Sweet Potato

Some types of guilt are easier to shake off than others. I blame myself, I really do. Not only did I allow her to go out alone, unchaperoned, I even encouraged it. It was a Friday. We had just come back after a couple of days away. The house was short on provisions and I…

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Spaghetti Puttanesca

I’ve been making this for years, generally none too well. Today, by accident, I made one of the best ever. While all pasta sauce has to be big enough to flavour a lot of carbohydrate, puttanesca is huge. Why so? Ah, how to explain without offending the sensibilities of your maiden aunts, should they chance upon…

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Grand Marnier Souffle

This blog is posted for Valentine’s Day. Making a romantic dinner? A light last course is always to be recommended, You also want something that shows you’ve made an effort. Soufflés aren’t as frightening as you might think, once you’ve made one or two. With a larger unruly dinner party,  the timing can be an…

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Slow Roasted Lamb

Sometimes I think that in a previous life I must have been a French housewife. Or have I just spent too long reading and watching Nigel Slater? When food shopping there are times, especially if you have planned a dinner or other event, when you know exactly what you want to buy, and precisely what…

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At the end of this, you are going to look in incredulity and say, all this column just about a sandwich? Well yes, but please bear with me. Not just any old sandwich but one that the late Anthony Bourdain, no less, declared the best ever. Once you’ve embarked on a food tour in Vietnam,…

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Brussels Sprouts

  Now, hands up those who eat Brussels Sprouts on any day other than December 25? And keep your hands up if you enjoy them. My hand is in the air twice. It’s probably appropriate that I’m writing this with an election on the way, one which has opinions as polarised over politics as they…

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Apple Strudel

I was looking for something festive. And, about to head to Prague to visit grandson, something with a European twist. Then I discovered that today’s feast is a favourite of close friend PM. And that his granddaughter, Miss Charlotte, made it for him at the age of six. So there’s no excuse for the rest…

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As we all know, the brain is a mighty curious thing. If you doubt this, just consider the latest dream you can recall, and ask yourself, where on earth did that come from? And where, you should all ask, do these recipe ideas come from, week on week? Four years or so ago, when this…

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Sussex Pond Pudding It’s coming into pudding season. My own Christmas pud was made a couple of weeks ago. The Sunday morning routine has had to be altered slightly to feed it a little brandy and sherry. We have been making our own for a few years now, a recipe by Stephen Harris of The…

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Like summer’s lease, the game season hath all too short a date. Enjoy it while ye may. Those with longer memories may recall that I did a partridge recipe a couple of years ago. I cooked the legs and crown separately. I was very kindly gifted a brace the other day, and decided to roast…

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Pheasant with Cream Sauce

For quite a long while I was ambivalent about pheasant. Daft though this sounds, it took me a long while to cotton on to the fact that I was horribly overcooking it. There was no family tradition of eating game, never mind cooking it, so I had to reply on recipes, which generally let me…

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Pheasant Crumble

Every year I bang on about the joys of autumn cookery, so why should this one be any different? It’s the right time of year for long slow cooking; root veg come into their own, as do apples and pears. But the thing that makes autumn stand out for me is the availability of game.…

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Baklava

For the last few weeks we have been wandering through the Middle East. Last week we sweetened up with a honey cake. I had thought at that time of including baklava, that tooth achingly sweet confection, which comes from…? Larousse Gastronomique describes it as a Middle Eastern creation: it seems to have been present throughout…

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Bermondsey Honey

Whisper it, but I’ve never, up until now that is, been a great fan of honey. It just tastes, well, sweet. At my advanced age it is just wonderful to be able to stumble on new, exciting food experiences. I wrote the other week about attending Sudi Pigott’s food writing course in Bermondsey. That took…

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Pitta

Last week we looked at a couple of walnut based sauces of Middle Eastern origin. Although the tahini was used to dress a carrot salad, it could easily be used as a dip. That needs something to spread it on. In a horrible culture clash we are as likely as not to serve such dips…

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Walnuts

One or two things inspired this week’s column. Firstly, by a certain good chum, not be named (yet), who has been promising me a recipe for months, and recently embarked on a jaunt to Israel. But secondly, I was sucked into the orbit of the stellar force that is Sudi Pigott, foodie extraordinaire. More on…

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Rovellini

This week’s guest recipe comes from friend and fellow foodie, Mark Baird. Mark is known in Tom Eats! circles as the RCI, Retired Captain of Industry. Before his recent retirement he ran Diageo almost single handedly, despite one or two people who claimed to be further up the corporate ladder (Head of Alcohol in Society/Head…

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Raspberry Tart

2019 has been a horribly disappointing year for strawberries, due, no doubt, to the lack of sun. Raspberries, on the other hand, have been loving the damp and relatively cool weather. The quality has been fantastic, and I don’t remember having such a long season. This week’s recipe is a showstopper to celebrate the great…

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Last week we left things hanging with what to do with the heads and shells of the glorious langoustines which, I seriously hope, you did not overcook. The answer, in a word, is stock. If I had to pick one single difference between a pro and an amateur kitchen, I would point to the permanent…

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Langoustines

What we’re looking at today is the wonderful Nephrops norvegicus. I first encountered these in Wester Ross in the late 1960s when they were known to fishermen and consumers alike as prawns. Once we started to be inundated with imports from all over, the naming became confusing. The term Dublin Bay prawns was common –…

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Bouillabaisse

So you want to cook bouillabaisse? Well, you can’t. Says who? Says The Marseillle Bouillabaisse Charter, issued in 1980 by a group of restaurateurs in the city. The stated objective is to specify the elements of a good quality Bouillabaisse, with the goal to make this local dish better known among customers, while at the…

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Fennel

I am taking my first faltering steps to learn the Czech language. People tell me it’s difficult, but my guess is that learning English pronunciations must be a nightmare.  Take for example the words, therefore, plant, pack, female pig: so, sew, stow, but sow. Or, things in a line, type of deer, propel a boat,…

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Amalfi Lemons

Taken for granted by many whose only use for it is to garnish a G & T, the lemon is an underrated kitchen essential. A cooking tool, to prevent your butter browning further when frying fish or chicken; a fundamental in most Middle Eastern recipes; an invisible flavour enhancer to add that little extra zing…

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