breakfasts: they never fail to make you feel absolutely atrocious.
RF: Restaurants that are tight about giving you water. Ellie and I judge a restaurant by how quickly they bring you water. The ideal is to bring you water without asking, and the ultimate faux pas is not to do it by the jug.
Ellie Grace and Rosie French are food bloggers and the owners of the French & Grace restaurant in Brixton Village Market, London SW9. Their first cookbook, 'Kitchen & Co', is out now, published by Kyle Books, priced £16.99
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