Appetizing, but so simple

I couldn’t be bothered to get out the wok, so I cooked it all on the stove top. Big, bite-size chunks of chicken were sizzled first, then in went three colours of fresh pepper, a big mushroom cut up, and red onion. I let all this simmer with the lid on for a few more […]

Montana fizz

This one was from New Zealand, a very well-respected label. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially its fine fizz. It’s made from Champagne-approved grapes – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – and was of course dry and a typical 12.5 percent. It kept its fizz for ages (I tried a dash more after 24 hours open and […]

Eating around graduation

It’s that magic time of year when undergraduates parade through the streets in their finery to the Senate House, and leave as graduates. There’s quite some ritual to it. You have to be touching the praelector’s finger as he is touched by the Vice-Chancellor; the educational spirit apparently flows through him into the young graduands. […]


I’ve finally worked out a way to make bread which isn’t extremely heavy compared with supermarket brands. There are two tricks which I hadn’t before used. The first involves activating the dried yeast before mixing it into the flour. This is simply adding it to the water in a separate bowl, stirring in a small […]

Guentota Estate

This Chardonnay is from Argentina and is 13%. I found it as part of the Tesco ‘Finest’ range, which suggests serving this 2006 slightly chilled with fish, seafood, or roast chicken. I had it with little caviar snacks (tiny pancakes, creme fraiche and imitation caviar) and indeed, it worked nicely. There are tropical fruits and […]

Le Deuxième

Le Deuxième in London’s Covent Garden district is one of three French-style restaurants under the same ownership. First was the Café du Jardin, and more recently came The Forge, but the second in the chain was, unsurprisingly perhaps, called Le Deuxième. I went there for a basically business lunch. It’s light, clean and airy, with […]

Watermelon salad

Watermelon salad Originally uploaded by dynamist. Oh gosh, is this ever easy. I always worry that people won’t like the concept, and so won’t like the execution, but it always gets eaten with gusto. It’s from Nigella. Thinly slice a red onion into little half-moons. Soak in the juice of two lemons or limes (lemons […]

Jam doughnuts

There was a launch party in London for my new children’s science fiction books, Children of the Night and Dark Visitor. Guests enjoyed Casillero del Diablo Chilean pinot noir from Casablanca Valley, Dona Dominga, a Chilean chardonnay/semillon blend, and an assortment of English ales with names like Tanglefoot, Old Speckled Hen, Spitfire, and Hobgoblin among […]

Literary lunch at the Wolseley

I was there with a children’s editor to talk about my forthcoming book, The Waters of Andros. I ate an amazingly light but satisfying meal, starting with the croustade of quail’s eggs with hollandaise sauce, and going on to the fish of the day, sea bream. Both dishes were extraordinarily tasty, but relatively insubstantial. My […]

Uno on the corner

It’s actually on the corner of Denbigh Street and Warwick Way in Pimlico. It’s had various makeovers, and I don’t go there often, maybe every ten years, because it seems too expensive for what it offers. I had the calamari fritti (deep fried squid rings), which were nice enough, but pretty ordinary. Then came pan-fried […]

Rare tuna steak

It was done as it should be, quite rare, otherwise there’s a tendency to a dry, powdery texture. This was flawless. It was at Chez Gérard, and came with the agreeable criss-cross of the grill on it. It was lightly drizzled with pine nut and basil oil, and was served with sautéed mixed peppers and […]

Pleasant pizza

I had rather a good pizza at La Margherita in Magdalene Street, Cambridge. I chose a pizza del Contadino, with nicely thin-and-crispy pastry topped by mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, sweet peppers, sausage, chilli and garlic. It was nicely balanced, and the big chunks of yellow and red peppers were soft and sweet. The chilli gave some […]