July 14th - le quatorze juillet - is an important public holiday in France. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and the beginning of the French Revolution. Despite its bloodthirsty connotations, it’s now seen as a family day, an opportunity for a picnic or an out-of-doors lunch and provides a good excuse - as if we needed one - for Francophiles to celebrate.
Fresh peaches are bang in season right now so use them to make these summery cocktails that I think are quite perfect for this week's Independence Day celebrations.
With this unseasonably hot weather why not look to Greece for inspiration when you're entertaining. Here's a simple meal for 4 that was inspired by a trip to Greece a few years ago.
One of the highlights of my trip to Australia last year to celebrate the World’s 50 Best restaurant awards was lunch at one of their best known cookery writers Lyndey Milan’s in Sydney
This is the kind of easy meal I like to make for friends. The soup can be made in advance (or buy one of the excellent ready made chilled soups there are nowadays and dress it up with some fresh herbs), the steak is finished in the oven and the dessert literally takes minutes.
If you're planning ahead for Easter weekend and don't fancy doing the traditional big Easter Day lunch how about a brunch instead? Here's my menu for this time of year ...
I hardly dare mention the S word given how cold it's been recently but tomorrow, believe it or not is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere and the clocks go forward in the UK this weekend. So here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.
It’s a tribute to the sheer joie-de-vivre of the Irish that we regard St Patrick’s Day with much more enthusiasm than St George’s, St Andrew’s or St David’s Days (the patron saints for England, Scotland and Wales for those of you who aren’t into your saints). So your friends are going to be more than pleased to be invited to celebrate it with you.
A vodka party sounds dangerous, the sort of idea you used to come up when you were a student but think Russian-style hors d’oeuvres, or zakuski as they call them, and you’ve got a great theme for an evening with friends.
The Chinese New Year, which starts tomorrow, is one of those annual events that really captures the imagination. It is celebrated in such a colourful and joyous way and Chinese food is so delicious, quick and simple to make that I hope you won't be able to resist having a go at it.
Haggis may be traditional fare for Burns' Night but let's face it, it's not everyone's cup of tea. So here's a Scottish inspired menu that I suspect you'll probably enjoy rather more (unless you're born and bred Scots, of course...)
Even if you don’t go out wassailing over the next couple of weeks there’s no reason why you can’t throw an impromptu wassail party at home if you have an apple tree in your garden. Or even if you don’t . . .
Mulled wine is a seasonal staple but although it's easy to make it's also easy to spoil. Here are my top tips for getting it right
This menu was created as part of a series of pieces I wrote for Sainsbury's magazine. The idea was to invite your friends round for a wine tasting then all have a slap-up meal afterwards. This meal was based on a tasting of South American reds from Argentina and Chile but it would be just as fun to base it round Malbec (Malbec being the perfect wine for a steak).
With Hallowe'en just a couple of weeks away here's a sophisticated supper for those of you who don't have to go out trick or treating . . .
I still remember my visit to the great Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest beer festival. Mysteriously it’s not held in October at all - or rather it doesn’t start in October but in September - kicking off next weekend.
Just because you're gluten or dairy-intolerant doesn't mean you have to miss out on the barbecue fun as food writer Monica Shaw demonstrates.
A report on an all-day butchery and barbeque course at Hobbs House cookery school I went to a couple of summers ago. A great day out for any BBQ enthusiast (or women who live with one who want to keep their end up ;-)
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
If you haven’t already made your plans for New Year’s Eve why not invite over a few friends and treat them to a beer dinner instead of one based on wine? It’s a great way to open their eyes to the great range of artisanal beers that are now available.