Thursday, November 25, 2010

MEAT FEAST

Having moved to South East London a few months ago, I was beginning to wonder where in Peckham I might buy some decent meat. There are reams of Halal butchers along Rye Lane that serve a community, but aren't really for me. I've tried the lamb countless times, and it doesn't matter how long I cook it. It always comes out tough and flavour-low. There WAS a tiny butcher on Peckham Park Road but I thought it must have gone. Last time I lived down here, was a long long time ago, and the call for good meat seemed unlikely. My father alerted me to Buntings again, promising me it was still there and even sold rabbit, and so I headed down today, in search of Pheasants for Sundays lunch. It was a real treat. The two brothers that run the joint (third generation) were friendly and more than passionate, almost religious, about butchery (which is always attractive). We talked for ages and I managed to spend a mere £16 on 3 different meats. Their selection is admirable and inexpensive.

And like a really good butcher, they had lots of advice for me. Going meat shopping in a place like this becomes an event in its own right (and although I love a good bean supper, makes me very sorry for vegetarians). And recipes are allowed to evolve and change with a good butcher's advice. The shop is more Old Kent Road than Peckham town, and I am told that their customers come from all over London. Buntings has the compulsory nostalgic awning and the window is piled with all sorts of meats: venison (I'm already thinking what to stew with this), french hens, their own sausages (the lamb and mint looked really fat and good) and most of all, it's piled high with atmosphere. An old guy came in after me. Obviously they all new his name. He ordered half a dozen eggs and some lamb chops. The three men chatted away about the football and he waxed lyrical about the eggs ("Jumbo! Once you've had these love, you'll never want a supermarket egg again")

So, in the oven I have a hunk of Buntings Belly pork (though we had a good debate about whether to use belly or shoulder) slowly cooking, to make Nigel Slater's Rillettes. And in the fridge I have a massive British Chicken, quartered for me by the brothers, ready to make a moroccan casserole on Sunday for Mark and Lucy. And also, inspired by the egg man, I have a couple of lamb chops for supper tonight, nestling in oil and salt and pepper with a little near frozen garden rosemary. Supporting places like this means they will be there next time you go shopping. The nights are drawing in, lets eat meat!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

PAMPER-ME HAMPER

Hello hello,
It suddenly occurred to me that christmas is coming. It must be the shock of the cold that reminded me. So, I thought I'd better get my icy-skates on and organise our Rosie's Deli Christmas Hamper. I've decided to go along a more permanent route this year, including not just food, but all the other lovely stuff we sell at the deli: a Stuart Gardiner tea towel (he's now doing a season fish design too) and also -obviosuly- a copy of Spooning with Rosie. Added to this, there'll be the classic best sellers from the deli, including chilli jam and cassoulet to name just a couple. I'm aiming to charge about £60 a pop, and have it all in a lovely seagrass basket. We will deliver (with in reason) around South London, so please give me a shout if you would like to place an order. rosie@rosiesdelicafe.com

Monday, November 1, 2010

No. 67. The South London Gallery triumphs

I've been meaning to get to No. 67, The South London Gallery's latest cafe, for ages. Finally, with a little hangover, we headed down the hill and found ourselves wedged in, ordering from a beautiful waiter, and I for one was feeling really excited. It all boded well: lovely soft lighting, and fantastic shell of a building, a really tempting menu, and that particular cafe noise which combines steam and noise and clatter of plates. It always makes me feel at home.

We ordered a chorizo sandwich and pork rillettes. Both really hit the spot. The chorizo came as an open sandwich, and I am pretty sure they were the Brindisa parilla chorizo that we sell at Rosie's. Wet and hot, they really are the ticket. The rillettes was coarse and tasted of bay leaves, just as it should. Both plates came with really nice chewy slightly burnt bread, which -very much in fashion- tasted like sourdough. The other dishes on the menu all looked a bit too big for our lunch, but definitely made me want to return and eat more some other time.

What really set this place apart was the coffee. Not that it was totally amazing. I am one of those really annoying customers (who I myself hate) who can't just order a coffee. Instead I feel the need to give strict instructions, as what I like to drink is not a named coffee... "please can I have an espresso, in a double espresso cup, with exactly the same amount of warm milk". It's not a macchiato, or a capo or a flat white. It's a mini something. And our dish of a waiter, got it spot on. I respect him, not only for making it, but that he didn't appear to have spat in it either.

All in all, I can't wait to walk back down the hill and patronise such a lovely local cafe. Honestly faultless.