Friday Photo: Antipasti Platter at Il Vesuvio, Tunbridge Wells

Look at this platter. What a pile of Italian delights. At Il Vesuvio in Tunbridge Wells they claim to be ‘a corner of Southern Italy in the Garden of England’. I’d have to agree. The atmosphere is as warm as you’d hope for a place named after a smoking Neapolitan volcano. Nothing is too much…

Baking with Whitworths and Holly Bell

A tin filled with Fruity Tiffin and Tropical Breakfast Bars Whitworths is a British baking institution, their products having lined the pantries of many a baker or home cook since the company’s creation in 1886. The name belongs to the three Whitworth brothers, who were flour millers. In 1953, some decades after founding their mill…

Friday Photo: Supermercado, Madrid

One of my favourite activities when travelling is checking out local supermarkets. When the Crev and I arrived in Madrid last autumn, it was one of the first things we did. No matter that we actually NEEDED to go to the supermarket. For a start, I’d left my hair brush at home. Again. Not to…

How to Do a Housewarming Barbecue

Your arms feel a few inches longer and there are still some random boxes to unpack but you’ve done it: you’ve moved, the keys to your new home jangling in your pocket. All that hard work and nail-biting surely deserves a celebration. It’s summer, so why not host a housewarming BBQ? Friends of mine recently…

Friday Photo – A Boat from Bari

I love just about everywhere in Italy, but the southern parts are where it gets real and raucous and honest and in-your-face. If I could choose anywhere in the world to live at this point in time, current economics aside, it would probably be Puglia. The Friday photo this week was taken in a courtyard…

A Jazzy Cab-Shiraz by Lisa McGuigan

On Lisa McGuigan’s wine website she calls wine ‘the perfect fashion accessory’. The bottle of Cab Shiraz from her Wilde Thing range, sat before me on the kitchen table, bears this out. It’s modish. The label is black, with what can only be called a graffiti splash for the name, the vintner’s own name incorporating…

Brazilians in Brixton: an evening at Carioca

It’s sweltering. I’m dripping, not in a good way. And thanks to the well-meaning directions of a Brixtonian or two, I end up at the wrong end of Coldharbour Lane. This is not good. Anyone who knows the length of Coldharbour Lane will attest to that. It’s so long that I’ve almost ended up in…

Celebrating Sakura at Sake no Hana

The cherry blossom or sakura is much revered in Japan. Each spring, as the pretty pink flowers engulf cherry trees throughout the Japanese islands, the evening news includes a blossom report, tagging the towns and cities where the blossoms have appeared, until the entire map of Japan, from Okinawa in the south to Hokkaido in the far…

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

This is a post specifically for a couple of wanderlusting pals who are about to set off to France for a deserved break. On their itinerary is  Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, capital of the marshy region called the Camargue. Driving south on the D570 from Arles, the land is flat and green. As hotels begin to punctuate the…

Room Service for Sanity at the Hotel Santa Catalina

  ‘Twas the night before holiday and in our mad house the Crev was a-slumbering, no sign of our mouse. The packing was finished, a taxi arranged, all was quite organised, but that would soon change. The quiet was shattered by panic above: ‘The Crev’s being sick!’ cried Papa, ‘the poor love.’ So that’s how our Easter…

Chinese New Year at Hakkasan

Rose Petal Martini The Year of the Sheep is already blooming for me. Not only have I devoured a ten-course New Year’s menu at Hakkasan Group’s HKK in the City, I have also been spoiled with another multi-course extravaganza at Hakkasan’s flagship restaurant in Hanway Place. Even better, we were there for Chinese New Year’s…

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Celebrating the Year of the Sheep at HKK, PART II

Jasmine tea smoked poussin Moving on from the previous five courses in our ten course culinary tour of China at HKK, we would now try jasmine tea smoked poussin. The Anhui area, located inland from Shanghai, is known for its tea and wild herbs, both of which were incorporated into this recipe, along with more black truffle, creating a…