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!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tying myself in Windsor (& Eton) knots

If you haven't done so already, I suggest you pick yourself up a copy of the April/May edition of London Drinker magazine.

There's lots of good stuff in there with the latest news on the London (and wider) pub scene, and I've written a piece about cask Altbier in Dusseldorf and an emotional farewell to the gone-but-not-forgotten Brew Wharf.

Oh, and there's an advert that really fucking wound me up something rotten.

I know. I know I should probably be thinking about the victims of the earthquake in Nepal or the grieving relatives of Keith Harris, but it's always the little annoyances that get to me. Partly because I know most people aren't going to be bothered about it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Bodeans, Bodeans, Bodeans, Bodeans, I'm begging of you please do cook me meat!

I wrote the other day about Masterchef contestants not getting much of an opportunity to slow-cook, and it got me thinking:

What would John and Greg make of Bodeans? A place that smokes and slow-braises meat over many, many hours, if not days. If not years.

'You've got one hour and 15 minutes?' I suspect not, somehow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MasterChef - give us time, give us beer!

I'm always impressed with the quality of the contestants on MasterChef, and in this latest series the standard seems particularly high. Indeed it's high enough to scare me into not applying for the show myself!

(Particularly the ballsy Lancastrian lass who is my tip to beat the moustachioed twatster in the final!)

What I'm less impressed by is how formulaic the programme has become, with contestants slave to the straitjacket of rigid format as they wield their spatulas of conformity. (And, if anybody asks, I'll probably use that rather florid excuse for not entering rather than admitting my shitting fear!)

Too busy drinking beer to go on MasterChef
My biggest gripes can be summed up thusly. Firstly, the samesome timescales:

Pretty much every challenge involves having an hour (or, quite often, an hour and 15 minutes) to cook something, which rules out any slow-cooked dishes and indeed discriminates against chefs whose speciality happens to be slow-cooking.

(Yes, I'd probably include myself in that category.)

My other complaint, which may well be a by-product of the first, is that there is nowhere near enough cooking with beer on the show.

And we could all use some additional beer, right?!?