Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent Adjuncts and Minimalist Meals

It's one of the world's great culinary ironies that spices harvested in the hottest countries find their starring role during Winter months on the opposite side of the world. Indeed, it wouldn't feel like Christmas in England without the products of Sri-Lankan and Madagascan Summers.

I have a slightly dichotomic view of cinnamon, nutmeg and their spicy, Wintery bedfellows - I suppose I quite like the novelty value afforded in small doses but probably wouldn't want them in my food all year round.

As an example, this time last year I cooked a festive beef stew (essentially 'mulled beef'), which was interesting and very seasonal, but I haven't been tempted to make it since.

And at this time of year a hot steaming glass of mulled wine full of cloves and fruit is just the ticket, but by January I suspect I shall probably not want any more. (Indeed a couple of Januarys ago I concocted mulled white wine as an alternative).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The German Invasion

Well, baste my roasting fowl, Christmas - yes, Christmas! - is just two weeks - yes, two weeks! - away.

What the festive fuck?!?

I suppose that means I'd better start thinking about presents and merrymaking and food and drink'n'shit.

Now, for reasons outlined earlier in the year, I'm not particularly looking forward to the Yuletide season. It's going to be a bit strange and different and not especially welcome. 'Twould be nice to put Christmas off until June or something, like they do in Australia.

But, nevertheless, it doth cometh apace, and so I'd better put on my best brave face.