News & views
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
A post from the archives that still holds good today ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
As you may have already picked up Marks & Spencer is selling 32 top 2014 Bordeaux It bought bought two years ago en primeur.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.