Balancing without blinis

I wanted to serve the blinis. I couldn’t find any in a hurry, so experimented with Scottish pancakes, quartered after being oven-heated, and spread with crème fraiche and dollops of lumpfish caviar. It worked, too, but I have to say the blinis were better. Next I served mushrooms, leek...

Hayward Bros (Wines) Ltd tasting, May 11th

Yesterday I attended a tasting of Bordeaux-region wines organized by Hayward Bros (Wines) Ltd. The venue was the beautifully panelled Knox Shaw room of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University. A small selection of whites preceded the vast selection of reds. I then finished the tasting with a champagne and...

(Chicken) salad days

I had a full day of work on-site with a client yesterday, which I figured would mean one of my stand-by chicken avocado salads from Pret a Manger. So I brought a bottle of balsamic vinegar into the office with me, so I could skip the oily dressing. (I’m...

Xander’s Thursday

 Apologies for the gripping title, stupid is as stupid does. Having been forced to wake up early for a seminar I put the day to ‘good’ use. Forgoing breakfast I started preparing a large roast pork meal, enough for today and to eat cold in the sun over the...

A healthful haul

On the way home from a meeting this afternoon, I stopped off at the fruit and veg stand outside of Finchley Road station and bought two bags bursting with goodness: cherries, strawberries, asparagus, mangoes, grapes, and a pineapple. There is something about having a healthful haul like that in...

Good Scottish

The Albanach in Trafalgar Square seems to be thriving, and full of stylishly-dressed youngsters enjoying themselves among the illuminated paper stags and the horn candelabras. The food is high quality Scottish, with never a mince and tatties in sight, never mind neeps. I began with warm tartlet of Dunsyre...

Blinis

I went over to friends for dinner. The first course they served is easily made, but keeps everyone happy while the other food is in preparation. It consisted of blinis, each one about one and a half inches in diameter, on which were placed a dollop of crème fraiche...

Riviera on the river

I dined at the Riviera on Gabriel’s Wharf, a few minutes walk from the London Eye (the big wheel) and with spectacular views across the Thames, including St Paul’s. It has outdoor seating both upstairs and down. The cuisine is Mediterranean. I started with the Panzanella, of slow roasted...

El Sombrero, Saint-Étienne

I have just returned from several days in France, where every day meant pain au chocolat for breakfast and wine with every single meal. It was a shame to leave, really. Our first night in Saint-Étienne, where we had gone to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday...

Launch party at Cambridge

later on Friday May 5th I held a party to celebrate the new book How to Win Every Argument. I served champagne, but the catering by livecooking was magnificent. We had biscuit of puff pastry in onion purée with red pepper and fillet of beef. There was duck foie...