Roast Chicken & Other Stories

Not my title, unfortunately. It belongs to Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham. This fabulous little book was published exactly thirty years ago. Voted the most useful cookbook of all time, it once knocked Harry Potter (then at the height of his fame) off the top of the book charts. It takes 40 ingredients and provides…

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Cuisses de Poulet Grillées aux Riz à L’Orientale

The linguists among you will have realised that we are continuing the chicken theme. Unless, however, you are a student of Escoffier and used to have your own table at Le Gavroche, you may be unfamiliar with today’s delicacy. But you may know it better as grilled chicken and fried rice. And to make it…

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Caesar Salad

On Wednesday we looked at the genesis of the Caesar Salad. What happened next? After the end of Prohibition Caesar moved back to the US. He had realised what he was on to, and befoe long he was bottling the dressing it and selling it at Los Angeles Farmers’ Market. His daughter Rosa, who went…

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Wendy Barrie’s Farmor’s Panbiff

I think this may be a first for Tom’s Food! I’m certain we have had featured guests in On The Side who have provided recipes for Tom Cooks!: but never ever in the same week has Tom Eats! reviewed a restaurant from the same family. A hat trick for Wendy Barrie. Hold the front page! On…

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Spanakopita

I think it’s because I didn’t fancy drinking turpentine. Ouzo, raki, that sort of thing. That’s about the only reason I can think of for never having visited Greece. And lots of people tell you bad things about the food. Lukewarm, greasy, salmonella added at no extra cost. All of which sounds as sensible as…

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Sorbets and Granitas

Sorbet In 2024 I hesitate to commend anything whatsoever about Moscow, but during a visit a few years ago, something struck me. When the wife of an important person went out, she was invariably accompanied by a large man with no neck. Given the circumstances which gave rise to the inspiration for my recipe today,…

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Asparagus Soup

Asparagus bunches

How profligate, I hear you cry. Taking something which is  delicate, delicious and downright dear, and turning it into soup? Nay, best beloveds, nay. Imparting culinary knowledge to my bambini has always been a source of pleasure, never more so than when it related to today’s star veg. Having been asked how far down one…

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I Tried To Give You New Ravioli, But I Failed

Overseeing school dinners very many years ago in an unnamed establishment outwith Edinburgh,  L asked what the day’s veg was. Ravioli, came the reply. In our enjoyment of pasta in Britain we’ve come a long way since then, but when it comes to the stuffed stuff, we’re still a long way behind the home country. Shop…

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When in Rome, Eat Artichokes

If you’re French and you’re reading this, do you realise how much of a laugh the Italians are having at your expense? My admiration of the cuisine of la belle France knows few bounds except, perhaps, when it comes to today’s star ingredient. We refer not the little tubers which cause extreme flatulence, the so called…

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One, Two, Salsa!

No! Not that sort of salsa! If you think I’m going to be a dance master in April, you little know your man. Even before the titanium hip I discovered that I had been born lacking a sense of rhythm. The delights of dancing the salsa (which, as you know, is a Cuban fusion of…

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Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Home Made Mint Sauce

Well, sod seasonality! I said firmly to the laptop. No, I’m not referring to what we should cook or eat, but to the issues it raises for us scribblers. You might think that Easter would be a gift, with all its food traditions. Yes, but this is the ninth year of Tom Cooks! Fortunately, many of…

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Goulash, Of Course

I’m shocked, let me tell you. Totally shocked. No, I’m not being Louis Renault, Casablanca’s police chief, on discovering that gambling is carried on at Ricks Cafe (just before receiving his winnings). Rather it’s the lack of goulash recipes out there. My go to encylopaedia is Prue Leith’s Cookery Bible. There you can find out how…

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Some Rhubarb Thoughts

Those of you of a certain age may be having a nostalgic chuckle at this point. Rhubarb  is radio jargon for unintelligible background speech. Extras would mutter the word over and over to provided atmosphere for, say, a party scene. The Goons, ultimate radio anarchists, had a sketch where it was repeated, clearly and audibly,…

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Christopher Trotter’s Cheat’s Cassoulet

You may have noticed the low and slow theme recently. As well as oxtail and  beef short ribs, my haul from Balgove Farm included a good chunk of pork belly. That’s currently in the freezer, but with an offspring scheduled to visit soon, the mind is turning over what to do with it. A few…

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Braised Beef Short Ribs Asian Style

While the nights may be getting longer, the miserable weather which fills them calls for slow cooking. Now with a recipe which is best done over two days, the climate may have improved by day two, but it’s a risk worth taking. While in St Andrews recently I popped into Balgove farm shop. Their prices…

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Sea Bass with Ginger and Spring Onions

I’d rather be a horse than a rat. But deep down I secretly envy my as yet unborn grandchild. If all goes well in April, he or she will be a dragon. Now who wouldn’t want that? As you may know, tomorrow (Saturday) marks the Chinese New Year. I discover I was  born in the…

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Chicken, Pheasant & Black Pudding Stew

This has to be the ultimate example of a what do I have in the fridge dish. I had made a sweet and sour chicken a few days earlier and had a batch of chicken thighs. The plan was to make a sort of chicken chasseur, with red wine, beef stock and mushrooms. There were a…

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Barbados Rum Punch

What do you mean, this isn’t cooking?  Who said that? Hands up. Listen, matey, in this house cooking is any combination of foods to produce a routine masterpiece. Ice is food; rum is food; so are the other ingredients. So that’s you told. I have to say that as so many rum based cocktails are…

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Bajan Macaroni Pie

When arriving in another country, it’s never too early to get started on food. So in the taxi from the airport I had two early and important questions for the driver. Where is good to eat, and what are the national foods? I can reveal that in Barbados there are two or three dishes with…

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Paradise Pudding with Isabella Beeton

For this, the last Tom Cooks! this side of Christmas, I felt something festive was in order. And following on from Annie Gray on Wednesday I thought something with a bit of history would be appropriate. While Annie did get in touch with me to say that this Christmas she would be having ramen, not…

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When is a Coulibiac not a Coulibiac?

Despite Wednesday’s column, I’m not advocating a boycott of farmed salmon, just urging everyone to be careful about what they buy. It must be said that many chefs are now in the former category, as reported in a fairly recent edition of The National.   Campbell Mickel Just after I went to press, I heard from my…

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Cotechino with Braised Lentils

E, my Italian teacher, and I were having a laugh the other week. The subject of our hilarity concerned Italian salami. Not, I hasten to add, one of those smutty jokes about the size or firmness of sausages. Quite the reverse. We were talking about the lesser known soft, not to say floppy one, the…

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Zap My Sole

L, my T & S*, spoils me on a regular basis. She knows I’m very partial to lemon sole, whose texture she dislikes: she also knows (as do most of you by now) of my love of dressed crab. At a recent visit to McPhersons the fishmonger, bless her soul, she bought both. It transpired…

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