Archive For September 2012

Valentina Harris

Valentina Harris

One would think that Valentina Harris is the quintessential English lady, well-spoken with Home Counties proper accent; but there is something else. Turn the sound off and one sees the unmistakable animation of a Latin. In fact Valentina is only on nodding terms with Englishness. “Let me explain about the English voice,” says Valentina with…

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Wahaca for Breakfast – Charlotte Street

Wahaca for Breakfast – Charlotte Street

Wahaca is something of a London institution. It’s popular for one very good reason: it’s good. Its restaurants all have individual style but there is that thread of Mexicana and casual quality that flows through and connects each one. The new restaurant on Charlotte Street is three converted Georgian town houses. It’s well located for…

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Tasting India

Tasting India

I enjoy almost every book that crosses my desk (now a uni-leg computer stand from a Swedish lifestyle emporium). Some are simple but informative volumes, others are attractive and what I would describe as gift quality. Tasting India is in the second category but has raised the bar on that little phrase. It truly is…

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Celebrity Bake Book

Celebrity Bake Book

It’s a feel-good cookbook in every regard. It’s in support of The Ben Kinsella Trust, which was set up to raise awareness of knife crime after the death of young Ben. It has the comforting feel of a good old-fashioned cookbook with attractive and slightly retro graphics and simple recipes for things that one would…

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Pure Vanilla review

Pure Vanilla review

It once was a flavour or, more honestly, a non-flavour that harked back to my now-distant youth. Vanilla was the ice cream you chose when it was going to have a pile of garnishes and sauces on top. Vanilla was the cake for the non-special occasions. Vanilla was even the paint colour which was, ironically,…

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The Art of Pasta review

The Art of Pasta review

Grub Street is a favourite cookbook publisher. They have kept the spirits of both Jane Grigson and Elisabeth David alive with new editions of their classic books. Yes, those are worthy tomes and any serious cookbook collector will both want and need them. But I have noticed that changes have been wrought at Grub Street….

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Regional Cooking of India

Regional Cooking of India

There are myriad Indian cookbooks available to the European reader. Most of them are good, some of them are magnificent but all of them have something to offer. The problem is that so many of them present much the same thing. Curry-house favourites, standard restaurant items and homemade versions of your regular takeaway. Regional Cooking…

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Agatha Christie in Torbay

Agatha Christie in Torbay

This is a lovely part of Britain. Its climate is famed, as are its palms. It displays many of the characteristics of the “other” Riviera, an ideal place to paint and even write. But, on the face of it, one wouldn’t expect those jottings to be about murder, and one would be still more shocked…

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Chef Matthew Tomkinson, The Terrace, Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

Chef Matthew Tomkinson, The Terrace, Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

He is a Michelin-starred chef and a Roux Scholarship winner but Chef Matthew Tomkinson seems untouched by his celebrity. He is a nice bloke who loves his work, and the rest is just the proverbial icing on the well-presented cake. I asked Matthew if he came from a cheffy background. Did his family have anything…

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