The Abbey habit

In a previous life it was Base One, and before that a couple of similar incarnations called Bar Excellence and Bar 21. It is on Abbey Orchard Street, across from New Scotland Yard. The other incarnations didn’t work because its owners conceived it as a sports bar, and imagined youngsters ten deep round the bar […]

Wine crime

A fellow at a Cambridge college invited me to his rooms the other night to enjoy a bottle he’d stolen from the leftovers of a feast. From 1995 (when I was learning the ins and outs of percentage calculation) and 12.5% (not really strong enough to make me forget the maths from 1995), it was […]

Tomato and aubergine sauce

This sauce I made with wholemeal fusilli tonight, but it would also be good with roast lamb, I suspect. It’s pretty easy. Slice an aubergine into thickish rounds – about a pinky’s width. Fry in very large, deep saucepan of hot olive oil (or olive oil spray, like I used) on both sides until browned. […]

Christmas goose

After Thanksgiving the next festival is St Andrew’s Day on Nov 30th. It is big among Scots, especially with those based in other countries, but not widely celebrated otherwise. I’ll probably celebrate it with haggis, if I can get any, and Scotch whisky. Meanwhile my thoughts turn to Christmas, and I just acquired my Christmas […]

Beelgara Estate

Fascinatingly, and lending credence to the notion that high alcoholic strength implies more flavour, this wine names itself after its potence. Called the 15-04, this wine is 15% and from 2004. Simple enough. South East Australian, and appropriately peppery for Shiraz, there were loads of berries on the nose and in the main flavour, cherries […]

Variations on a turkey soup theme

I started with Jackie’s recipe. A pint of chicken stock with the shredded turkey. Onions and carrots, yes. Then I added some leek, augergine, and sweet potatoes, and I did include a fair helping of sweetcorn as Jackie suggested. A few twirls of black pepper, and I used a good pinch of cayenne pepper in […]

La Roche Lebanese

In the heart of London’s theatre-land, on a corner in St Martin’s Lane, is La Roche restaurant. It’s layout makes it uncrowded and uncluttered, and there’s a big room downstairs as well. There are wooden floors and tables, mirrors and high ceilings, and coloured glass lanterns. The cuisine is Lebanese with some Moroccan, though traditional […]

Ten minute turkey soup

We have a lot of turkey left over from Thanksgiving, but now have a little less thanks to the soup I made for dinner last night. First, I cooked some chopped onion – along with chopped carrots, celery, shallot, garlic, and a couple of chillies – in a deep saucepan until soft. Then, shredded leftover […]

A modest Thanksgiving in London

The thanksgiving meal was more modest than Jackie’s, but captured the essence of it. It started with New England clam chowder, served with champagne. After that came roast turkey, with a chestnut based stuffing. The whole turkey was wrapped in foil for the first two and a half hours in the oven, then opened up […]

Corn spoon bread

Thanksgiving 2006 Originally uploaded by dynamist. We had our Thanksgiving feast a night early, as some American friends were in town for the night, on their way to India. I spent four days testing recipes, baking and prepping ingredients before our party, but the level of enjoyment our guests had – in the food and […]

La Casa del Habano

In Dunkri street just off the square in Tallinn’s Old Town, and next door but one to the Merchant’s House Hotel where I stayed, is a very stylish cigar bar, La Casa del Habano. I went in after dinner and found it deserted. The helpful girl who let us in and showed us to the […]