Friday, June 4, 2010

We have a winner!

Hello everyone!
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to judge this round of Cook the Books. For one thing, it has taken the pressure off my own entry and for another I got to really think about the wonderful entries that everyone else put in.
I’m really impressed by the dishes that everyone was inspired to make! Such variety. And nobody could accuse them of being stodgy, boring or bland, which seem to be the criticisms usually laid at British food’s door.
So – to the judging.
In 3rd place is Claudia from Honey From Rock with her take on Sticky Toffee Pudding. I find STP very cloying usually, but her variations on the fruit sounded just wonderful, and less sweet. Plus the booze she added to the sauce makes it reminiscent of Tipsy Tart, which is my favourite South African dessert. Her pudding looks delicious and her post was a great read – with a playful tone that fit the tone of the book perfectly.
In 2nd place is Heather, the girlichef, with her fish & chips. I have often said that my last meal before they take me out and shoot me will be fish and chips, and it would be hard to beat Heather’s lovely version in a light ale batter. And as Nigel Slater wrote in the book, the smell of malt vinegar on hot chips really is “the smell of Britain”. We have a very good chippy down the street from us, and on a Friday night the queue will be out the door with people waiting for their battered haddock, and streams of people clutching their white paper parcels (not newspaper anymore) walking the other way. Heather really captured the essence of a fish supper in her post. Lovely!
And the winner is the Chicken Tikka Masala from Joanne at Eats Well With Others. If Heather’s post was the typical old-fashioned British meal, Joanne’s is the epitome of modern British food. A bit of spice (but not too much), fresh herbs and tender chicken. This dish has the added advantage of sounding much nicer than any I have ever had in a curry house over here! Chicken Tikka Masala may not look British or sound British, but apparently 23 millions portions of the stuff are sold a year in restaurants, so this is absolutely the perfect representation of British food for Cook the Books!
Thanks again for letting me judge this one.

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