Tagliatelle al ragu

The ever readable Tony Turnbull is Food Editor of The Times. Unlike his idiosyncratic food critic Mr Coren (whose job I secretly envy) he is always worth the reading, informative and entertaining at the same time. He also appears to be no mean cook. It was therefore with some surprise that I read that he really…

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Asparagus bunches

This column has long preached seasonality. Hardly original, and to country folk it’s as natural as, well, the seasons. But when you’re on the hamster wheel of business, especially in Scotland where our dull climate means we barely need to change our wardrobe from month to month, it’s easy to let the subtle changes in…

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Smoked Haddock Risotto small

We don’t have a decent chip shop anywhere near us. Probably just as well. For me, not much beats a good fish supper: conversely, few things are more disgusting than a bad one. And in Scotland, the fish has to be haddock. I’ve never been a great fan of cod, favoured south of the border.…

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Guinness Cake Small

As many of you will know, making sweet things is not my forte. In an attempt to broaden my repertoire, I have tried to develop this part of my game; however, bread making apart, baking is not my thing. I therefore suggested to my sister in law, cook and baker extraordinaire, that she might contribute…

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Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

As I mentioned in the recent article on TV chefs, I’m not a fan of Ready, Steady Cook. Of watching it, that is. Being presented with unexpected ingredients and having to rustle something up is quite fun. And occasionally there are external factors which impact upon one’s options. It started when herself went out to…

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meatballs and Pasta Small

I’m pretty certain that meatballs will have been with us for as long as we have had meat, and certainly for as long as we have had butchers. My late Ma alerted me to a long established trick practised by unscrupulous members of that profession, sticking a half ounce of mince on the bottom of…

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Spatchcock Chicken Cooked

Spatchcocked and ready to cook I received a very generous Christmas present from my sister in law, a voucher for Nisbets, kitchen equipment suppliers. Never, ever, buy stuff again from chi chi little “kitchen shops”. Nisbets will sell you professional quality stuff at keen prices. (But if you are perusing their price list, remember that…

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Chicken and leek pie

First day of spring approaching? Well not if you shove your nose out of my door, it ain’t. After some good feed back from last week’s recipes featuring leeks, I thought I’d dig this one out. Take this pie, break the crust and you get colours of summer, succulent white chicken, pale green leeks and…

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Leeks Small

This week’s column was inspired by finding a puddle of creamed leeks hiding below some slices of beef at The Peat Inn, the subject of next week’s Tom Eats! column. I am very fond of leeks, but it occurred to me that my use of them tends to be in leek and potato soup, for…

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Beef Hough

Just outside St Andrews in the Cupar direction, you will find Balgove Larder. Farm shops are pretty common these days: this one, pun intended, is a cut above. There is a deli, there are books, of course there is a cafe/restaurant. The latter was choc a bloc, with a long queue for tables. But, best…

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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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