Smoke & Slate
Cooking, Finding and Harvesting Real Food
The Complexity of Simple Food
In the eyes of many people food is no longer purely a fuel source, yet an opportunity to experience something new or bizarre. Modern cuisine caters to the ever expanding desire to push the boundaries of the label food. Re-constructed, de-constructed and artistic interpretation of meals from humble origins now fill menus across the world. Simple food should be pushed to new levels and people’s expectations should be pushed, like most things change is good for the human soul and culture. Experimenting fires new tastes and flavours that re imagine the core beliefs of the simple foodie. How many people have been bought to tears over new flavour of cheese soufflé is a different question. The dinner table after all, like the stage, is one of the few places where someone can show skill, passion and the desire to create a feeling in someone else. Even if the feeling is simply as being fuller than when they walked in. Someone trying a new recipe for the first time will often go into a completely new mind set, worrying about the strangest little things from “is this carrot too long?”to “is my flakey pastry flakey enough?”. Above all else cooking for many people is that escape, the simple act of focusing on one thing, the meal.
Campfire Spaghetti Bolognese
High on the list of the comfort food, Spaghetti Bolognese is a childhood classic that everyone has a personal twist on. It’s a nice change to what usually gets cooked on the fire or BBQ, not everyone is a fan of lumps of grilled meat, this offers a nice way to feed a lot of people relatively easily and quickly. There is an added dynamic from cooking with fire, changing the heat can be difficult but it comes with practice and it doesn’t have any effect on the flavour (just the cooking time). Key to making Spaghetti Bolognese is good seasoning and flavours: mince has a nice lean flavour, but I add a mixed stock to soak into the meat. I also add hot sauce because I like hot sauce, not compulsory.
Puff Pastry Tarts
This is the easiest way to make good looking food for any occasion, it couldn't be easier, it comes half made! It's basically delicious cheating. Even I can make it and I don't know my arse from my elbow. So get off your elbows and make this tasty morsel (worst joke ever).
The Blue Layer: Free Diving
In the modern everyday world, silence is rare. Cars, people, phones, and everyday background noise rattle our eardrums every hour, of every day of our lives. To those who are lucky enough to be able to hear (and it is without a doubt a privilege), the world is a constant sympathy of sounds. Constantly changing, intensifying, moulding the way we take in information and engage in every day life. But isn't it nice sometimes to be quiet?
Warm and Slow, the City of Barcelona
The light shines a dirty brown tint through the clouds as they smother the stars that slip past; dirty blotches dot the ink sky. The day had not gone well with delays on every port of call from Bristol to the hotel front steps. All this left us late and tired. The start of my week of relaxation had finally begun. I sit in a towel on the flimsy balcony furniture looking over the street trying to take in the new warm colours of the world around me. Travelling the short flight has made my body ache, and the pull of the soft, clean, white linen sheets of bed are appealing. It was only midday, but the smells and sounds of the bustling streets below had to be investigated. Strolling along the shaded pavements, littered with fallen purple blossoms, the air was thick with the afternoon haze and we peered through shop windows and took photos of unsuspecting locals trying to push past the waves of tourists. The heat of the sun soon left, and the lights began to flicker on throughout apartments and flats that rise and hang over the street. Too tired to make any big decisions, we head back to the hotel for food, and a warning to anyone going to Spain, meat and cheese are well, the basis of any meal. Gorged on meat platters and spicy photos we return to the room, where I now sit watching the city slip into the shades of colourful neon lights.