Category: Cooking

‘My baby don’t care for high-tone prices’

Or, as Nina Simone actually sang, ‘he don’t care for high-tone places’ I’m increasingly less interested in ‘fine dining’ establishments, and attracted by places that offer simpler food in a less formal setting. Well chosen ingredients, prepared with intelligence in the kitchen. Well judged combinations of flavour, and no more than five main components on […]

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Dinners in Paris, and a long day for the fishmongers

First night nerves We like to mark our evening of arrival in Paris with dinner at La Fontaine de Mars. You know you’re in Paris from the moment you step through the door. This time I’d left it too late to make a reservation, so we gave Le Bistrot d’Eléonore et Maxence a call.   […]

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A tale of two Frenchies. Well, actually five.

Frenchie Restaurant in Paris opened on rue du Nil in 2015, and quickly became a hot ticket. We tried to book a table for dinner in May this year, but they still fill the restaurant months ahead. Frenchie Wine Bar opposite doesn’t take reservations; it opens at 6.30pm, and the advice is to turn up […]

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Just a quiet Monday night in Amsterdam

Caffè Toscanini, Amsterdam   Arriving early for our reservation, we asked if we could have an aperitif at the bar. I could see we were in safe hands, they stocked all the right brands. I ordered an Americano from the drinks list; equal parts Bèrto Bitter and white vermouth, with a (mere) splash of Fevertree […]

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A “Totally Swedish” moment

Putting together a simple Smörgåsbord   I’ve been writing about the Nordic food adventures I had in January while on a brief weekend in Stockholm, and since then I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen. Quantities and measurements needn’t be too precise, these are as much processes as recipes; proportions are important but not inflexible. If […]

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Indonesia comes to London Book Fair

17,000 Islands of Imagination at London Book Fair Indonesia will be London Book Fair’s Market Focus for 2019, introducing the country’s “17,000 Islands of Imagination” to the international public, “symbolising the intellectual and artistic richness of this incredibly diverse and multi-religious nation”. London Book Fair, 12 – 14 March 2019, at Olympia. https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/en/Whats-On/Market-Focus—main-page/Indonesia/   General de Gaulle […]

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Swedish Food, Part Two: my quest for a meatball

First, a waterborne Smörgåsbord on the Steamship Stockholm. Invited to the city of Stockholm for a birthday celebration, we were instructed by our generous hosts to be ready to board ship at 11.30 on Sunday for a prompt departure at midday. The captain, they told us, would not wait for latecomers.       The […]

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Swedish food, Part One: “what have the Swedes ever done for us?”

In her Reith Lecture in 2018, Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan said this about the Swedish people:   “Think of the Swedes” “I mean we think of the Swedes now today as making expeditions to Ikea, assembling furniture quietly, not getting cross at it. We think of them going to the woods and picking berries. I mean […]

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Four favourite Venetian restaurants revisited

  A four night stay in November was prompted by the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Jacopo Tintoretto’s birth. This in turn triggered the question “where to have dinner?” Instead of seeking out new restaurants, we decided to revisit four that we have tried before. For the first evening we wanted somewhere lively and […]

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Of Pigeons, Pies, and Flakey Flossy’s Pastry

  Clay Pigeon Practice Arriving in the countryside the day before the pheasant shoot, I was invited to try my hand at shooting clay pigeons; terracotta discs which are released from machines to mimic the speed and trajectory of birds in flight. It started well. The barrels on a modern shotgun are “over and under”, […]

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