- NEWS & ACHIEVEMENTS -

2011
Delicious Magazine Recipe Feature Recipes published in Princes Trust Charity 'Trusty' Cookbook Guest panellist on UKTV Food's 'Market Kitchen' Recipes published in 'Come Dine With Me Special Occasions' book Blog named as a "Media Must-Have" in Jan & Feb issue of Olive Magazine

2010
Launch of Sabrina's one-to-one private cookery tuition Guest critic on Gordon Ramsay's 'F-Word' series finale Organised Top Chef Charity Banquet for Haiti raising £70,000 for 'Action Against Hunger' Seasonal Food & Recipe Writer for 'Blue Tomato'

2009
Winner of Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' (West London) 'Bronze' winner in professionally judged 'AA Home Cooking Competition 2009' Appointed resident cookery columnist for Foodepedia

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Thursday, 17 September 2009

RETRO REVIVAL - GROOVY BABY!!!

I pride myself on keeping my finger firmly on the culinary pulse of our nation.
How do I do this, you may ask? Well, I am hooked on foodie sites like Foodepedia (plug, plug, plug!) Am a loyal subscriber to Olive magazine, Delicious magazine and the new Jamie Oliver magazine, plus through my various Chef and Restaurateur contacts, I am always listening to what people are doing in their restaurants, speaking to Chefs about produce etc and what is and isn’t popular as well as monitoring new restaurant openings as well as inevitable closures. You could say I’m a total geek and you would be right on the money, because that’s exactly what I am! Some girls may obsess with fashion or celebrity gossip, but I am obsessed (not in a “bunny boiler” way) with Chefs, Restaurants, Food programmes and the wonderful commodity that is FOOD!

Having noticed lately that a lot of new restaurants are opening up, the first thing I do is view their menus and you would be surprised to see that we seem to be going all ‘Retro’ and 60’s all of a sudden. Even some of the not-so-new restaurants seem to be following suit and heading back to basics. I never thought the words “Rotisserie”, “Prawn Cocktail” or “Peach Melba” would ever make it onto the menus of restaurants in this day and age, but my friends, it seems that they have become ‘En Vogue’ again and are in fact the height of fashion!

So why have we travelled back in time to one of the most gaudy decades of the 20th century? I think it’s because the 60’s were very much a decade of culinary discovery for Britain. Sainsbury’s claim to have introduced the Avocado (or Avocado ‘pear’ as it was then known) to our supermarket shelves in 1962, although the authenticity of this fact is being disputed by Marks and Spencers - Supermarket wars are alive and well as usual! French cooking was becoming incredibly popular with us Brits, courtesy of Elizabeth David who released her book “French Provincial Cooking” in 1960. A new era was beginning in Britain and the recovery from the effects of rationing after World War II was almost complete for most and the nation was in full party swing. Dinner parties became an opportunity for people to show off their culinary prowess again, with new and sophisticated dishes from Continental Europe and ingredients from exotic corners of the world.

It’s funny how we seem to be going back to basics, back to days where food was simple and straight forward and not at all like the pretentious works of art that Chefs have been subjecting us to for the last two decades. Perhaps the credit crunch has affected us – on some level - in a positive way? By teaching us to scale back on unnecessary things and keep it simple, but delicious, when it comes to cooking. No more microwave meals that taste awful, aren’t fresh and cost more than a few simple ingredients would. Hallelujah! Could we at last be getting the bigger picture? Clearly people aren’t dining out as much anymore, as the restaurant industry has been suffering financially with many top restaurants having to close as a result of the downturn in the economy. People must be staying home more as 2009 has seen a drastic increase in the rate of pregnancy in Britain, if that’s not proof of staying home, then I don’t know what is!

So perhaps the penny has finally dropped and retro is once again very much back in! We are going back to our roots and what we once deemed as tacky is now top of the list of chic. So abandon your bikinis and summer attire, bring on the stretchy elastic-waisted bottoms and lycra-laden clothing, because its time to eat! Scotch eggs, Chicken Kievs, Pints-of-prawns, Crudités and Vichyssoise are all coming back!! But don’t go overboard and start digging out your flairs, platform boots and lava lamps! Only retro food is cool, “Everything else is just square baby, you dig?”…

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