News & views

Occasional rants from me, guest posts from others. News about the site . . .

 

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.

In praise of mindful wine tasting

In praise of mindful wine tasting

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

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 . . .

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.

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.

Exciting news about my new e-book: 101 Great Ways to Enjoy Sherry

Exciting news about my new e-book: 101 Great Ways to Enjoy Sherry

This week has been the realisation of a long-held ambition to write a series of e-books on various aspects of food and drink pairing.

Living like a local in Athens

Living like a local in Athens

I’ve been thinking this past couple of days that I’ve been getting it all wrong about travelling. The frantic search for the best hotel, the hottest restaurants, the relentless attempt to tick the *must see* boxes. But I’m going to have to admit after two days in Athens I didn’t even make it to the centre.

My big Greek adventure

My big Greek adventure

I first went to Greece when I was 17 as a treat for passing my A levels (not with great distinction I have to confess). My mother and I went on a cruise round the islands about which I can’t remember a great deal apart from having a crush on one of the cabin stewards who bore an uncanny resemblance to Sean Connery in his James Bond heyday. And was probably my mother’s age. Nothing came of it I'm sorry to say although mother, of course, was profoundly relieved.

What it’s like judging the BBC Food and Farming awards

What it’s like judging the BBC Food and Farming awards

One of the best things I’ve done in the last three years is to judge the BBC Food and Farming Awards. Contrary to what the name suggests it’s not all about prize heifers and outsize marrows though it does include awards to food producers and farmers but also features school and other institutional cooks, food markets and drinks.

Wine & Spice pop-up in Bristol and more Honey & Co Wine Club dates

Wine & Spice pop-up in Bristol and more Honey & Co Wine Club dates

Those of you who enjoyed the recent events I’ve been doing with the lovely people at Honey & Co will be pleased to know we have a new series coming up, starting next month. Billed as Wine Adventures around the Med, we’ll be focusing on three countries and regions and the wines we feel go with their food best.

The healing power of pie

The healing power of pie

As some of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will know I lost my husband suddenly three weeks ago. It’s obviously hard to write about it while it's still so raw but I wanted to tell you about something quite unexpected that has helped - and is helping - to heal the pain.

Wine for Foodies pop-up wine school at Honey & Co

Wine for Foodies pop-up wine school at Honey & Co

I’m really excited to let you all know about a series of pop-up wine classes I’m doing at the wonderful Honey & Co in London

The joys of open-top motoring - and headscarves ...

The joys of open-top motoring - and headscarves ...

This week I have been mainly driving around the south of England in a large open-top Beemer. No, it’s not our car, we were offered it by the nice people at BMW who obviously got me confused with the Guardian motoring correspondent. But who was I to disillusion them?

Why are beer drinkers so grumpy?

Why are beer drinkers so grumpy?

Whenever I write about beer in my Guardian column - which is not that often and in a minute you’ll see why - there’s a stream of snide and sarcastic comments. Far more than I ever get for wine

New voices in food

New voices in food

As little as a year ago - can it be that short a time? - it felt as if food writing was in terminal decline. Newspapers and food magazines were dominated by the same old names, generally fostered by a restaurant or TV connection. Some, it was rumoured (choosing my words carefully), didn’t even write their own columns or books.

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