An Early Christmas Treat: Let’s Make Christmas at Fortnum and Mason


The culture of the food blogger is an unusual one – most of the time we sit behind illuminated screens, tapping furiously at keys, we converse via. Twitter, email and blog comments, we claim that some of our “best friends” not only live in another part of the world but that we haven’t even met some of them in person, we hide behind camera lenses, snapping everything we possibly can, or shoot video segments in the most awkward places. By all intents and purposes, we should be strange antisocial creatures, unable to hold normal conversations, insular and shy. We should be very odd.

But we’re not. Well, some of us may be a little odd but – to take the words of Lady Gaga (oh dear) – baby, we were born this way.


This Is Halloween


I’ve always been a bit of a devil.

When I was a child I loved to pretend. Maybe it was because of my overactive imagination or maybe it was because the thought of being somebody else was so much more appealing than the awkward (and yet precocious) child, teenager and adult I’d become. Dressing up was a game I forced everyone around me – even my older brother – to play and my dressing up box was filled with flouncy party dresses and ribbons, an old lace wedding dress my mother had given me (whom it belonged to I had no idea), and various toys and accessories, including a Chanel handbag which, had I kept it, would be worth a lot of money now, I’m sure.

Of course, dressing up wasn’t just for fun, it was also about competition: you had to be the best looking child with the best costume. The time of year that this was most obvious? Halloween of course.


There Will Be Stock (Part I): Ham Hock & Pea Risotto


Food has always been incredibly central for my family. Every major event has been told over a dinner or a lunch, every holiday celebrated with a spread that was enough to feed a small army, though there were usually only four of us at the dinner table.

Life for my mother consisted of an early start to feed my father, my brother & I, a mad dash into school where we’d be dropped off and collected by car every day, a small snack to help us through homework, a martini or other cocktail for my father when he returned home, and dinner on the table every evening by 7pm (sometimes on little tables in the TV room, if we were lucky). Every single day growing up, this was the way we operated. It was routine; it was synonymous with family.


Fuggehd Abahd Id: Slow Cooker Chicken Stock


I was running through the forest so fast I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, pounding so hard it almost flew straight out. The wind was at my heels and I could hear them coming – they were after me. I wasn’t sure if I could run any faster, the ground was falling away from me and the man at the house had told me that I had to get to the kitchen in the forest before they caught me. They wanted my gold. But it was mine! I had cultivated it! No, they couldn’t have it. I refused. I tripped on a tree branch and flew through the air – dammit! They were almost upon me and now would catch me for sure. I hit the ground.

I opened my eyes in semi-darkness. I was in my bed, a little chilly and I was awake. My clock told me that it was a little past 7am. It wasn’t the sun that had woken me up – that was all blocked out and the little that came streaming in through the chinks in the curtain was hitting the opposite wall. No, it was something else. I sniffed the air once, twice and suddenly it hit me: my chicken stock was ready.

I’m certain that there is nothing better in this world than waking up to the smell of chicken stock that has been bubbling away quietly whilst you slumbered, but the effort this involves normally… well. When I was living at Momma Lee’s I once spent an entire night sleeping in the kitchen so that I could keep checking my chicken stock, making sure it hadn’t bubbled over. It was good but the fact that I woke up every hour to make sure that nothing was going to burn down imminently ruined it somewhat for me, plus the fact that I had to keep topping it up with water was irritating. A good night’s sleep I did not have and the stock was so much trouble I didn’t make it again whilst I was living there. Enter the slow cooker.

Guys, if you have to invest in one gadget, invest in this one. A slow freaking cooker. It doesn’t have to be fancy – mine has three functions: off, low & high, that’s it – it doesn’t have to be expensive (I think mine cost me around £25?) and it doesn’t need to be dealt with, you just turn it on and let it go. Honestly, my slow cooker rarely comes out because before this point I didn’t realise how bloomin’ easy it would be to make something as every day as stock in it; I know, I am slow to the slow cooker revolution, but it is simple! So simple I almost want to cry with joy and when we’re done taking this journey together, you will too. So let’s begin.


One Year Later: Mason Matcha-Misu v.2.0


Photo credit: David Mason.

The end of last year was one of the worst times of my life. My then boyfriend David had moved to Canada and I was mourning not just the loss of a relationship but of a close friend; I had completed formal education and in one swift move had gone from being the girl with the five-year-plan to the one drifting from day-to-day, unsure as to what direction my life should take; I was working two jobs at once, one as a private caterer and the other in retail, and though I adored my boss and my retail “family”, I wasn’t doing what I wanted and it was making me miserable.

My personality is such that when one aspect of my life is in jeopardy the rest of it goes completely to pot – it’s terrible but I simply cannot function when something is out of whack. Food was my escape – it didn’t judge, it was there, comforting me and the sense of satisfaction when I created something beautiful was almost better than eating it.

For David’s birthday that year I created this dessert which I named the Mason Matcha-Misu; it was my present for him even though he couldn’t taste it as he was in Canada. Based on David’s family mocha tiramisu recipe, I made the Matcha-Misu with matcha green tea powder, white chocolate laced with pistachios and even more pistachios, chopped roughly. It was a good first effort but it wasn’t quite there yet and so I didn’t share the recipe.

Fast forward a year and I’ve found myself making a living (or trying to) with food and words. David has also returned to London for the time being but we exist together solely as very good friends, a decision that is perfect for the both of us – I get to keep my best friend, mentor and muse with none of the drama that comes with relationships. It’s a tough world but I’m doing well, not the least because of my diagnosis and subsequent medication that is totally re-aligning all of my chakras, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, I’m single, yes, I’m still fighting to make a name for myself, yes, I’m living in a country I’d rather not be in and sometimes I wring my hands with despair at my situation, but for now? This is where, who and what I am and I’ve found a contentment in that. In other words: I’m happy.

And as for this Matcha-Misu? This year I not only perfected it, David finally got to taste it and give it his seal of approval.


It’s Alive! Buy The Nudie Foodies Book Today


Photo by David Mason Photography, 2011.

The day has finally arrived! You may now purchase the Nudie Foodies book through Blurb. All net profits will go to AmeriCare‘s Japan tsunami relief fund, which directly helps those in need. The book only costs £17.61 (roughly $28) and Blurb will print and ship anywhere in the world! The photo above is another taken by the awesome David from our nekkid shoot, the photo in the book is entirely different! Don’t I spoil you?

18 fabulous nekkid bloggers, 18 mouthwatering recipes, helping charity and a whole lot of awesomeness. Buy the book today!

Peace and love,

Jax x

Parlez-Vous Tasty?


We always assumed I was going to be taller. After all, you don’t see many ten-year-olds with size six feet roaming around the joint, and my grandmother on my father’s side was tall herself. She used to inspect me and say with a knowing nod, “yes. You are just like Mah-Mah. You will be tall”. When I entered secondary school I was one of the tallest in my class, lined up towards the back of the group during fire drills feeling proud, holding my head high and my spine straight.

The following summer I came back to school and suddenly the rest of the girls had grown a foot whilst I had stayed, disappointingly, at a mere five foot two. One school mate came running up to me to tell me her summer news, only to stop short, giving me a quizzical look as she found herself looking down at the top of my head. “Oh,” she mused, raising an eyebrow, “I thought you were taller” – I never grew again.


Sharing With My Goong-Goong


Two summers ago my Goong-Goong (maternal grandfather) died. It was a difficult summer that year, I had just returned from my year abroad in Portland and was feeling unsettled, a major event occurred that changed us forever, my Goong-Goong had caught pneumonia and was in the hospital, and then, one evening, we got the call: he had died. The rest of that summer was a blur. My mother flew out to Hong Kong first to sort out the funeral arrangements, we were to come a few days later, we hastily started throwing clothes into suitcases: black, black, black. It was the height of summer in Hong Kong – the worst possible time for a funeral. Before we knew it we were back in Hong Kong and I felt lost. I clung to my mother’s arm like a child, feeling once again like that 10-year-old in a foreign city, my tongue numb and useless with a language I couldn’t speak. At the funeral I cried until I felt I could never cry again; the tears poured down my face into my lap, my throat tightened and my head throbbed. My Goong-Goong, whom I loved so much, was never coming back, my life was falling apart, and the sadness that overwhelmed me was indescribable. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t look at anybody, could only weep.

My Goong-Goong introduced me to pâté when I was very young. He loved food and was a real connoisseur of the good stuff. I remember the first time I tried pâté with him: he was visiting us from Hong Kong and it was summer time. We were sitting in the kitchen of our old house, both of us on little black wooden stools by the table, and he was spreading something on some crusty bread. He handed it to me. What is it? I asked, holding it up dubiously. Pâté. Try it. I took a small bite with him watching me and felt my world expand: it was delicious. The creaminess of the duck liver combined with the sharp tanginess of the orange jelly was unlike anything I’d ever eaten before. It quickly became one of my favourite foods and my Goong-Goong and I would often sit together in the garden or the kitchen, eating pâté.


Project Food Blog Entry #5: Recipe Remix – Coming To Terms With Pizza


So here we are again. Round five of Project Food Blog hosted by Foodbuzz.com. Can you believe it?! Halfway into the competition and still standing. As the only Brit left I’m slightly shocked, and also incredibly grateful. Thank you for voting for me, for all your wonderful comments and emails – I’m very appreciative, as is Nom Man, who was so happy he devoured the remaining chocolate truffles and promptly fell into a sugar coma. So he’ll be absent from this post, but he said to tell you that, ahem: “NOM MAN SAY HE LOVE YOU”. So. There you go.

For this round we were told to create our own version of pizza.

So I’m a little weird. A little?! I hear you ask; yeah, okay, I’m a lot weird, but one of the weirdest things about me is that whilst I am happy to eat pretty much anything on my plate, offal, chicken feet, fish eyeballs (yes, I have been there), I… well… I don’t like pizza. I don’t know what it is about pizza that I so dislike: it’s too… bread-y? Or greasy? Or just… bland? Maybe a combination of all three. I’ve had people who have tried to convince me otherwise, have made me deep-dish, thin-crust, Italian, Chicago – baby, I’ve tried ‘em all – and the only two I’ve vaguely liked were Otto Pizza’s cornmeal crust pizzas, and a thin-crust I made with David. But still, when given a choice, I’m not going to go for the pizza. Sorry. Maybe that makes me a little insane (a little more insane), but it just ain’t my thing.


Project Food Blog Entry #2: The Classics – How To Cook As If You Know What You’re Doing


Tagine Baby

As you may have guessed by the title of this post I made it through to round 2 of Project Food Blog 2010! A huge, massive, enormous thanks to everyone who voted for me – was thrilled to bits! For challenge 2 we were told to have a go at an “ethnic classic dish from another culture” and see how well we could pull it off. So what did I pick? A Moroccan tagine dish.

Two of my girl friends went to Morocco when they were about 16 and came back raving about everything. They even talked with great fondness about having to bring their own toilet paper up and down mountains. But I’ve never been. When trying to decide what I should cook I asked myself, what would I never think to make? And the answer was a tagine, something I’ve never attempted or eaten very much – Middle-Eastern doesn’t feature heavily on my radar. In fact, it’s so far removed from what I normally do it may as well not exist. But that’s why I loved the idea: why not really have a go at something different?


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