Caroline, 26 (British)
1. Dish no. 1: A luxury cheeseboard – a selection of cheeses (no restriction on number, although there should be a mix of hard and soft, from both goats, cows and sheeps milk, and of course a decent gooey blue – I’d leave it for the lovely Neals Yard people to make the choices), with French bread, rye bread, tomato chutney, membrillo, walnuts, figs, pears and apples
I think cheese is possibly the one food substance I would struggle to live without (and the reason I will never again be a size 10), this little lot should keep me sustained for a while, particularly as I’ve managed to squeeze some of my five a day in too.
Dish no.2: Fish and chips from Farsley
Some of my strongest memories of spending time with my grandparents in Yorkshire are linked to eating fish and chips from the chippy on Town Street (sadly now closed) at their G plan dining table. It was always an extra special treat, as anything takeaway-ey or with the smallest hint of e-numbers was heavily frowned upon in our household. Really crispy beer batter and slightly soggy vinegary chips – lovely. However, I would sneak in some Belgian-style mayonnaise as a non-authentic extra. If you include the mushy peas that’s another healthy vegetable too.
Dish no.3: Teacakes, crumpets and malt loaf with last night of the proms
The last night of the proms always falls near my birthday in September, and when I was little my family always used to sit in the living room and watch it together. These would be few of the rare times we were allowed to eat from trays on our laps (my Mum is a stickler for proper manners and proper eating), with glorious buttery treats and tea.
Dish no.4: Phad thai noodles from Baan Thai
This is an instant reminder of happy student times – the Baan Thai restaurant in Broomhill, Sheffield, was consistently fantastic (despite the twee interior and weird tiny layout) and cheap. My housemates and I used to go there regularly, to pretend like we could afford to eat out. Brilliant comfort food.
Dish no.5: Chicken wrapped in parma ham
This is my boyfriend’s standard easy-but-impressive date dish (he also does a mean steak chimichurri, but I couldn’t have both), and given that he won’t be on the island with me, this will be a tasty reminder of my beloved. I’m not normally massively keen on cooking chicken, as it can be so bland, but we had this with meat from the Ginger Pig recently (ladida) and it was delicious. I think it’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe, and it’s ace.
Dish no.6: Potato salad with salsa verde
I host an annual birthday picnic every year – basically I bake manically for a day and a half and then spend a Saturday afternoon with all of my friends getting unnecessarily drunk in a park. And so far, the sun has always shined. For me, it’s definitely a highlight of my year, so I wanted to select a picnic standard for inclusion on the island. This potato salad is perfect – a much more exciting garlicky version than the normal mayonnaise mush. The recipe is from ‘How to feed your friends with relish’ by Joanna Weinberg, which is a marvellous book, well used in my kitchen.
Dish no.7: Sticky toffee pudding from Lamberts, Balham
I’ve already listed lots of savoury dishes so I figure I really should include a pudding. Strangely I’ve never actually attempted to cook a sticky toffee pudding myself, even though it is by far and away my top choice dessert. The ready-made version from M&S was a favoured special treat in my house when I was a student, but the one at Lamberts is just incredible, especially as the restaurant setting and service is so lovely.
Dish no.8: Dim sum in Shanghai
I’ve never been to China, but I’d love to, and I’d especially like to visit Shanghai, as it’s where my Grandmother grew up. Plus I love dim sum. So, cheekily, I’m going to try to utilise the fantasy desert island experience to get a free international trip. Prawn dumplings? Steamed pork buns? Yes please.
2. Tea or Coffee: Tea, as long as there’s milk…
3. Drink: Bloody Mary
4. Luxury: Avocado on toast (home-made bread), with butter. (I could eat this forever, breakfast lunch and dinner). Especially if you’re nice and allow some harissa paste and gooey camembert. (Allowed – Maitre’d)