A slice of paradise and southern style cookin’

Sometimes it is easy to take things for granted and I wonder if the native Floridians see what a pale and sunstarved Londoner on holiday sees. It is amazing to wake up every morning and see the blue sky and just know that it is hot outside – it is like an amazing daily treat! life is very exotic, dolphins swiming near you in the sea, gentle manatees checking out what you are up to, gangs of stingrays swimming around, busy crabs looking at you, daring you to stay away whilst digging in the sand to get away from the worst heat mid day, a busy heron running past on long and willowy legs, an armada of brown pelicans hanging out in the middle of the day, there is something going on all the time. 

Before I came out I got the question why I would go to the same place two years in a row, I didn’t have a ready answer but have thought much and perhaps it is the heat. The heat that just makes it impossible to stress about anything? America is mainly famous for big portions and lots of grease. There was a lot of that, a club sandwich that was the size of a serving plate for ! And that before any side dishes.

It easy to disregard the American cuisine but there are some dishes that only ever taste just right in America, and there is no comfort food like authentic southern style cooking. One of my favourites is mac&cheese, cholesterol on a plate but oh what a plate!

When I am in America I always try to catch up on the latest food news and get inspired. I had a corn cake to die for, I can’t find the recipe anywhere but after experimenting I think I have it down pretty much, eggs, cream, sweetcorn, salt, pepper cooked in a bain marie until set, it makes for a very delicate dish despite the fact that it has cream in it and it was a perfect complement to my steak.

I have had the same egg base in one of Stockholm’s top restaurants for breakfast, then served without corn and with smokey, crispy bacon and lingonberry jam, just as delicious and so very different.

Another favourite are the crab shacks, why we don’t have one in London… or perhaps we do and I just haven’t found one I can’t understand. I like when you can dig hands on and feel the food you are eating. I had wonderful crab clusters, the top and all brown meat removed. I like the feel of the different textures and using the tools. My favourite crab is served in clusters, shell on with all the tools, covered in melted butter, chopped garlic and a some scattered chilli flakes over, just yum!

When going for steak it is always worth the extra bucks to go to a proper steak house and here where I had a lovely surprise, a beef salad. Gone were the millions of extra sauces, too many side dishes and the fries, just beef and salad. This together with a similar but more simplistic dish made for me by my friends in Italy with grilled beef on rocket salad, with parmesan shavings on top, I decided to add this to Saturdays meat feat with our friends. What did I add to this? I will add some spinach to the salad, picked the same day from the allotment and some garlic butter to slowly melt on top. To go with this I hade a red currant mojito mix. lots of ice, lots of mint!

I still remember my first pulled pork sandwich, I had it more than 20 years ago in the state of Tennessee , the place is sadly closed since a long time ago. It was cooked in pits for about 48 hours and the meat that came up was so wonderfully tender, served with their home-made hot sauce on a burger bun, so good you didn’t even need the cloeslaw on the side! Nothing has ever come close but I still always have it when in America and it is always a treat.

So if you go to the USA for your holiday have a look around and ask around for the best places to eat and am sure you will find some flavour that will linger and stay in your mind as part of holiday memories for other reasons that simply very large portion sizes! Time to chill and enjoy the heat, the sunshine and the sheer beauty!

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