Monthly Archives: March 2015

Music Monday: Debut by Björk

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 54/250Bjork,_Debut_album_cover,_1993Title: Debut
Artist: Björk
Year: 1993
Position: #139

Björk is my favorite singer of all time. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it, Björk is my top singer. I mean, have you heard Vulnicura? It is probably the most devastating break-up album I’ve ever heard. Ended up buying it the very moment I got home from work because I just had to listen to it straight away. Only Sufjan Stevens comes close to her.

I mention this because, since this is a place of honesty, I would not rank Debut as the Bjork album that should be the highest in the list. Still, a Bjork album that I would place 4th or 5th in her back catalogue is still better than the best album released by most people.

So, Debut. A bit of a misnomer since it is actually her second solo album… but that original debut was back when she was 11 and the proceeds went to her buying a piano. So I am not sure whether that should be counted in the canon. Debut marked the beginning of modern Bjork which, in this case, meant her cosying up to the world of house and trip hop. It also marked one of the few instances of a track of an acclaimed album being recorded in the bathroom of a nightclub. As much as I like the song ‘There’s More To Life Than This’ it’s hard not to imagine her singing in front of a bunch of toilets with the seat up.

In terms of obvious highlights you can look at the singles. ‘Venus as a Boy’ is delightfully naughty, ‘Violently Happy’ perfectly captures the feeling of pure elation and then there is ‘Human Behaviour’ which has a fantastic video where Bjork is eaten by a bear. My favourite track, ‘Play Dead’, did not feature on the original cut of the album, but it featured on a reissued version released within a year of the original… so I count it. The strings, the screaming chorus, everything is just epic. It provides a satisfying conclusion to the album.

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Good Eatin’: The Slow Down

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

I have known I was going to reach this point. It took a bit longer than I expected but, the acquisition of foods for the list is slowing down. The only reason that I have these here are because of Christmas presents. Still, I am now well over the 300 mark when this happened which is no mean feat.

Therefore: if you know of a website, restaurant or a shop in the London area that does any of the remaining foods please get in contact.

Food item: Madeira Cake

This arrived in a hamper that my father sent me for Christmas. There were some other goodies in there so getting a list item was a bonus. Seeing Madeira cake is slightly weird since it is such a basic sponge cake. Then again, this is the only proper sponge cake on the list, which explains how it earned it’s place. The Madeira cake here was properly buttery (the dominant taste) with hints of vanilla and lemon. It was properly moist in the middle meaning that slicing it felt incredibly smooth.

Food item: Raspberry Vinegar

It is getting to the point where I am getting list vinegar as a Christmas present. Granted, it is a type of vinegar that I had been focusing on finding for ages so, thanks Jeroen.

On its own the raspberry vinegar is delicious, tasting fresh and fruity with a touch of acidity at the end. However, it really comes into it’s own mixed with other things. For example, on this bottle’s first outing I mixed the vinegar with some walnut oil to make a delicious salad dressing.

Food item: Fondant

This wasn’t a present, but I thought it had been long enough since we bought this from our local Hema that we should actually eat them. I chose to cut up the pink one for the sheer reason that I could not imagine decorating a pink cake any time soon.

Eating fondant on it’s own was actually quite nice. It was not sickly sweet, as expected, and was actually really smooth to the point that it felt rather silken as it melted in my mouth. Maybe I should make a cake to use this on.

Food item: Lubecker Marzipan

Okay, so this was a present for my partner since he loves marzipan and this dark chocolate-coated block of marzipan did the trick. We share all the sweets we get as presents anyway.

Lubecker is truly some of the nicest marzipan out there, mainly because it isn’t completely smooth and it actually tastes like it was made with actual almonds. It isn’t overly sugary, instead allowing the bitter chocolate and the almonds to do their work. It’s expensive for a reason.

Progress: 329/500

XL Popcorn – Riget

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 422/1007Lars3_1310108403_crop_550x408Title: Riget (The Kingdom)
Director: Lars Von Trier and Morten Arnfred
Year: 1994
Country: Denmark

In writing about Riget I have had to take a day or two out to actually take stock.

Let’s start at the beginning. It was a Saturday and we (myself and the partner) were looking at the longest entrants on the 1001 list. Two of the listings in this book are for mini-series which have either been re-cut or re-classafied as feature films. The longest of the entire list, Dekalog, will be done at a different time since it is 10 hour-long short films. Instead we thought we would do an episode of Riget and make our way through it, but we were so transfixed that we ended up spending the rest of the day watching the entire mini-series.

The setting of Riget is Copenhagen’s main hospital where supernatural goings on are starting. During the 5 hours the amount of supernatural occurrences ramp up, however this was a TV show and so there are many cycles to this. The opening always starts in the morning with new arrival (the grumpy, xenophobic and, mildly, disgraced) Stig Hemler, a consultant neurosurgeon from over the bridge in Sweden, removing his hubcaps and making some complaint to facilities. After this, there is always the morning meeting and so on. Establishing such a rigid routine that you come to expect means that it’s disruption in later episodes are good signifiers of something being amiss.

The way that Riget deals with the idea of ghosts so sparingly, with all goings on being confined to night time. It is also the case that the only people who seem to be in the know of what is going on are the two dishwashers with Down’s Syndrome who act as a Grecian chorus (which is just very strange).

There is not much you can say about this without giving the game away. One of the reason Riget works so well is because of the sheer number of left-turns that it takes. Just when you expect one thing to happen to a character they make a series of decisions which, although organic, are unexpected. A safer example includes that of a character to visit Haiti to procure some voodoo zombie poison… strange yes.

At times it is creepy. At others it is bizarre. Most of all it remains engaging that the only reason we knew that we had reached the end of the current part was by the appearance of creator Lars Von Trier as he talked to the audience over the credits, looking so young being that this was 20 years ago now. I have watched recent films (including Out Of Africa) which felt so much longer than this, this is how good Riget is. It does mean that I now find it even harder to decide my favourite Von Trier since I have to rank this alongside Dancer In The DarkMelancholia and Dogville.

In the end, this feels like a first series of a trilogy. It was pretty much meant to be with Riget II coming out three years later and Riget III never materialised as too many of the actors had died or retired. We will be watching Riget II very soon both because of the sheer number of unanswered questions in the final episode and because Riget was one of the best things I have seen in a long time.

Around The World In 100 Films – Armenia

100WorldFilms - ArmeniaList Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 38/100

Not a country I would have expected to get to be honest. However, this movie, despite being a Soviet film, is Armenian down to the language used and the production company. So I’m going to count it as most people do.

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 421/1007

Country: Armenia
Title: Sayat-Nova (The Color of Pomegranates)
Director: Sergei Parajanov
Year: 1968

I am not quite sure what I just watched, and yes I had the subtitles on. It is a film that is, basically, without any real narrative telling the story of the life of Armenian poet Sayat-Nova. Instead of a more traditional method of telling his life story as it was the director decided to tell it using images found in Sayat-Nova’s work. As a result, this is a film unlike any I have seen before.

The main thing to note, and this before I get into the good stuff, is the almost complete lack of dialogue. It feels a lot like a silent movie with the exception of some chanting and a few lines which end up being repeated. In fact, repetition happens fairly often at important moments during the film, like how a poet would repeat a certain refrain for the sake of emphasis.

Without dialogue the film is able to focus on the cinematography which is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. When stripped of regular language the focus is on creating a visual language which, for the most part, is incredibly subtle. There are no exaggerated movements as in the silent movies of old, everything is about the slight gesture and somewhat off-kilter movements. There is a scene where the poet as a youth is, I am guessing, flirting with the woman he is set to marry (both played by the same woman) and it is all the various covering of eyes with different pieces of material. It’s a bit weird but strangely intimate.

One scene I probably could have done without is when they are slaughtering lambs and you see them clearing out the offal and organs from within the corpses. Thankfully you don’t see the moment the throats are slit but you do see their severed heads. There are other moments of animal cruelty (I did not like the dying fish at the beginning) which do overshadow parts of the movie somewhat. Still, The Color of Pomegranates was certainly a feast for the eyes.

What Is The Best Video Game Of All Time? 289 Lists Later And There Is An Answer!

What is the best video game of all time? It’s a question that I have been looking into forming an answer for over the last six months and I finally have an answer that I am really happy with.

How? Well I spend countless hours finding ‘best of’ lists from around the internet and forming a combined list. This included lists that dealt with best of year, best of decade, best of generation, best of genre, best of console and (of course) best ever.

In total I combined the ratings of 289 lists from sources such as IGN, Gamesradar+, Kotaku, Eurogamer, Retro Sanctuary, Retrogamer, Complex, Arcade Sushi and (the now sadly defunt) Official Nintendo Magazine.  Using a half-life method to calculate points depending on position, list length and whether it was ranked or not I am happy to share the up-to-date list of:

The 100 Most Acclaimed Games Ever

Rank Name Year
1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 1998
2 Resident Evil 4 2005
3 Super Mario 64 1996
4 The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 1991
5 Super Mario World 1991
6 BioShock 2007
7 Chrono Trigger 1995
8 Super Metroid 1994
9 Half-Life 2 2004
10 Tetris 1985
11 Final Fantasy VII 1997
12 Super Mario Bros. 3 1990
13 Mass Effect 2 2010
14 Shadow of the Colossus 2005
15 Super Mario Bros. 1985
16 World of Warcraft 2004
17 GoldenEye 007 1997
18 Red Dead Redemption 2010
19 Minecraft 2011
20 Portal 2 2011
21 Halo: Combat Evolved 2001
22 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 2002
23 Portal 2007
24 Super Mario Kart 1992
25 Metroid Prime 2002
26 Metal Gear Solid 1998
27 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 2011
28 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 1997
29 Fallout 3 2008
30 Resident Evil 1996
31 Grand Theft Auto V 2013
32 Deus Ex 2000
33 Doom 1993
34 The Last of Us 2013
35 Street Fighter II 1991
36 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2003
37 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2007
38 Okami 2006
39 The Walking Dead 2012
40 Final Fantasy VI 1994
41 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 2009
42 Yoshi’s Island 1995
43 Pokemon Red/Blue 1998
44 Final Fantasy X 2001
45 Super Smash Bros. Melee 2001
46 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 2004
47 Sonic the Hedgehog 1991
48 The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 2000
49 Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 2004
50 Dark Souls 2011
51 Diablo II 2000
52 Super Mario Galaxy 2007
53 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 2006
54 Batman: Arkham City 2011
55 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty 2001
56 Donkey Kong 1981
57 Braid 2008
58 Secret of Mana 1993
59 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2003
60 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 2002
61 The Legend of Zelda 1986
62 Ico 2001
63 Grand Theft Auto III 2001
64 Earthbound 1994
65 Pac-Man 1980
66 Tomb Raider 1996
67 Soul Calibur II 2002
68 Half-Life 1998
69 Mega Man 2 1989
70 Final Fantasy Tactics 1997
71 Silent Hill 2 2001
72 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 2006
73 Team Fortress 2 2007
74 Starcraft 1998
75 Beyond Good & Evil 2003
76 Super Mario Galaxy 2 2010
77 Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 1996
78 Space Invaders 1978
79 Punch-Out!! 1987
80 Super Smash Bros. Brawl 2008
81 Perfect Dark 2000
82 Resident Evil 2 1998
83 Mario Kart 64 1996
84 Mass Effect 2007
85 Dead Space 2008
86 Rayman Legends 2013
87 Tomb Raider 2013
88 Kingdom Hearts 2002
89 Burnout 3: Takedown 2004
90 Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag 2013
91 Baldur’s Gate II 2000
92 The Secret of Monkey Island 1990
93 NBA Jam 1993
94 God of War 2005
95 Limbo 2010
96 Banjo Kazooie 1998
97 F-Zero 1990
98 SoulCalibur 1999
99 Animal Crossing 2001
100 Batman: Arkham Asylum 2009

List Item: Play 100 of the greatest computer games
Progress: 43/100

Of course when it comes to these lists it is all based on opinion, but in the end there was no question, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time just ran away with it completely.

Do you disagree with this list? Is your favourite game not on here? Do you have random ‘best of’ lists that I might have missed and should include when I update this list next year?

Would you like to see the extended list (I have a pretty stable list of between 400 and 500 games) on its own website with more details?

Please feel free to sound off in the comments!

Music Monday: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 53/250TheFlamingLips-YoshimiBattlesThePinkRobotsTitle: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
Artist: The Flaming Lips
Year: 2002
Position: #196

By making this the next album on here I am breaking my own rule since an earlier album by The Flaming Lips  (the 1999 release The Soft Bulletin), but I found myself with a real craving for it during a flight to visit my partner’s family. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is one of those albums I periodically find myself coming back to ever since my best friend at school introduced it to me.

It was probably the bizarre title that really convinced me to give this a proper go back when I was 12/13 and, when I think about it, this album was a huge deal to me. At this age I think the main people I was listening to was Steps, Alizeé, Lene Marlin and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. So needless to say, an album described as neo-psychedelia, space rock and dream pop capturing my imagination probably explains some of my later music choices.

The titular Yoshimi only appears in the opening four tracks of this album, the rest being more like a ‘regular’ album. This opening batch of tracks was the best concept set of songs I had come across for a very long time (with only Janelle Monae’s music now eclipsing it… which is curiously also about robots).

The first track (‘Fight Test’) would easily place within my own Top 100 favourite songs of all time, it even placed itself on the first mix tape I ever made my partner. Yes, I know there was the slight controversy about the resemblance with ‘Father and Son’ by Yusuf Islam, but this is one of those strangely uplifting songs that just makes you want to want to strike some sort of poses.

Talking of strangely uplifting, I have to point out ‘Do You Realize’. It plays as this really happy pop song but it has lyrics such as “do you realize/that  everyone you know/someday will die.” I mean, so much of this album is basically about love, loss and how to deal with these emotions. Even the titular track (‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1″) has a melancholy edge despite being about kicking serious robot ass.

It’s a strange album, but one of those since of the turn of the millennium that feels oddly essential. I am glad that on last year’s update of Acclaimed Albums that this shot up as many places as it did so it could enter the Top 250. I hope the climb continues.

Good Eatin’: It’s Christmas!

 List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Oh Christmas. The time that comes once a year, and then read about a few months later. Context: it is almost midnight on Boxing Day 2014, I have an awful cold that makes me sound like I have a high-pitched Southern drawn and I am writing this on ‘Solstice’: the new laptop I got for Christmas.

So great has this obsession with food been (as well as this Christmas which is the best I have had in YEARS) that I actually got some food presents which will be eaten and written about at a later time. As for now, these are the 1001 foods that we had from December 24th-25th.

Food item: Dried Shrimp

Earlier this day we went to see Paddington in the cinema as part of our traditional Christmas Eve cinema trip (so much better than I had expected and now I wish I had a bear as a pet). After this we paid a visit to Lido for some dim sum where I was able to finally cross off dried shrimp… which I should have done months ago but I did not realize at the time that it was a list food. Not much to say on this apart from the burst of flavour you get when you bite down on it, as well as how it flavours the surrounding dish with some umami flavour.

Food items: Sugarcane, Pickled Silverskin Onions, Cornichons, Clove, Allspice, Pasteis de Nata

Christmas Eve would not be Christmas Eve without the obligatory buffet tea before opening our Christmas Eve presents, one of the many positives of having German heritage. This tea proved to be a big boost in the food numbers so I’ll try and tackle them logically:

Sugarcane: We got some prawn lollipops from Marks & Spencer with sugarcane forming the stick, I insisted that we got these as part of the 4 for 3 offer. The cane itself is really fibrous and I wish I had known that you weren’t exactly meant to chew and swallow this. Biting down to extract the sugary syrup inside was pleasant, trying to consume it fully was less so.

Pickled Silverskin Onions: The idea of chowing down on an onion is not something I considered when starting this list. I tried two of these, one on its own and the other was on a cocktail stick with some cheddar. To me it tasted sweet, like a caramelised balsamic onion. Nice, but there is no way I could have a lot of them.

Cornichons: Not sure what I can say for these except these are pretty much small gherkins… maybe a bit sweeter, but that’s all really.

Clove &  Allspice: Two spices I am sure have been tasted in the last few months but I know safely that they have been done so. Cloves were stuck into an orange as part of the wine mulling (which I had a little bit of… and regreted it… alcohol blech)  and the allspice was to be found in some of the mince pies. Hurrah!

Pasteis de Nata: Portuguese egg-custard tartlets, you beauty. I only wish we had more of you and that you were at least the size of the palm of my hand. Absolutely ruddy gorgeous in their bitesized glory.

Food items: Goose Fat and Tiroler Speck

Ah goose fat, pretty much the secret to great roast potatoes.  I have to say that my mum’s goose fat roast potatoes are the best ones I have ever had, made all the more special as we only have them once or twice a year. I am not sure about the flavour the goose fat really adds apart from the fact that it makes them extra crispy and delicious on the whole.

Then there is the Tiroler speck. Originally, I was going to write this with the rest of last week’s food post as I was given a free sample, but we liked it so much that we bought some. On it’s own the speck is lightly chewy with a dark flavour (from the juniper berries) that is not as salty as other hams. It’s a ham to be enjoyed in small amounts, unlike Black Forest ham which should be inhaled.

Food items: Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts

Like most people, I have had bad sprout experiences when they have been so bitter you just want to spit them out. Apparently this is a genetic thing, whereby 70% of the population are overly sensitive to certain chemicals in certain cruciferous vegetables. In fact, getting me to eat a sprout has become one of those annual Christmas Day things and I do it about half the time.

This year, however, the stars seems t have aligned since… I liked them.  There was little bitterness in them, in fact they were slightly sweet and worked well with the chestnuts that we cooked them with. Next year we shall see if this was a one off or whether they are a taste now acquired.

Progress: 325/500

XL Popcorn: The Snake Pit

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 420/1007mv5bmtk2mdexndg5m15bml5banbnxkftztywodk2nzm2-_v1-_sx450_sy343_Title: The Snake Pit
Director: Anatole Litvak
Year: 1948
Country: USA

Olivia de Havilland is easily one of my favourite actresses. I say this having only seen her in three films prior to The Snake Pit, but she never fails to captivate me. I have never understood why she (and her sister Joan Fontaine) were frequently cast as the ‘plain girls’ as they are both beautiful… still I am not going to focus on that for now. What I will say is how much work she put into this role, including sitting through psychiatric lectures and actually watching a number of the treatments depicted in the film.

The Snake Pit is one of those films that was rather big upon the time of release and has since faded somewhat, but still finds its way onto a number of Top 1000 films lists. I mean it was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. I have no explanation of this as it was a very good film, it’s just what happens to films.

The reason it gained a bit of notoriety at the time was due to it being one of the first films in the mainstream to deal with mental illness in a more profound way. Olivia de Havilland plays Virginia, a woman in a psychiatric hospital after she has had a breakdown… not that she remembers that or most things. She experiences a lot of time loss and is unable to recall simple facts about her life without a lot of prompting.

The whole point of the film is to watch her doctor, the remarkably patient (and somewhat dishy) Dr. Kik, help her to uncover the reason behind her illness and, ultimately, cure her. Along the way the film renders bare the state of the American mental health system complete with use of electric shock treatments, hydrotherapy and the open plan wards where patients are unable to escape from each other.

There is a rather interesting shot used as Virginia finds herself condemned to Ward 33 (which houses the worst patients in the hospital) where it zooms out from her position to the point where the writhing movements of the surrounding patients make the room resemble the titular snake pit – the idea of a treatment where something that would make a sane person go mad can help someone regain their sanity. Her cure comes from using talking therapies over the more archaic methods employed in the hospital, and at the time, to the point that her recovery (although sped up for the sake of the film) feels very much plausible.

Upon release this was an accurate and unflinching representation of the state of care for the mentally ill, complete with dances between mentally ill patients of the adjoining male and female wards (something that actually happened apparently) over half of the then 48 US States went through reform for these hospitals and censors in the UK had to qualify that this was not a representation of UK hospitals. In many ways, this film may have actually improved the lot of the mentally ill in America. How many movies can say that?

Music Monday: The Smiths by The Smiths

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 52/250The_Smiths_The_SmithsTitle: The Smiths
Artist: The Smiths
Year: 1984
Position: #180

I had never listened to a full album by The Smiths before. I have listened to Vauxhall and I before, with me falling deeply for the track ‘Now My Heart Is Full’. Then I got a bit put off by how Morrissey is in the media and had not played an album with him in it for about six years. I decided to make The Smiths the next album that I looked at for my bucket list because of a friend at work who really likes Morrissey and can do an unsettlingly good impression of his distinctive singing voice.

One thing to say outright is that the version of The Smiths I listened to had ‘ This Charming Man’ included, despite the fact the original cut of the album came before this was released. As such, in order to try and be a bit more authentic, I just skipped this track during my playthroughs. I mean, it is probably their most famous song after all and it’s not like I haven’t heard it a number of times before.

The Smiths is one of those albums (much like Murmur) where I find it hard to talk much about as I know little about the band and, if I am being honest, I sometimes find it really hard to understand the lyrics because of the strange baritone that Morrissey possesses. All I know is that I enjoyed the album more than I expected to, especially after the maudlin start. The pairing of his vocals with Marr’s guitars is, at times, jarring which somehow makes the album all the more appealing and melodic. Maybe I’ll find more to say once I listen to The Queen Is Dead.

Good Eatin’: Lead Up To Christmas

List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Okay, so we are a long way from Christmas, but each of these foods were checked off in the lead in to Christmas 2014 so it makes sense to group them all together. Thanks be to the season since it does lend itself to the sweets and the baked goods.

Food items: Shiitake mushrooms and Chinese Five Spice

For some reason I have found myself making a lot of improvised stir-fries lately. Leftover list foods (such as hoisin sauce, banana ketchup, pimenton de la vera and Tabasco sauce) are all finding a new lease of life in these sauces. The first one of this series of impovs DID feature the Chinese Five Spice but I figured I would rather wait until I could pair it with some mushrooms from the local Morrisons.

A few years ago shiitake mushrooms could only be found at high end supermarkets here in the UK, now they are rather commonplace should you get there before they have all been bagged and nabbed. In a stir-fry without anything related to meat they do add a nicely meaty flavour and texture which goes well with the pronounced earthy-liquorice flavour from the five spice.

Food item: Mince Pie

Ah Christmas, the time where you can not escape from the mince pie. Great thing here is that this is a homemade pie brought into one of my work meetings the week before Christmas (further strengthening the love I have for the sector I work on).  I am not usually the biggest fan of mince pies because it’s hard to get pastry the way I like it… but I have to say that these were really nice. Perfectly buttery shortcrust pastry balanced out by the warmth of the spicing within the mincemeat. Made me wish for some single cream.

Food item: Stollen

The best stollen I have had was on a visit to the Netherlands during New Years. We don’t seem to be able to get the density correct over here. Stollen should be fruity, very dense and have a seam of marzipan running all the way through… something we tend not to do as well. It’s still nice with some butter (or some cheese) but go for one less supermarket and more Germanic.

Food item: Maple Syrup

A short one here since I am not sure how to describe this other than sweet, smoky, sticky and strangely good with bacon. Like a lot of things on this list I have had this before, mostly in the US, but since it it’s expensive to buy a bottle thought it would make sense to wait until I could steal some from my partner’s plate when we went to a restaurant.

  Food item: Fig Jam

On December 22nd I paid a visit to Borough Market with my mumas part of some last minute Christmas food shopping additions (but mainly to get some more of that delicious pate to eat alongside out traditional watching of Gone With The Wind). One thing we came across was a Croatian food stand which had free samples of different fig jams. In order to be thorough I tried two of them (regular fig and dried fig). Whilst the fig jam was smooth and sweet it was the dried fig jam that was far superior. Why? Because they left the seeds in the dried fig jam which made for a nuttier jam with a good crunch. It reminded me of the smyrna figs I had a while ago.

Food item: Selles-Sur-Cher

Another find at Borough Market was one of the more interesting looking (visually) cheeses from the book. Selles-sur-Cher is an unpasteurised goats cheese from the Centre region of France. It’s a firm cheese that with a little bit of pressure (or heat) becomes remarkably easy to spread. As with many cheeses the experience differs with the surrounding moulds and without. On its own the cheese is mild with a fairly long lasting after-taste that you tend to find with goat cheeses. The rind adds the taste of charcoal to the cheese (apparently this is used to stimulate the growth of the mould) which makes it a whole lot more interesting, and tasty. It is nice on its own, but spread on some bread fresh from the market is a whole lot better.

Progress: 314/500