French Cricket

Battle of Plassey. 27th June 1757. As every school child used to know. Robert Clive (aka Clive of India) biffs the Nabob of Bengal, and his French backers. Result: the effective end of French influence in India. We give the Indians cricket and beer. They give us kedgeree, Bombay duck, Mulligatawny soup, chutneys, gymkhanas, puttees […]

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Pheasant Ham

What happened was this. My hostess said “Would you like some pheasants?’ ‘Why, yes,’ I said, and picked up a brace. They looked very handsome in their feathers. ‘Please take some more,’ pleased my hostess. “How many?’ I said. ‘As many as you like,’ she said. ‘No one wants them.” And that seems a damn […]

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Jean Fort, 1915-2012

The evening before her 90th birthday, my mother cooked dinner for 12 of us. There was full-bodied venison and chestnut stew followed her incomparable crème caramel and an orange salad, and a good deal to drink and the usual wall of sound that occurs when my family get together. She sat at the end of […]

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Frying Aubergines

Q. Can suggest the best way to fry aubergines? As everyone knows, they soak up loads of oil, and if you try using less they don’t fry properly (I find they end up raw in parts the oil has missed and burnt in others, instead of achieving the desired browning effect all over). I’ve tried […]

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Sicily Unpacked

Perhaps it’s a bit late in the day to draw anyone’s attention to it, but at last a tv series about food that manages to be perceptive, informative and diverting (aside from the Great British Menu, of course). Sicily Unpacked (9pm Friday; BBC2) is like eavesdropping on the company of two bonkers enthusiasts, who actually […]

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Consummate Scrambled Egg

It may seem heretical, but I think scrambled egg should taste of egg. So no cream, no milk, no flavourings, aside from and tiny amount of butter, salt and pepper. Ok, chopped parsley, tarragon or chives, if you must. But that’s it. Actually, there’s one extra ingredient – time. The slower you can cook your […]

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Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis

‘Lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom, lead thou me on,’ goes the hymn. If ever there were a kindly culinary light, it’s Jeremy Lee, tall, genial, eyes beaming and sparkling behind gig-lamps, generous in mood and manner and on the plate. For the last couple of centuries Jeremy has been keeping the Blue Print […]

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