Engaging drinks

We’d travelled to Cambridge for drinks with friends to celebrate our engagement; the venue was the Allhusen Room at my old College – Trinity. We served wine and cake; the cakes were lovingly made for the occassion (cakes by Mr Marks, icing by Mr Spencer…), and the wines were from the College cellars. That’s slightly […]

Special occassion wines

I’d been saving these for a special occassion: Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 72, and Heidsieck Monopole Gold Top Vintage 2002. The riesling I’d purchased when I was in Adelaide in 2008. I ducked out of an afternoon conference session and took the bus to Penfolds’ Magill Estate cellar door. The Magill Estate is the […]

Mincemeat lattice tart

To finish the jar of meaty mincemeat, I made a lattice mincemeat tart. The pastry was a standard short crust pastry (two parts flour to one part fat) with the addition of a good spoonful of ground cinnamon and two large spoons of icing sugar.  I combined these by hand to a fine breadcrumb texture […]

Chili with a difference

This was a good chili con carne, taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s meat book. In order to avoid what he describes as “a second-rate bolognese with beans”, more care goes into the preparation. It started with the meats – lean minced beef, chopped pork (a shoulder steak), and chopped chorizo sausage. All of these are fried […]

Marmite chocolate

I was browsing through the delightful Firebox website when I found something marvellous: Marmite chocolate! It sounds odd, but I can see their logic in likening it to the equally-odd, yet incredibly popular, strawberries and balsamic vinegar combination. I’m a big fan of marmite, and of chocolate. I might just have to buy some. (Or, […]

Home-made mince pies

These mince pies are the first to be made from the mincemeat I mentioned before. As it happened, this first batch was made using my friend’s beef and apple mincemeat. The pastry was a simple shortcrust – two parts flour to one part fat – for the six small pies I made, I used three […]

Two meals at d’Arrys

A recent trip to d’Arrys was a significant improvement on my last visit there. We started by sharing the baked Camembert and meat platter, which was excellent. The miniature Camembert was creamy and delicious and studded with just the right amount of garlic, and the meats – salami, chorizo, and prosciutto – suitably flavoursome. There were good green […]

Quinta de Ervamoir 10 y.o.

We spied a bottle of Ramos Pintos’s Quinta de Ervamoir 10 y.o. tawny port in the Chop House and opted to head there for a post-prandial drink one evening. It’s a light, almost orange, vibrant red, with the translucency one expects of tawny ports. The taste is surprisingly fresh and fruity, given it has had […]

Rabbiting on about something fishy

After being told to expect a forty-five minute wait at Jamie’s Italian in Cambridge, we were called to our table from the bar after a mere ten! My dining companion opted for the crispy squid with garlic mayonnaise, whereas my eye was drawn to something a little more unusual. Arancini (pictured below) are basically deep-fried […]

Number 7 Fish Bistro

One doesn’t have to go as far as Nice to find fantastic fresh sea food, and I didn’t. I was in Torquay – or Torfu, as a friend once termed it – for a weekend, and my parents decided a visit to Number 7 Fish Bistro on Torquay’s harbour front was in order. Things started […]

The end of an era

Bad news, everyone: Fitzbillies, home of delicious Chelsea Buns (and delicious Chelsea Bun ice cream) has gone into administration. It would seem that, once again, it’s the economy, stupid, that’s forced Fitzbillies to close after 90 years of serving Cambridge. Sadly, I think the time for independent bakers and cake makers has passed; chains like Patisserie Valerie […]