HYDROPONIC HAPPINESS

It’s a salutary lesson. Every now and then you come across something that challenges an opinion that you’ve held for so long that it’s become a fact carved in the stone of your personal order of things. That’s how I felt about hydroponically-grown vegetables, raised under glass on plants with their roots in water, nurtured […]

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A BEAUTIFUL DAY AT BENTLEY’S or WHY RESTAURANTS MATTER

Bentley’s was humming. Humming, not buzzing. The mood was too relaxed, too chilled, too civilised for buzzing. People – lots of people – were obviously pleased to be there, not in a shouty, let’s-get-smashed kind of way, but in a how-wonderful-to-see-you, isn’t-it-a-joy-to-be-out-and-about-again kind of way. The scene was a reminder of gracious pleasures and social […]

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PUBLIC HOUSE

Settling down at the outside bar of the Woolpack on Monday was like slipping into an old jacket, familiar, comfortable, comforting. It was chilly, but the view over the Slad valley was as seductive as ever, a billowing flow of field and hedge and wood. The sun struggled out from time to time. I had a […]

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RHUBARB & BLACK PUDDING

I was leafing through Rhubarb & Black Pudding the other day. What a cracking book, I thought. Published in 1998.  Handsome. Proper. Heft. Style. Magnificent food photos by Tim Morris. Moody portraits by Peter Williams. Recipes of Paul Heathcote’s ground breaking dishes. And words, lots and lots of my words. I’d first come across Heathcote’s […]

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SEAKALE SENSATION

There are those moments when you see something and you think, can it be? Is it…? No, it can’t be… Oh, my gosh. YES IT IS. I experienced these feelings the other day while pottering around Stroud Farmers’ Market of a Saturday, as is my wont. I noticed a stall I hadn’t registered before, and […]

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EXPRESSLY EXPRESSO

Ah, the intoxication of coffee first thing in the morning – the glossy beans, some dark as night, some the colour of milk chocolate; the rumble of the grinder; the perfume rising up to fill the kitchen, earthy, primal, infinitely seductive; the hiss of the superheated water; the sharp, intense, tantalising aroma; the cascade of […]

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TAGLIOLINI VERDI GRATINATI CON PROSCIUTTO COTTO AFFUMICATION E BESCIAMELLA

= This is my recreation of the great original recipe. Any difference in quality between the original Locanda Cipriani dish and mine is entirely my responsibility. Serves 4 250g green tagliolini50g smoked ham cut into julienne strips30g grated parmesan, plus extra4g plain flour50g butter50ml milk50ml white wine1 bay leafnutmeg For the béchamel saucePut the milk […]

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SHINING MEMORY

It was autumn in Venice. Pale mist hung over the canals in the early mornings before vaporising as the sun rose, and the city dressed up in its familiar, magical brocade of opulence and decay, like a raddled courtesan donning her finery for one last flourish . It should have been a time of melancholy, […]

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FAT CHANCE

The Guardian published a most interesting graph this morning  spelling out the connection between obesity and deaths from Covid-19 based on deaths registered by the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.  Ib brief, the fatter you are, the more likely you are to die from the virus.  Top of the killer league is Belgium with 191.76 […]

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NANNY BASHING

Another day, another food report, and the food industry and  boss-eyed libertarians are foaming at the mouth again.  Henry Dimbleby publishes Part One of The National Food Strategy in which he puts the boot into some of the food industry’s more egregious excesses, and the government suggests a few, mild controls over what we eat […]

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