Haggis on St Andrew’s day

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and his cross gave it its distinctive saltire flag. What better on his day than to cook haggis? No, I told you that you didn’t want to know what went in it. Mine was from Fortnum and Mason. Tradition only goes so far, though. “Haggis wi’ neeps […]

Ecclefechan tart

Ecclefechan tart has been given a popularity boost this year because the supermarket Sainsbury’s have included it in their Christmas selection. Taking its name from a small village on the Scottish border, Ecclefechan is probably pronounced with the ‘ch’ soft, as in the Scots pronunciation of ‘loch.’ The tarts are like a cross between mince […]

Not a cheese straw in sight

Edgecliff Originally uploaded by dynamist. Some friends and I attended a party at a luxury condominium building in Cincinnati on Thursday night. They threw open a bunch of the condos and had food from several local restaurants on offer in each one. The duck, sausage and cannellini bean combo – a sort of deconstructed cassoulet […]

Platform nine and three-quarters

There’s an amusing sign I’ve not seen before at King’s Cross station. Adjacent to the satellite terminal for platforms 9, 10 and 11 (from where most of the Cambridge trains run) there’s a a notice for platform nine and three-quarters, made famous in the Harry Potter books as the magic platform from which steam trains […]

Adnams Yuletide

Adnams is my favourite of the mass-market breweries, which explains my love for Cambridge’s Castle Inn. Their new seasonal beer, Yuletide, is an excellent treat at 4.5% – although it doesn’t taste quite that strong. Nicely red-tinted, dryish, it’s oddly refreshing: I’d almost treat it as a session beer! I’m waiting, however for my favourite […]

Il Pastaio, Beverly Hills

Lunch at Il Pastaio, Beverly Hills Originally uploaded by dynamist. Il Pastaio is a very successful trattoria located on the busy corner of N Canon Dr and Brighton Way in Beverly Hills. I’ve driven past it at least fifty times over the last few years, but had never eaten there until last week. My friend […]

Boisdale and cigars

There was a party on at Boisdale restaurant in Belgravia to launch the new book, Scared to Death, by Christopher Booker and Richard North. It was a drinks reception, and there were a few canapés being handed out. The party started in the dining room (shown), but many people began to drift upstairs to enjoy […]


Pinkberry Originally uploaded by dynamist. Pinkberry is the first eating establishment I can honestly say – and not without some degree of embarrassment – that I visited purely because I read great things about it on blogs. (There is also a fascinating Wikipedia entry for Pinkberry.) The LA Times calls Pinkberry “the taste that launched […]

Saffron gin

Christmas came early this year for me, being the lucky recipient of a bottle of Saffron Gin (see picture). It has some very interesting components, including: juniper (of course), coriander, lemon, orange peel, iris, fennell and angelica seeds, not forgetting the saffron! I mixed it as one would with a normal G&T (after a cheeky […]

A pheasant enough dinner

Bad puns aside, a recent Saturday night gave rise to a rather nice pheasant casserole. Into a large pan went a little oil, onion, garlic, and pheasant thighs. When the pheasant was browned, I added flour, and stirred to coat the meat and absorb the oil. Then were thrown in chunks of roughly chopped carrot, […]

A very Hollywood Thanksgiving

Dinner! Originally uploaded by dynamist. My friend, a film producer, had ordered Thanksgiving dinner for ten people, from Gelson’s, the M&S of Los Angeles supermarkets. One problem: There were only two of us. I didn’t mind this, as it meant a less hectic day. But my friend wanted more of a crowd. He called some […]

Light lunch at Strada

It’s interesting to see how child friendly Italian restaurants tend to be. This includes Strada in Cambridge’s Trinity Street; several tables had quite small children at them, and a group of buggies was lined up just inside the door. I had pollo con funghi – butterflied chicken breast in creamy mushroom and marjoram sauce with […]