Category: Food

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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“You either see it or you don’t”. The Dennis Severs House

Where do you go as a treat for a nephew whose 11th birthday is a week before Christmas? We took him to the 18th century.   On Sunday 23rd December we travelled by London Overground to Shoreditch High Street. As we walked towards our destination, we passed the strangely rather wonderful shop window of Gardner’s, […]

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My round-up of 2018

2018 has been a year that required urgent distractions from the shambles that passed for political debate in Westminster. Fortunately it’s been a good year for adventures: exhibitions, travel, theatre, food & drink. Here are just a few of my personal highlights:   Theatre – behind the scenes at The Bridge In February I wrote […]

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Ten favourite Bacari in Venice for chewing the lardo

Cichètti, or Chewing the Lardo   There’s something democratic about this city without cars. No-one can hide behind the anonymity of a windscreen, so the chances are you will know your fellow passengers on the vaporetto by sight, at the very least. Lawyers and professors share the same transport system as plumbers and market traders. […]

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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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“We don’t make coffee here, we are very serious…. We have grappa!”

Walking to dinner at Alle Testiere, a sign in an archway caught my eye – “I Rusteghi”. I recognised the name from Russell Norman’s directory of bars, in his book Venice, Four Seasons of Home Cooking.         Through the arch in a tiny courtyard was a well, covered with empty champagne bottles. […]

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“Every time someone does this, a Venetian dies”

  On the evening of our arrival in Venice in late November, we were asked for directions three times by other visitors. After all this time, we must be beginning to blend in. From the Vaporetto No 1, I was struck by the swathes of residential properties in darkness on the Grand Canal, apparently unoccupied. […]

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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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