Every year my favourite auntie bakes me a cake for Christmas as my present. It’s my favourite present for many reasons – one of which being that it’s the only gift I receive where I know I definitely won’t require Leo Di’o’s acting skills to hide my inner disappointment when I unwrap it (as I do with the novelty Christmas items bought from the crap end of Oxford Street that I often receive). But of course the main reason is that it is absolutely delicious. I’m not sure of exactly what’s even in it (have you noticed the recent trend of bus-travelling teens unnecessarily using and emphasising the word ‘even’ when it doesn’t ‘even’ need to be there e.g. What even is that? I know I sound old saying that but I’m feeling old at the moment as I just turned 39 and the spectre of 40 is a little distressing). Anyway I digress, I don’t know what’s in it but it’s dark, rich, moist and satisfyingly dense. A fruit cake seemingly with no actual fruit in it because in traditional Jamaican style the fruit has been soaked in Red Label Wine (Red Label Jamaican Aperitif if you’re looking in Tesco) and then blended to leave no trace but the taste before who knows what spices and extracts are added to the cake mix.
This year I decided to up-booze, so fed the cake with some Gosling’s Black Seal rum and left it for a few days. Black Seal is a relatively new discovery for me. Not a fine sipping rum like Angostura 1824 or Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva but a great rum for a Dark & Stormy – on of the Kitchen’s favourite rum cocktails – and an amazing rum it turns out to add to my Auntie’s Christmas Cake. Suffice to say I will be doing this every year from now on as it has taken the cake to the next level. I’ve pretty much wolfed down the whole thing in record time and have just 2 slices left. If i manage to get the recipe I’ll be sure to share it but for now you’ll have to make do with a picture.
Crumbs On The Table just like D-Nice once said.
Whoops – I’d been scoffing it down as I was typing this so only crumbs on the table to show you. Tasty!
The exile is over. I’d like to apologise for my very shabby/sporadic blogging behaviour but I have good reason. Not long after my last post I disappeared to New York to visit my pal Bash, have a look around (it was 10 years since I was last there), buy some stuff (mainly clothes from European brands that I didn’t really need) and check out some of the NY food scene. I was particularly keen to go to Williamsburg, Brooklyn much to the annoyance of my lazy host who barely leaves Hoboken and was adamant that the 40 min PATH/6 journey was too much of a ball ache for a Sunday morning. He was also fearful that the chosen brunch venue would require queuing up: “I’m not queuing up for 2 hours for a pancake” [expletives removed]. So I set off alone and immediately found a queue to join outside Pies n Thighs, a little chicken and biscuits place on the corner of Driggs and S. 4th Street just over the Williamsburg Bridge. 20 minutes later I was sat at a table sandwiched between a pair of very attractive cousins and a trio of septuagenarians – both parties really interesting, very friendly and consisting of one local who had enthusiastically brought their guest(s) to taste the best chicken and waffles in town . The waitress, which I swear was Big Bang Theory’s Penny, insisted that I try the Rob Evans – a buttermilk biscuit with two scrambled eggs, cheese and generously covered with sausage gravy. It was ridiculously flavoursome and suprisingly filling leaving me no room to finish the Pecan Butter Crunch Donut the Alicia Keys lookalike next to me had insisted that I try.
Good Evans! Pies n Thighs signature dish
I highly recommend you line up for 20 minutes if you get the chance and the experience punctuated a trip that took in all sorts of foodie delights from the best mexican street food I’ve ever tasted – Calexico’s SoHo lunch truck on Prince Street & Wooster Street does the most incredible chipotle pork carnitas – to the very touristy but must-visit Katz Deli who’s gut-busting brisket sandwich contains more meat in it than Smithfield Market.
Half of Katz Deli’s Brisket Sandwich
Oh and it comes with a load of chips and a pickle on the side.
As you can probably tell I returned eager to tell you all about my gastronomic discoveries but a couple of days later I started a new job working on the launch of London Live, an exciting new channel for Londoners launching this forthcoming March. To say I hit the ground running would be like describing Usain Bolt as fairly quick. Like many of the team I’m not sure I have ever been busier. But the good news for you is that the new year has inspired Bernie’s Kitchen to post more frequently and the even better news if you live in London is that one of the first shows we’ve commissioned is a brand new noisy food series called Food Junkies that will uncover the best of London’s foodie secrets and the interesting characters that have contributed to London’s status as a global culinary capital on a par with cities like New York . Happy New Year peeps and make sure you check it out.