Christmas?…Nuts!

Christmas is a time for nuts, specifically nuts in shells. We eat shelled ones such as peanuts and cashews all year round, but at Christmas it's good to sit by the fire to roast...

Duck at the Varsity in Cambridge

The Varsity restaurant is the Cambridge twin of Trinity restaurant, and it came first. I began with chicken liver paté with walnut bread and shallot jam, and went on to pan-fried duck breast with...

Tapas at All Bar One – Victoria Street

All Bar One in Victoria Street offer a good selection of "small dishes" - i.e. tapas.  This time I ordered Iberico ham croquettes, chorizo and halloumi skewers, and fried calamari. It was quite a...

Vintage Cava is better than a cheap Champagne

Many of us like fizzy wines, especially Champagne. I rather think the best value is vintage cava from Spain. It must be vintage cava, and a good one is superior to most Proseccos and...

Royal Dragon dumplings – Gerrard Street, London

Very often when eating a Chinese meal I will start off either with fragrant crispy duck and pancakes, or with dim sum dumplings. At the Royal Dragon in Soho's Gerrard Street they offer a...

Quick pumpkin soup

I had one jar left of the pumpkin purée I'd made and frozen. I defrosted it and poured it into a pan with about half a pint of chicken stock. I added about half...

Wholewheat spaghetti

I do not often eat pasta. Occasionally I eat ricotta and spinach tortelloni, and sometimes in a restaurant I will order ravioli. I had some wholewheat spaghetti in my cupboard, so I made a...

Quick & easy cold lamb salad

This has to be one of the quickest to prepare. Cold lamb slices from yesterday's roast leg, with rock salt sprinkled over them. Then a salad from Sainsbury's help-yourself salad bar, the smallest size...

Dorset snails at the Savoy Grill

I quite like escargots, which are mainly an excuse to have garlic butter, but the Savoy offers something new. It is baked Dorset snails with sweet garlic, red wine and brioche crumbs. I didn't...

Savoy in style

It was quite a meal at the Savoy. First came lobster bisque, though I tasted one of the Dorset snails a companion ordered. Then came beef Wellington, medium rare with Vichy carrots. The piece...

Very old Madeira

I am very partial to very old Madeiras. Because the wine is already oxidised, it improves rather than deteriorates over time. I have enjoyed a pre-French Revolution 1789, an 1815 'Waterloo,' and an 1824...

Pickled herring in Stockholm

I was in Stockholm for a conference, and enjoyed Swedish cuisine. I especially liked the pickled herring they served at a smorgasbord banquet. It's not remotely vinegary. On the contrary, some of it is...

Savile starter

London's Savile Club featured a rather nicely done starter when I went for lunch recntly. It consisted of fresh figs served on a bed of crumbled sheep's milk cheese on a lightly toasted base....

Oh dear, d’Arry’s – Cambridge

I went to d'Arry's in Cambridge in October to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my Cambridge MPhil. Its a restaurant that we used to frequent regularly, until the service got so slow we had...

First season pumpkin pie

I lined a pie dish with my usual shortcrust pastry. The filling used about 400 gm of the pumpkin purée I made, plus a cup of milk, a spoon of brown sugar and one...

Mango with tamarind

Mango is one of my favourite fruits, and I love tamarind with its somewhat sour taste. So when I dined at Thaikhun in Cambridge and my companion ordered sea bass and mango salad with...

Pumpkin time

I cut a pumpkin into segments after scooping out the seeds. After peeling them with a potato peeler and chopping them into roughly 1" pieces, I simmered them for about 15 minutes until tender. Then...

Salmon at the National Liberal Club

I ordered the salmon as my main course for lunch. It was adequate, nice and moist, not over-cooked. I would call it competent rather than special. The potatoes were good, but the salad garnish...

Lamb at Browns

Browns is a standby, a place you go to when no other choice appeals. It is reliable and not very expensive, and the range of dishes means almost everyone can be satisfied. This time...

Bramble and apple pie

Still on my pie theme, this time I made bramble and apple pie. The bulges in the pastry are the brambles (aka blackberries). I added only a sprinkle of brown sugar, but it needed...

Cherry and apple pie

Punnets of cherries were going quite cheaply, so I bought one and stoned all the cherries with my handy little device that pits both cherries and olives. I used two Pink Lady apples, cored...

Captain Cat’s seasoning

Among my birthday presents was a tin of Captain Cat's seafood rub from Pembrokeshire in South Wales.  It's a light brown/orange colour, and is intended to be rubbed into fish before you bake it...

Elderberry Port

I was given some. It's from the Lyme Bay winery, which seems to be a National Trust property, with revenues from its sale accruing to the Trust itself. I'm not sure. It's 17 percent,...

Bramble and apple pie

In Southern England the fruit is called blackberries and the bush brambles. In Scotland, however, and some parts of England 'bramble' means both the fruit and the bush. Either way, it goes well with...

Fish, Chips and Pies at the revamped Architect in Cambridge

The Architect pub in Cambridge has been taken over by the owners of the award-winning Blue Lion of Hardwick and given a complete make-over. It's now a gastro pub specializing in fresh fish and...
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