Tag Archives: American food

I’ll probably turn into a pumpkin

4 Nov

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My housemate and I went a bit mad over pumpkin last week, a fact that can be wholly attributed to Halloween. Firstly we carved them – I crafted the rather fetching (if wonky) Jack Skellington above – then we cleaned and toasted the seeds, and tossed them with chilli flakes and sea salt. They’re possibly my new favourite snack.

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Then, as she made pumpkin soup, I decided to venture way out of my comfort zone and give pumpkin pie a shot. I was absolutely flying blind on this one, having never eaten pumpkin pie in my life, let alone read a recipe for one. Hell, until now I’d never even seen one in real life.

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American recipes mainly seemed to call for canned pumpkin (seriously, is that a thing? It doesn’t sound like it ought to be a thing at all) so, as ever when in doubt, BBC Food website to the rescue! Specifically, a Saturday Kitchen recipe from Antony Worrall Thompson. As a bit of a Shakespeare geek, I was more than mildly amused by the fact that it called for a literal pound of (pumpkin) flesh.

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Once steamed and mashed into a purée, it was mixed with heated cream, sugar, eggs and spices to make a custard that, if I’m honest, looked more akin to baby sick than anything I’d want to eat. Well, until I tasted it, anyway. Nutmeg and cinnamon could make anything okay.

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I shunned the recipe’s suggestion of shop-bought pastry – what’s the point in shortcuts when you’re already making something that involves effort? – and made up a batch of sweet shortcrust from a Paul Hollywood recipe. I used a cupcake tray, too, to make individual ones, and just went on instinct in terms of baking time.

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Drizzled with dark chocolate, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out – almost like spiced egg custard tarts. More treat than trick, then. Happy (belated) Halloween!

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*insert Blondie guitar riff here*

11 Aug

It started with an excited text message from a friend who lives in Oxford: “Atomic Burger have opened in Bristol! You must go – they’re amazing!” The name did ring a bell – I’d probably heard him raving about the Oxford branch before – so, after a quick scour of the menu online (sold!), I went.

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I can see why America has private healthcare: heart surgeons are almost definitely in cahoots with whoever invented this starter. Potato croquettes, wrapped in bacon and then smothered in a gooey layer of cheese and scattered with jalapeños. If I hadn’t been sharing it with someone else, I’d probably have needed a bypass on the spot. But what a way to go.

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The best thing about Atomic Burger, though, was the genuinely madcap range of burgers on offer, ranging from one with mini pizzas in place of the bun, through to ones topped with nachos or pulled pork. I went for the Mel Gibson: salt beef, thousand island dressing, cheese and gherkins. It was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make all week, but admittedly I do lead quite a sheltered life.

It was also a good decision, because the combo worked perfectly – juicy, medium-cooked burger, with the tang of gherkin offsetting the richness of the other toppings. Best burger I’ve had in Bristol or Bath, I’d say – and that’s including The Burger Joint and The Market. Oh, and the ‘sci fries’ (chips with a chilli and garlic rub) were moreish like popping bubblewrap.

My only niggle was the service: slow, fairly uninformed and for the most part lacklustre. We had a couple of nice, enthusiastic waiting staff, but statistically that had to happen, seeing as we must have been passed between every employee in the place. It’s only been open for a few weeks, though, so I didn’t come away feeling too pessimistic on that front.

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On a final, positive note, they sell wine in litre bottles like this one. I’m definitely going back ASAP.