Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Curse of the Squint and other such tales

It’s unfortunate that I cannot include “being photogenic” in my list of resume hobbies and interests.  I should however start including “beach volleyball enthusiast” in this section as I understand such a skill set exponentially increases your chance of being offered an interview (and at workplaces other than American Apparel) by approximately 94 percent. 

I specialise in The Awkward Profile Shot (a difficult sight with my twice broken nose) and like the mix it up with a wide-open jaw laugh and squint combo.  My school photo album runs a little like a flick book of Geek Chic maxi frames accosting a human face.  My most recent effort, a professional head shot, turned out to reveal more about the spaced out side effects of my hay fever medication than in did my avid pursuit of professional success.

 I can't blame that wayward fringe or my eye sight impediment for failing to
 correctly identify the location of the camera on tripod.
But, I’m not alone.  I share this mantel with any dish of Thai food I have tried to photograph in London. Even good Thai food.   Curry always looks shiny, stir-fries lose and sauces all about the same level of tan as the next. Donna Hay would be appalled with so many shades of brown.

This disappoints me because the smell steaming up from a plate of  Chu Chi Salmon renders me ravenous.  The sound of Poo Nim Thai Herb breaking it’s soft-shell in your mouth makes me want to discard the rules of human consumption decency and munch from two hands. But on film, why salmon do you look so oily (toner and primer please!)?  Puddles on Film?

Rosa's Poo Nim Thai Herb
I ask then that you don’t judge these madly tasty dishes from London’s Rosa’s on their photos. Pad Thai, would probably not break too many hearts in the online dating world of in photo form alone. But, I assure you, Pad is an accomplished musician, saucy, hot and she’s amazing at beach volleyball. 

Gai Satay, Thai Calamari and Poo Nim Thai Herb at Rosa's Soho.
I have two favourite Thai restaurants in London and I’m a flippant flirt between the two as my fancy or location sways.  Rosa’s (Spitalfields (12 Hanbury Street, London, E16QR) and Soho (48 Dean Street, London, W1D5BF)) is my top London Thai pick.  It’s no Longrain, but I realise after 5 years living outside Australia, I need to let go of Executive Chef Martin Boetz’s Thai and Southern Chinese influenced menu as my holy standard of Asian city dining.  I’m going to take a moment though to remember the caramelised pork hock with five spice and chili vinegar…good times, good times.

Pad Thai noodles with chicken,
But back to Rosa’s, it’s a solid, rich, spiced hit of flavour every time.  I have an affinity to the original in Spitalfields, but often leave uncomfortably full and restricted in the rudimentary East London skinny jean   uniform after the pleasure of a Rosa's meal.  Whilst never endorsing them in any environment, those fisherman's pants erroneously purchased (in full contravention of better judgement as to your capacity to pull off ethnic clothing) in Phi Phi years ago might have some benefit after all. That Red Bull t-shirt does not.  No.
Chu Chi Salmon...air brushing doesn't even help her.
Although every other week, it’s Cool Monkey in Holland Park (6 Clarendon Road, London, W11 3AA) which holds Thai taste supremacy for me.  It does not, however, hold my memory.  I often forget its name and morph this local back-street find into Arrogant Gorilla, Cheating Chimp or Chunky Monkey (the latter worries me the most, simply substituting one brand for another, courtesy of Ben & Jerry, is testament to the effectiveness of advertising or ice cream on a malleable mind).  
Beef Pad Prig Daeng, not even trying to work the camera.
Despite being in Holland Park, Cool Monkey is low key and affordable, the plates are generous and the staff are the happy. They are the kind sort of people you just want to hug as you say good bye (don’t worry guys, I’ll withhold).  Service can be a little slow, but it's good, not amazing, good Thai.  It’s my quality local so perhaps I’m bias…things do tend to taste better on a Sunday night when available a mere block from your front door.  

OK, seems Australian light works slightly better for my photographic relationship with Thai food.
Pearl, Melbourne, Thai style crispy prawn salad.
I’m also told trekking a little further from chez moi may prove interesting. Suhko Thai in Fulham is, my sources tell me, a serious London Thai supremacy, not health.  Perhaps I can develop some sort of Hefner style time share arrangement between the three?  It's a telling concept that food consumption for me is analogous to a debauched sexual calendar of an ageing porn magnate. I'm not quite clear what it says, but I'm sure those waiters at Cheating Chimp are questioning my convivial smiles and satisfied murmurs.  Suhko Thai, I've scheduled you for Tuesday.  Your place, not mine. Let’s just leave the cameras at home…oh no, not that angle…delete it, delete it!!! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Olive Oil and Raspberry Gel

This gel is a smooth and fruity emulsion which I like to serve with broken meringue, vanilla mascarpone cream and fresh berries as a sort of deconstructed take on pavlova.  The idea for an olive oil gel grew from a tart grapefruit paste we made at Chateaubriand in Paris and served with salsify crisps and buckwheat ice cream.

300g raspberry and apple juice
20g lemon juice
10-15g agar agar powder
150g caster sugar
300g pressed raspberry juice
300g good quality olive oil


  • Measurements: I’ve learnt to always measure my ingredients in grams rather than mls or cups etc.  It really does help with consistency and keeps the kitchen free from a mess of measuring cups and spoons.
  • Pressed raspberry juice: While fresh will work perfectly well, I usually make my pressed raspberry juice from frozen berries. After blending the defrosted raspberries I press the pulp through a fine sieve, retaining the juice and discarding the rest.
  • Agar agar: A seaweed-based setting agent very popular with chefs.  It’s a great substitute for gelatine with its higher setting point (32-40°C) making it much easier to work with.  Find it at health food or Asian grocery stores.
  1. Combine raspberry and apple juice, lemon juice,  agar agar and 100 grams of the caster sugar in a saucepan and heat until just below boiling point.
  2. Pour jelly mix into a flat tray and set in the fridge.  Mixture should set into a fairly firm jelly which can then be broken into smaller pieces.
  3. In a high-sided jug or container add the remaining sugar to the jelly pieces.  Little by little stream in the pressed berry juice and olive oil, alternating between the two, blitz constantly with a high-speed stick blender.  
  4. The process here is similar to that used for making mayonnaise.  Pay attention to the consistency of the emulsion as you add the liquids.  Depending on the quality of your olive oil or the firmness of your jelly you may find more or less oil is necessary.  What you want to create is a firm and smooth gel that holds it’s own shape.  You can also add a little more sugar if you’d prefer a sweeter paste, or a little more lemon juice if you’re more into fresh flavours.
  5. To serve: Slick a generous spoon of gel across the plate, scatter broken meringue and fresh berries then dollop on some vanilla mascarpone cream (equal parts mascarpone to whipped cream with the seeds of one vanilla pod).  Finish with cracked pepper, a quick drizzle of balsamic vinegar, slithers of fresh basil and a dust of icing sugar.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Minted pea puree, broad beans and fresh chévre with lardo bruschetta

People say podding fresh spring peas is therapeutic.  To be honest, I don’t quite get it and find the task classically laborious.  I hate to think how I'd go if anyone ever asked me to forage any further than my local farmers market or regional farm shop. Sometimes, tolerance if just not included, no matter how fashionable the exercise. I never owned a Pokemon. I never got into Lost. But please for this recipe, stick with me, avoid the frozen section and pod your peas and beans fresh.  The recipe is a perky spring recipe, fresh makes all the difference.

Minted pea puree, broad beans and fresh chévre with lardo bruschetta

350 grams fresh spring peas, podded.
100 grams grated Pecorino
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
1 large handful or bunch of mint
Sea salt and cracked pepper
1 clove of garlic (optional)
1 spring onion (optional)

100 grams fresh broad beans or fava beans
Juice of ½ a lemon
Olive oil

150 grams fresh goats cheese

1 small handful of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil
150 grams of lardo
4 thick slices of sour dough

Baby radish
Espelette pepper


  • Lardo is a type of Italian charcuterie, white and herb cured strips of fatback.  So good, just don’t worry about the health detriments, it’ll make you happy. Available at good Italian delis and food stores (try Speck in Holland Park or Monte's in Islington).
  • Espelette pepper is a kind of dried chilli pepper, AOC protected and from the French commune of Espelette.  It’s common in many Basque dishes, heated, but not hot. I buy mine online or stock up when visiting France.

  1. Blanch the fresh-podded peas and podded beans separately in salted water.  Don’t kill them! A minute or so is they need to still taste like spring. Drain them and keep aside to cool.
  2. In a small food processor combine cooled peas, pecorino, zest, juice, garlic, spring onion and olive oil.  Blitz but don’t over puree, texture is good.  Add a little goat’s cheese to the mix if you’d like. Season to taste and refrigerate.
  3. Dress the beans in lemon juice, olive oil and finish with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and grill.  Rub with garlic and sprinkle with salt.  Just before serving slice on the diagonal and layer strips of lardo on top.  With a kitchen blow-torch (or under the grill if you don’t have one) flame the lardo until it starts to melt into the toast. Season and sprinkle with parsley.
  5. To serve: Press a generous spook full of puree down a plate. Scatter marinated beans and small chunks of fresh goats cheese over the top.  Shave rounds of raw baby radish next and finish with a pinch of Espelette pepper, and the warm lardo bruscetta.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Secret Snog...

I won't enter a debate about this, Snog is by far the superior frozen yoghurt offering in London.  Frae what? I'd briefly like to clarify I don't in fact endorse their cringe-ish campaign slogans, but I'll keep it to the soft serve for now.

I've started cheating at home (minus the soft serve machine), it's the perfect fresh breakfast with berries and granola.

You can combine in a mixing bowl: 3 cups of Greek yoghurt, 1 1/2 cups of low-fat milk,  1/2 cup of agave nectar and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (lose the pips).

Agave nectar is sold in health food stores (Holland & Barrett have a few) and a lot of supermarkets. It's sweeter and runnier than honey and often takes the place of sugar in our morning espresso when it's not frequenting London's frozen yoghurt establishments.

Buy an ice cream maker (yes, probably should have mentioned the purchase of this as a pre-requisite) and churn for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Done. An expensive razzle dazzle ice cream machine would be amazing, but my Magimix Le Glacier 1.1 works well enough (for now...). Le Glacier paid itself off in ice cream savings in about two weeks.

Secret Snog is not as creamy as the store offering, but it's downstairs in the fridge every morning without the dilemma of topping selection or the requirement for clothing.

Apologies to my housemates if you ever have to see that.


Monday, May 16, 2011

The Brawn Declaration

I’m about to make a bold and unqualified declaration. Well, slightly qualified.  Hardly a statement worthy of Marx and Engels (not to be confused with Hall and Oates) but well, as I said slightly qualified.  A bit of a “I love you, but…” from my palette.

Brawn (49 Columbia Rd, Bethnal Green E2 7RG, 0207 729 5692) is my new favourite London restaurant. 
Cornish Squid, Romesco Sauce £10
The menu is everything I love about the menu at Vinoteca…but some how tastier.  I feel like such a traitor writing this, Vinoteca has been my London No.1 for years.  Brawn’s menu lays out bold and uncomplicated flavours, seasonal changes and is smart and warming all at once.  The whole place is an ode to pig too.  I cannot find fault with a venue that worships the same animal I pedestal as The Greatest Contribution to Human Consumption.  OK, maybe rice, but then the swine.

Dorset Clams, Lemon & Coriander £8
If we’re talking the ‘Bang on Trend’ sharing platter concept (which I actually like but is as over-worn as a Kookai tube skirt circa 1997 in a university Commerce faculty) it kills the offering at Polpo (which I think is more like good home cooking than tasty rustic restaurant food). 
Spatchcock’d Quail, Pomegranate & Pistachio £8
In fact, while I’m on Polpo, I was disappointed.  The same disappointment I felt when I travelled to Croatia after everyone I know told me it was the best place in Europe.  No, the World.  Really?  Even if you discount my guy friend’s opinion by the leg to body ratio of the Croatian female populous, these wide-spread claims of Awesomeness (an actual threshold of travel destination evaluation) still don’t make sense to me…ah, but Polpo sorry, lost in Balkan mathematics for a second there…Polpo, fine, but when our waiter suggested we order either the cheapest or the most expensive wine in response to a request for guidance, it takes more than one exceptional dish of cuttlefish and squid ink gnocchi to bring the meal back beyond neutral…that’s all we got though…well two serves of gnocchi, but I’m sticking with disappointed.  

Hand Chopped Tuscan Style Beef £8
Alas, Brawn. Love it! Perfect for a date, calm and paired-back, quirky and full of laughter.  Great for a larger group when you’ll be able to traverse the entire menu if you’re feeling as greedy as we were.  When I break up with Hummus, I’m jumping straight into the arms of their Pork Rillette. I don’t care about it’s past, I don’t what to know how it has grown up, I just want to love it (and probably die).

Chicken liver salad
My only apprehension, their wine list focused on natural wine.  If any wine were to live on Columbia Road, it would be natural wine, in an odd-ball share house with it’s other natural wine friends. Sure it’s cool and unusual and interesting, but at the crux of it, natural wine can taste kind of like funky flat cider to the untrained palette. And let’s be honest, not many of us can claim a truly trained palette.  I’ve visited Brawn with some chefs and wine buffs who actually can support such a claim and even they were confused, maybe I should say intrigued, by some of the wines.  It’s not Brawn’s fault, it’s more likely just the concept of natural wine or the learning curve of amateur wine drinkers like me who don’t count hemp clothing as a wardrobe staple. My boyfriend as spokesman for Twitter informs me James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) dined at Brawn last week and loved the wine.  He doesn't strike me as the hemp clothing type, so I'll take  the Ignorant category for 100 points and reassess with another bottle on my next visit.

Corn-fed roast chicken with morels
I’d be willing to give Polpo another go, I’m even open to a return trip to sail Croatia (once my physio clears my leg extension rehab).  But I’ll be back at Brawn a lot, and not just trying to get the attention of Pork Rillette.  It's good.  I don't have any literary food jargon to pad this one out.  It's just good! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mr Fritter's Wild Ride

Ms Pillsbury, I need my OCD t-shirt back.  I could also do with a copy of Finn’s “Can’t Dance” ensemble, but then the key compulsive message may be lost…as I’m sure it is already to those who do not identify as Gleeks…or even casual users of Glee. It’s addictive.

I like order.  Create process. Build frameworks and construct paths.  In mess I find method.  It’s madness. I recall loosely my Barbie’s colour coded wardrobe and chide myself for not filing that recollection more clearly in my childhood annals. 

It’s not actually that bad (smile cringe combo)…no, really.  I’ve managed to limit my web-diagnosed condition to something more akin to OCKD. Obsessive Compulsive Kitchen Disorder is a lesser-known condition inflicting millions of chefs and kitchen professionals worldwide. OCKD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that encourage intense repetitive behaviours such as fastidious plating, fanatical mise en place prep and a strict adherence to work station cleanliness.  

This condition, if left untreated, can lead to serious and life altering results for sufferers: rave reviews, Michelin stars and publishing deals have been know to result in the most extreme of cases.  In my case, I just have a very clean kitchen.

As MC Skat Kat and Paula Abdul know well, the appeal of opposites is irrefutable…unless you subscribe to one of those “Owners who look like their dogs" websites in which case you’ll know narcissism transcends the boundary of species…and that you should never buy a bulldog.

My balance comes in the form of Julio “Don Juan” Estevez. The kitchen alter ego invented by my boyfriend for introduction to the blogosphere.  I have a feeling the whole persona may pre-date me and has probably featured prominently on dance floors way before tight white chinos were casually endorsed by Ralph Lauren and introduced to the non-Latino fashion conscious community.     

Anyway, Julio is a kitchen vigilante. A wild man with bi-carb and as unpredictable as my Dad’s soufflés.  Whilst popular for his choice of kitchen attire, he is most renowned for his epic dish Tuna Fantastique. I’m unable to pass onto you the four key (translate only) ingredients but can confirm that despite my initial and patronising scepticism the dish is in fact worthy of it’s proper noun.  He is also credited with inventing not just Jeans and Thongs but also Crepes and Hummus.  I refute allegations he invented Jackets but am fairly confidant he is may be responsible for the reintroduction of Jagger Hips to modern choreography. But back to the kitchen…

Not content with single dish supremacy Julio (I’m sorry, I can’t honestly go on with the rest) recently decided to expand his repertoire to the brunch market…a necessary skill set I would imagine for post-Don Juan occasions .  The last thing I was expecting to see taking a role in this expansion was a recipe book…yet there he was, measuring cups and all, consistently unpredictable.

His mentor? Peter Gordon and “Fusion: A Culinary Journey”.  If you lament queuing for brunch on Marylebone High Street, this book is the perfect weekend solution.  Many of Peter’s signature Providores recipes are in here from his poached eggs with chilli butter to banana and pecan French Toast with vanilla verjus syrup and lardons.  I’m a little sad the recipe for his yuzu hollandaise isn’t in there but I do fear the day hollandaise enters my home on a regular basis.  

The project? Sweet corn, five spice & date fritters with tomato and avocado and my previously unknown friends over at The Tribune have kindly beat me to Peter’s recipe so if you don’t already have the book (i.e. you are not antipodeans and you enjoy the queuing process) here it is: Sweet corn, five spice & date fritters with tomato and avocado.  

Julio kicked out the dates and added a table full of additional condiments.  The little guys (yes, a continual problem I have personifying my food) were dressed in fresh goats cheese, hummus (who was complicit in his move from crepe to fritter), salsa and yoghurt and gave the juicy corn kernels the best mini pillows to hide in. New wave fritters staring in their first dish:  Mr Fritter's Wild Ride.  If ever a dish were to resemble its owner (I’m not sure there are websites for this phenomenon just yet) this would be it:
Miss Devour: She likes it neat.

Julio “Don Juan” Estevez: And he makes a mess
It’s incredibly difficult to script a finale incorporating both the Mighty Ducks and play list samples from “Essential Julio Iglesias Volume 2”. Even working in an indirect reference to Charlie Sheen, garbage bins and Perma Tans is proving tricky.   Hhhhm, perhaps I’m best just to compulsively reorganise my kitchen in anticipation of Julio’s forthcoming weekend culinary insurgence…just kidding, I alphabetised my ingredients store yesterday.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Big Little Burger Chicken

For those with a restrained, yet mini-medieval, sensibility single-serve roasts are a quaint and quirky alternative to The Full Sunday....

Roasted poussin and baby spring vegetables with a rosemary jus
(the jus was too shy to be photographed) 
...but sometimes you really just need to eat something the size of your head to satisfy your hunger!

Burger Max!!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Turning over a new fillet

This week I’ve become aware of two fairly fundamental shifts in my life.

The first, and least welcome, is a shift in my awareness such that now my physique and appetite, both well trained in the lascivious art of consumption, in fact say: “Enough!” after just two weeks of indulgence. It is a sad day when you must acknowledge as improbable your long-held belief that you were in fact a feasting Roman emperor in a past life. This also renders my toga selection fairly useless outside Olympic themed parties or weekend jaunts in Santorini.

The loss of a past life is a cruel matter...
The second shift is far less troubling to both my wardrobe and dining future.  I’m now a fish person. The world provides us with a few dichotomous sign posts on our travels: blond or brunette, pessimist or optimist, extrovert or introvert, heels or flats, fish or meat. I am sure Myers Briggs may suggest some addendum to my categorisation, but for an extroverted brunette pessimist in heels with a penchant for rib eye, the advent of blond locks and optimistic musings with a setting of fish knives is quite enough for now.

Fish~Woman Tattoo (Oliver Heublin, Germany, theartoftattoo.wordpress)

I noticed The Change gradually nudging my menu perusing away from game and meat and onto the Poisson page about six months ago. Perhaps it was the excess of game season in Paris’s restaurants, perhaps it was too many repressed memories of The Little Mermaid surfacing as I entered my thirties: “We what the land folks love to cook, under the sea we off the hook” (Sebastian The Crab, 1989).  Either way, I’m now buying more, cooking more and ordering more seafood.

I think a year of filleting daily and experimenting with cooking techniques at Le Cordon Bleu and throughout my Stages has given me the confidence to be playful with these creatures which can be quite intimidating or physiologically off-limits if you have not grown up in a seafood home (both my parents at historically brunette, extroverts of the carnivorous variety).

After the make over:  Spiced fluke sashimi, fresh green almonds
and spring onion slivers, citrus-white soy nage (Le Bernardin)
Flat fish are my fish of the moment. Fluke, Brill, Sole, Turbot. I wholly expect Hugh and his campaigners to take me out with a giant mackerel when I leave the house this afternoon. My apologies but any species, which has a metamorphosis eye migration from one side of its head to the other during adolescence, is just odd enough to capture my attention. That, and the delicacy of the fillet, the contrast in their aesthetic by sea and on plate (I love a good make-over) and the constantly interesting approaches different chefs find to interpret them have stolen my heart from the rambunctious game.

Langoustine seared, mache and wild mushroom salad,
shaved foie gras white balsamic vinaigrette (Le Bernardin)
Fortuitous timing then that is is now I meet Eric Ripert, executive chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York.  Fortune again swung my way when I had the pleasure of dining at his seafood Mecca on West 51st Street last week.

I don’t quite know what I can contribute to any discussion about Le Bernardin that 3 Michelin Stars, 4 stars from The New York Times, Zagat, the James Beard Foundation or the panel at the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants have not already said.

Lobster baked, red wine braised sun chokes and wilted fava
sprout bergamot emulsion (Le Bernardin) 
But I would suggest to anyone about to dine at Le Bernardin, if you have not yet read Medium Raw, the latest book by Anthony Bourdain, do.  Now. Start at the chapter devoted to Justo, the man responsible for all fish cut, filleted and portioned at New York’s Le Bernardin. Bourdain’s reverent and detailed narrative of Justo’s skill and dedication is both kind and threaded with utmost respect. I have to say, I headed to the market and bought fish for dinner the night I read that…I stopped short of cling filming my kitchen, perhaps overkill for a meal for two.

Bread crusted red snapper, saffron “Fideos”,
Chorizo – Smoked sweet paprika sauce...this sauce!!!
This story was constantly in my mind as the Chef’s Menu unfolded for the pleasure of our palettes and eyes. As was the intelligence, subtlety and elegance of Chef Ripert’s interpretation of and respect for my new friends…and even my old friends, a perfectly spiced squab jus accompanying the poached turbot was a classic Miss Devour squealing moment. To be more appropriate seafood has been his friend longer than mine, I don't want to friendship jump here.

Turbot poached, wild mushrooms, affilla cress,
spiced squab, again, this sauce!!
Now back in London, my housemates are slightly bemused with my request that we playfully wine/sake/beer and cider pair all home meals, describe perfect sauces before serving them and categorise our dishes 'almost raw, 'barely touched' and 'lightly cooked'. Oh well, “We got no troubles life is the bubbles, under the sea, under the sea” (Sebastian The Crab, 1989).

Thank you Chef.  Again.

Citrus – Lime parfait, meringue, avocado puree,
mint grapefruit-tequila sorbet

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dear Ferran...

Each year millions of applicants wait breathless for the results of a ballot.  Not a political ballot, nor a lotto draw, but the El Bulli reservation ballot.  As Ferran Adria, head chef at El Bulli, would attest, sometimes the conventional approach is not the only way to achieve ones aspirations.  Will thinking outside the ballot help me find my way to Cala Montjoi, Roses before the iconic restaurant transforms into the El Bulli Foundation this summer? It's safe to assume not...but then, where did assumption ever get anyone?

Dear Mr Adria

My name is Miss Devour and it feels like one thousand days since my last consumption of molecular gastronomy.

It feels good to get that out in the open.

I hear you may be able to help me with my little problem.  Is this true? I hear you hold the answer.

I recognise this is not the Matrix so in typical self-help-style I’ve adopted a series of steps to help myself. There is a mantra in there somewhere...I'm still working on the catchy sentiment.


Apparently (as all of the most true statements tend to start) the once in a lifetime consumption of freeze dried foie gras on the Costa Brava is a core physiological human need.  Just ask world famous psychologist Abraham Maslow:

I think I need El Bulli, I have the love of a bully, oh to be complete and dine at El Bulli...
my hierarchy may be a little off there?
So there you have it, Maslow, hefty academic support for my current state of distraction, employment impotence and general wayward demeanour.  If only I could consume my food capsuled with gold leaf or ballooned with air, all my dreams of safety, love, belonging, esteem and self-actualisation could be met in one seaside meal.

Not quite Fact, but a distant relative of Fact.  A distant relative that Fact is ashamed to admit bloodline to.


Let’s put the absence of freeze dried foie gras in my life aside and assume for a minute that despite the skulking spectre of recession, my employment is safe.  That watching Chuck Norris infomercials keeps my body safe.  That an extra spear of slow roast pork cracking (kindly donated by my fat-conscious friend at dinner last week) in twisted-truth actually keeps my health safe.  That my parents are safely retired on yet another Baby Boomer jaunt and my well, with respect to the safety or otherwise of my property, I refer you again to the skulking spectre of recession.  Safety needs, safe.

Pork Crackling (Porteno, Sydney), keeping my body fat safe.

Where to next Maslow?

Love and Belonging

Humans need to love and be loved (sexually or otherwise).  The Beatles argued it was all we needed.  Tina Turner didn’t really get the point.  Colour Me Badd just wanted to sex anyone up regardless of love (or consonant abuse) and Deni Hines & The Rockmelons knew how to spell it.

My love at present traverses the world’s great oceans.  I recognise the grandeur of my statement, mildly (or ambitiously) evocative of a great historic love.  Alas we exist to each other only in memory.  

May I introduce to you, Montesquieu Quigley. Named after the great political philosopher of the Enlightenment and a catholic tribe (sized XXL) from the outskirts of Belfast, Northern Ireland.  My brother.  From another mother.  My brother from another species whom my actual mother considers to actually be my brother since I moved half way around the world to London.

You can take the dog out of France but you can't...
He is a bulldog.  A French bulldog.  Black.  Stumpy.  A face many question even my mother could love.  The hind quarters of a piglet with the shoulders of a minotaur…if you have an imagination.  He lives in Melbourne in a quaint little condo in my parent’s yard.

Montesquieu’s (or Monte as he is known in the business) descendants in early France strutted fancy free with the ladies of the night.  It was thought their exotic looks drew attention from passers by and allowed a segue to legitimate proposition by potential customers.  My father walks Monty daily.  I believe the only propositions he receives are cast by foxy senior’s in low-to-medium-speed buggies running late for bridge club on suburban footpaths.

I love Monte with all my heart, though our relationship is forced to exist only through the medium of photography and the odd snuffle (with a side of snort) down the international phone line.  On our next meeting I will quote Lionel Richie: “Hello, is it me you're looking for?” and present him with a rare rib-eye.  Perhaps I will keep the rib-eye for myself.  Medium-Rare.


I don’t think this the ideal forum for a person to discuss their own esteem and confidence.  This is a soliloquy I think best left to the “celebrity rehab reality TV genre” or the a post-break-up mentoring session.  In consequence, collect $100 salary as you pass Esteem.


Finally, by way of Fast Money Quiz Round, I’ll explore what Maslow considered the crowning achievement of human existence, self-actualisation.  I think he really meant dining at El Bulli.  You have sixty seconds and your time starts NOW:

Question 1:  Morality?
Answer:  Let’s keep morals and ethics aside, I love foie gras.

Question 2:  Creativity?
Answer:  Personified.  Ferran Adria.  Chef.  Scientist.  Artist.

Question 3:  Spontaneity?
Answer:  Happiness and humour.  Love at first bite.

Question 4: Problem solving?
Answer: “Two million ballot applications you say?”

Question 5:  Lack of prejudice?
Answer:  I don’t discriminate.  I love all food.  I even have an off-season-slightly-yellowed-unseasoned brussel sprout as a close friend.

Question 6:  Acceptance of facts?

Table for two, May 2011?

Enjoy and thank you,

Miss Devour x