unbaked sweet potato pie

Sweet Potato Pie

unbaked sweet potato pie

Autumn is when all the good stuff happens: my birthday, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Bonfire Night and the joys of of planning your Christmas menu.

I’m knee deep in recipes for the festive season this week for the Brixton Blog and Bugle so my own cooking has been simple recently with nothing blog-worthy (unless you want to read about cheese on crackers of course?) So I’m pretending to be prepared for the US Thanksgiving by giving you the recipe I made for Canadian Thanksgiving for people in Brixton…who knew sweet potato pie could be so multicultural, eh?

This is a very easy recipe with a terrible photo and a set of kitchen tales I’ll probably never forget. I made a pastry inspired by Nigella’s latest book using buttermilk instead of egg and it made the lightest, shortest pastry possible. All of which meant when I dropped the unfilled pie shell the night before I was meant to serve the pie, there was no room for manoeuvre with its fragility.

Ho hum, I thought, these things happen. I simply made another batch of the pastry and lined my pie tin again. I froze it overnight and blind baked it in the morning. Back on track. Until I took the baking beans out and accidentally turned the oven temperature up not down.

Meh, it’s a bit browner than I intended. No need to panic. So the entire box of eggs are off. You have spares. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, dropping the filled pie against the oven the door 15 minutes into baking it is pretty close. Three hours before I had ten people round for dinner and my glossy spiced sweet potato custard looks like I’d reversed a car over it.

In real life I shoved some pastry stars on the top, egg washed them to oblivion and tweeted about it to turn it into an amusing anecdote we could all laugh about. Even I finding it funny until I lifted out the tub of creme fraiche I planned to serve with it about 15 minutes before everyone arrived, discovered it was mouldy, rolled my eyes at my life and chucked it in the bin.

Whereupon it hit the bottom of the bin and exploded violently upwards into my face, mould and all. I now know why they perfume cheap dry shampoo so heavily. The only thanks I was giving was that if anyone noticed an odd dairy related odour from me as I served the pie they were too polite to comment.

It might have driven me to the brink, but the pie went down so well there wasn’t a scrap to show by the end of the evening, so I recommend you make it if you want to make people very happy and then smugly show me on Instagram how well you did. I won’t notice of course. I’ll still be washing my hair.

Originally pubished on the Brixton Blog: Read more

pork buns

Jerk Pork Baozi

pork buns

I keep meaning to write a post about dim sum. Except that all I have to say is “I love dim sum. I’ve never met dim sum I didn’t like. Can we just order and talk with our mouths full?” I love the variety of dumplings, whether they are steamed, fried or both. I love the excuse to drink gallons of tea. I love that it makes lunch an event. I love that one of my favourite people in the world takes me out for dim sum sometimes and always orders the turnip cake for the table and bean curd skin rolls for me. I even love the surly table service.

I’m not sure why when I find the event of going out for dim sum so perfect that I decided to try making my own at home. You’d think it would be a recipe for disappointment, but it wasn’t. It just added another dimension of joy to dim sum. I’ve done mine with jerk pork for a Brixton feel but this would be a great way to use up leftover roast meat from Easter if you fancy an easy but impressive cooking project for the Bank Holiday.

Originally published at Brixton Blog…

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Inside the A&C Deli, Brixton

Save Our Shops

Inside the A&C Deli, BrixtonThey say a workman is only as good as his tools and while I think natural talent and practise play a part too, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. And for people who cook, their tools are the ingredients they use. Great food doesn’t always need specialist equipment but it does need something to create it with, preferably better quality ingredients.

We’ve all tried to cook a meal and been thwarted by our ingredients: the bacon that spewed out white water and refused to crisp at all, the tomatoes that were woolly and flavourless, the pulses that simply wouldn’t soften. Often it’s less about the price of the products and more about where they come from. Those tomatoes might have been Finest or Taste the Difference and still been nothing more than red water while the bag of cheap chickpeas from the corner shop might have been been more velvety than the branded ones.

Learning how and where to shop for your food is as important a part of learning to cook as how to prepare the ingredients once you get them home, but is an element that rarely gets talked about beyond a certain amount of showing off these days. I had a Ladybird book as a child that probably seems incredibly quaint now with a mummy and housewife popping to her greengrocer, butcher, baker and probably candlestick maker. But it acknowledged the link between where the food is farmed and where it is cooked. Good shops matter. Read more

Watermelon pickles

Watermelon Rind Pickles

Watermelon pickles

I bet you didn’t know you could pickle the green rinds from the watermelon until now unless you happen to be from the Southern states of the USA and living in Brixton currently….

I discovered this because I’ve been buying so much watermelon recently. The stall under the on the corner of Pope’s Road and Atlantic Road by the Village is selling massive hunks of it for a mere pound and I can’t stop myself. (Nor can I resist the bargain cherries and flat peaches.) I felt wasteful simply tossing the rind in the bin as it doesn’t compost. So I was delighted to discover you can pickle it and end up with something as crunchy as cucumber but a little bit different for once.

Originally published at Brixton Blog….

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Kaff Bar, Brixton


Brixton is considered the Deep South of London by those who don’t cope well without a Tube line, but little do they know that there’s a real taste of the South in SW9. There’s a new Louisiana chef in town and he resides daily at Kaff serving up Cajun and Creole inspired food with a taste of the bayou.

Richard Myers found his niche on Atlantic Road a few months ago and the already tasty food at the bar has gone from strength to strength since. Arriving in Brixton almost by accident, he fell in love with the market and the attitude to food here finding it more like New Orleans than anywhere else he’d been outside of that famed city.

Originally published in the Brixton Bugle… Read more