News & views
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.
What - if anything - have you given up for January? Maybe you’ve gone dry or vegan? Or embarked on a #nospend month - giving up on all non-essential spending such as coffees, magazines and meals out?
Every so often someone has a go at food and wine pairing. The media love it as they like to knock anything to do with wine (the other old chestnut being that wine professionals haven’t a clue because they can’t always recognise wines blind)
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.
Barely a day passes without coming across some kind of hack.
A few days ago a meme popped up on Twitter to wide acclaim. Headed ‘The state of wine coverage - hot or not?’ it gave some tongue-in-cheek examples of articles wine writers might submit or be asked to write. “Is this the great sherry revival? Five great wines for barbecues because the editor insisted. A barely tampered press release about a newly invented grape variety day. 5000 words on minerality. Canned wine ‘not shit'’”
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.
My inbox for the past couple of weeks has been full of gift ideas for Mother’s Day and when it comes to wine that’s all about one colour - pink.
Zoom tastings have been hugely popular during lockdown for understandable reasons. Unable to travel or get to tastings in person it's a good way to keep up with new releases or learn more about a wine region.
I’ve never understood why people want to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. Why would you fancy sitting in a restaurant with dozens of other people, paying over the odds for an often indifferent meal and a glass of overpriced champagne? The only argument in favour is that you don’t have to make it yourself.
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.
I don’t know about you but I’ve massively changed the way I shop for food this year. I still go to my favourite food shops in my home town of Bristol (we have some fantastic bakeries and I must go to my local greengrocer Reg the Veg at least three times a week) but like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been shopping more online too
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.
‘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.