Why I drove for six and a half hours to eat Sticky Asian Pork Belly

A few weeks ago I visited a company in Devon, to see whether we wanted to buy them. It being mid-August I couldn’t decide whether it would be better to drive down or get the train. I mean the train is, in theory, quicker, easier and less stressful than driving.

In reality though, getting the train is a pain in the arse. To get to the station you have to cross London, which takes longer than getting from London to Devon. This country lacks in many ways, but nothing worse than public transport.

So I drove. 168 miles. Took 3 hours. On a Thursday afternoon in the holiday season that’s not so bad. Me in a suit, everyone else in shorts and towing caravans.

The road to England’s very own holiday region is great, so long as you don’t use it in the holiday season. Someone even wrote about it:

the-a303

The A303 is one of those wonderful British roads that the authorities have semi-modernised; it goes from one lane to two lanes and then back to one lane and so on and so forth. The result is a total pain in the arse as you stop and go with traffic filtering and everyone slowly getting pissed off.

Then there is Stonehenge. It sits a few hundred yards from the road about 80 miles from London. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting England for the first time, but you wouldn’t go back. Yet everyone slows down to look at it as they drive past. It’s a bunch of rocks people. Rocks. Back in the day you could sit on them and eat your sandwiches. Nowadays the local History Police shoot on sight if you get within 100 yards.

Stoned

Stonehenge – Rocks and Nutjobs

It’s weird going to the South West of England on business. Normally you go there for holidays. I met my colleague and we went to a pub restaurant (the Harbour Inn) in Lyme Regis. I had Sticky Asian Pork Belly.

IMG_8568

A revelation. Delicious. Sublime.

Continue reading

Seared Tuna with Bok Choy and Fried Rice

I have a new plate. Yes a plate. I can’t afford a KitchenAid food mixer. I don’t have the space for a pasta press. I owned a bamboo steamer once but it attracted an unpleasant sheen of greasy dust (or maybe that should read dusty grease) and in the end I chucked it.

I can’t even find the crappy cheese grater we bought at the BBC Good Food Show last year. Not that I want to use it; the only thing it could actually grate was thin air and I can’t find a recipe that requires grated thin air.

Anyway back to my new plate; it’s rectangular and white. I like it. It enables you to present your creation in an orderly manner – i.e. in a row, one thing after another.

With a round plate you tend to have to pile everything up in the middle, or you have to arrange things around the plate and it can quickly end up looking like you just threw the food at the plate and kind of hoped that everything would find it’s natural position all on its own.

Which of course it can’t because it’s all (hopefully) dead, and therefore inanimate.

So that’s why I like my new plate. And nice plates need nice things to put on them – so I went for something simple. Tuna is simple – doesn’t need much doing to it and lends itself nicely to flavours from the Orient…

 IMG_5051

Continue reading