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Food & drink | The Guardian

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

Thomasina Miers’ easy recipe for one-pot penne with lentil, tomato and kale sauce

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:00:34 GMT

Beat the January blues with a rich, warming bowl of pasta that’s as kind on the wallet as it is on the stomach

How very British it is to doom ourselves with all this chat about the coming Monday being the gloomiest day of the year. Yes, January is a bit bleak, which is why this whole resolutions business seems so crazy at a time when we need all the help we can get. And yes, give booze a break, if you wish – but why not do so in February, which is not only a shorter month, but doesn’t have the post-Christmas comedown to deal with, either? Plus, detoxing (a terrifying prospect at the best of times) is surely much harder after weeks of feasting? Why not just eat more vegetables and run around a bit more?

In a month when everyone is recovering from the financial outlay over the holidays and when winter has barely started, let’s make things easier, rather than harder. Ape the world’s hibernators, tuck yourself up at home and, most of all, get yourself into the kitchen, turn on the stove (to heat up the room, if nothing else) and cook delicious and affordable comfort food. Today’s wonderfully warming and rich one-pot pasta dish is so simple to pull together, and creates so little washing-up, you could even kid yourself that you had called it in, if the taste didn’t give it away.

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Rachel Roddy’s winter tomato sauce recipe

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:00:01 GMT

The ingredients may be few, but the flavour is plentiful – and it’s all about the tinned tomatoes

For several years now, I have used an empty tomato tin as a pen holder on my desk. Even though it rarely contains a pen or pencil that actually works – it’s more a receptacle for estranged lids and coins – the picture on the tin, a trio of bright-red plum tomatoes, makes me happy every time it catches my eye. It’s the same feeling I get when I open the kitchen cupboard and see a half-dozen tins and bottles, their tomato-emblazoned labels reminders of the sun, which is especially welcome in January. I find taking a tin of plum tomatoes from the shelf a reassuring thing, too. It’s the palm-filling size and familiar weight, the knowledge that the contents, which bellyflop into a pan, are constant and that you are halfway to dinner.

You do need to know your tomatoes, though. As with anything, this means trying and tasting and finding a brand you like, and that suits your pocket. When it comes to the tinned variety, I tend to stick to whole plum tomatoes, usually Italian San Marzano – firm-fleshed and with just a bit of juice. These are never the cheapest, but neither are they the most expensive. Bless whoever invented the key that allows you to roll back the lid, especially satisfying with the 800g tins. When I’m opening one of those, it’s probably for tomato sauce, which is probably destined for pasta.

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Paul Bocuse obituary

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:32:59 GMT

Colossus of French cooking dedicated to promoting his country’s cuisine

For many people around the world, Paul Bocuse, who has died aged 91, was the incarnation of French gastronomy, a colossus of haute cuisine. He was among the first chefs to understand the value of publicity, and was a tireless promoter of French food and of his own restaurant, L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, near Lyon.

Bocuse travelled the world making guest appearances, pronouncing on matters culinary and gastronomic. He even posed nude for the French magazine Lui to celebrate his 60th birthday. When he was made a chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1975, he named what became one of his best known dishes, soupe aux truffes noires VGE, after President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to mark the occasion. However, Bocuse would not have been able to achieve this degree of public influence if he had not been such a superb chef.

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January’s cold, dark, wet and miserable – so cheer yourself up with a nightcap

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 15:30:16 GMT

Raise the spirits in this gloomiest of months with a little nip of something warming

A lot of you will have by now embarked on dry January (good luck!), but I’m adopting an alternative strategy: the one-drink-a-day regime. That could be anything of course, from a glass of prosecco to a hearty (but not huge) glass of malbec with spag bol, but my favourite option at the end of an otherwise alcohol-free day is a nightcap.

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Cocktail of the week: Calming bee’s knees

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:00:33 GMT

A taste of summer for the depths of winter, from south London bar/restaurant Powderkeg

Summer may be a distant memory, but that’s no reason to give up on some of our favourite flavours. We use Bloom gin in this, because its botanicals include honeysuckle and pomelo, which lend welcome citrus notes. Serves one.

25ml gin (Bloom, ideally)
25ml lemon juice
20ml honey
Prosecco, to top
1 pinch dried lavender, plus 1 sprig to garnish

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The big name TV chefs are back – are any of them cooking with gas?

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:51:41 GMT

The humble cookery show seemed on the ropes until Nigella, Jamie and Mary Berry returned to our screens. But not all of them have retained their culinary magic ...

For a while, the cookery show was on the ropes. The entire form had started to eat itself, with an endless parade of identical nobodies cooking identical recipes in front of identical soft-focus fairy lights, identically soundtracked by someone whose music collection consisted of 10 copies of Back to Black: The Instrumentals.

But no more! Suddenly there has been a resurgence of the big beasts. Stick a pin anywhere in the terrestrial schedules at the moment and you’re likely to find an A-list celebrity chef roaring out of the woodwork to show these anaemic youngsters what they’re missing. Jamie’s there. Nigella’s there. Rick’s there. Paul and Mary are both there, snarling at each other across the channels like a pair of scorned ex-lovers. But life is full and nobody has time to watch them all, so here’s a quick ranking of all the big cookery shows, ordered from worst to best.

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Is whisky the new gin?

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 17:00:26 GMT

Whisky is big business for supermarkets, so much so that it’s even challenging gin as the drink du jour

Judging by the hoo-ha about gin in the past two years, you’d think we drank nothing else, but it turns out that’s far from the truth. And its main rival is not up-and-coming rum, as is generally touted, but good old whisky.

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Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for aloo paratha with quick lemon pickle

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 09:30:09 GMT

It may not be much of a looker, but aloo paratha more than makes up for that in flavour

Beige food has had a difficult few years: it has been all but cast out of media appearances (with the exception of sourdough). We have become so obsessed with what our food looks like that we sometimes forget that, actually, appearances aren’t everything. What really matters is how food tastes, and how much pleasure it gives us – and that includes ugly and brown food.

Aloo paratha, one of my all-time favourite dishes, will never win a beauty contest. In India, it is the breakfast of champions, but I’ll happily make room for it at any time of day. It might not get 1,000 likes on social media, but it’s proof that beige can also be brilliant.

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Nigel Slater’s cauliflower slices with horseradish recipe

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 12:00:01 GMT

Crispy, seedy, crunchy and creamy, a winter winter full of warmth and health

Warm 500ml of vegetable stock in a medium saucepan. Trim 1kg of cauliflower then cut into steaks, about 2cm thick. Lower these into the boiling stock, then reduce the heat, so that the stock simmers. Partially cover the pan with a lid, then leave to cook until soft enough to pierce effortlessly with a skewer – a matter of 15 minutes or so.

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Can I cook like ... Emmanuel Macron

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 08:00:46 GMT

The French president is fond of cordon bleu and a whole lot of fruit

There’s an old American saying that before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. This gave rise to a joke almost as old, which is that once you’ve done that, you can do what you like, because they’re a mile away and you’ve got their shoes. In any case, it’s not true. If you really want to understand someone, you eat what they eat.

Centrist hottie and French president Emmanuel Macron is one of the new breed of youngish politicians who are very pretty, only with the distinct vibe of the Love Interest Who Turns Out To Be Evil in a romcom. His favourite food is cordon bleu: not the culinary training centres in which the world’s best chefs are made, but a dish of meat or poultry, or both, wrapped around cheese, then breaded and deep-fried. The dish and the cookery school have the same namesake: the blue sash worn by the highest order of knights in the old French monarchy, intended to connote excellence.

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Tamal Ray's recipe for honey and almond brittle biscuits

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 06:00:01 GMT

These teatime cookies are absurdly easy, needing just a stir and a short stint in the oven

The act of caramelising sugar, with its blowtorches and crystallisation points, can seem intimidating to the novice baker. Although the chemical reaction itself is complex, transforming a homogenous jumble of simple sucrose molecules into a thousand new forms, the actual process is a simple introduction of heat to sugar. These biscuits are a celebration of that dichotomy: an absurdly easy method, comprising no more than a bit of stirring and a short stint in the oven, to produce a complex mix of dark, rich sweetness.

Prep 5 min
Cooking 10 min
Makes 10-12

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How the sushi boom is fuelling tapeworm infections

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 19:00:29 GMT

As eating raw fish has become more popular, gruesome tapeworm tales have emerged. But how worried should sashimi lovers be – and how else might we become infected?

The good news, said A&E doctor Kenny Bahn, was that the patient who had turned up at the emergency department was not dying. That is about the only happy element of the story Bahn, who works at a hospital in California, went on to tell on This Won’t Hurt a Bit, a medical podcast, about a man who arrived at hospital carrying a plastic bag. Inside the bag, wrapped around the cardboard tube of a toilet roll, was a 1.7-metre (5ft 6in) tapeworm. Bahn measured it once he had unravelled it on the hospital floor.

The patient had complained of abdominal pain. During a bout of bloody diarrhoea, reports Bahn, “he says: ‘I look down and I look like there’s a piece of intestine hanging out of me.’ What’s racing through his mind is he thinks he’s dying … He grabs it and he pulls on it and it keeps coming out. ‘What is this long piece of entrail?’ And he picks it up and looks at it and what does it do?” There is a dramatic pause to enhance the horror. “It starts moving.”

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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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Nigel Slater’s haggis recipes

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 06:00:13 GMT

As stuffing or seasoning, the Scottish delicacy is a beautiful thing

Early morning in a Glasgow hotel and I seem to have won the breakfast lottery. The first meal of the day brings not only pork sausages bursting at the seams, but black pudding and a slice of haggis, too. There is much to like about haggis: the coarse, friable texture and generous seasoning; its happy partnership with mashed root vegetables; and the intelligence of a recipe that makes something from nothing. A haggis is a thing of beauty, too, especially after roasting when the bulging parcel, the girth of an ostrich’s egg, is taken from the oven, singing quietly to itself, glistening from a regular basting with butter.

Taken from the oven the haggis sings quietly to itself, glistening from a regular basting with butter

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Meera Sodha’s recipe for sprout nasi goreng

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 09:00:47 GMT

This Malaysian fried rice dish is so deliciously filthy, you may well scrap takeaways altogether

Explore more recipes and inspiration in our new food magazine, Feast – issue 1 is in today’s Guardian.

Sometimes, all you really want is something with that sort of filthy and delicious taste that I used to think only a good takeaway could provide – until I accidentally recreated it while writing this recipe for Malaysian nasi goreng. It’s fried rice, but not as you know it: smothered in unami-ific sauces, and topped with shredded, marinated sprouts for crunch and zing. All the joy of a takeaway, but without the wait or delivery charge.

Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce that can be found in larger supermarkets, online and in south-east Asian food shops. I cut the sprouts by hand, but you could use the slicing attachment on a food processor.

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Yotam Ottolenghi's three-course feast

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 09:30:48 GMT

All celebrations call for a feast, and this is no different: a punchy starter, a glorious prawn salad and a cheesecake with a twist

Find more recipes and inspiration in our new food magazine, Feast – issue 1 is in today’s Guardian.

The word “feast” means different things to different people, but there is something unequivocally celebratory about a three-course meal that takes time to shop for, prepare and serve. It’s the intention that counts, and a proper sit-down meal is the best way I know of manifesting very good intentions. Here’s to new beginnings.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s sage recipes

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 09:00:01 GMT

Sage is one of the more powerful herbs in the cook’s armoury, so it works brilliantly with other strong flavours

Elizabeth David, one of the great sages of food writing, was no fan of sage: “It deadens the food with its musty, dried-blood scent,” she wrote in Summer Cooking (Penguin, £9.99). Sage is a strong herb, true, so it can elicit a similarly strong response, but I’m pretty sure David was talking about dried sage, which can indeed be very powerful and musty. Fresh sage leaves, on the other hand, all felt-like and smooth, have a glorious, lemony scent and tend to enliven whatever they’re paired with. They retain that power and slightly musty notes, but do so in a way that works harmoniously, rather than dominating a dish.

Sage works best, then, with strong-tasting ingredients that can hold their own against it, which is why anchovies, liver or lemon are the classic pairings. For a quick, simple yet hugely satisfying meal, I often add a few leaves to a small pan of melted butter or hot olive oil, then drizzle it over stuffed pasta. This always feels like a very wise supper decision indeed.

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‘Let’s hope it never changes’: L’Escargot, London – review | Jay Rayner

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 05:50:24 GMT

Snails, chandeliers, and suited waiters… this isn’t just a French restaurant, it’s a Soho institution

L’Escargot, 48 Greek Street, London W1D 4EF (020 7439 7474). Meal for two, including drinks and service, £100 to £140

L’Escargot is your stylish auntie, the one who knows how to grow old gracefully; who had that green velvet halterneck from Biba back in the day but knew when to stop wearing it. Has she surrendered to the passage of time? Hell no. She just knows exactly which version of herself to be. L’Escargot, now in its 91st year, is the same. It has been many things over the years. It has been bang on trend and it has been a survivor and now, through an acute understanding of the essentials, it is the best kind of institution. I can think of nowhere better by which to celebrate the launch of our new magazine. If you’re reading online, go pick up a print edition. It’s beautiful. Think fine old wine in new bottles. Which L’Escargot also knows a bit about, as it happens. Oh, and it does snails, obviously. I bloody love a snail.

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Bondi Harvest's beetroot lentil burger recipe

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 00:50:37 GMT

The clean-living chefs’ new cookbook is filled with healthy and delicious versions of family-friendly recipes

Hearty and packed with protein, this vegetarian beetroot and lentil burger is a healthy wholefood feast all wrapped up in a bun for easy two-handed eating. Even the vegetarian sceptics will be coming back for more of this little beauty.

Related: Bondi Harvest's Mexican salsa verde eggs recipe

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The Fordwich Arms, Fordwich, Kent: restaurant review | Grace Dent

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 10:00:49 GMT

The smallest town in the country is set for an influx of outsiders after the re-opening of this brilliant pub

Declaring in print that any new joint is a blissful find is probably a spurious blessing. Presently, Fordwich, three miles east of Canterbury and officially Britain’s smallest town, is gorgeously unspoiled. By this I mean Fordwich is unbesmirched by Londoners, who, as I write, lie a mere 63 miles away and are now reading that Dan Smith, an ex-Clove Club chef, has taken harness of a gargantuan country boozer in this tiny town.

Recall, if you will, the plight of the poor people of Seasalter in north Kent when Stephen Harris transmogrified The Sportsman into a restaurant-world sacred cow. Seasalter did not deserve the metropolitan elite washing up daily, in their peculiar trousers, whiffling on about keto-diet options and normalising £11 for a slice of salt-baked celeriac.

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Wellbourne, Bristol: ‘A curate’s egg of an evening’ – restaurant review | Felicity Cloake

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:00:14 GMT

One of the few downsides of this gig is that if you see something weird on a menu, you feel duty bound to order it

I’m excited about Wellbourne. It’s in Clifton Village, the higgledy-piggledy Bristol neighbourhood where I spent many happy evenings as an annoying youth – though, as I keep hearing from smug residents, the city’s food scene has moved on since those halcyon days of Whiteladies kebabs and half-pints of scrumpy.

My local mole highly recommends the Wiper And True beer, but I can’t resist the siren call of a “frozen martini”, which sounds pleasingly like the kind of thing I enjoyed in my student days. I’m hoping for a slushy the size of my head; I get an elegant and impeccably made cocktail in a frosted glass. Frozen, it ain’t, but it is good, as is the squidgy house-made sourdough and nicely salted butter, which would have been even better without an infusion of fig leaf that makes it taste like cheesy Ribena.

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Cocktail of the week: the Savoy’s Adonis – recipe

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 16:00:17 GMT

A classic cocktail, as made in the American Bar at the famous London hotel

With the White Lady and the Corpse Reviver, this was one of the first drinks I was taught from the Savoy’s cocktail list when I came to work here. Sherry adds a lovely, dry complexity to any drink, and features on many modern cocktail menus; it also appeals to the trend for lower abv drinks. Serves one.

1 dash orange bitters
30ml Italian vermouth
60ml dry sherry
1 lemon twist, to garnish

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Sorrel, Dorking, Surrey: ‘A meal that's as highly polished as the silverware' – restaurant review

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:00:31 GMT

The waiters are quizzed on ingredients with such frequency and enthusiasm that I fear for our chances of catching the last train home

Comfort seems to be a dirty word in restaurant design circles these days, but after a long, damp trek from the railway station (you try getting a taxi in Dorking on a wet Friday evening), it’s pure pleasure to collapse into Sorrel’s plump, velvety banquettes and be spoiled rotten for a couple of hours. “I don’t think anyone else walked,” my friend whispers, eyeing up the frocks and ties on neighbouring tables. I suspect she’s right – not in those heels, anyway – but whether they came by bus or Bentley, everyone seems genuinely excited to be here, quizzing the waiters on ingredients and techniques with such frequency and enthusiasm that I begin to fear for our chances of catching the last train home. Either they’re all really, really interested in food, or I’m not the only one writing a review here.

While Jay and Giles do have a tendency to blend into the woodwork, my money’s on the former: chef Steve Drake kept locals and Michelin men alike happy for over a decade at his previous place in Ripley, and reports suggest this new joint is already booked up three months ahead, despite the London prices. Then again, this is Surrey, and it feels like it, too: all thick carpets and tastefully exposed beams; even the open kitchen is politely tucked away by the loos.

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Sanxia Renjia, London: ‘Enough excitement for a month’ – restaurant review

Sun, 14 Jan 2018 06:00:19 GMT

The dining room may look a bit drab, but the adventurous menu is on a mission to send you into unknown territory

Sanxia Renjia, 36 Deptford Broadway, London SE8 4PQ (020 8692 9633). Meal for two including service: £50-£75

There is just one other person at Sanxia Renija, in Deptford, when we arrive for an early dinner. He is alone, working his way through a quarter of crispy duck and pancakes. Oh dear. On the one hand, being judgmental about other people’s menu choices is unkind. On the other, what a schmuck. Going to an arse-kicking, cheek-slapping, thigh-spanking, gloriously ring-burning Sichuan restaurant like this and ordering the crispy duck is a little like popping into a brothel and paying for a chat. Of course you can do that. It’s your money. But it is rather missing the point.

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Adam Liaw: I've finally got my makeup down to the core essentials

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 23:59:55 GMT

For our series Beauty and the books, the cook discusses the nostalgia of fragrance and the thesaurus he can’t put down

A former lawyer turned MasterChef winner, Adam Liaw is known for his Asian fusion recipes and hosting SBS’s Destination Flavour. He talks about finally getting his TV makeup down to the bare essentials, the nostalgia of fragrance and how a Japanese manga series taught him more than he expected.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s egg recipes

Sat, 06 Jan 2018 09:00:08 GMT

Eggs are every cook’s best friend, especially at this time of year when simple and quick are the order of the day

New year, new resolutions, new everything, right? Well, an egg, with all its promise of new life, is a very good place to start. Eggs give me everything I want from the kitchen, especially during this post-excess phase: they’re gentle on the wallet, easy to get hold of, fuss-free, quick to prepare, comforting to eat – and full of the sort of amino acids and nutritional benefits that, after a certain point, red wine cannot really boast of having. In terms of New Year’s resolutions, then, eggs give you a lot of easy wins.

They are also incredibly versatile, not least in terms of what you pair them with, so they’re very useful when you’re looking for ways to use up all those bits and bobs you still have lying around after the festivities. I’ve suggested using manchego in today’s omelette dish, but really any other hard cheese, from cheddar to comté, will work just as well. Much the same applies to the herbs and spices: eggs are as happy with the coriander, parsley and dill as they are with the chervil or basil I’ve used here; and while I’ve paired my eggs with what I have to hand in my cupboard at home (chilli flakes and za’atar, in this instance), ground cumin, sharp sumac, regular chilli flakes or even a good crack of black pepper will do the trick, too.

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Drink: better late than never – the secret to last-minute Christmas wine shopping

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 17:00:29 GMT

If you’ve left the Christmas shop to the last minute, or need some back-up supplies, there are bargains still out there, provided you know where to look

There was a time when I used to enjoy taking Christmas food shopping right to the wire, leaving everything until Christmas Eve and seeing what I could pick up on the day. Maybe it’s a sign of advancing years, but that now seems an unnecessary level of stress, so I’m hoping I’ll be done and dusted by the time you read this.

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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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Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life review – all about his great passions: baking, and himself

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 06:00:01 GMT

This vanity project perks up when old blue eyes gets down to some fancy baking – and Prue, Sandi and Noel turn up

Paul Hollywood has a new show, a great British spin-off. It’s about his great passions: baking, and himself. It’s called Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life (Channel 4). The timing might not be ideal, a show about his life outside the Great British Bake Off, coming soon after announcing the split from his wife. It’s difficult to watch without a bit of that in mind.

She doesn’t feature, and he doesn’t mention Mrs H. He does talk about another painful separation though – from Mary, Mel and Sue, when the Bake Off moved from the BBC to Channel 4. And in this one he was the victim, apparently. “For the three of them to walk away from me, and walk away from the tent, it felt like they’d abandoned the Bake Off,” he says. “Three people walked out of the tent, and one person stayed. Why am I getting called a traitor?”

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Terroir, natural wines and indie producers: how booze has changed since 2001

Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:00:20 GMT

Since the first issue of Observer Food Monthly in 2001, the world of wine has altered radically

OFM began publishing in what now feels like a decisively different era for wine. It was a time when a very particular style of winemaking was approaching its peak – a style that, with hindsight, seems very much in keeping with the credit-fuelled pre-2008 economic boom: big, brash, loud, crafted from a limited set of well-known grape varieties in expensive, toasty French oak barrels.

This was a style designed to please the axis of powerful American critics led by Robert Parker and the glossy Wine Spectator magazine. Its origins were in California and Australia, but the lure of a 100-point score, particularly from Parker, led winemakers all over the world to adopt the same recipe, often from the same small set of consultant winemakers.

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Thomasina Miers’ recipe for soba noodles with rainbow vegetables in a sesame seed dressing

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:00:18 GMT

Need an antidote to January? This spicy sweet-sour noodle salad is just the ticket

More food: really? After two weeks of leftover roast potatoes dipped in mayonnaise for elevenses (because it’s Christmas), cake in the middle of the afternoon (ditto), mince pies drowning in rum butter and cream after practically every meal, endless cheese? I very rarely say this, but I’m ready for a break.

Not a break full stop – I have a greedy reputation to uphold, after all – but more a break from traditional foods, and in my post-Christmas delirium I keep thinking back to a blissful few weeks once spent in southern India, and to its richly spiced and largely vegetarian diet. We ate vast amounts, yet returned home feeling light and refreshed after this welcome holiday from heavy proteins.

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Mario Batali taking leave from restaurant empire after claims of sexual misconduct

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:50:27 GMT

The celebrity chef said ‘I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain I have caused’ after at least four women reported incidents

The chef Mario Batali has surrendered oversight of daily operations at his restaurant empire following reports of sexual misconduct over a period of at least 20 years.

The online site Eater New York, part of Vox Media, reported on Monday that the incidents involve at least four women, three of whom worked for Batali. One of the women said Batali groped her chest after wine had spilled on her shirt. Another said he grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body.

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Cocktail of the week: the Olé Fashioned – recipe

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:00:01 GMT

End the year on a high note with this barnstormer from sherry bar Sack

In this remake of an old favourite, palo cortado sherry combines with rye to glorious effect. It’s a great one to kick off New Year’s Eve, but be warned – it packs a real punch. Serves one.

35ml palo cortado
35ml rye whiskey
10ml sugar syrup
2-3 dashes orange bitters
Orange zest, to garnish

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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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Meera Sodha’s recipe for vegan sweet potato and aubergine massaman curry

Sat, 13 Jan 2018 09:30:01 GMT

South-east Asian cuisine is a great source of vegan-friendly cooking, and this gently spicy Thai curry is a case in point

‘Something from the cupboard” was a regular meal when I was growing up. Our family home was in the countryside and a good distance from the shops, so going out in January to buy something fresh meant de-icing our old Nissan Bluebird that was so full of holes, eye-stinging wind would whip around our necks and freeze our fingers blue. The thought of something from the cupboard, then, was a source of great comfort, and a foil to our laziness, because it meant we didn’t need to leave the house.

Naturally, we spent a lot of time with our noses in the kitchen drawers, wondering how best to use tins of this and pots of spices, alongside stalwarts of the vegetable basket, and turn them into meals. Most of the time, this resulted in the same old things: spinach and sweetcorn saag (makai palak), plum tomato and chickpea noodle curry (sev tamatar) and dal dhokli (chickpea pasta poached in dal).

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Anna Jones’s kale recipes

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 12:00:49 GMT

January is all about wintry greens such as kale, which brings a bright and fresh note to verdant garlic pasta, and a deep and rich one to a hearty soup

I am in a green phase, and drawn like a moth to sea-green velvet cushions and dresses, while the tear sheets for my new kitchen are an almost-black green. I’m sure this is all inspired by the minerally winter greens of the season, which are ever-present in my cooking right now. The majestic cavolo nero – an intense black-blue green that’s hard to match – is most beautiful when wet, with tiny droplets of water running down its dusty leaves. Or the pleasingly curly kale with its forest-green frills (or, if you’re lucky, deep burgundy-purple ones). The verdant freshness of these greens has me using them daily at this time of year: here are two of my favourites.

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