Christmas?…Nuts!

Christmas is a time for nuts, specifically nuts in shells. We eat shelled ones such as peanuts and cashews all year round, but at Christmas it’s good to sit by the fire to roast chestnuts and shell walnuts, hazel nuts and Brazil nuts. I had to import the last...

Duck at the Varsity in Cambridge

The Varsity restaurant is the Cambridge twin of Trinity restaurant, and it came first. I began with chicken liver paté with walnut bread and shallot jam, and went on to pan-fried duck breast with pommes croquettes, parsnip and roasted red chicory. The duck serving was huge, thick and nicely...

Tapas at All Bar One – Victoria Street

All Bar One in Victoria Street offer a good selection of “small dishes” – i.e. tapas.  This time I ordered Iberico ham croquettes, chorizo and halloumi skewers, and fried calamari. It was quite a varied selection, but a filling one. I chose a Sandbox Chenin blanc to accompany it....

Vintage Cava is better than a cheap Champagne

Many of us like fizzy wines, especially Champagne. I rather think the best value is vintage cava from Spain. It must be vintage cava, and a good one is superior to most Proseccos and to budget-price Champagnes. Perfect with seafood due to its biscuity notes , or with a...

Royal Dragon dumplings – Gerrard Street, London

Very often when eating a Chinese meal I will start off either with fragrant crispy duck and pancakes, or with dim sum dumplings. At the Royal Dragon in Soho’s Gerrard Street they offer a nice set of 8 dumplings with a sweet chilli sauce, good for two people, and...

Quick pumpkin soup

I had one jar left of the pumpkin purée I’d made and frozen. I defrosted it and poured it into a pan with about half a pint of chicken stock. I added about half a cupful of evaporated milk, a pinch of salt, half a teaspoon of grated nutmeg,...

Wholewheat spaghetti

I do not often eat pasta. Occasionally I eat ricotta and spinach tortelloni, and sometimes in a restaurant I will order ravioli. I had some wholewheat spaghetti in my cupboard, so I made a bolognese sauce of minced lamb, onions and tomato, with Italian herbs and garlic to flavour....

Quick & easy cold lamb salad

This has to be one of the quickest to prepare. Cold lamb slices from yesterday’s roast leg, with rock salt sprinkled over them. Then a salad from Sainsbury’s help-yourself salad bar, the smallest size at £1.50. It included tomatoes, boiled egg, sugarsnap peas, feta cheese, spiral pasta, beetroot and...

Dorset snails at the Savoy Grill

I quite like escargots, which are mainly an excuse to have garlic butter, but the Savoy offers something new. It is baked Dorset snails with sweet garlic, red wine and brioche crumbs. I didn’t like it nearly as much as escargots, finding the brioche crumbs a distraction from the...

Savoy in style

It was quite a meal at the Savoy. First came lobster bisque, though I tasted one of the Dorset snails a companion ordered. Then came beef Wellington, medium rare with Vichy carrots. The piece de résistance was the crepe suzette. First butter and squeezed oranges, then Grand Marnier and...