White Mice for Breakfast

"O mischief, thou art swift to enter in the thoughts of desperate men!"

Buttering Up. February 5, 2011

Filed under: Confectionary,FoodTravel TravelFood — theotherhand @ 4:33 pm
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My dear tartiflettes! I am taking the briefest of interludes from my daily duties of eating, writing, babysitting F.R. Leavis, entertaining Ricky Martin and keeping Barthes OFF the porch roof to introduce a most delectable new source of foodspiration.

May I introduce BUTTERSTRUCK.COM, the newest venture of my long-time compatriot and co-partner in crime during the wild days, when we would frequent hard-core bakery club, The Buns of Brixton, and talk shop. Gone are those days, dear pikelets, but I am pleased to say that Miss de Noves and I remain as close as ever; I wish her all the best with the new venture, to which I may contribute from time to time. Leavis is most excited about Butterstruck, and keeps quoting passages of it to me.

Barthes, meanwhile remains a nuisance. Pleas excuse me, chevres, I can hear him clambering about the roof now, with one of those pincer grab hands to steal this morning’s rock buns…


Esther. xxx


καυτό πράγματα December 9, 2010

My DEAR Crumpets!

How dismayed I am to think how I have neglected you all these past months; the thought of my loyal fans languishing in their homes, beating themselves with stale baguettes in order to stave off the emotional pain of my departure fills me with nothing less than REMORSE and DESPAIR.

However, back I am from my visit to the Bermuda Triangle with Ricky and Leavis. It has been a most profitable trip, dear cornichons, since your own diligent food literateur found herself transported to many places over the world, not least to the island home of my old friend dear Geraldine Punnington.

Miss C. North and I languished for several days in bright sunshine, gorging ourselves on baklava, halloumi, tahini, and all variety of …OPITAS. Did you know that thAT means PIE in Greek, my dear CherryOpitas? We thus indulged in spanakOPITA, tahinOPITA, halloumOPITA… my, the list goes on!  Esther, you cry, do not taunt us with unillustrated morsels! Well here we are, crumpets:


Many OPITAS from Zorba's Bakery

And since you have been such pleasant companions, I shall also treat you to a picture of a remarkable groceria find!

Kolokothakia, that is LITTLE PUMPKINS, from Kipris

Remarkable, no?! It was indeed a delightful trip, with never ending mezzes abounding, such as the one at the Omodos Taverna, which continued for many days and nights, never ceasing! There were dishes of olives, and tzatziki and tahini, enormous greek salads, there were dishes of beans and rice, courgette and eggs, cous cous, plates of kleftiko (the interesting history for which can be read HERE) and when we thought we should perish from the piquant abundance of toothsome delicacies, there arrived a WHOLE BAKED TROUT.

Goodness, I recommend you all take out your embroidered E.C handkerchiefs and fan yourselves before you too faint away from fooxuberance. (Food exuberance for those who are uneducated in culinary lingo.)

I must dash and leave you for now, dear tureens; I hear Leavis calling me from the kitchen. (He is making a batch of devilled eggs, and I fear, hashing up my spice cupboard entirely.)

Never fear! Another baking bulletin will reach your eyes in the near future, with an AMBROSIAL ADVENT THEME.

Until then, clafoutises,

Esther. xxx


Iberian Indulgence! July 1, 2010

This week, scallops, I will be describing the delectation of:

That’s right, TAPAS. Or to be more precise, certain delicious southern Spanish foodstuffs, the ciruelas of Córdoba, the mariscos of Murcia, the limón of the Levante, the ajo of Andalucia, all steeped in the aceite of Olivar del Desierto in the Tabernas desert.

Yes, crumpeteers! Your favourite intrepid literary food writer has been gadding away from the green shores in search of new and noteworthy dishes! And I am delighted to announce that my success has been as resounding as a ladle in a le cruset! Not only does your devoted Esther have news of sumptuous SPANISH sustenance, I have also located a new ‘Cheese of the Week’; so flip to a free page on your E.C. memo pads and watch out for another post hurtling into the stratosphere!

FIRSTLY, langostinos, we shall discuss the initial repast of the day, and although the beginning is a very odd place to start in my opinion (Leavis is also of a mind about this; why not simply plunge in mid-way, crumps, avoiding preliminary dilly dally? That singing nun has misled a whole generation, I’m sad to say) we shall begin with BREAKFAST.

Indeed, the daily desayuno. No metropolitan, Madrileño chocolades con churros to be found here, beets! Rather, the fascinating tradition of TOSTADA. A cheap, nom-licious dish, made from toasted baguette halves ‘barra’, pricked with a fork and drizzled with olive oil, before being rubbed with crushed, de-skinned tomatos and light flourish of salt. (In my case, I should also request a cafe SOLO, a coffee as strong and dark as a power-lifted covered in tar. But do not let me sway you, I’m sure cafe con leche is acceptable).

But Esther! I hear you cry. Surely this provides the perfect canvas, the base, for tasty additions? If, dear eaters, you have visions of serrano HAM, CHEESE, other ethereal savouries wafting o’er your palates, do not be alarmed. For indeed, this was also explored most thoroughly! Myself, being a traditionalist, sampled a simple tostada con tomato, ajo y manchego:

My dear friend Miss Pamela Vartue, on the other hand, braving the Andalucian sun and risking her fair complexion with only a jaunty continental hat for protection, was most inquisitive and sampled a fascinating TOSTADA of tomate y ajo con jamón serrano y huevos de codorniz: (tomato, garlic, serrano ham and quail egg… these sound infinitely nicer in Spanish, no?)

My other dear travelling companions also performed admirably in the food-discovery objective; I do believe Miss Vartue and Geraldine discovered some delectable mejillones, whilst Ms North fed my ever-increasing love affair with manchego and queso curado (and semi-curado for that matter…) and we all four  lit upon a wondr’ous dish of patatas alioli, a garlicky romance to the cuisine of Córdoba.

Although Leavis preferred to stay behind and read up on salmon, Barthes did attempt to tag along. Luckily we gave him the slip at the aerodrome, by shouting ‘By God, is that Empson by the luggage carousel?’ and running away while he was distracted.

Keep a watch for that cheese, dumplings!

Más mantequilla!

Esther. xxx


Audio Crumpets May 6, 2010

Filed under: Audio Crumpet — theotherhand @ 10:14 am
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Hear Esther’s first crumpet-trumpet on the airwaves of the intertubes by clicking on Mr Lincoln.

This week; important food holiday dates for your almanacs.

Lincoln enjoys the crump...


Morsels in the Metropolis May 1, 2010

This week dear feuilletines, I will expound upon COMESTIBLES in the CAPITAL, MORSELS in the METROPOLIS.

Yes, crumpet followers! Last week, I, Esther, ventured off my colonial porch and bravely sallied forth into the bright lights of LONDON TOWN. And it was indeed a pleasant experience! I had not ventured into town since Leavis’s rather embarrassing fight with one of those tall hatted fellows at Buckingham Palace, but was pleased to see that so many of my old stomping grounds were still doing a roaring, nay, foaming at the mouth trade! I was delighted to exhibit these diverting delicatessens, these emporiums of the edible to my learned compatriots, Geraldine Punnington and Pamela Vatrue, hereafter named as Gerald and PAM.

(Gerald, PAM and myself were coincidentally celebrating the completion of academic projects; myself for the newly finished Humbug Compendium, Gerald for a new chapter in her Complete Pun Dictionary entitled ‘Early Modern Effluvium’, and PAM an epistolary follow-up to her wildly successful, Whitney, My Love.)

And to my toothsome JOY, dear kastanjes, that we were also joined by an old and very dear comrade from my colourful past, the mysterious Zucre d’Churros…

But more of that later! Quell your cravings and salivations and be assured that I  shall introduce the first petiterie without further dilly dally:

The most ergonomic NEAL’S YARD SALAD BAR


Eclectic, economical, effervescent... NYSB deserves all the e-headed superlatives in the world. Wondrously homely vegetarian, vegan or carnivore food with Brazilian flair! One word: CHEESE BREADS.

Dear, dear pikletings, I almost fear to speak of this hidden gem for fear of it being overrun with E.C. supporters; so if you must swarm, please swarm sedately, in pairs and at a genteel pace. Here are some pictures taken on my photom-a-graph:

Delectable Bruschetta...

Tantalizing tartlets, CHEESE BREAD IN A BASKET

Secondly, if you are partial to yoghurt of the frozen variety in a myriad of flavours and colours, then this hidden titbit just off Covent Garden purveys the most delightful kind…


also renowned for a pond'rous selection of fresh organic MUFFINS.

PAM's hand holding her 'fro yo'; what delightful slang emerges from the streets these days. I must tell Leavis.

I know, succulent readers, you are wondering when I shall elaborate on the tantalizing reference to my mysterious friend,  Zucre d’Churros… well that moment is now! Walking through London, I was delighted to receive a telegram from my old acquaintance, and we hurried back to Cov Gar in order to meet her! Zucre has spent the past few years engaged in enigmatic and recondite activities in Iberian countries, and so it was delightful to be re-united. I am also eternally grateful to her for introducing your favourite food writer to a HAVEN, a FIRMAMENT of Italian delights, by the name of:


Princi, like its Milanese counterpart, also sells fresh wood-fired pizza and organic bread! AND CAKES, MANY CAKES.

Sadly, my croquettines, the cakes were of such interest and delectation, that their existence was too fleeting to capture in a photograph. But, be assured they were as scrumptious as Zuchre foretold.

Thus concludes this week’s gastronomic revelry, E.C. followers! Do pay attention for next week’s adventures featuring your own Esther, Leavis and of course, the diabolic Barthes.

Chow until supper!

Esther. xxx


More Popular than Cheeses? Esther’s Cheese of the Week March 30, 2010

Filed under: Savoury Delicacies — theotherhand @ 2:34 pm
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This week, tartiflettes:

That’s right, perceptive readers! No thin-as-prosciutto word games, no mildly unrelated photographs, just DRUNK CHEESE.Or in actuality, UBRIACO.

Or in its gloriously precise wine-sodden reality, FORMAIO EMBRIAGO.

Yes, my over-excited reblochons! An exciting cheese indeed, un fromage ivre, un queso borracho; un formaggio ubriaco! Do try to contain yourselves, I intend to elaborate and find it most difficult when I know that my readers are pawing at the screen like cannibals at a tanning salon. DECORUM, dear frites, is the key to gastronomy success.

AnyWHO, formaggio ubriaco is a cheese which has been wined and dined, enveloped and enrobed by the fruity must of cabernet and merlot grapes, après the wine pressing has concluded. The cheese is then left in beautiful union with the must, for several days, a week, a delirious honeymoon of cheese and wine, two substances meeting, growing intimately familiar, reading Dr. Zhivago to each other, listening to classical love arias and watching the bella notte section from Lady and the Tramp, before being cruelly separated from each other, compelled by the force of fate to live alone; purple rind the only memory of the ill-fated, but magical love affair… Tragic, mon oeufs, but beautiful nonetheless.

Lumi’s hand encroaching on my embriago

HOW Esther, I hear you ask, how did you discover this fromagian romance? I shall tell you; this morning, myself and a long-term confidante, Lumi Salmonchee, paid a visit to a wonderful delicatessen, taking with us dear Ricky, who has been moping rather of late after all the fumé in the press about his personal life. (Poor man, I don’t see why coming out as a vegetarian would be of such interest to the press…)

During our long perusal of the cheese counter, I espied the purple-washed elegance of the Embriago, resting amongst the other, happier cheeses, wearing its pathos bravely with its subtle hint of tragic grape. Ricky immediately identified with it, and demanded tearfully that we purchase some for lunch. Lumi seemed less eager, engrossed as she was in gnawing at a block of Applewood.

CAN you imagine my surprise, butterbeans, when I was handed a slice costing FIVE GUINEAS AND FIVE SHILLINGS?! Lumi, of course, threatened to tell my acquaintances of the extravagant purchase. She will not, however, since have a good quantity of blackmail material on her. (Always good practice, crumpets) You’ll be pleased to know that Ricky had a delightful lunch, and is currently napping in the hammock on the verandah. This afternoon, we intend to get the crossbows out, and play ‘Shoot the bagels hung from the butler’s coat’, before baking some cookies and watching re-runs of Doogie Howser, M.D.

Delightful. Until elevenses, sweet Eccles,

Esther. xxx


Turkish B Good March 15, 2010

Filed under: Confectionary,Savoury Delicacies — theotherhand @ 1:05 am
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This week, piccalillies, I whole heartedly encourage you to HAVE A:

Oh my, did those pearly kings and queens have the right idea! However, as colourful and wholesome as the cuisine of the music halls was, this missive, dear eaters, does not address boiled beef, pork trotters or savs. It instead concerns a deliciously CHARMING peti’terie… (a petite eatery for the less perspicacious amongst you; a SMALL culinary locale. Please make a note of this new vocabulary in your specially designed E.C. (Esther Crumpet) memo pads. I trust you have all obtained these; repetition is ever so bothersome)

… a CHARMING peti’terie with a most flavoursome dish of plantain persuasion. An elegiac elopement of textures and tastes, rich, yet humble, sweet and cool, melting but…

But I am gamboling ahead of myself, loyal chouxs! I must relate the series of felicitous coincidences which led me to the bananaine surprise! Know then, that poor Leavis has been feeling under precipitation of late, so to cheer him up I set out for a visit in my new perambulatory machine, taking with me a batch of freshly risen CRUMPETS.

However, as I was driving through the merry streets of Canterbridge, who should I espy perched in the window of a cosy establishment but Mrs P. and Pamela, who were pleasantly occupied in cooing at passing toddlers. Eager not to miss such good sport, I joined them for luncheon. Said peti’terie, Cafe Otto, is graced by two splendidly astute hosts, whose rhetorical nudges towards a superb plate of dolma were gratefully accepted.

‘Twas towards the end of our jovial repas however, that the real treat-ine was granted, and fortuitously, I captured an image:

As simple, yet elegant and TASTEFUL as one of Miss Pamela’s bows. A yielding, fudge-like centre embellished with hidden jems of pistachio and walnut, melding in a delicate morsel of banana, with chocolate robing as classic as a beatnik’s black polo neck. What is more, it was GRATIS, dear eaters, a quality which emphasized its charms twofold.

Poor Leavis never did get his crumpets. Although I entrusted them to the doorman, Roland Barthes was hanging about again like a hungry beagle. I suspect he ate them.

Love and cucumber sandwiches,

Esther xxx