Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bloggerview with Lindy Wildsmith, the author of "Cured" one of the best food books this century

Name and occupation
Lindy Wildsmith
Food and travel writer
Runs the Chef’s Room fish and cookery school

What would you like to plug?

Cured:salted spiced dried smoked potted pickled raw Jacqui small 2010 fish and cookery school in Wales

The first British Charcuterie festival at the Festival Hall site


Lindy demonstrates how to cure pork

Name your three desert island ingredients
Drinking water, vegetation and a boat to get out once I have had enough.

What would you have for your last supper?
Calf’s liver griddled with sage and a lick of extra virgin olive oil, spinach and a puree of mashed potato

What foodstuff would you banish to room 101?
Junk food

What's your favourite restaurant?
The Walnut Tree – near Abergavenny

What's your favourite tipple?
Depends on the time of day and the occasion – Champagnefor Christmas morning and very special moments. Prosecco for celebrating. Campari before dinner, grappa after dinner…..I could go on.

Which book gets you cooking?
I love looking at old cookery books where the written word is more important than the picture but
ingredients inspire me to be creative rather than books.

What's your dream dinner party line-up? And what would you cook for them?
My grandparents, parents and children all as young adults. Gravadlax with citrus and cinnamon. Rare shoulder of wild boar with pomegranate and a plum scented Charlotte Rousse

What was your childhood teatime treat?

Honestly? Cadbury’s chocolate fingers….and crumpets around the fireside.

What was the first thing you learnt to cook?
The first thing I remember making is Yorkshire pudding – my father was from Yorkshire and it was
everyone’s favourite. Also scones, pastry and cakes

What was the first thing you taught your children to cook?
Probably pizza – but cakes and scones as well

What was your mothers signature dish and do you try to copy it?
Charlotte Rousse – I often helped her make it but have never attempted to make it but am seriously thinking about it. It was amazing….

What would you make to impress your partner?
Anything with seafood

What was your most memorable meal?
There have been so many but….. my first ever meal al fresco was at the Royal Yacht Club at the port of Pireus outside Athens when I was fourteen. It was the first time I had seen or eaten fried squid, the first time I had experienced sitting out until late in the heat of the night - the scent of white jasmine in the air.

What was your biggest culinary disaster?
I can’t remember one! I am not saying things don’t go wrong but I usually mange to work around them – I need to think about that one! The first time I cooked duck – no one told me that even a large duck would not feed 8 people. Luckily there was plenty of other stuff to eat.

What's the worst meal you've ever had?
Not a worst meal…..but a worst pudding in Rome. Deep fried, ricotta filled chou buns……affectionately known as Le Palle del nonno – grandfather’s balls. I rest my case.

But wait yes there was a terrible meal. I was driving down from the UK to Rome with a couple of mates in a Mini. This was back in the 70s. We were travelling on a budget but at the same time loved the luxuries of life. We wanted to go to Monte Carlo and visit the casino. Once there we realized that we could only just afford to park the car. We walked around the harbour and checked out the casino by which time it was getting late and then we raced like bats out of hell as far as we could out of the town to find affordable food and lodging. We arrived on the border in Manton – it was now dark and we spotted a small place called Hotel des Roses. It was painted pink and looked a possibe and so it was. It had seen better days but dinner was included and by this time we were starving. We dropped our things and made a bee line for the dining room. It was crammed with people like us anxiously anticipating food. Suddenly the waiters appeared and a lidded tureen was placed in the middle of each table. The lids were raised around the room and we all leaned forward to see what was inside. As if under starter’s orders, everyone recoiled. It was the most evil smelling watery broth. We ate the bread. To follow, escallop of shoe leather and frites. We ate the frites. Later that evening we discovered two British boys were running the place.

What's the most outlandish thing you've ever eaten?
Seafood with pickled cabbage

Who's your food hero/food villain?
Food heroes….anyone who cooks regularly
Food villain….ready meals

Nigella or Delia?

Gin or Vodka?

Muesli or fry-up?
Difficult! I love both but if I had to choose - fry-up

Wine or beer?

KFC or Burger King?
Fish and chips

What do you consider the best of the best of British?
Such a big question!

Food - a home cooked roast Sunday lunch in winter
Chef - Shaun Hill
Instituation – Royal family

What's the best/worst thing about the British restaurant scene?
Pubs masquerading as restaurants.

What do you think will be the next big thing?
Is there anything left? Prawn cocktail and Black forest gateau….no! I have a feeling that French food is going to make a huge comeback

What would you do if you could choose any other career?

What do you have for Christmas lunch?
Turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas pudding. This is a once a year celebration why would you want anything else? You can eat everything else any day of the year.

Make a wish
That my new kitchen does not bankrupt me.

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