Thanksgiving Celebration

It was like an early Christmas for me, not being American. But my American friends are used to it: a Thanksgiving party. We had just about every possible dish under the sun, and everything was absolutely delicious! The turkey popped out of the oven a beautiful roasted golden brown, and was very succulent and tender. […]

Saved by Ask

Perhaps optimistically, I hadn’t booked anywhere on a weekend evening. There’s supposed to be a recession, but everywhere was full. Five places in a row were crowded, then I spied a table through the window at Ask. It was a good choice. The Australian shiraz (14.5 percent) helped while the menu was inspected. I finally […]


I started the evening with a glass at the Cork & Bottle. It was Xanadu ’04 cabernet sauvignon from Australia’s Margaret River. The winery was set up by Irishman Dr John Lagan 40 years ago – he named it after Kublai Khan’s stately pleasure dome. The wine is like velvet, almost chocolately, with mulberries, blackcurrants, […]

Cold turkey

You guessed it. I spent a quarter of an hour removing the remaining turkey from the bone – there was a quite a lot. Lunch was wholemeal turkey sandwiches with cranberry – utterly delicious. Looming up there might be turkey salad, fricassee of turkey, fried turkey, baked turkey crepes, turkey risotto…. The lunch also included […]

Turkey, then pumpkin pie

We had clam chowder first, then turkey with sweet potatoes, peas and corn. Others seem to like the white meat so I don’t get much competition for a leg; I find the dark meat is tastier. Then we had pumpkin pie with cream. All very traditional, and taken with Billecart-Salmon champagne and an Australian cabernet/shiraz. […]


At a set piece dinner at La Margherita 14 of us sat round a big table. The novelty was that the four hosts swapped places after each course, so there was always a new group to talk to. It worked very well, and the food was good, too. I began with the pancetta and ricotta […]

More buffet

A friend asked me to recommend somewhere interesting he could entertain visiting academics. I suggested Preto, that new Brazilian place in Wilton Road. The buffet was somewhat different – indeed, I thought it better. The meats were just as good, and once again they just kept coming. A succession of waiters brought skewers to our […]

Charlie Chan’s

As usual, the portions were so titanic that we couldn’t possibly finish. But each dish was delicious and well worth the guilt of not being able to tuck the entire thing away. We started with six boiled dumplings, filled with unspecified meat, but perfectly delicious nonetheless and coming with a sauce that was so spicy […]

Union banter

Sitting chatting in a relatively quiet Union Bar the other day, a friend and I were enjoying red wine and cider respectively, the cider Scrumpy Jack. When the bar began to fill, we were joined by two friends eating pizzas. They were both Napolitana take-away pizzas from Ask restaurant, which is about as near as […]

Bricked up

I quite like The Castle on Castle Street in Cambridge for many reasons, but probably principally because it’s close to home and therefore a good place to meet people half-way when the weather’s cold. I met someone in there about 6pm on a Friday, and there was a clear post-work chatter filling the place. We […]

One step, two steps…

This was an Australian Chardonnay and came it at 13.5%. It went rather well with a tuna and rice dish, which I made slightly spicy. The year was 2007 and the nose fresh and buttery, with pears and melons. Immediately on the finish is a kick of lime which refreshes the palate. The body was […]

Another leftover lunch

With the remaining pieces of the lamb, a few new potatoes and some plum tomatoes, I had two options. The rational, sensible one was to chop up the potatoes and tomatoes, and simmer with the lamb in some meaty stock, adding maybe carrots and courgettes to make a nice stew. I chose the other option, […]