© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

 

© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

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Caught in Bloomsbury

Thanks to a hitch at SOAS last Tuesday, I had to attend during office hours. What better time than 9am Thursday when, just by chance, the second week of the Bloomsbury FM was taking place? Amongst other goodies around the market, I was delighted to find a single pack of picanha steaks (600g for two) at Woodwards. They lasted out the weekend, of course, in their vacpac, and I opened them up this evening. With beef of this quality, less mucking about is more. Taking a bearing from the Portuguese, I covered the steaks in paper-thin slices of garlic (about a third of a head for the two steaks: after all, when the people of the Açores breathe out, the aroma will be dissipated by the time it hits Lisbon) and added about 100ml white wine, then left it for an hour. OK, four hours would have been better, but some of us have to work during the day. Scraped the gubbins off the meat, separating garlic from wine. Cooked the steaks, then the garlic and a chopped onion in the same pan while the meat rested awhile; meat back in to complete; meat out to rest again, and some cannellini beans in, with chopped peeled tomato and some more white wine, till the beans are heated through and you have a thick soupy sauce.

The meat was perfect, the inside coloured like a ripe fig. Magnificently tender, and very tasty. Another triumph for Will.

A perfect foil, in fact, to a stunning piece of cod (yes, that passeth all understanding) with very good chips, taken in the Hole in the Wall in Torquay at the weekend. This pub (pass Debenhams on your left, take the corner, cross the road, and follow the brown "Inns" sign, and it's tucked in on your left where hill gives way to steps) is worth a hat-tip for its food, its beer (Torbay Topsail and Otter Ale imbibed with great pleasure), and the fact that it appears to be a perfect local in a tourist hotspot, but which lets tourists be themselves, welcomed but not bothered. It's been there for almost 500 years, so they've had time to get it right, and the wit to avoid spoiling it.

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