Tag Archives: food

Doubles Troubles

Trini Doubles_Prop Door Illustrations

I went to Trinidad and Tobago for the first time over Christmas. It was my first trip to the Caribbean actually, since Bermuda doesn’t count (and I’ve been told numerous times by Trinis that no, it definitely doesn’t). Whenever I go abroad I always make a special point to eat the local delicacies – I absolutely live to eat and want to take this philosophy across the world with me, no matter how much my waistbands object. There isn’t a shortage of luscious local specialities for T ‘n T, and I was regularly questioned by locals as to which of them I had or hadn’t partaken yet. They were repeatedly shocked to discover that pretty much the only one I hadn’t was THE street food of Trinidad: doubles.

For anyone unfamiliar with this fast food, it comprises chick peas sandwiched (or sometimes just topping) two pieces of fried flat bread, or bara. It is topped with the essential pepper sauce and often other extras such as shadon beni, mango or cucumber. As to when in day it is eaten, I would refer you to the hilarious and brilliantly -worded explanation from Wikipedia:

It is usually eaten for breakfast, and sometimes lunch, and mostly at night but can be a late night snack as well.

Glad that’s cleared up then.

A series of plan and flight time changes meant that I could not sample the amazing 24 hour treat that is doubles. It was such a tragedy that I have designed a T-shirt for those unfortunate enough to have also missed out, so that we may all lament together.

Doubles t-shirt


At least for now I can console myself with the tasty offerings from Roti Joupa in Clapham. But next time…!!

Doubles Roti JoupaDoubles from Roti Joupa. The photo doesn’t show them in the most flattering light, but trust me, they are bloomin’ delicious.  As the takeaway isn’t very close by, we bought loads and stuck what we didn’t scoff immediately into the freezer. They reheat very nicely, especially in the oven where they develop a nice crunch around the edge of the bara.

Here’s to doubles – a perfect street food (and vegan too!).



CAU, St Katherine Docks

Carne Argentina Unica, or CAU as it’s more commonly known, is a chain of Argentinian restaurants with 14 branches all over the UK. St Katherine Dock was a very welcome recent addition to their line up, not least because it took up residence next to the highly anticipated but disappointingly middling Tom’s Kitchen.

I’d been to this branch of CAU a couple of times previous, first to sample a luscious rib eye steak (and I am exceedingly picky about steak) and then an amazing juicy and chargrilled burger. After repeated statements that I would try their £15 Sunday roast “next time”, I finally did.

CAU, St Katherine Dock
Sunday roast at CAU

For £15 you do get the works – sliced roast rump, massive Yorkshire pud, roast taters cooked in beef dripping (the best kind!), the biggest single carrot I’ve ever been served and…onion rings. They were tasty though so will forgive them on that one aberration. It all looked brilliant, yet in the end was kind of…meh. First off the beef, although pleasingly pink, was chewy. Really, really chewy. As in jaw-muscles-aching-the-next-day chewy. I’ve never experienced that before, hence my panic at what might be going on with my face until the pieces fell into place. Since the meat wasn’t overcooked, I could only surmise the chewiness was due to the cut being marbled throughout with fine yet tough connective tissue which probably would have benefitted from MORE cooking – a low and slow roast is necessary to break down those tough bits. It also reminded me why I don’t usually order rump.

The rest of the roast was decent, but still average. The Yorkshire pudding was getting soft by the time it arrived, certainly not up to the airy and crisp standard as the “big as your head” puds I’ve had at Brown’s. Potatoes were nice as long as you didn’t get an over-roasted rock hard piece. The gravy was flavoursome, but the biggest flaw of the meal became evident when attempting to poor it – the roast is served on a wooden board. Of all the poncy, cheffy trends propagating at the moment the one I hate most is food being served on a board. Or a slate. As well as holding back on the gravy pouring so I wouldn’t end up with a pool in my lap, I had to carefully maneuver all my food around so it would stay on the board. The size was chosen specifically to fit all the stacked food precisely so it would look pretty as it was served, but it meant there was no extra room to cut up the food (especially the chewy meat, which needed a lot of cutting). Just give me a plate, man!!

Then onto dessert. We decided to share the three milk cake, as tackling the mix of condensed milk, cream, Italian meringue and rich cake would’ve been too challenging for one alone.

Carbs galore - Three Milk Cake
Carbs galore – Three Milk Cake

We’ve ordered the cake before and it was still sticky, creamy and naughty, but seemed to have decreased in size since last time. The Italian meringue also more resembled regular, unsweetened meringue and lacked the gooey marshmallow-ness of the former incarnation. Problems with consistency are evident.

Despite my reservations about what we ordered that day, I would still definitely go back. The reason? The fantastic burgers. And steak. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

One more thing – their “Ice cream sandwich” dessert only has biscuit on one side. That is NOT a sandwich, CAU. And don’t try to give me some “open-faced sandwich” crap.


Konditor and Cook's gingerbread person.

At the weekend I ended up near Spitalfields Market, which meant that I had to pop into Konditor and Cook. The draw for me isn’t their legendary brownies, which really are sinfully delicious, but their gingerbread men. Or gingerbread people, as they put it in a very PC way. They won’t win any prizes for the decoration frankly, but they have the best tasting gingerbread in London in my opinion. It’s much softer than the usual supermarket teeth-breaker consistency and has a buttery, less intensely gingery flavour. This might disappoint the real ginger lovers, but it’s an unbelievably tasty, moreish biscuit that smacks of home baking – especially nice for those who can’t be bothered to make their own or who are just crap at biscuits (I fall into the latter. Ok, and the former). I might be tempted to try though after finding this recipe that the bakery placed in the Telegraph a while back. Will mine be like the ones in the shop? Past experience says it’s doubtful. Really, really, doubtful.

The crown for the best gingerbread I’ve discovered in this country has to go to the magnificent crumbly ginger slabs from Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop in Cumbria. It’s so good that they even sell bags of the leftover crumbs for people to make crumble toppings with. Or just pour into their mouths with a funnel, possibly. Sadly since they’re so far away (and the delivery charges for small online orders too steep) for regular indulgence, I’ll have to fill the gingerbread void with Konditor and Cook’s. Yeah yeah yeah, first world problems.

Sarah Nelson's Grasmere gingerbread
The awesome Grasmere gingerbread