Zoe Perrett

  • email: perrett.z@googlemail.com
  • African Sauces: It’s Curry, Bim, But Not As We Know It

    Tuesday August 21st, 2012

    When I were a mere scrap of a lass, many family occasions were heralded by the plonking on the table of a large vat of a spicy, beefy elixir, whose flavour was largely dependent on large dollops of peanut butter. This, ostensibly, was an ‘African’ curry, and we ate it accompanied with white rice, sprinkled liberally with the contents of myriad small wooden bowls- tinned pineapple chunks, sliced banana, raisins, salted nuts, chopped apple.... The authenticity may have been in dispute, but never, ever, the sheer deliciousness.

  • Benares- Not Your Standard Indian. Not Atul.

    Wednesday August 15th, 2012

    When a clearly straight, urbane waiter compliments you on your heels, you can’t help but love a restaurant. Especially when said heels are transporting you to the Benares chef’s table to gulp a fishbowl-sized gin-and-champagne cocktail and watch a Michelin-starred craftsman do his thing with an ocean of seafood.

  • Swrilled, Stir-fired & Sauteed With Springs

    Monday August 13th, 2012

    Fancy a laugh? Pick up a gatefold menu next time you're passing the local takeaway, and prepare to enter a surreal comedy world where dishes 'sauteed with springs' are the least of your worries- and you're every bit as likely to quash your appetite as awaken it.

  • Sitting On A Map Of The World, Watching The Chai Roll In

    Wednesday August 8th, 2012

    Balls and tarts out on display in Stratford on a Friday night? Hardly a midsummer night's dream, but not out of the ordinary, either. Okay, try this- a gigantic scale map of the UK has been erected in the courtyard of the Old Town Hall, functioning as the table for a series of world food dinners, aptly entitled Global Feast 2012. And, tonight, we eat the Subcontinent.

  • A Healthy Namaaste To The Olympic Games

    Monday July 30th, 2012

    I have no tickets, I have no official merchandise, and what's more, I have absolutely no inclination to spend my summer glued to a sporting event of any kind. But, like it or not, 'the games', like a particularly determined teenage boy, will touch us all in some way. And imbibing a rainbow selection of lassis and a hearty Indian feast is surely the least objectionable manner.

  • A Right Royal Return: Bombay Palace Relaunches

    Friday July 27th, 2012

    Arguably, everyone loves a curry. But, as any discerning fellow knows, there's curry and there's curry. There's the huge vats of base gravy turned into sickly-sweet kormas; dull, derivative dhansaks; or vicious, volcanic vindaloos. Then there are scratch cooked, silky, butter-based sauces; bright green, spanking fresh herbal preparations; and thick, nut-enriched pastes. And Bombay Palace are firm champions of the latter bunch.

  • Bombay Palace

    Tuesday July 24th, 2012

    Arguably, everyone loves a curry. But, as any discerning fellow knows, there's curry and there's curry. There's the huge vats of base gravy turned into sickly-sweet kormas; dull, derivative dhansaks; or vicious, volcanic vindaloos. Then there are scratch cooked, silky, butter-based sauces; bright green, spanking fresh herbal preparations; and thick, nut-enriched pastes. And Bombay Palace are firm champions of the latter bunch.

  • Chocs Away! Thorntons Great British Competition

    Monday July 23rd, 2012

    Keith Hurdman holds the accolade of 2011's Joint Chocolatier of the Year. He also hold the title of Thorntons' master chocolatier- surely one of the most desirable jobs on the market. He might have trained all over Europe, winning medals left, right, and centre, but Keith's current obsession is with all things British. And one of my current obsessions is his Bakewell Tart bar- a remarkable Willy Wonka treat distilling every last drop of the scrumptious pudding into a block of creamy milk chocolate.

  • Cocoa, Loco, & Quite, Quite Nuts

    Monday July 23rd, 2012

    It's graphic art. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Metallic gold leaf, once adorning my chocolate martini, is now sticking firmly to my red lipstick. It's anything but subtle, as several of my compatriots have pointed out. Cocoa loco, indeed.

  • 'Andes' When You Fancy A Little Spice

    Monday July 16th, 2012

    Chilli sauces are hot property of late. Quite literally- nipping at the the heels of Wahaca's latest, and rather tasty, offerings is Rico Picante, claiming to deliver a big whack of flavour along with a fruity burst of fire. They also tick the trend box for provenance- hailing from that oh-so-now, country-of-the-moment- Peru.

  • An Early Indian Summer In Soho

    Friday July 13th, 2012

    The summer's turning out to be a damp squib. We, however, are tucking into perfectly dry, crisp fried squid, luxuriating in the warmth of a garden filled with palm trees. Yes, this is London, and no, we've not imbibed one too many Maharajah Fizzes- although the 200-strong cocktail menu is undoubtedly one of Carom's biggest lures.

  • The Spice Tailor... Ooh, Suits you, Sir

    Monday July 2nd, 2012

    Three unassuming sachets sit in front of a skeptical me. Nice packaging design, colourful, clean graphics- and the reassuring photo of Anjum Anand, noted for championing authentic, tasty Indian food. But, ambient curry sauces? Really, Anjum? With all due respect, I'm not sold. Until, of course, I unequivocally am. Tail firmly between my legs, I award a resounding victory to 'The Spice Tailor'.

  • Indian Wine: Really Rather Fine

    Saturday June 30th, 2012

    The wine list in the local Indian restaurant has long since been a source of amusement, befuddlement and woeful disappointment. And the appearance of bottles originating in the subcontinent is rare, if not exceptional. Perhaps because, until recently, the wines themselves were anything but. Acidic, thin, one-dimensional. But no more- with companies like Soul Tree, and now Ritu and Sula, slowly but surely seeping into the wider public consciousness.

  • Patak-ing In A Spot of Saucy Business

    Friday June 29th, 2012

    'People are always ashamed to admit they use their leftovers in curries,' Anjali Pathak declares in her broad Northern accent, 'But that's what Indian families do. Whatever's around, you throw in a few spices and turn it into something tasty- nothing's wasted'. Hopefully the notion is one which won't be wasted on the British public, either- especially when we're all in dire need of a cheap yet fulfilling feed.

  • Eat Nicely & Do Yourself A Kindness

    Monday June 25th, 2012

    Nice isn't just a tasty biscuit, according to small bakery brand Mrs. Crimble’s. It's also, surprisingly, a characteristic attributed to the Great British public. A tenner on the lottery might come in handy when your round comes around, but a whopping 90% surveyed reckoned they'd rather experience an act of kindness from their fellow man- sharing the last Rolo, perhaps? Culinary karma- the perfect digestive.

  • Gurpareet Bains' 'Indian Superspices'

    Monday June 25th, 2012

    Having always fancied myself as a classical Kashmiri baker, I'm all over Gurpareet Bains' recipe for blueberry and fennel flan, from which tradition this recipe originates. Out of the oven comes a rock-cake-like slab of deliciousness. Not sure how historically accurate my endeavour is, but it goes down a treat with the neighbours. And, apparently, has the ability to calm aches and pains. Bonus.

  • Namaste! Cafe Spice...s up Curry For Change

    Thursday June 14th, 2012

    Goodness gracious me! Nina Wadia's kitchen skills are under intense scrutiny from Cyrus Todiwala. She's getting quite a drubbing over her onion chopping. Luckily, it's all in jest- the two friends make an engaging double act as they cook up a mini-feast showcasing Cafe Spice Namaste's menu in aid of charity Find Your Feet's Curry For Change campaign.

  • A Prop-er Theatrical Venue To Sipsmith A Bevvy

    Thursday June 7th, 2012

    One of the books in a tall stack of dusty volumes has caught my eye. I better not try and pry it out, though- the bar will collapse. And I'd hate to cause a scandal on the Southbank. That's just not cricket- or, more aptly, croquet, since that's the tournament playing out this evening to mark the launch of Propstore.

  • Testing... Testing... 1, 2, 199?!

    Thursday June 7th, 2012

    199 attempts at a chocolate cake? 3 months and counting to boil the perfect egg? The lengths some people go to in the name of decent nosh. Well, not people per se, but, for the test cooks of America's Test Kitchen, these remarkable feats are just a standard part of the daily grind. At their helm, one man- Chris Kimball, walking gastronomic encyclopedia and, quite frankly, culinary genius.

  • All The Raj... Namaaste Kitchen's Jubilee Menu

    Monday May 28th, 2012

    No matter what dizzy heights our 'tropical' weather might reach over the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday, a dollop of congealed Coronation chicken's about as exotic as it'll get at most of Queenie's street parties. Do your tastebuds a favour, then, and skip the alfresco free-for-all in favour of Namaaste Kitchen's Jubilee menu. They'll even chuck in a patriotic Union Jack napkin.