halibut aioli garni

I’m not very old, but for much of my youth in the north west of England, it was almost impossible to find fresh foods that weren’t local. Today such a statement seems like an echo of Victorian times, but, literally, that’s how it was until a supermarket was built behind the Knutsford courthouse in the late 80s. Continue Reading »

Ecuadorian Ceviche.jpg

Since parenthood came into my life, so has weight gain. It hasn’t been all that bad but I think I weigh a bit more now than I did in the days after I pushed that child out. Why? Because the gym is now a long-distant memory. Since we clearly like to eat, the gym was once my very good friend four or five times a week pre-child. Now, I’m lucky to even get a long walk to the park. If I still have energy after a day of chasing after a 1 year old, I’ll may pop in a yoga DVD, but I now realize that “5 Minute ABS” only works when you are doing more than just “5 Minute Abs”. I refuse to stop eating or drinking wine but I miss those carefree days of hitting the gym whenever I wanted to sweat off my stress and weekend steak and potatoes.

So how does Mariah Carey fit into this post? Well, recently, Mariah debuted her “post baby body” – a phrase I’m kinda getting sick of seeing on magazine covers. Yeah, yeah, she did it through diet and exercise and did gain like a million pounds while on bedrest with her twins but she has a FLAT STOMACH AGAIN! How about this chick - she did a Vickis Secret bra and panties modeling shoot a few weeks after giving birth. I was still wearing my “belly band” at that point. Continue Reading »

white risotto with fennel sausage meatballs

I was recently introduced to an Australian with whom I had a number of interesting discussions (that is not meant as a joke). The first, an hour-long discussion of the age-old cricketing rivalry between England and his native land is of no concern here, but the second, a frank exchange of views about the quality of sausages to be found in the United States has rather more relevance to the subject matter of these here web pages. His view, that American sausages simply aren’t up to snuff compared to the quality and variety of those available in Australia – a country in which the mystery bag has achieved almost legendary status for its role in the great Aussie barbecue – is not one I share, even if there were no other examples of fine forcemeat here than the glorious boudin of Louisiana, although, in his defense, he was careful to exclude American-made Italian style sausages from this otherwise careless dismissal. Continue Reading »

Red's Lobster Roll - Wiscasset, Maine

Ah, Maine, with its mossy forests, its briny cliffs dotted with picturebook fishing villages, its bracing salt air, and its discount-tastic outlet malls! What could be more uplifting to the benighted soul of a grimy city-dweller than an autumnal visit to the cheerful redoubt of the gaily-painted puffin, the marshy lowlands of the lumbering moose, or the azure waters of the delicious lobster? Such was our spirit as we bounded north of the city, clad in windbreakers and LLBean gear two weekends ago. Little did we know that behind the facade of unspoiled nature’s bounty lay an altogether more sinister side to the state known as “Vacationland”. Continue Reading »

roasted pork hock with parsley mashed potatoes

The largely unknown city of Compiegne, France, has the distinction of being the site of one of Louis XV’s most extravagant homes away from home. Under him, the Chateau de Compiegne became one of three distinctly opulent seats of government alongside Versailles and Fontainbleau. The latter French monarchs were hardly known for their desire to live simply as visitors to either of those other palaces can attest, and Compiegne is no exception, taking more than 35 years to complete with Louis constantly tinkering at the design to aggrandize it to his tastes. When finished it made the perfect departure point for forays into the nearby Forest of Compiegne, ancestral hunting grounds of French royalty, for some bracing sport. However, Louis was not into taking chances on returning with his game bag empty, and it is said that the forest was so well-stocked that a blind marksman could still expect to feast on wild meats. Continue Reading »

Baigan Bharta

One of the great joys of parenting is being able to do stuff with your kids, you know, like playing with them and watching them laugh. One of the great responsibilities of parenting is doing things with them because you have no choice, as this morning when I reached a stalemate with our 11-month old: either he needed to stop being so clingy for a few moments or I wouldn’t be able to get off the toilet. Depending on what kind of parent you are, you’ll find that one of these scenarios is more common than the other, and we’re totally not judging. Continue Reading »

*Sticky and Sweet Walnut Grape Bread

Roll out the red carpet, blow the shiny, loud horns, wear your fanciest dress (you too, men) – guess who’s back? Yes, I am still alive. Yes, Jonny has been keeping this blog afloat for a year now. And yes, I am ready to try to blog again. After a year of figuring out how to be a parent (and how to be comfortable being a mom and finally coming to terms with the fact that my life will never, ever be the same again) and learning to balance everything that comes with this new, crazy world, I finally feel like I want to write again. And what could be better to write about than the grapevine that not only GREW in the soil of our Brooklyn, NY, yard but even FLOURISHED and provided over 20 lbs of sweet, delicious Catawba grapes? Continue Reading »

veal brains alla milanese

Our good friend, of whom we have seen very little recently, but who persists as an unwitting gastronomic inspiration to us – Juan Camilo – struck again recently when we spied a mess of veal brains at our local butcher. [I’m not sure what the proper collective noun is for brains, but the term seems appropriate given their form, even if something like “florettes” might be more marketable.] We are forever indebted to JC for introducing us to and instructing us on Colombian food, but also for taking us to Ali Kabab Cafe, happily for him, just across the street from his Astoria, Queens, apartment. Continue Reading »

Pork belly puttanesca with homegrown tomatoes

Contrary to conventional wisdom, at this time of year when the garden is in a headlong rush to produce fruits, and you can almost watch the plants as they extend their sinewy tendrils into the air like a group of octopi doing the wave, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with it all. This is a peculiar problem for us since hitherto we’ve been limited to the cultivation of one basil plant, one of chives, a miserable-looking tarragon, and a solitary pepper plant in pots on our fire escape, so were limited to harvesting only as much as wouldn’t kill the plant at any one time. In this context, the occasion of the annual pepper (singular) ripening was celebrated with champagne and confetti. Continue Reading »

creole steak with bewitched black beans (frijoles negras al brujo)

An oft-heard, anguished cry these days chez nous is “there’s nothing to bloody eat in this house except baby food!”. Never actually true and rarely even close to reality, this refrain was aired again earlier this week when, left to my own devices while Amy enjoys a well-deserved week at her family’s shore house, I returned from work and opened the fridge. Having recently watched Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, I was reminded that the more one looks at something the more curious it appears, and an apparently bereft fridge began to transform before my eyes into a chest of plenty. Continue Reading »

well-balanced lunch, Bathurst Arms, near Cirencester, GL
“A journey is a fragment of hell.”
– Prophet Mohammed

Regular readers will most likely know a handful of factoids about us WANF-ers and our proclivities, among them: one of us is English, the other Italian-American; we enjoy making a wide variety of dishes, many of which we’ve sampled on our travels; and we have a young child. The more perspicacious among you will notice one or more incompatibilities in the above, especially with regard to the child and love of travel. Upon our recent visit with our English family, these came home to roost and were amplified by an exquisitely-timed bout of gastrointestinal trauma. Not that this made for a disastrous visit – far from it, in fact – but it certainly hampered our ability to sample local specialties and, after having looked forward to the prospect of an honest pub lunch for around 18 months, it made such sampling as we were able to undertake an exercise in sweet frustration. Continue Reading »

pea and paneer curry

If the immense diversity of this city reveals itself in the faces of its people, and if, in turn, those faces can be said to reflect the myriad flavors of this world, then how should one interpret the wearing of “beats by dr dre” headphones by anyone north of 25 years old? With this eternal question in mind, I urge you to consider another conundrum for the ages, which may still puzzle some Hindu theologians: how to take enticing food photography of Indian food with its range of brownish-hued sauces? As we know only too well, appearances are crucial in the food world. Continue Reading »

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