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  • seandodson 3:26 pm on December 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christmas pudding, food, , ,   

    Orwell's Christmas pudding 

    In 1946, George Orwell was commissioned by the British Council to write about British cooking. His defence of our national cuisine has been much celebrated (here is his advice about how to make a perfect cup of tea but his recipes are largely unknown. Here’s his recipe for Christmas pudding. You can read the full text over at the Orwell Prize.



    1 lb each of currants, sultanas & raisins
    2 ounces sweet almonds
    1 ounces bitter almonds
    4 ounces mixed peel
    ½ lb brown sugar
    ½ lb flour
    ¼ lb breadcrumbs
    ½ teaspoonful salt
    ½ teaspoonful grated nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoonful powdered cinnamon
    6 ounces suet
    The rind and juice of 1 lemon
    5 eggs
    A little milk
    1/8 of a pint of brandy, or a little beer

    Method. Wash the fruit. Chop the suet, shred and chop the peel, stone and chop the raisins, blanch and chop the almonds. Prepare the breadcrumbs. Sift the spices and salt into the flour. Mix all the dry ingredients into a basin. Heat the eggs, mix them with the lemon juice and the other liquids. Add to the dry ingredients and stir well. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more milk. Allow the mixture to stand for a few hours in a covered basin. Then mix well again and place in well-greased basins of about 8 inches diameter. Cover with rounds of greased paper. Then tie the tops of the basins over the floured cloths if the puddings are to be boiled, or with thick greased paper if they are to be steamed. Boil or steam for 5 or 6 hours. On the day when the pudding is to be eaten, re-heat it by steaming it for 3 hours. When serving, pour a large spoonful of warm brandy over it and set fire to it.

    In Britain it is unusual to mix into each pudding one or two small coins, tiny china dolls or silver charms which are supposed to bring luck.

    • Urban Surfer 2:06 pm on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      No-where near enough alcohol, well… compared to Delia Smith’s recipe!

  • seandodson 12:14 am on December 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andrew hussey, art nouveau, best station cafes, , , food, french food, gare de lyon, , , prague, railway restaurants, railway station, rautatientori, , washington   

    Station to Station: in search of the perfect railway cafe 

    Le train Bleu

    Originally uploaded by surrealiste

    Best TV doc in ages: Andrew Hussey’s France on a Plate (iPlayer link, get it while it’s hot). Worth it alone for discovering why Camembert is the cheese of the left (abundant, cheap and soft) and Gruyere is the cheese of the right (hard and expensive apparently) | Any documentary of French food makes you want to go and get some, I now want to visit Le Train Bleu, the rococo restaurant in Paris’ Gare De Lyon | Which got me thinking about great railway station cafes. | Helsinki’s marvelous station cafe is little celebrated | Kyoto’s rooftop gardens equally splendid and one of the best places to stare at that most magnificent city | Union Station Cafe in Washington arguably the most salubrious | While Prague has this beautiful example of Art Nouveau.

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  • seandodson 8:55 am on September 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , austria, austrian tourism, european city of culture, food, gray tourism, graz, heritage, interrail, interrail to istanbul, rail travel,   

    Graz: quite possibly the most underrated city in Europe 

    I’ve just returned to Graz in Austria on the second leg of a journey to Istanbul (and back) on the InterRail pass. I first visited over five years ago, a little before the city enjoyed its status as European City of Culture.

     I am amazed that much more is not made of Graz. It’s surely one of the most overlooked cities in Europe. Its food is not only inexpensive but takes the best from both Germanic and Italian cultures,while adding delicious local ingredients, most notably pumpkin oil to the mix. Its architecture is both full of Baroque and Renaissance flourishes (the city is a former seat of the Hapsburg’s) set beside ambitious new buildings. Its both bourgeois and comfortably old fashioned, but since the sixties has been a centre for the Austrian avante gard, while as many as six universities give the city a youthful appearance. It is, moreover, large enough to explore and extremely cultured, and yet unlike Vienna, it doesn’t take itself incredibly seriously and, unlike Salzburg, it isn’t packed with tourist coaches. I don’t know why Graz is so often overlooked, it deserves a much better reputation

    Of course, more prestige would probably only spoil it as it is perfect as it is.

  • seandodson 10:04 pm on July 24, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , food, Giles Coren, grammar, , , restaurant,   

    Giles Coren: Much ado about noshing 

    It took me a long time to realise believe that Giles Coren’s furious email to subeditors at the Times (of London) wasn’t actually a brilliant satire. Coren (who has previous) was complaining that the hapless subs had removed an indefinite article from the final sentence of his restaurant review of Cafe Boheme in London’s Soho. I won’t go over the fine detail here, save to say that the joke that was “ruined” because it depended on readers understanding the etymology of the Yiddish loan-word word “nosh”. It seems that many people feel sympathy for the poor subs, even those who agree with Coren’s point that the removal of the indefinite article ruined the both the point and the metre of his punchline.

    The most sensible thing written about it that I’ve seen comes courtesy of Ivor Tossell, a freelancer who writes for the Globe and Mail in Canada. He argues that a joke that rests entirely on the status of an indefinite article is probably too delicate to print:

    “I’ve found that in order to make it through the editorial process, my copy should have a certain ruggedness built in. If an entire point is going to fall apart with the removal of a definite article, then it should be rewritten in a more durable form. When I read edits to my work, my benchmark for grousing isn’t “Is this what I wrote?”, but “Is this what I could have written?” If it’s something I wouldn’t have written, I’ll object.”

    He adds: “Here we are again: if an article is so fragile that it crumbles with a tweak, it deserves what it gets.”

    • Christopher Cocca 6:35 pm on July 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      It’s less about the joke and more about the meter for me. I agree with Coren about the beat. The joke isn’t as important because either way it’s not very funny.

    • calvininjax 3:04 am on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Wise words and a professional attitude from Ivor Tossell.

      A good find on your part, Sean.

    • Megan 5:02 pm on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Giles Coren is HILARIOUS! I need to meet this guy…

    • Staiskima 9:13 am on May 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

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  • seandodson 9:50 am on February 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , food, , , , shinsekai,   

    Why the food of Osaka is simply to die for 


    Originally uploaded by seandodson

    The Guardian has finally published my article on food in Osaka, which talks about how Japan’s second city has some of the best food in the whole of the country, if not the best.

    Due to constraints of space, some of my details about the wonderful working-class district of Shinsekai was edited down. It included a reference to Alex Kerr’s excellent book Lost Japan, which describes the rough-and-tumble neighbourhood as a “little too dangerous for westerners to travel to alone,” although that was written a few years ago, and certainly didn’t represent my experience when I did. Nowadays,  Shinsekai remains an anachronism in otherwise well-behaved Japan. It is an earthy, direct, unreserved quarter of Osaka that has a surprisingly hip undercurrent, especially around the Tenoji Temple. Not dangerous, just devilishly challenging. I loved it.

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