That Rioja Rosé

It’s called Terrasota 2007 rosé, and it’s from Marks and Spencer, coming in at 14 percent. It is very full-bodied, with a real tang of summer fruits, but without being too sweet. The label suggests cranberry, strawberry and red cherry, which I think is just about right. It is very good, totally unlike the sometimes […]

Quite a traditional meal

The meal I cooked for friends was fairly straightforward except for one thing: every course required the oven, and it was quite a job fitting things in and around each other. However, it all worked out. I began with savoury tarts, in effect mini-quiches. I made a shortcrust pastry with flour, bran, and goose fat, […]


This weekend, I was lucky enough to try three new chamapgnes which I never had before. Once you get above a certain level of quality, I’ve found it’s very difficult to tell apart different champagnes. They’re all very smooth, with very fine bubbles and always magnificently balanced, so that it’s rare to find any with […]

Onion, walnut and blue cheese triangles

I made them triangles so they’d fit onto my baking tray. Puff pastry bases, with the usual egg-brushed borders. I softened the onions with thin-sliced garlic in butter first, then added chopped walnuts. Onto the triangles it went, followed by small cubes of Danish blue. After its 13 minutes in the oven, I sprinkled basil […]

Is it the bread or the pesto?

You certainly need good bread for it. I used two quarters of ciabatta, toasted under the grill. But you also need pesto, green pesto, spread over it. And the tomatoes have to be good, tangy ones. In this case I used British vine-ripened ones which I’ve previously found to be sweet and juicy, and rough […]

Swordfish Milanese

It sounded too intriguing not to try. I was at Fish Works near Piccadilly, inside this time to escape the rain and cold winds. I began with whitebait, plump and lightly cooked, while my dining companion tried the Fish Works starter platter with a selection of small helpings on a wooden block. All were good, […]

Dinner with Lady Thatcher

It was the 20th anniversary of her speech at Bruges, and the Bruges Group held a dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel to mark the occasion. It’s a very grand place on Hyde Park, and its Great Room easily fitted the 320 or so who attended. The food was suitably grand, too. The first course […]

Aki Teri variation

The restaurant was Aki Teri, and the food was once again magnificent. This time, I altered the format slightly, by choosing several small intro dishes instead of one larger dish. We had deep fried prawns with garlic, deep fried soft shell crab and deep fried chicken breast with Japanese bread crumbs. We also shared some […]


The cornerstone of the meal was definitely the two onglet steaks that we had for the main course. They came with Maris Piper pommes frites and grilled tomato Provencale on the side, and a delightful Béarnaise sauce in its own little dish. Before this, my friend had the friture of squid and whitebait, which is […]

Madsen’s mushroom tart

It made quite a tasty lunch. I rolled out the puff pastry very thin, pricked within the scored border and brushed beaten egg on the outer strip. Then I spread pesto – thin, because I didn’t have much left. Then garlic, and one large field mushroom cut into strips. Extra virgin olive oil was drizzled […]

My local deli

Balzano’s in Cambridge is an authentic Italian deli established well over 30 years ago now and still  serving the well-settled local Italian community and everyone else….It has a fantastic bakery where bread is still baked each day and supplied to a host of restaurants and food outlets. I love it as it has a fantastic […]

Dinner with the rocket boys

Cambridge University Spaceflight had their first formal dinner of the new term, celebrating two record-breaking balloon launches, successful tests of some very sophisticated tracking technology, and (of course) more work on the rockets they will send into space within a few months. It was held in Emmanuel College this time. Unusually, there were no Fellows […]