Sunday, 29 May 2016


Much is written about impulse and addiction in society these days, and I suppose if there was something - for me - that encapsulated this, it would be Snoggy’s South African shop in Wimbledon Station. I have be a patron of this particular store for over 10 years, spending enough money there that I should be a share holder by now! 

Whenever I get out at platform five and ascend the stairs on my way to the ticket barrier, there it is, with its signature sides of air-dried beef beckoning me to either buy a whole piece or a bag of chunks (which usually get consumed within five minutes of purchase). I think I have a problem, and an expensive one at that, but the stuff is so damn good. 

Biltong, for the uninitiated is air-dried, marinated beef; think Bresaola, but from a thinner cut and marinated in salt, coriander seeds, vinegar and other spices before being hung and air dried. I will say, it’s an acquired taste but once you get used to it, moreish in the extreme. 

Here’s a plug, the aforementioned Snoggy’s does the best in London. Correction, for me, Snoggy’s does the best in London, because I have never tasted anything like it from other vendors or the disappointing packs of the stuff (over-salted and as dry as leather) now available in pubs and off licenses across the UK. 

Snoggy’s, like a proper South African shop, sells the stuff in varying different styles. From the bone-dry, lacquer-like lean variety to the unctuous ‘wet’ and fatty. The latter is my favourite and has a flavour profile all of its own. 

Given that we’re a nation of beef lovers, I’m surprised this snacking food has not got more traction, I’m waiting to see bowls of it on the bars of smart hotels made to a house recipe. 

If you’re looking to give your jaw a good workout then this is for you. It’s beefy but with a delicate, spicy and slightly piquant taste, perfect when matched with an ice-cold lager. Coming from Wimbledon, where there’s a big South African community, there’s tonnes of the stuff available but it seems to be harder to find (in it’s fresh form) elsewhere. 

Drowoers come a close second, air-dried sausages which pleasingly snap as soon as you sink your choppers into them. Chock-full of coriander they have a savoury taste which makes them perfect as a snack to complement an afternoon in front of the box watching the rugby. 

If you haven’t tried the stuff yet, I suggest you head to Snoggy’s and queue up behind the scores of expats who are beguiled by the quality, and also the charm of the staff at who serve there. 

Go on, treat yourself to some of South Africa’s best! 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

I’m turned off!

"What the hell is he on about?” I hear you cry, he hasn’t even bothered to give us a new blog in almost six months and now he decides to publish something polemic and incendiary. I’m sure you’re thinking: ‘but I signed-up for food, travelogues and witty banter’, rest assured, there will be more of this to come! However, as a lifelong politico, I feel that I must raise my head above the parapet and indicate how thoroughly cheesed off I am with the current state of affairs. 
More and more, I am becoming disenchanted with the UK Government, opposition and the deeply, deeply unimpressive calibre of a large number of elected politician. As a passionate supporter of the Conservative party, this appalling referendum has brought some of the worst excesses to the surface. 

I’m turning off more and more as I hear ‘the failure’, Iain Duncan Smith, throwing toys out of his metaphorical pram willy-nilly. His arrogant, drawling rhetoric disingenuously claiming he’s acting in the interests of the people when, in actual fact, it’s more a personal crusade. It’s a great way to mask how relatively ineffectual I believe he’s been over the many years I’ve observed him. 

Equally, the gimmicky Queen’s Speech earlier this week shows that this government is stagnating under a powerful group of bloody-minded, self-serving MPs who cannot seem to rationalise and compromise for the greater good. I’d like to see some of the policy I voted for in 2010 and 2015 actually be implemented rather than have this system held to ransom by a tyranny of the minority. 

Many like to talk about principles, well I say sod off, go and work in a different industry. Politics is about pragmatism, adaptation and evolution. Both sides of the house are seeming to suffer from an unhealthy degree of hubris which has consigned them to pointless, bitter in-fighting that impresses neither their supporters or the wider electorate as a whole.

I don’t envy Cameron’s position, but a braver man would seek to drive through unpopular, necessary policies, taking a risk to implement positive change.

The lacklustre performance of the opposition is lamentable and, how they could become embroiled in an anti-Semitism row (much of it whipped-up by the media) demonstrate how it is ever-spiralling out of control into irrelevance. 

For interested parties, the whole thing is a sorry state of affairs! a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in my voting life, I spoiled my ballot paper in the mayoral elections. I thought Zac’s campaign was scurrilous and I cannot vote for Sadiq because I deeply disagree with his political vision. 

Furthermore, both waxed on and on about unity, social concepts and the like. As I sit here now, writing this, delayed on a London Overground, I was gobsmacked at how no candidate wanted to discuss the one and only thing I cared about in this race for mayoralty, transport (in particular trains and tubes). I have no regrets on spoiling the ballot and would do it again at the General Election if there was no choice.

At the end of the day our elected representatives need to get their heads out of their own fundaments and start looking at practicalities and real problems opposed to intellectual dramas cooked up in their ivory towers!