One of the best food books I’ve read recently is Julian Barnes’ The Pedant in the Kitchen. Here’s a shot of its cover (click on the image to go to the Amazon UK site to buy it).

This little non-fiction book covers Mr Barnes’ attempts to learn to cook fabulous food at home. In it, he praises Gordon Ramsay, slags Nigel Slater, and writes hilariously about the Chocolate Nemesis, a legendary dessert from London’s River Café. His chapter about the Nemesis, in fact, is my favourite in the book. He relates to the reader how, among his social set during the mid to late 1990s, attempting to make the Nemesis was de rigueur at dinner parties. Unfortunately, while most tried, most failed, and Barnes believed it was partly because Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers purposely penned a not so complete recipe in their cookbook (the blue one)—forcing customers to return over and over again to their restaurant to taste the real thing.

While Mr Barnes’ friends never found success with this cake, fortunately, for my wife and I, my brother’s better-half J, she of the amazing homemade pasta, has mastered it. And it is amazing. It’s a super-rich, sweet, gooey, oozy cake with a slightly crisp crust on top. At least, that’s what J’s tastes like. I’ll admit I haven’t had the pleasure of dining in River Café as yet, and therefore, have yet to try the real thing. But I can’t believe it’s much better than J’s version. Above is a picture of a slice I happily devoured just a couple days ago. (The picture, by the way, was taken with my new, sexy, itty-bitty camera, featured in the post before this one.)

On a really random last note, and not related to the Nemesis, here’s a link to a really cool slideshow done by the New York Times on chef’s with tattoos.

  • Chefs With Tattoos
  • About Aun Koh

    Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!


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    6 April 2005


    aaarrrrggghh Chubby Hubby… the tantilizing secret of the possibility of a perfect recipe. I wonder if J would be willing to share? I've been trying to perfect this desert since I discovered it in Italy. Are you willing to send me a copy – it would be greatly appreciated… Susan

    Hey CH,

    I have been searching for the perfect gooey chocolate pudding and have tried countless recipes and not yet found the one but your chocolate nemesis looks amazing!! I wonder if you could possibly email me the recipe? I’m about to move into a house with uni friends and would love the bake this for them! Izzie

    Dear Izzie, I’m afraid we haven’t made it ourselves. You’ll notice that it was J who made it. But if you Google chocolate nemesis you might be able to find the recipe. Good luck!

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