Very old Madeira

I am very partial to very old Madeiras. Because the wine is already oxidised, it improves rather than deteriorates over time. I have enjoyed a pre-French Revolution 1789, an 1815 ‘Waterloo,’ and an 1824 Malmsey, laid down while Thomas Jefferson was still alive. I have just acquired an 1885...

Pickled herring in Stockholm

I was in Stockholm for a conference, and enjoyed Swedish cuisine. I especially liked the pickled herring they served at a smorgasbord banquet. It’s not remotely vinegary. On the contrary, some of it is very sweet. It goes superbly with Aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit served very chilled....

Savile starter

London’s Savile Club featured a rather nicely done starter when I went for lunch recntly. It consisted of fresh figs served on a bed of crumbled sheep’s milk cheese on a lightly toasted base. It was very good indeed. I followed it up with a main course of confit...

Oh dear, d’Arry’s – Cambridge

I went to d’Arry’s in Cambridge in October to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my Cambridge MPhil. Its a restaurant that we used to frequent regularly, until the service got so slow we had to leave one evening without evening (the gap between the starter and main courses was...

First season pumpkin pie

I lined a pie dish with my usual shortcrust pastry. The filling used about 400 gm of the pumpkin purée I made, plus a cup of milk, a spoon of brown sugar and one of golden syrup. I used two large eggs and whisked it all up. Then I...

Mango with tamarind

Mango is one of my favourite fruits, and I love tamarind with its somewhat sour taste. So when I dined at Thaikhun in Cambridge and my companion ordered sea bass and mango salad with tamarind, I was intrigued. I sampled some and was most impressed…...

Pumpkin time

I cut a pumpkin into segments after scooping out the seeds. After peeling them with a potato peeler and chopping them into roughly 1″ pieces, I simmered them for about 15 minutes until tender. Then I zapped them in a blender with just enough liquid to for a purée....

Salmon at the National Liberal Club

I ordered the salmon as my main course for lunch. It was adequate, nice and moist, not over-cooked. I would call it competent rather than special. The potatoes were good, but the salad garnish as bland. Fortunately the club white wine did not disappoint. My verdict is that this...

Lamb at Browns

Browns is a standby, a place you go to when no other choice appeals. It is reliable and not very expensive, and the range of dishes means almost everyone can be satisfied. This time I chose roasted lamb rump with potato gratin, crushed minted peas, and red wine jus....

Bramble and apple pie

Still on my pie theme, this time I made bramble and apple pie. The bulges in the pastry are the brambles (aka blackberries). I added only a sprinkle of brown sugar, but it needed a liquid to allow the apples to cook, so I added a mix of creme...