Top 10 Things I Ate This Year- part two

On the eve of my 32nd birthday, I’m looking back at what has been a pretty spectacular year. I’ll be spending tomorrow flitting between feeding my now nearly 13 week old son (where in the heck did those months go?) and pitching in on the third day of the photo shoot for my new book. Tomorrow night I’ll probably sink into the couch with a glass of red wine by my side. The Hungry One has promised to cook me a steak. And while we eat it we’ll probably revisit some of the sterling memories that are contained below. So, in the spirit of navel gazing (because if you can’t do a bit of that on the cusp of a birthday, when can you?) here it is, the second half of the ten best things I ate in the past year (plus one little extra).

6. Choripan Roll at La Cabrera, Buenos Aires

There are as many parrillas in Buenos Aires as there are twinkle eyed elderly gentlemen keen to persuade young ladies to join them on a dance floor. But La Cabrera is where you want to go.  On the tree lined streets of Palermo Viejo there are now not one, but two outposts of this famed parrilla, such is its popularity. It’s the sort of steak house you doodled a sketch of when you were busy booking flights to South America. The chairs are wooden, the tablecloths white. The food comes on wooden boards and there’s a serious knife to go alongside it.While the main event will be beef and sides, at La Cabrera it would be  a mistake to overlook starting with the choripan roll, with griddled chorizo, bitter leaves and roasted tomato.

It’s a sandwich that takes the famed chorizo roll of London’s Borough Market and asks it to quietly go and sit in a corner.  It’s the char of the bread. It’s the gentle spice of the chorizo. But to completely gild the lily,  also order the grilled whole provolone cheese, which will arrive slumpen, melted and misshapen to your table.

From there you want to scoop a wedge of cheese and smear it on the roll along with the sausage. It’s not that traditional. Your cardiologist will probably not approve- but your taste buds certainly will.

La Cabrera
Palermo Soho
Cabrera 5127, Buenos Aires

7. Beef Faggots at the Harwood Arms, London

It’s the holy grail. The quest for a perfect Sunday lunch in London. The shopping list shouldn’t be that hard to conquer. You want a pub with some rustic charm- yet without a sticky residue which make your pint glasses pash the table every time you try and lift one . If it’s nippy out, a real open fire won’t go astray. None of those atmospheric collections of fairy lights in the hearth- I’m talking about real flames. A few locals warming the bar stools won’t hurt. Some interesting ales and whiskeys will never go astray. And then we come to the food. A roast of the day, please. Perhaps some game. Crisp tatties. Fluffy Yorkshire puddings. A salad starter for one of the ladies. And then we need proper puddings.

If a more traditional British experience is what you’re after, then it’s also hard to look past the beef faggots (as long as you can bring yourself to say the words). Rather than a homophobic slur, it’s a plate of minced cow (with a good dash of offal), bound in caul. Essentially it’s dense and intense bundles of sausage. The meat’s inherent sweetness is amplified by prunes and celeriac puree, and a meaty puddle of bone marrow jus.

The Harwood Arms is partly helmed by Brett Graham, the man behind The Ledbury. It’s that good for a reason. And if you’re in London, it’s a spot not to miss.

The Harwood Arms
Walham Grove  Fulham, London SW6 1QP
Ph: 020 7386 1847

8. Coddled egg, creamed kumera, fresh parsley and sourdough dippers at The Coppermill

photo 2

The Copper Mill is a recent addition to the blank blocks of apartments and warehouses in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Alexandria. You might want to come here for the coffee (Golden Cobra’s Human Cannonball blend). You might be entertained by the wallpaper in the bathrooms (a encyclopaedic run down of horror film villains). But what you’ll find hard to leave behind is the coddled egg. It’s the perfect portion size; a tall jam jar filled half way with silky smooth, perfectly seasoned sweet potato puree. Over the top sits and egg, which is gently cooked so the white just holds taut, but the yolk bleeds and blurs. There’s a cheerful festoon of parsley. And on the side are a stack of sourdough toast soldiers for dunking in the soft depths. It’s comforting and bold and contains a precise balance of salt to sweet. It’s a cracker of a dish.

Suite B 338-356 Mitchell Road Alexandria, Sydney, Australia 2015

9. Sheep Milk Mousse at L’Enclume

It is impossible to leave L’Enclume, nestled in the village of Cartmel in the Lake’s District of the UK without a smile on your face.  It’s like somehow in one restaurant it’s managed to capture some of the best of England- clever, dapper, restrained and sweet. It’s a restaurant that makes you feel good about yourself and the world you live in. And that’s best expressed in this dessert:  a sheep milk mousse, snap frozen by liquid nitrogen into craggy cubes. There’s ginger bread for spice, sweet cicely leaves for floral acid and underneath an orb of caramel, which creeps across the plate when punctured with a spoon. It’s elegant and whimsical, restrained and wildly creative. It’s a dessert that’s well worth a trip., Lake District, UK

10. Pork Bun from Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong

Pork buns are a divisive dish. It’s nigh impossible to be luke warm on them. Those who crave their presence on a a dim sum/yum cha lazy susan are drawn to the fluffiness of the dough- a blooming white cloud of squish and how it splinters to reveal a sticky sweet pork centre. Those who cast them aside them will bleat about their deceptive heft, curious melding of savoury meat and a sugar spiked sauce and their lack of textural contrast. To which I say; if you don’t love a pork bun, you’ve never been to Tim Ho Wan, in Hong Kong. Because at Tim Ho Wan, they are baked, not steamed. It means you still get the mysteriously dark centre of sweet and sticky pork and a fluffy blanket of dough- but what you also get, is some crackle.It’s the brittle casing that forms on the crust of the dough that elevates this potential piece of hangover-stodge-food to a new level. They’re sublime. And they’re 6 HK dollars each. Chalk that up as a win.

(and a bonus Ham, Cheese and Tomato Toastie from Luxe)


Granted, this sandwich was the first thing I ate after I gave birth. I was so hungry and high on hormones that I probably could have been fed a warm kitchen sponge with a cup of tea and pronounced it delicious.

But there is something magical about what happens when melted cheese meets ham and bread that has a the right kind of chew. Add a lick of dijon mustard and a few slices of ripe tomato – and to me it’s sublime.

Nb, for those wanting to make the ultimate ham and cheese toastie at home- here’s some experimentation that we did back in April.

Luxe Bakery
195 Missenden Rd  Newtown NSW 2042

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  1. What an amazing year! Hope the next one brings as many adventures of a different sort with young Will in tow for the fun x

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