Friday, 28 August 2009

Bar Snacks Pas Deux: This Time It's Facebook

I am, frankly, a Facebook whore. I log on every few days and if it's late and - ho hum - I have been 'out', I tend to push the Friend Suggestions button repeatedly until I fall asleep. This, people, is how I have reached 1,212 Friends. That said, it adds a Twitter-like frisson to the Facebook experience not knowing at least half of the people who read one's ramblings. It also leads to embarrassing moments in restaurants when some lovely, gregarious soul interrupts a dinner with your wife to announce loudly: "I AM YOUR FACEBOOK FRIEND". To say that Mrs McVeigh, who is not on Facebook, assumes a look of irritated bemusement at this juncture would be to underplay the drama of the moment.

Anyway, enough pre-amble - who gives a Tuscan Fried Bat (of which, more later) about social networking anyway.

So when I enquired politely for Bar Snacks suggestions (see post below for more deep background), I was really gratified by the response:

Nick Kearns
Nick Kearns
Yesterday at 11:58 · Delete
Lizzie Mabbott
Lizzie Mabbott
Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pork scratchings (home-made are delicious)... so basically any pork product.
Yesterday at 12:26 · Delete
Ossian Shine
Ossian Shine
Yes, scratchings... Ooh, and pickled eggs...
Yesterday at 12:28 · Delete
Giovanna Cantone
Giovanna Cantone
bite size cod parcels with a sweet chillie dip. yummm.

lobster bits, with a butter lemon die for....
Yesterday at 12:54 · Delete
Julian Lloyd
Julian Lloyd
a small pot of hot crabmeat with parmesan and breadcrumb crust. There was a pub on Galway Bay that used to do this.
Yesterday at 13:03 · Delete
Jay Rayner
Jay Rayner
Use rind on bacon in the kitchen and then serve bowls of fried off rinds.
Yesterday at 13:04 · Delete
Giovanna Cantone
Giovanna Cantone
parmesan and crab meat! I would never put parmesan with any fish...yuk
Yesterday at 13:05 · Delete
Annabel Haldane Nash
Annabel Haldane Nash
sticky cocktail sausages with wholegrain mustard
Yesterday at 13:06 · Delete
Silvy Weatherall
Silvy Weatherall
Deep fried crispy pigs ears
Yesterday at 13:08 · Delete
Giovanna Cantone
Giovanna Cantone
deep fried pancheta served on a stick with parmesan and cherry tomatoes, warm chillie olive oil dip.
Yesterday at 13:13 · Delete
Giovanna Cantone
Giovanna Cantone
or serve with sweet onion.
Yesterday at 13:20 · Delete
Annabel Haldane Nash
Annabel Haldane Nash
Larks' tongues. Wrens' livers....& some Tuscany fried bats.
Yesterday at 13:38 · Delete
Matthew Doull
Matthew Doull
Pigs in a blanket, sliders, short ribs, onion rings
Yesterday at 14:01 · Delete
Laura Campbell
Laura Campbell
Grilled halloumi; mini prawn cocktails; antipasti platters for 2/4/6; homemade tarmasalata or hummous on hot pitta; chips & dips...
Yesterday at 14:23 · Delete
Toby Duckett
Toby Duckett
mini yorkshire pud with beef and horseradish/mini toad in the holes w spicy sausage, chargrilled veg kebabs, mixed satay, bbq lamb cutlet, rabbitburger in bun, crispy fries, summer fruit eggedosis.
Yesterday at 18:19 · Delete
Christina Macmillan
Christina Macmillan
Chanterelles on toasted bread or something with black truffles
7 hours ago · Delete

So: thanks Friends, Acquaintances and particularly those whose private world I have invaded uninvited. And you're all cordially invited to a tasting at The Draft House when we eventually get the place open in October.

Watch this Space.

Bar Snacks and the Power of Twitter

Today, after a quiet spell (the post-Ibiza mood is not really conducive to open source communication), I asked the Twitter community for their thoughts on bar snacks. You see, we are preparing to launch our new place, The Draft House, on Northcote Road (sexy logo above) and I have been stuck in a bar food black hole. The very phrase bar food for me conjures up awful images of deep-fried frozen spring rolls with an over-sweet chilli dip. And yet we all know that at its best it can make your entire evening.

So thank you to (in no particular order and without your @s) exromana, aforkful, eatlikeagirl, stefanchomka, tiffanymurray, circeplum, shar13, antimega, smokeynlentils, msquaredcomms, mathildecuisine, piebot, luce28, jamesbackhouse, summerlp and last but not least lulupho. Some of your suggestions were downright odd (stewed cheese? I mean STEWED CHEESE?? - ok, ok you know who you are...are we talking fondue here?) but most were inspirational and I look forward to inviting all of you to a pre-opening tasting of these with thirds of fine ales, lagers, stouts, wheats etc etc.

So here we have the complete list which preserves anonymity and - sic - I give the spelling as I received it:

  • chargrilled chorizo with olives and lemon
  • Crab/chilli/lime in filo or Moroccan brique pastry. Or spicy, minced lamb w/ mint on mini flatbreads
  • something fishy like posh fish fingers or whitebait. Mini sized meatballs with a little spicy kick
  • pakoras (partclrly good w ale), bite-size samosas, coxinha de galinha w spicy sauce. good ol' chips w paprika&chili pwdr
  • husband: liver and onions, venison/wild boar sausage and mash. Are these snacks? Pakora. Prawns+Garlic. Off for lunch now
  • Good fishcakes -Thai or otherwise- not rubbery ones or ones made with too much potato at 17 quid. Squid, baby or grown.
  • anything that involves decent, hot chorizo. So you can get drunk and ruin perfectly good clothes with bright red grease
  • triple-cooked chips with romesco. Just invented it and WANT SOME! (Fee to usual address)
  • am I right in thinking draft house is a new venture in northcote road? sardines;duck egg;anchovies on toast, welsh rarebit.
  • hello! chorizo croquetas, scotch quail eggs, really good crackling, plates of jamon or similar
  • Mussels, Scotch Eggs, Fish Sandwich (bajan flying fish sandwich style), good chips
  • Croque monsieur, any kind of 'Quiches' and savoury tarts
  • A good lentils soup in winter
  • Deep fried artichoke hearts are classic American bar food.
  • chorizo, whitebait, boquorones (hot?), little cheesy things of any variety
  • Chilli and salt crusted calamari
  • a decent bowl of salty chips, pork pie. Rarebit and scotch eggs a must i reckon
  • Scotch eggs, rarebit, fresh sratchings, sausage rolls: just your basic cuisine minceur, really...
  • Buffalo wings. I'm addicted to the spicy little buggers.
Oh dear, I can't find the STEWED CHEESE post. Maybe it was just a dream...

See you at the Draft House in October.


ps If you're on Twitter I heartily recommend that you follow the above-mentioned contributors...

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A "Funeral Repast"

...he acquired the reputation of an eccentric, which he enhanced by wearing costumes of white velvet, and gold-embroidered waistcoats, by inserting, in place of a cravat, a Parma bouquet in the opening of his shirt, by giving famous dinners to men of letters, one of which, a revival of the eighteenth century, celebrating the most futile of his misadventures, was a funeral repast.

In the dining room, hung in black and opening on the transformed garden with its ash-powdered walks, its little pool now bordered with basalt and filled with ink, its clumps of cypresses and pines, the dinner had been served on a table draped in black, adorned with baskets of violets and scabiouses, lit by candelabra from which green flames blazed, and by chandeliers from which wax tapers flared.

To the sound of funeral marches played by a concealed orchestra, nude negresses, wearing slippers and stockings of silver cloth with patterns of tears, served the guests.

Out of black-edged plates they had drunk turtle soup and eaten Russian rye bread, ripe Turkish olives, caviar, smoked Frankfort black pudding, game with sauces that were the color of licorice and blacking, truffle gravy, chocolate cream, puddings, nectarines, grape preserves, mulberries and black-heart cherries; they had sipped, out of dark glasses, wines fromLimagne, Roussillon, Tenedos, Val de Penas and Porto, and after the coffee and walnut brandy had partaken of kvas and porter and stout.

The farewell dinner to a temporarily dead virility—this was what he had written on invitation cards designed like bereavement notices.

from Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans