Pantry Essentials

My store cupboard is always stocked with a few tins of chickpeas and a variety of beans. Knowing they’re there, I can rest assured that a simple meal is always at hand. With the chickpeas, for instance, I can make a tasty salad (with tomatoes, spring onions, fresh parsley and a vinaigrette dressing). Occasionally I’ll … Continue reading

Fabulous Figs

Fig tree, for such a long time I have found meaningin the way you almost completely omit your blossomsand urge your pure mystery, unproclaimed, into the early ripening fruit. Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Sixth Elegy “Ancient, mysterious and delicious, the fig should be more widely grown than it is,” writes David Stuart in The … Continue reading

April 2020 School Holiday Kids Cooking Classes

Hurry, hurry: don’t forget to book the kids in to my Mini Chef  kids cooking classes during the April school holidays (April 13th -24th). We’ll be making a wide range of delicious, nutritious dishes including homemade chicken noodle soup, hummus,  guacamole, homemade pizzas,  sushi, chicken yakitori,  spaghetti bolognese, tiramisu, double chocolate brownies, marshmallow pavlova and … Continue reading

Apples of Love for Valentine’s Day

A tiny village in Valencia, Spain, hosts a tomato festival, La Tomatina, each year at the height of summer.  Actually it sounds to me more like a tomato war than a celebration of the most popular fruit vegetable in the world. At the festival a few years ago 30,000 people from around the world descended … Continue reading

What’s cookin’ on Australia Day?

What’s on your Australia Day menu? Kanga burgers? Hot Smoked Lemon Myrtle Crocodile?  Barramundi with Green Ants?  Wattleseed pavlova? Just kidding. But it’s odd, isn’t it, how we still shy away from using native Australian ingredients in our cuisine. Here we live on a continent which offers up to 4,000 different varieties of edible bush … Continue reading

Karma, Kindness and Ottolenghi’s Food Smiles

“What is karma?”  That was the question which bookended the first and last day at the recent Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali. Having spent a few years immersed in Tibetan Buddhism (though never signing up to their belief in reincarnation), I was intrigued to hear what some of the internationally diverse writers invited … Continue reading

Snail Trail En Provence

The sweet smell of freshly baked biscuits was wafting through the air as we walked along the leafy path to the Savoirs et Saveurs de Montagne market near Gap, capital of the Haute-Alpes department in south-eastern France. But it wasn’t until I had passed by stalls laden with local honey, goats cheeses, potted herbs, home-made … Continue reading

Meditation on Quinces

It had a cloak of ash-coloured down hovering over its smooth golden body, and when it lay naked in my hand, with nothing more than its daffodil-coloured shift, it made me think of her I cannot mention, and I feared the ardour of my breath would shrivel it in my fingers. Isn’t that Aphrodite’s apple? … Continue reading

Lost in Japan

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to accompany my sister Justy and her partner on a recent trip to Japan. She was keen to see more than the usual tourist sites in Tokyo and Kyoto, as was I, and to include a few days skiing in Nozawaonsen, a … Continue reading

Easter School Holiday Kids Cooking Classes

Hurry, hurry: don’t forget to book the kids in to my Mini Chef kids cooking classes during the Easter school holidays:  Monday April 15th –  Friday 26th, 10.30am – 1.30pm. My kids’ cooking classes aim to teach children to prepare a wholesome, nutritious meal which they love to eat and can reproduce easily at home. … Continue reading

Edible Christmas Cooking Classes

What gift do you most treasure at Christmas?  For me, the most precious is the home-made present, the one which expresses something of the personality of the giver.  It doesn’t matter how wacky it is.  In fact, its very imperfection is  part of its charm and humour. Some of my most treasured possessions are those … Continue reading

Dad Takes The Cake

What Dad doesn’t dote on cake? And what Dad doesn’t dote on a cake made specially for him by one of his children, even if it is a little lumpy? Some dads, needless to say, can get too much of a good thing.  When we were young, my three sisters and I spent many Sundays … Continue reading

Wild about Schnapps

It’s 2pm on an overcast Thursday and the Wild Brumby is packed. Rain and wind on the alpine peaks mean poor ski conditions and many skiers  have fled the slopes to stay inside. What better way to warm up than in this cosy, funky Schnapps distillery which doubles as a cafe/restaurant? Set up a few … Continue reading

Surprising Tashkent: the old and the new

It’s a warm sunny Spring morning in the thriving metropolis of Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, Central Asia.  As we drive along one of  the many busy multi-lane boulevards in the city, I can’t help but notice the amount of construction going on. A massive new skating rink is underway, a major presidential promise made by … Continue reading

Osteria Francescana: Everything Old is New Again

I’m re-publishing this article after Osteria Francescana won world’s best restaurant in the San Pellegrino awards again this year: Congratulations to Massimo Bottura and his team! It would be easy to walk past the world’s Number 1 three Michelin star restaurant and not notice it’s there. Situated in a back lane of Modena, a small city in … Continue reading