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Oz Clarke’s Foodie Loves & Hates

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Sep 28, 2020
6 minutes to read
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The much-loved wine expert shares his foodie loves and hates, from the joys of new season English apples to the horror of school dinner tapioca

LOVES

NEW SEASON ENGLISH APPLES

We had an orchard when I was a kid growing pears, plums, berries and soft fruit, but, best of all, apples: Bramleys, Lady Henekers and Coxes. Every scar I still bear is from falling out of Cox trees, chasing the scented, sweet thrill of sinking my teeth into a new Cox, freshly-plucked from the bough.

JALAPENO CHILLIES

I realised that Jalapenos are simply the best chillies when I used to hang out in San Francisco, drinking Anchor Steam Beer and devouring corn chips, re-fried beans and Jalapeno salsa. I’m OK with Scotch Bonnets and Birds Eyes, but none of them have the astonishing juiciness and fresh fragrance of a Jalapeno.

TINS OF PULSES, BEANS, LENTILS…

These, for me, are the ultimate comfort food. Black Eyed beans, haricots, kidney beans, butter beans, cannellini, Puy lentils – I feel threatened if I drop below three or four tins. Then a pan, some rough olive oil, pancetta, shallots and mushrooms, duck stock, lots of red wine – in go the pulses, down goes the gas, simmer until it all starts to thicken. Aaah….

REALLY FRESH MEAT

I don’t buy a lot of meat, but we have three great butchers near where I live, and now and then I dive in and buy something like a 28 day dryaged rib of beef, bone in. I take it home, unwrap it and feel I’m really spoiling myself as I gaze at its glory and suck in the astonishing smell of a really good piece of really fresh meat.

HATES


DRIED PARSLEY

Why does anyone make dried parsley? If you want to add stale grass cuttings to your soup – that’s fine, but don’t spend money on it. Some dried herbs are pretty good. Dried parsley is horrendous. Is it because good fresh-picked crinkly parsley is so bright and earthy and gorgeously country-green that its delicacy could never survive this heartless industrialisation?

TAPIOCA

‘Frog spawn’ we called it at school. We had it once a week, the day after semolina and the day before rice pudding. I gagged every time those malevolent, globular, winking, slimey pellets of wickedness slithered down my throat. I still do.

OLIVE OIL LEFT TOO LONG

I love good olive oil. I collect it from all around the world with as much enthusiasm as I collect wine. I’ve always got several on the go; right now Australia, Tuscany, Sicily, Croatia and Palestine. But every year or two I unearth a bottle I’ve forgotten. I open it, and it is always tired, rancid and full of the regret of a jilted lover.

Oz Clarke’s new book English Wine: From still to sparkling (£16.99, Pavilion Books) is out now

Image credit to Keith Barnes Photography


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