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What I drink when I’m not drinking

What I drink when I’m not drinking

If Sober October has slipped by without you managing to take a few days off it’s not too late to do something about it. After all there's no reason why you shouldn't take a break - of whatever duration - in November. Even though the dark nights and the relentlessly bad news may make you feel like hitting the bottle it’s not a great idea to make that a nightly habit.

 10 ways to make the best of the 10pm curfew

10 ways to make the best of the 10pm curfew

There’s no doubt about it the new 10pm closing time is bad for restaurants and pubs. Having a son who’s a restaurateur (no, he didn’t ask me to write this!) I feel it keenly on his behalf. From fine dining establishments to takeaways many rely on a late sitting to balance the books.

8 instagram accounts to inspire you to cook

8 instagram accounts to inspire you to cook

Lockdown may have been relaxed and restaurants reopened but most of us are still cooking the majority of the time at home and in desperate need of fresh inspiration.

How I fell out of love with sourdough

How I fell out of love with sourdough

Those of you who follow me on Instagram or who read my recent article in Club Oenologique, may recall a smug series of posts about a month ago crowing about my newly acquired prowess as a sourdough baker.

How to make up for not going to restaurants

How to make up for not going to restaurants

‘God I miss restaurants!’ has been the plaintive cry on Twitter from quite a few of us lately. This lockdown makes me realise how often I normally eat out and how much I enjoy the warm, welcoming buzz of my favourite places. Not to mention those cosy suppers huddled with friends round the kitchen table.

In praise of mindful wine tasting

In praise of mindful wine tasting

A post from the archives that still holds good today ...

How to relax at your own party

How to relax at your own party

Think about the last time you went to an event, party, or get together where you had a spectacularly good time. These are the moments that pop up in your Facebook memories and make you think “oh wow, that was a special evening." Everything seemed to flow. Was it the food? The atmosphere? The people? Whatever the reason, you can almost guarantee that behind all of that was a host who was having as great a time as his or her guests.

South Africa’s inspiring women winemakers

South Africa’s inspiring women winemakers

Anyone who reckons winemaking is a man’s job should head for South Africa and see the kind of wines that women are making in some of the country’s most exciting cellars.

The truth about millennial wine drinkers

The truth about millennial wine drinkers

Do millennials really scorn wine? Or only pour it to take pictures of it on instagram? Nathalie Gardiner, a member of Generation Y herself, examines a few prejudices

How we started our Batonnage podcast

How we started our Batonnage podcast

I suspect a lot of you are podcast enthusiasts but I’ve come late to the party and probably wouldn’t have dreamt of doing one myself, to be honest, if my collaborator Liam Steevenson hadn’t come up with the perfect name - Bâtonnage.

Why I’ve become a fully blown flexitarian

Why I’ve become a fully blown flexitarian

It should, I admit, have happened before now but a working weekend away with an overnight stay a chain hotel and a couple of long train journeys has finally convinced me I can no longer eat cheap meat.

Why it matters if you don’t show up for a restaurant you’ve booked

Why it matters if you don’t show up for a restaurant you’ve booked

Every week my local restaurants in Bristol tweet that a table has become available that evening. You might say they’re the lucky ones - at least the customer has let them know though that’s scant consolation if the table is for more than two. Others simply fail to show up.

Six of the best ways to entertain as a single

Six of the best ways to entertain as a single

Ever since my husband died two and a half years ago I’ve been grappling with the problem of how to entertain on my own.

Recipes that don’t work. The unspoken problem with cookery books

Recipes that don’t work. The unspoken problem with cookery books

Cookery books may still be selling like hotcakes but I sometimes wonder why given that so many of the recipes don’t actually work. Unsurprisingly it’s not a subject the publishing industry cares to dwell on but it’s a more widespread problem than you’d think.

10 Valentine's Day treats to enjoy on your own

10 Valentine's Day treats to enjoy on your own

The usual bombardment of hearts and flowers that heralds Valentine’s Day is bound to make anyone who doesn’t have a Valentine feel a bit out of it. But there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself . . .

Why I drink wine. A guest post from a doctor who knows the risks

Why I drink wine. A guest post from a doctor who knows the risks

I'm handing over my blog this week to Dr Jonathan Tricker, a practising GP. We were discussing the UK Government latest guidelines on alcohol on the train a while back and he offered to share his perspective as a doctor who is also a winelover.

How to cook a turkey without having a breakdown

How to cook a turkey without having a breakdown

There’s a myth that cooking a Christmas turkey is simple - a slightly souped up version of an ordinary Sunday roast. In fact it’s quite tricky because of the size of the bird and the number of other things you have to get ready at the same time.

The return of the vol-au-vent

The return of the vol-au-vent

Are we about to witness a revival of that 70s classic, the vol-au-vent? There appear to be sightings. Philip Sweeney reports

Should you buy ‘en primeur’ 2014 Bordeaux from Marks & Spencer?

Should you buy ‘en primeur’ 2014 Bordeaux from Marks & Spencer?

As you may have already picked up Marks & Spencer is selling 32 top 2014 Bordeaux It bought bought two years ago en primeur.

New Christmas traditions: my 24 hour post-Christmas break

New Christmas traditions: my 24 hour post-Christmas break

It’s the evening of December 27th and my daughter and I are holed up in the luxurious Rosewood hotel in London tucking into a club sandwich (her) and a lobster macaroni cheese (me) on room service.

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