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Food & drink | The Guardian

Latest Food & drink news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Cocktail of the week: first of the summer wine

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 14:00:18 GMT

A long gin and port cocktail with port that’s essentially a super-charged G&T

This is from one of my favourite bars ever, the now gone but never forgotten Hausbar in Bristol, where German-born Aurelius Braunbarth brought Berlin basement bar chic to the city. Auri made me many perfect drinks that I’d never attempt to recreate, but this one is easy to knock up at home. “It’s just a posh G&T,” Auri says, with characteristic cool. Choose whatever gin you like, bearing in mind you don’t want to overpower the delicate port.

Serves 1

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Can I cook like ... Margaret Thatcher?

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 07:00:07 GMT

We know she allowed herself just four hours’ sleep a night, but what foods fuelled the late PM’s 1979 assault on Downing Street?

Jacques Chirac, when president of France, is said to have provoked peals of laughter from both Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schroeder, his opposite numbers at the heads of the Russian and French governments at the time, by asking, of the British, how you could trust a people whose cuisine was so bad.

Although Chirac may have been unfairly tarring the whole country with the same brush, he was right as far as Margaret Thatcher was concerned. Her dietary regime – released under the 30-year rule and re-published in full in her fansheet, aka the Daily Mail – has to be seen to be believed.

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Thomasina Miers' recipe for raspberry, cardamom and almond cake

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 13:00:29 GMT

A sticky, fruity treat is just the pudding for a summertime picnic

Hot sun, sweet berries. This is the time of year to feast on summer fruit with cold cream or ice-cream, in Eton messes and pavlovas, in crisp tarts and pastries. Mostly I love berries as they come, but there is something about a raspberry that sweetens and intensifies with a spell in the oven. In this sticky, nutty almond cake, the raspberry juices seep into the batter, giving the cake a sultry, tangy edge.

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What I owe the NHS, by Nadiya Hussain, Clive James and others

Sat, 16 Jun 2018 09:00:41 GMT

As the National Health Service turns 70, actors, writers, athletes, politicians (and patients) pay tribute, from Maggie O’Farrell to David Oyelowo

It was the summer of 2003, and my wife Sos and I were on holiday in the Black Mountains near Hay-on-Wye. Sos was six months pregnant. One afternoon we went out cycling, leaving our three-year-old son with a friend. We’d done a circuit of the Olchon valley and were heading back towards Llanveynoe, on the tiny road that twists and turns along the side of Little Black Hill. Sos was riding 50m ahead of me. Because the hedges are high and dense, I couldn’t see her until I turned a corner, and found her lying in the middle of the road in front of a 4x4. She was only half-conscious, and she was coughing blood. She said that she was in a lot of pain, and asked me to turn her over. I turned her over. I still feel slightly sick when I remember how stupid that was. I knelt on the road, held her hand and reassured her that everything was going to be all right; but I assumed I was watching the person I loved most in the whole world die in front of me.

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Novel recipes: rosemary tarte tatin from Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:00:07 GMT

Audrey Griffin’s dessert may have been unappreciated in Maria Semple’s funny and joyful book, but it is a delicious dish worth recreating

  • Scroll down for the recipe

From: Audrey Griffin

To: Soo-Lin Lee-Segal

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Maria Semple

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Gin genies

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 15:00:19 GMT

The gin boom shows no sign of letting up any time soon

After three years of crazy growth, you’d think there might be some let-up in people’s obsession with gin, but far from it, it seems. According to industry leader Gordon’s, gin is now a £1.9bn industry in the UK annually, and that’s forecast to hit £2bn this year. Many gins now fetch £30-40 a bottle, and some of those are only 50cl. Gin seems to have entered a zone previously occupied by champagne, where sales are impervious to uppity pricing.

Amazingly, new gins are still being invented that no one has thought of before. The latest trend is pink gin, which should come as no surprise, because pink is appended to practically every popular drink these days, from sauvignon blanc to pink prosecco, though weirdly you can’t call it that. Could that have anything to do with the fact that pink drinks are more Instagrammable?

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Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 08 Jun 2018 12:00:10 GMT

This is a place to pull out of the bag when you need to save your marriage

When the spiritual teacher Heather Small from M People sang of One Night in Heaven, she demonstrated, I feel, that “heaven”, if we reach it, is a subjective concept. She indicated that it would be a place of romantic bliss, orbiting like a “love satellite”. For me, though, heaven would look and feel a lot like one neverending overnight stay at Coombeshead Farm in north Cornwall: a self-sufficient, gaspingly tasteful, food-forward, wunderkind-chef-led passion project set in 60 acres of rolling, remote British rural splendour. For me, it’s our answer to Fäviken in northern Sweden or Dan Barber’s Blue Hill Farm in the Pocantico Hills, New York.

This five-bedroom B&B is a place to pull out of the bag when you need to save your marriage, because not only is it exclusive and exquisite, but both of you will have to be so much on your best behaviour in the communal drawing rooms, while eating ornate, wafer-thin Stithians cheese tart amuses bouches with the other eight guests, that you’ll remember why you fell in love in the first place.

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Ruby Tandoh’s recipe for black sesame cookies with white chocolate

Tue, 19 Jun 2018 05:00:06 GMT

This soft bake is dipped in chocolate to contrast with the nuttiness of the seeds. A nice nibble for a picnic

Slightly nuttier and more savoury than their paler cousins, black sesame seeds are a wonderful thing to bake with: their intensity – both their flavour and jet-black coats – is a welcome tonic to the sometimes beige blandness of baking. They are particularly good scattered over flatbreads or blended into ice-cream, but these soft cookies are a favourite of mine, combining the slight bitterness of the seeds with treacly brown sugar and sweet white chocolate.

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Millennials make it a slow booze summer in the UK

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 16:02:56 GMT

Drinks giants cater for wider range of low or no-alcohol tipples to match modern habits

It’s summer, the World Cup is on, and there’s a heatwave on the way. But for increasing numbers of people, from pregnant women to abstemious millennials to health-conscious weight-watchers, that does not mean drinking to excess. And, with drinking rates among UK adults at their lowest since 2005, companies are falling over themselves to unveil their new non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks.

“Low- and no-alcohol drinks represent a relatively small part of the entire market, but demand is increasing every year,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. “The low-alcohol wine category has increased 10 times since 2009 to around 3% of the market – that’s more than 37 million bottles, worth over £70m. Producers are responding to consumer demand for products that fit changing lifestyle habits – we know that overall alcohol consumption is decreasing, particularly among young people – with innovative new products that are lower in alcohol.”

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s picnic recipes

Sat, 16 Jun 2018 08:00:39 GMT

Embrace the sun with these packable and portable dishes, including giant couscous salad, marinated vegetables and a savoury cake flavoured with harissa

We’ve had a record number of picnic-worthy days so far this year, which, in theory, would mean hours of lying about in gardens and parks, were it not for all the thunderstorms that broke our sunny harmony. I’m happy to admit that I find picnics a bit of an inconvenience, so welcome any excuse to decamp back to the comfort of my dining table. But whether you’re sitting on a blanket or a chair, picnic food can be as versatile as you need it to be.

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What to drink on a picnic

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 15:00:31 GMT

However remote your rendezvous, there’s a drink for every picnic occasion, whether that’s a rosé in the countryside or a can of G&T in the nearest park

Could booze, or even its non-alcoholic alternatives, be any easier for picnics these days? With wine coming in screw-cap bottles, boxes and pouches, and cocktails now in cans like beer and cider, transporting your bevvy of choice with you is a doddle. That said, what to take depends on what type of picnic you’re talking about …

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Alchemilla, Glasgow: ‘I used every last ounce of willpower to decline seconds’ – restaurant review

Sun, 27 May 2018 05:00:17 GMT

This food isn’t intricate or precise. It is not made to be photographed. It is designed to be fabulous to eat

Alchemilla, 1126 Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8TD (0141 337 6060). Meal for two, including drinks and service, £30-£70

I have located the focaccia of the gods; the loaf of the Italian, high gluten, olive oil-enriched bread against which all others must now be judged. It’s at Alchemilla in Glasgow. You will thank me for this information. Earlier this year I interviewed Francisco Migoya, co-author of the monumental six-volume work Modernist Bread. Migoya told me that focaccia had been one of the hardest loaves to get right. “It has a particular crumb structure,” he told me. He should book a flight from Seattle to Scotland immediately. He won’t be sorry.

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Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan salted date caramel biscuit slices

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 08:30:05 GMT

An indulgent, gooey treat that’s leagues ahead of any normal biscuit

At worst, biscuits can be dry, hard and functional, built for basic survival, and to fuel stamina in long work meetings. Somewhere in between are the biscuits that are easy to dispatch – chocolate-coated, jam-sandwiched or dipped in tea; good enough to eat, but not to linger long in the memory. And then there are those in a class of their own, challenging the very meaning of the word ‘biscuit’ with their outrageous ratios of chocolate and caramel. This, I hope, is one of those.

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Cooking on High: Netflix's foray into weed cuisine is half-baked

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:00:25 GMT

An unusual cooking competition show sees expert chefs make sumptuous meals with cannabis while a judging panel of weed enthusiasts get stoned

As Canada becomes the second country to legalize recreational marijuana, and weed dispensaries that look like Apple Genius bars sprout in progressive states across the US, it was only a matter of time before Netflix threw its hat in the proverbial smoke ring. The result is Cooking on High, television’s first ever cannabis cooking competition show, one that remarkably fails to capitalize on either of the dual pleasures at its core: binge-watching and/while getting high.

Related: Netflix develops marijuana strains based on its original shows

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s courgette recipes

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 08:00:06 GMT

A spanakopita-like filo pie with courgette instead of the usual spinach, and shaved raw courgettes that add bite to a seasonal salad

I associate courgettes with summer holidays in Greece, where the pale-skinned, pear-shaped variety are sold by the roadside and served in every taverna. Luckily, there are as many ways to cook courgettes as there are courgettes in Greece, and each has a different effect: maximise courgettes’ freshness by serving them raw, marinated, pickled or grilled; or roast or slow-cook for a creamier result. This spanakopita-like filo pie, in which I swap the usual spinach for courgette, is a nod to happy summers in the Mediterranean sun.

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From scallops to cherry drizzle cake: Nigel Slater’s simple summer recipes

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:00:37 GMT

Pork chop, herby salads and sides – dishes for relaxed lunches and languid suppers

This is the time of year I like to put several dishes on the table at the same time, a mix of recipes substantial enough to be main courses and others that can be used as an accompaniment or principal dish, as the mood takes you. This approach – thoughtful but relaxed – suits the more informal attitude I have to eating in summer, when courses become interchangeable and dishes tend to be served at cool room temperature, rather than direct from the oven or grill.

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Jamie Oliver: the recipe that changed my life

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 11:00:27 GMT

The chef talks about the woman who inspired him – Rose Gray of the River Cafe – and the dish that gave him his big break

Rotolo is a Tuscan dish, involving homemade sheet pasta, greens (spinach, stinging nettles, borage), ricotta, parmesan and porcini, all rolled up and baked in tomato sauce, then sliced and served with sage butter. When you cut through the rotolo, you get a swirl of the pasta, a swirl of the green, bombs of the white cheese and, in the middle, that beautiful mushroom cooked so it’s tender and intense and meaty and creamy.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but it is unusual, which means people like to look at it. And that’s what I was cooking when Christmas at the River Cafe was filmed 23 years ago. It’s the only reason I got discovered and ended up on TV. It’s how I got to where I am today.

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Anthony Bourdain obituary

Sat, 09 Jun 2018 17:13:23 GMT

New York chef who took the food world by storm with Kitchen Confidential, a cook’s-eye view of the restaurant scene

Anthony Bourdain, who has taken his own life aged 61, will be remembered by most as one of the world’s first and most influential celebrity chefs. It’s an inadequate description.

Bourdain claimed he was a “competent line cook” rather than a chef during the two decades from 1978 in which he ran the kitchens of increasingly large New York restaurants. For much of that time, he was addicted to cocaine and heroin and moving among a semi-criminal demi-monde that characterised the restaurant scene before cooking became a fashionable career choice. He published two creditable, tight, crime novels set in kitchens – Bone in the Throat (1995) and Gone Bamboo (1997) – and also began contributing magazine articles. It was one of these, a piece for the New Yorker, Don’t Eat Before Reading This (1999), that formed the basis of his breakthrough book, the bestseller Kitchen Confidential (2000).

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Meera Sodha's vegan recipe for wild rice salad with two dressings

Sat, 16 Jun 2018 08:30:40 GMT

This muddle of rice and vegetables drizzled with spice is a great picnic combo

My family has been picnicking in England since 1972, when they arrived here after being expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin. They bought a campervan, a job lot of flares and enough Tupperware to last a lifetime. Mostly we’d eat spiced vegetables in some form, herbed rice and salad, with chutneys to accompany. Here, 46 years later, I’ve combined all of those elements for, in my eyes, the perfect picnic meal.

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Rachel Roddy’s recipe for broccoli and ricotta torta

Tue, 19 Jun 2018 11:00:10 GMT

A plump stuffed pizza pie for family days at the beach

There were – and still are for the rest of my family – grey days during our annual camping holidays in Pembrokeshire in Wales when I was growing up: tents that floated away, and rainy-day visits to the butterfly museum. But the many good days – those perfect beach picnic days – shine like Lyle’s golden syrup in our collective memories.

Sometimes the sun shone so hard, it burned our backs as we stared into rock pools, then we flung ourselves in the freezing sea to be swallowed up by waves twice our size, our legs turning mottled blue before charging back to the patchwork of towels and rugs. Lunch would have been made that morning. Sandwiches for 15 – ham, ham and cheese, cheese and pickle, all bundled in foil; eggs hard-boiled, and sausages fried, then cooled and packed along with pork pies, more cheese, and fruit in the icebox. A pitstop at the shop in Dale for bags of welsh cakes, Jamaica ginger or golden syrup cake and caramel wafers, before our convoy continued down lanes and across the disused airfield so we could all clamber down the path to the beach at Marloes.

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The yeast from the east: six wines to try from eastern Europe

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 05:00:36 GMT

Wine drinkers are looking further afield to beat price rises in more prestigious regions, and there are rich pickings to be found in countries such as Slovenia, Greece and Turkey

Majestic Wine revealed this week that customers are turning to eastern European wines to beat price rises from more prestigious regions, with sales increasing more than threefold in the year to April. But eastern Europe, especially Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, has always offered good value – as those of you who remember the 80s and 90s will recall. The only surprise is that we haven’t been drinking more of them in the intervening period. Prices have crept up, admittedly, but not as much as in some classic wine regions. Look to countries such as Slovenia, Greece and Turkey, which also offer rich pickings for the intrepid drinker. Here are six to whet your appetite.

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Thomas Carr Seafood: 'It demands to be liked’ – restaurant review

Sun, 17 Jun 2018 04:59:05 GMT

Some things are so right at this new seafood grill that you forgive them things that are so wrong, says Jay Rayner

Thomas Carr Seafood and Grill, 59 High Street, Ilfracombe, North Devon EX34 9QB (01271 555 005). Meal for two including drinks and service £60-£90.

The Thomas Carr Seafood and Grill on the high street in Ilfracombe is that mate of yours who could be a huge success if only they got their act together; the one that leaves you tipping your head on one side sympathetically and frowning a little. As a fully functioning restaurant it is, frankly, a mess right now, and they know it. During my lunch I am given rousing speeches about what they want the place to be when it grows up and what it isn’t quite yet. They tell us about the – dread words – “fine dining” restaurant they plan for upstairs, and the outside terrace out back of the lower ground level. But which they haven’t got around to yet. Because, you know, stuff.

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The Coach, Farringdon: ‘Like greeting a much-missed old friend’ – restaurant review

Sun, 10 Jun 2018 05:00:44 GMT

I remember the Coach in a more debauched era, when it was a Guardian and Observer pub, and it’s changed in so many ways but I’m glad it’s back

The Coach, 26-28 Ray Street, London EC1R 3DJ (020 3954 1595). Meal for two including drinks and service £90.

It doesn’t matter how much titivation and knocking through they do to an old boozer to turn it gastro. If once you knew where the bogs were, you always know. The toilets never move. I could find my way to the facilities at the Coach and Horses in London’s Farringdon with my eyes shut and a few years back I basically did, many times. There’s a reason they call it “blind drunk”.

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How to cook quiche lorraine – recipe

Wed, 20 Jun 2018 11:00:39 GMT

The homemade take on the picnic staple is leagues ahead of any supermarket version. Here’s how to make it right

Often copied, never bettered, this simple combination of eggs and bacon in a crisp, buttery base is what every fancy flan secretly wants to be when it grows up. Essentially a savoury custard tart, rich with eggs and wonderfully wobbly, a real quiche lorraine bears little resemblance to meanly filled commercial imitations – so, if you want it done well, do it yourself.

Prep 20 min
Chill 50 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4

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Salt, Stratford-upon-Avon: ‘I want this restaurant to be great’ | Jay Rayner

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 05:00:21 GMT

Paul Foster won top awards as a young chef, now he’s got his own place in the Midlands. And Jay feels fully vindicated

Salt, 8 Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6HB (01789 263 566). Meal for two, including drinks and service: £70-£110

Paul Foster is living other chefs’ fantasies. He has the thing they all want: the small but perfectly formed restaurant where he can be himself. From a distance he has made this look effortless. I’m sure it wasn’t. I first ate his food at a hotel in Suffolk I had never heard of back in 2011, where he was ravaging the river banks for ingredients, pairing roasted chicken wings with brown shrimps and laying pieces of hake on swollen beads of bright green tapioca, flavoured with fiery wild watercress so it looked like frogspawn. There was a poise and balance to his cooking that won him a bunch of awards, including the Observer Food Monthly young chef of the year award. Which is obviously The Only Award Worth Winning.

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How to turn your potato peel into crisps | Tom Hunt

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 09:00:05 GMT

Make a zero-waste snack out of spud skins – it’s simple, tasty and nutritious

It’s not surprising that the many people are up in arms about how much food we waste, and potatoes are part of the problem: about half of all potatoes bought by UK households are thrown away. That’s nearly 6m spuds a day, at a yearly cost of £230m.

My mum always made the best chips: skin-on, hand-cut, cooked once, and served doused in malt vinegar and ketchup. The skin adds flavour, colour and crispness. The same goes for roast potatoes: why peel them? It takes more time, plus the skin (and just below it) is where most of the nutrients are stored – in this case, bags of vitamin C, potassium and iron.

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The return of Soave, a much maligned style

Sun, 17 Jun 2018 05:00:07 GMT

These wines from the Veneto went all watery and weak, but now we see a graceful revival

Gianni Tessari Soave Italy 2016 (£10.99, Noel Young; Jeroboams) For many years, drinking the dry white wines of the Soave zone in the Veneto region of Italy was an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Watery and weak to the point of tasteless, they failed to provide the mellifluous, soft, easy charm promised by their name. As ever, greed was to blame: a boom in production had led to vineyards being planted in unsuitable areas far from the wine’s traditional home and producers maxing out vines. Bland as they were, the wines filled the lists of generic Italian restaurants and shops, until drinkers moved on to the next big bland Italian thing: pinot grigio. Much of this ordinary soave is still made, but producers such as Gianni Tessari are now making something graceful but flavourful, floral and melon-scented that is worthy of the name.

Coffele Ca Visco, Soave Classico Italy 2016 (£17.37, Tannico; The Wine Society) Most of the best Soave is made from grapes harvested on the hillside vineyards of the original (officially demarcated in the 1920s) Soave Classico area. That’s the source – organically farmed – of Coffele’s completely charming example from the 2016 vintage, a wine that summons up summery scents of white flowers, flavours of greengages and citrus perkiness. The magnum stocked by the Wine Society (£32) makes for a very smart bottle if you’re entertaining and serving something green and fresh with fish and white meat. Another producer mining the Classico zone to make wines that carry off that distinctive Soave balance of soft but somehow penetrating acidity is Gini, with the ripe-pear purity of Gini Soave Classico 2016 (£15.95, Hailsham Cellars).

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Ynyshir, Powys ‘Delicious pigheadedness’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent

Fri, 22 Jun 2018 12:00:27 GMT

A sublime and unforgettable mix of seasonal local produce with a Japanese twist – chef Gareth Ward’s cockiness is more than justified

Often I pick restaurants due to a sort of stubborn mischief. Ynyshir is a country house set in 11 acres just south of the Snowdonia National Park, and outwardly it offers a cacophony of reasons to stay at home. It’s a Welsh/Japanese-influenced, Michelin-starred restaurant that focuses on fatty meat, fermentation and pickling. It required me to take a 400-mile round trip and offered only a 19-course tasting menu. Dinner, I was told, would last a minimum of four hours. No menu was available to preview; it would be a surprise. And only the unhinged enjoy surprises.

Now, I’m not saying that chef Gareth Ward is unhinged, but he’s certainly a one-off. His website gives a lacklustre nod to “dietary requirements”, but you need to telephone to ask. But I’d read an interview with Ward in which not only did he resemble a Game of Thrones-style titan who’d squeeze a rival’s eyes out of their head just for sport, but also had deeply non-PR-friendly opinions: “People say you should cook for your customers. I say fuck that. I cook for myself.” I decided against calling ahead to suggest my tips for braising tofu.

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How to revamp supermarket picnic dips | Ramael Scully

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 11:00:15 GMT

Add flavour, texture and freshness to lacklustre supermarket dips

Renowned Thai food expert David Thompson stresses the importance of balance to that cuisine, notably the four “S”s – sweet, sour, spicy and salty – that feature in one way or other in just about every dish. I apply a similar approach to my own cooking, and not just to Asian dishes.

So, with that in mind, here are a few ideas to perk up those supermarket dips and condiments that we all instinctively grab for at the mere mention of the word “picnic”. Even just a squeeze of lemon and a little extra seasoning would be better than nothing – everything savoury benefits from the addition of those – but none of these tweaks involves much work or effort, and all will transform the mundane into the mouthwatering.

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Living next door to 17 million chickens: 'We want a normal life'

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 07:00:03 GMT

Ukrainian villagers living in the shadow of Europe’s biggest chicken farm are fighting back – not just against the company but the development banks funding it

The locals call this area the Ryaba-land. That’s the name of the chicken brand Nasha Ryaba under which MHP – the largest poultry company in Ukraine and the owners of Vinnytsia farm - sells poultry meat in supermarkets. There are more chicken sheds than houses here. Even the village signs bear the MHP brand.

There are, as is so often the case, tensions between the industrial farms and the villagers. But in this case, anger is focussed not just on the company, but on their funders – the big international development banks that hand out public money.

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Who should replace the irreplaceable David Dimbleby? Arise, Mary Berry | Sam Delaney

Tue, 19 Jun 2018 11:11:24 GMT

Question Time is a tetchy show for a tetchy nation. For our sanity, I say we replace one benevolent ringmaster with another

With a calm authority in his timbre and a cheeky twinkle in his eye, David Dimbleby – the nation’s Dumbledore - has expertly guided the show through its golden age, harnessing all the rage and energy of modern Britain into an improbably palatable hour of weekly TV.

How can it possibly go on without him? The runners and riders are already in place: Kirsty Wark is the bookies’ favourite, Emily Maitlis is not far behind, and Samira Ahmed has boldly applied for the role via Twitter. There are surprisingly few male names being mentioned, with Maria Miller MP – the chair of the parliamentary women and equalities select committee – leading calls for the BBC to appoint a woman to the role for the first time.

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Four perfect picnic pie recipes

Sat, 16 Jun 2018 09:30:41 GMT

From a hot-water crust chicken pie to a sweet and creamy apricot and pistachio tart, these pies cut the mustard any way you slice them

Bacon and egg pie is an absolute New Zealand staple. It featured heavily in my youth because my mother is from New Zealand, and this always came on picnics with us, wrapped in newspaper, to keep it hot until lunchtime. Ready-made puff pastry is fine. I eat this simply, with chutney or ketchup, but a salad would help stretch the pie further.

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Forbidden fruit: berry growers warn Brexit could ruin sector

Sat, 23 Jun 2018 07:00:06 GMT

Wimbledon staple under threat as EU pickers stay away – and Brits refuse to plug the gap

Strawberries, the classic British summer treat, are being plucked from a sunny field in Kent. Every worker snapping fruit from waist-high growing platforms stretching under airy polytunnels is Romanian or Bulgarian.

The staple of Wimbledon fortnight is under threat as the European workers who make up more than 90% of the UK’s 30,000 seasonal berry pickers are now reluctant to come to Britain. They have better job prospects at home and have faced an uncertain and potentially hostile reception in the UK since the Brexit vote.

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2017's best restaurant – Pidgin, east London

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 10:00:28 GMT

Their menu changes weekly and no dish is repeated – the winner, as voted by OFM readers, is a small restaurant that’s big on creativity

When the public ballot opened for this year’s Best Restaurant, James Ramsden sent a tweet to his then near-17,000 followers: “If you vote for Pidgin in the #ofmawards I’ll personally empty your dishwasher.” Now the east London restaurant he co-owns has won – by some margin, as it happens – does he not regret making that offer?

The 31-year-old Ramsden laughs. “Yeah, it was actually a fairly clumsily written tweet, but I’m glad it was, because it was meant to say ‘…for a year’. As far as is practical, though, I will honour the offer. I mean, it’s a bit of a weird thing to do, to call me up and say …”

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La Goccia, London WC2: ‘It’s all so bloody nice!’ – restaurant review

Fri, 15 Jun 2018 12:10:16 GMT

A beautiful setting for those living the good life, but oddly, a patchy culinary experience

In the 80s sitcom The Young Ones, there’s a moment when unhinged student medic Vyvyan becomes apoplectic at the mere mention of twee, wholesome 70s sitcom The Good Life. “It’s all so bloody, bloody nice!” he screams while destroying furniture, and for a long time this is why friends avoided inviting me to Petersham Nurseries in Richmond.

Petersham is a petal-strewn Ikea experience for fragrant, pilates-honed fiftysomethings in search of £895 Poterie Ampholia elephants to complete tasteful, albeit pseudo-colonial-themed water features in their Southwold weekend mansions. Rather than meatballs and Daim bar cake, the cafe serves venison tartare with bean cacao and wood sorrel.

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OFM Awards 2017: Best Sunday Lunch – the runners-up

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 10:00:28 GMT

OFM readers vote for their favourite roasts – from well-hung beef in Wales to whole suckling pig in Nottingham

Blacklock, Soho
This chophouse scooped this award last year for its superlative roasts. Joints are slow-roasted over coals, there’s a £20 all-in meat platter, and you can wash it all down with a breakfast martini.
24 Great Windmill St, W1D 7LG; 020 3441 6996

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