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Helen Hokin's Pick of the Week

Helen Hokin's Pick of the Week
As hard as they might try, Foodtripper's seasoned travel writers have some way to go before they can match the distances covered by delivery vans shunting chandeliers, mirrors and imported rugs across country to our MPs' second homes, as revealed last week. 
Our hotfooting food writers have clocked up a fair few air miles lately: Andrew Copestake accepted an envy-inducing invitation to Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas for the annual US chefs’ shindig and celebrity-studded ‘Vegas Uncork’d’. Heading off in the opposite direction, Anna Maria Espsater made a culinary pilgrimage to Korea’s little visited Jeollabuk-do province to research a fascinating story about kimchi (Korean pickles). But even these most seasoned of travel writers have some way to go before they can match the total combined distance racked up by the delivery vans shunting chandeliers, mirrors and imported rugs across country to our MPs' second homes, as revealed last week. 
For once it wasn’t food miles but furniture miles dominating the news.

And on that note, as crucial as it is to choose British produce over international supplies wherever possible I, for one, would be at a loss - not to mention my palette - without certain imported foods: tropical fruits, a simple glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning and the warmth of spices. That was the topic of conversation I had over lunch this week with the charming Rowley Leigh at his London Bayswater restaurant, Le Café Anglais aka The Caff, as he likes to call it.
In the light and airy dining-room I was treated to a colourful and unusual array of tasting dishes created by Rowley and a crack team of international chefs. It's all part of an inititative to inspire us to be more intrepid in the kitchen. Mix things up. Combine unlikely flavours. Use more herbs and spices. Thankfully there was nothing too weird. And the pud, a chaud-froid of chunky sliced pineapple griddled until the sugars caramelised and the juices ran sweet and warm and topped with coconut ice cream and star anise, was divine -bright and lively with flavour and all the better for the addition of spices. I can’t decide what I like best about Rowley Leigh – his food or his food writing. You'll find a recipe for one Rowley’s flavour combinations in the Features section (but not in his restaurant  which is strictly Modern British, with a French bistro influence, and very good it is, too).

Back on our green and pleasant turf Foodtripper’s resident food festival spy, Zoe Perrett, has confessed to scoffing shocking amounts of British artisan produce at this month’s Real Food Festival. All for a good cause; she has compiled her top ten favourites list of food producers so if you didn’t catch the festival this year there’s a vicarious taster awaiting in our Features section. And by the way, does anyone know where they put the festival water buffalo to bed for the night?

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17 May 2009
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