The New Refreshment Room at The Deli Downstairs

Our New Refreshment Room is now open

Serving coffee and light luncheon in the building next door to The Deli Downstairs.

We’ve tried to tie it in with the existing shop and have used some of the materials that we recycle weekly as part of the furniture.

Observe the Egg Box and Brie Band Stool (Pat Pend!)

We reckon that the knobbly surface will promote blood flow and bodily wellbeing – like the noppy sole on a Birkenstock sandal.

We’re using a La Marzocco Linea and  Climpson & Sons Sidamo as our house blend.

The excellent James Brown has designed our new signage which is being painted by Peter Hardwicke.

Watch the hanging space above the doors – It’ll be up soon.

Hope to see you there.

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Later Weekday Opening Times

We are very pleased to announce that The Deli Downstairs will be open until

7 o’ the clock i’ the evening

Monday to Friday


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Fresh Garlic and Urban Bees

Everything is SO late

Not from our suppliers I hasten to add, who are uniformly excellent.

Late in the season I mean, due to the inclement weather.

It’s worth the wait though as slowly but surely it all begins to trickle in…

The fresh garlic has arrived, from  The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight.

Try it in an omelette with feta or in a risotto bianco.

Gooseberries are hopefully on their way (four weeks late and counting by comparison to last year) I’m really looking forward to making our renowned pickled gooseberry salad, so much so that I’ve already prepared my pickling liquid.

And where’s the honey? There’s hayfever a plenty, oh yes. But no local honey in sight…

I spoke to Steve Benbow from The London Honey Company  who could only reply, ‘Weather.’ to my plaintive demands. On the upside however, his new book, The Urban Beekeeper has just been released and includes a recipe from The Deli Downstairs for Baklava French Toast made with Hackney honey on the comb.

If anyone would like to order a copy, hie thee straightway to Victoria Park Books. Did you know that they can order anything in print, that’s ANYTHING IN PRINT for almost always next day delivery. What an astonishingly excellent local resource.

Finally I cannot neglect to mention the marvellous Chegworth Valley who have started rolling out their seasonal salad bags, strawberries and raspberries and The Tomato Stall, another Isle of Wight company for their reliably brilliant tomatoes.

An Italian customer said openly that they were better than the tomatoes he had just had in Italy.


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Check Out Our New Freezer

It’s true! We’ve got a new freezer!

I was so excited that I almost got into it, thereby recreating Gavin Turk’s Sid Vicious sculpture.

But then I thought about health and safety and put the ice cream inside instead.

It’s much bigger and better than our old one, which had to be defrosted every five minutes and had such a weak capacity that a healthy child could have eaten the contents at a single sitting.

It will soon be moved to lighter duties in the storage room of despair… But it should have worked better.

I can’t believe it, I’ve managed to make myself feel sorry for a not very capacious freezer.

Okay it was alright.

You see…

In the new freezer we can fit much more stock, in fact beef, chicken, vegetable and hopefully fish stock.

We also have pastry to the tune of shortcrust, puff and filo and of course…

Ice Cream!

From the excellent Roskilly’s and Alder Tree.

Particular favourites include Pear and Chocolate from Alder Tree and Rhubarb Yoghurt Ice from Roskilly’s (which delivers the much sought after Sailor’s Wink)

We’re even experimentingwith organic frozen peas and organic frozen chips made from actual potatoes, such is the scale of our frosty wasteland.

Here’s the obligatory photo:

Watch this cold space for more chilly goods as Spring continues to spring.




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The Jersey Royals Have Arrived

Oh! Day of days, the arrival of the first Jersey Royal Fluke potatoes (to give them their full name.)

Here are some:

Aren’t they great?

It’s so exciting when new season’s produce arrives, particularly at this time of year. Each new fruit and vegetable heralds the Spring.

Here are some more in a colander.

There is nothing more to say except that they’re very delicious. We had some yesterday with Cornish Mackerel from Jonathan Norris Fishmongers and a cucumber salad with red onion and capers.

Everyone must do the same thing at once. (Please)




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Appleby’s Cheshire

I have been awakened to the glory of Appleby’s Cheshire

It is claimed by some that Cheshire cheese is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is claimed by others that this is untrue and the first mention is in 1580 in ‘Health’s Improvement.’

What’s a few hundred years between friends?

Along with Lancashire, Cheshire is still the earliest recorded named British cheese.

The Appleby family together with Garry Gray are the last makers of the traditional, unpasteurised, calico wrapped Cheshire.

Neal’s Yard Dairy  supply The Deli Downstairs with the Appleby’s excellent cheese.

Perfect in a sandwich with pickle or chutney or with a good seasonal apple, Cheshire is an open, and honest cheese. It has a minerally taste with a clean, cool, lactic tang and a crumbly texture.

The Appleby’s use milk from their herd of Friesian Holsteins and the cows graze on the Cheshire plain beneath which are salt and mineral deposits. These come through in the grass and it is believed that they give the subtle, mineral flavours to the cheese.

Cheshire is the cheesemonger’s cheese full of subtlety, history and intrigue.

Pale orange is the new black.

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Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb (PDO)

What’s grown in the dark and picked by candlelight?

Which fruit that’s actually a vegetable used to have its own train?

Which plant grows so fast you can hear it?

The Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb (PDO) is now in stock at The Deli Downstairs.

Grown in sheds in West Yorkshire, forced rhubarb was awarded protected product status in 2010.

It’s much sweeter and more delicate in flavour than its naturally grown counterpart which is usually available from March.

The rootstocks are grown untouched, outside for two to three years before being moved to the forcing sheds. The latent energy stored within the roots creates powerful growth and you really can hear it squeaking as the stems surge upwards searching for the light.

It’s only a matter of weeks before you can start picking, by candlelight of course – do you want the rest of the rhubarb to stop growing by exposing it to too much light?

There was indeed an express train which left from Ardsley Station to carry the rhubarb to the south. The service stopped in 1962.

I got all cheffish and used my rhubarb with capers and Pedro Ximinez vinegar as an accompaniment to mackerel.

You must all do as you will with yours…

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Burn’s Night

We will have haggis in the shop from Thursday the 19th January in time for Burn’s night on the 25th.

We’re thrilled to be using The Blackface Meat Company again. Their haggis are 500g bungs which will serve about four people, with neeps and tatties of course which we shall also have a plenty.

Here is a picture of an haggis. Not one of the ones we will be getting but one nevertheless.

I will photograph ours when they arrive and tweet the photo.

“The Blackface Haggis is terrific. I have seen it being made by Stuart Houston, so I know that only the best stuff goes into it.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

An interesting fact:

Haggis can also be used as an excellent stuffing, particularly for pheasant.

So there we are.

Simple you would think.

But not for me…

At this time of year, every year, a dilemma presents itself.

Every Burn’s night I wonder whether I should wear my kilt.

I own a kilt and a sporran for that matter. I have appropriate shoes and socks with flashes (which for those of you who don’t know are those little ribbony things that stick out under the top (or is it turn down) of your sock or hose (or should that be hoe?)

My kilt’s good quality too, you can stand near a naked flame and even real Scotsman with accents have commented on the amount of material in it.

I used to have two kilts but one of them got the moth through lack of use and had to be made into a cushion by my mother who is not Scottish, although it is used by my father who is.

I’ve worn my kilt four times at weddings and a few times around the house because I feel guilty. So guilty in fact that I have anthropomorphised it into a sensitive elderly woman from Morningside.

My grandmother in fact.

In essence, the kilt has become a woolly reincarnation of my grandmother, which is odd because she was the one that threw away my own father’s kilts because they, ‘Had the moth.’

My kilt doesn’t care, my kilt is forgiving to some people, notably my grandmother, the mistress of kilt destruction whom it hosts.

As Burn’s night approaches, whenever I open the wardrobe, a weak and pleaty voice floats out (imagine Miss Jean Brodie or Professor McGonagall depending upon age…)

‘It’s been over a year since you wore me now. Any more of this and I’ll get the moth, I feel sure I will even though you’ve put a lavender bag in with me.’

Or on more vindictive days with a ‘made in the highlands’ leer, ’If not Burn’s night sonny, then when? Or a meringue?’

Last year I used my sporran as window dressing. This year perhaps we’ll reach a compromise; even if I don’t wear it, maybe I’ll take my kilt into the shop for an airing. Perhaps then the voices will stop.

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January Citrus Explosion

Did you think there was nothing to break the vegetable bleakery of January?

Were you ready to eat cabbage and root vegetables ’til spring?

Did you not remember that this is the beginning of…

Blood Orange Season

We have a veritable citrus explosion at The Deli Downstairs this week with not only

Moro Blood Oranges from Italy

But also

Seville Oranges from Spain (Get your marmalade pans out!)

Leafy clementines

Leafy Lemons

and if your vitamin C levels have not soared to dangerous hights already, prepare for them to go stratospheric with the astonishing Bergamot Lemons from Morocco

The bergamot lemon is a member of the bitter orange family and the essential oil is used to flavour Earl Grey tea.

I had heard of them but never seen one in the flesh (as it were) so when they arrived I naturally cut one open and ate a piece. Straightway, I experienced a sharpness that made my ears pop and my eyeballs spin in my very head.

The peel can be used in perfume and aromatherapy concoctions and I have a personal theory that the Bergamot lemon could be used as a substitute for Yuzu (the terrifyingly difficult to find (believe me I’ve tried) knobbly Japanese fruit) as used or yuzued by Peter Gordon The New Zealand chef and great favourite of The Deli Downstairs.

Based upon this outlandish claim, try making a Bergamot lemon hollandaise

or a roasted Bergamot lemon dressing (see below for recipe)


1 Bergamot lemon

1 tsp + 3 Tbs olive oil (divided)

1 clove garlic, unpeeled

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 to 2 tsp honey
 (to taste)

1/4 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the lemon in half and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife. Rub the lemon halves and the garlic clove with 1 tsp of olive oil, place in a small baking dish and roast in the oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until the lemon starts to get brown at the edges. Remove from the oven, and as soon as it’s cold enough to handle, squeeze the juice and the pulp of the lemon and the pulp of the garlic into a small bowl.

Add the mustard, honey, salt, and pepper, and use a whisk to mix it all well. Remove any large bits of white pulp, if present. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. of olive oil, slowly at first, then drizzle it as you continue to whisk, forming an emulsion.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Serve over salads, steamed vegetables, roasted vegetables, grilled fish, chicken, or pork.

We will be dressing some of our salads at The Deli Downstairs with this marvel in due course.

As the citrus season continues… Look out for Moro blood oranges in our salads and the arrival of the delicately flavoured Tarocco orange in a few weeks time.


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Festive Salutations


Christmas is upon us at The Deli Downstairs

Our decorations have started to go up and our Christmas trees were flanking the front door lending a feeling of Narnia to the shop entrance until they blew down in the high winds and had to be taken in. Rest assured they will return.

Hampers are now available to order. We can make them for you if you tell us your budget and give us a few pointers or you can simply take a basket, fill it up and we’ll wrap it up for you to collect later.

For anyone who has yet to see them, may I introduce quite simply the most stylish and desirable tote ever to be produced in the history of bag making. Available now for the extraordinarily low price of £5.00 or free when when you spend a mere £50.00 on shopping here at The Deli Downstairs.

I have a good mind to launch a competition for the most interesting photograph featuring a Deli Downstairs bag. The Pyramids at Giza spring to mind or The Horseshoe Falls at Niagara…

Perhaps it could be hanging on the back of your chair at Dean and Deluca or The French Laundry in New York, flung nonchalantly onto the ground as a tablecloth for an impromptu picnic in Red Square or casually draped over your knees to protect them from the biting sun at Uluru.

A team mascot for University Challenge?

There will definitely be a prize.


See the lovely Fish and Mice

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