Guest blogging for Penguin’s #penguincooks month

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Recently I was asked by my lovely colleagues at Penguin to write a guest blog as part of their #penguincooks campaign this October.

I decided to write about the nostalgia of cooking and have a look back at some of the vintage cook books from the Penguin archives.

You can read my Cooking from the archives post over on the Penguin blog.

The post was inspired by an old cooking notebook of my Great Nan’s that my mum recently bestowed upon me, it’s full of awesome recipe cards and leaflets. I just love the language and design of these things:
heirloom recipe books

A wonderful find and a treasure to keep and cook from forever more.

– Charlie

Food how to guide – how to prepare artichokes in pictures and words

Artichokes are great, and, though they are a bit of a faff to prepare, they’re worth the effort. Here are a few photos showing how to prepare them from our last artichoke feast:


To begin – chop the top 1/3 of the artichoke


It should look a bit like this when you’ve done that


Now chop the artichoke in half down the centre of the stalk


Now start to scoop the centre out of the artichoke and pull a few of the tougher outer leaves on.


Now continue to scoop out the fibrous inner part


Once it’s all scooped out it should look like this.


Keep the prepped artichokes in some water with lemon juice to stop them from browning


Cook and eat as you’d wish – these ones have been simply BBQed for a few minutes and served as is

Tim Hayward’s Food DIY – an interview and our attempt at a homemade pastrami recipe

This post is a little bit about getting free recipe books through work (such as Tim Hayward’s Food DIY) and also getting the opportunity to meet and interview authors through work (like author of Food DIY Tim Hayward). Quite handy when you run a food blog.

Now that I own the book, I can tell you it’s a ripping read and features some terrific typographic design and smashing use of vintage butcher’s shop iconography. Here’s a quick Instagram video of the book if you want to see inside

As I might have already hinted, I was also asked to interview Tim Hayward for the Penguin Soundcloud channel, you can have a listen to my gushing interview technique here:

From all this gushing about free books and meeting authors, somewhere along the way we were inspired to do something delightful with meat. So a plan was hatched to try our hands at pastrami.

Buoyed along by memories of Katz’s diner in New York – we had in mind an ultimate outcome of sandwiches, pickles and either beer or root beer. Either of those beers would do. The results of this pastrami plan can be seen in pictures below, plus the resulting sandwich (with home made pickled gherkin to accompany as is only right). We cured, boiled and then BBQed this awesome piece of meat. Consensus is we’ll be doing that one again.

Meat and Beer Tasting at Brew Dog London with Cobble Lane Cured

Last night we ventured forth to Camden for our second night of beer-matched-with-something-tasty at Brew Dog. Last time it was cheese and this time it was meat.

Brew Dog have worked with a small charcuterie company in London – the only one in London we’re told. These guys brought Picco Salumi premises in N1 off the previous owner 6 months ago and are rebranding as Cobble Lane Cured. Everywhere I can find they are referred to using the previous business name, including on Brew Dog’s own site. However, it seems they’re trying for a name change – so thought I’d mention that here.

Interestingly, Islington seems to be fostering a bit of a food movement according to an article in the Evening Standard from September 2013.

The evening began and ended with beer and meat. Over the course of 3 hours, we slowly consumed enough beer, bread and salami to keep us going for the duration.

As part of this meat-fest, there was some cured lamb (a violin of lamb was mentioned – this had to do with how you slice the cured meat if I’ve remembered correctly) that split opinion and a pepperoni that packed a punch. The following photos show meats #2 and #3 both of which were my favourites.

Brew Dog beer matching begins

Brew Dog beer matching begins

Brew Dog beer matching continues

Brew Dog beer matching continues

The beers went from very drinkable into the slightly murky territory of 18% alcohol content – those pokier beers don’t always appeal to me. We had the Punk IPA and Dead Pony – both two of my favourite Brew Dog beers, all would go perfectly with a beer stick.

Beer stick

This is what’s known in the business as a beer stick

Lots of meat

All the meat all the time – we purchased beer sticks. They’re good for fishing trips.

Along with the inevitable excitement of beer combined with awesome cured meat, it was also exciting to find out that Cobble Street Curing invite the general riff raff that is the public into their kitchens to see how the process works. Suffice to say, I know at least one bearded Canadian who will be taking them up on that offer.

Beer tasting on the balcony: Brew Dog and Tate Lichtenstein APA

Another sunny Sunday, another beer tasting on the balcony.

This time it’s a collaboration with Brew Dog and the Tate, using Lichtenstein for the bottle design.

From the bottle: brewed with rye and US hops, this is a vibrant yet refreshing take on the American pale ale style.

Alc. 5.2%

Ty’s thoughts:

It’s good, hoppy. For me, it leaves a slight liquorice flavour on the back of the mouth. It’s very effervescent. I find it hard to describe the rye flavour – there is something about it that reminds me of rye breads, but it isn’t overtly rye or dark. I’ve known lots of rye beers to be darker in colour.

Charlie’s thoughts:

On a purely aesthetic note, the Lichtenstein inspired label design is awesome. On the beer itself, the first sip I thought it was too bitter for me, but the taste mellows on the second sip. Perhaps it’s the rye in it, but the flavour coats the mouth – and whilst it’s nice, I’m not sure I’d drink more than a half if out. I think maybe the rye gives it a heaviness that adds to that conclusion as well.


BBQ whole chicken marinated in lemon and olive oil and seasoned with za’atar recipe

Once upon a time I was a vegetarian. After co-habiting with the aforementioned carnivore, I have somewhat reversed that life choice (with a few caveats). Firstly, if I’m going to eat meat I’d prefer to buy it locally, from the farmer’s market or a local veg box scheme. Secondly, I’d like it organic or at the very least free-range. Thirdly, I’d like to try and eat as much of the animal as possible – waste not.

So – vegetarian guilt aside – this weekend we BBQed a whole, organic chicken. It was tasty good.

BBQ season is well and truly upon us again, we have had three BBQs in as many weeks and the chances of this slowing look slim to none.

If you too want to make this BBQed chicken, you can do so by using the following method.


  • One large whole chicken or equvilent chicken pieces
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of a lime plus a squeeze extra
  • Liberal helpings of salt and pepper
  • Small onion/challot grated
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil

Marinade method:

      1. Combine all the above ingredients.
      2. Find a lock-and-lock container or sizeable ziplock bag that will fit your chicken.
      3. Spatchcock your chicken or put your chicken pieces to one side.

Spatchcocked and ready to rock.

4. Marinade all chicken in the bag or Tupperware, ensuring the whole thing is well covered, for 24 hours if possible but for a minimum of 4 hours.

Other ingredients:

        • 3 tsps of za’atar

Steenbergs is the herb supplier of choice.

        • Cup of cherry wood smoking chips

We’re PRO-Q-ers. No doubt.


Loading up the wood chip gadget thingie.


        • Preheat BBQ.
        • Soak the cherry wood smoking chips, then add to the BBQ – we use a bespoke wood chip box that sits on the grill and heats through.

Wood chip gadget thingie.

        • Heat the BBQ through, until the wood chips are starting to smoke.
        • Remove chicken from marinade (but save the juice), lay out flat and coat with za’atar and rub in until liberally coated.

Prepping the chicken for massage of spice.


Leftover marinade for basting.


Do the chicken rub.

      • Put chicken on BBQ, on the cooler half (if using gas, turn down one half of the grill, if coal move coals to one side – you basically want to cook over indirect heat).
      • Occasionally baste chicken while it’s BBQing, turning regularly.
      • Continue until cooked through – check in thickest part for juices to run clear.

We served with rocket, BBQed asparagus and BBQed red romano peppers. It was awesome.


Spatchcock chicken and wood chips in situ


It’s nearly done!


The finished meal complete with required BBQ char.

You can see a Vine of our BBQ action here.

Moshi Moshi Book Launch at Moshi Moshi Liverpool Street

Tonight, the Canadian and I are at a Moshi Moshi members’ event for their new book launch, 500 Sushi. So far, the fizz is flowing and the sushi plentiful.




So far we’ve had avocado and plum, duck with chilli and onion, scallop, and some beautifully rolled maki. All the sushi has been lovely, with one small exception of the duck – the onion on this was so bitter it deflected from the taste. My favourite so far has been the scallop one, but the Canadian opted for the duck. So as you can probably tell, it’s all really rather good.

So, here’s the book:


And since the last update, we’ve been served the following and had a wonderful conversation about sustainable fishing: