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…

Day of the Dead Layer Dip

We’ve made it through Hallowe’en, pumpkin carving and small ghouls with treat buckets haunting the neighbourhood, so what comes next? The Mexican equivalent, El Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, celebrated on 1st November. Here’s a Mexican Layer Dip that I feed to certain hungry Mexican food-lovers I know when Mexican holidays…

Hotel Pullman, Marseille Palm Beach

Marseille: an ancient city renowned for many things, among which number its huge commercial port, a small crime problem, the legendary Château d’If and fine bouillabaisse. The city lent its name to the French national anthem, la Marseillaise, pastis was born here and Marcel Pagnol took childhood walks in the lush Parc Borély. I suggest that we add to this hall of fame the Hotel Pullman Marseille Palm…

From aspic setting to lobster killing – Julie and Julia do French cooking

When I was about eleven, I started home ec classes at school. My classmates and I then spent the next two years fighting over ingredients in these core classes as we perfected the mangling of simple dishes such as scrambled eggs and kedgeree. The worst part of these classes, however, was post-cooking when we had to sit and EAT what we’d just burned,…

Around the World in Eighty Minutes with Michael Palin – Part 2

Click here to read Part 1. In the course of the evening, we learned many things, thanks to Palin himself and a keen audience full of questions. Did you know that when making travel series for the Beeb, there are six in Palin’s typical crew, including a stills photographer, whose contribution is much valued because…

Around the World in 80 Minutes with Michael Palin

I’ve never been one to idolise pop singers or paste posters of the latest Hollywood heart-throb on my bedroom wall. I don’t buy celebrity calendars and I admit to cringing whenever someone sends me pictures of Messrs Clooney, Craig or Pitt in some come-hither pose. However, last week I submitted to the ranks of groupie-dom…

Little Gordon

Here in the UK we’ve been somewhat immunised against swearing celebrity chefs, ever since Gordon Ramsay hit our TV screens with shows like The F Word. He’s everywhere: on terrestrial TV, on Sky, on our bookshelves, taking over our pubs (see my Warrington Pub poem here), building a transatlantic restaurant empire and teaching his kids…

Vietnam – if you can catch it, you can eat it – More Bizarre Foods

Here’s part two of Andrew Zimmern’s jaunt through Vietnam, sampling some of the more palatable options of Vietnamese cuisine (beef salad, Pho, civet coffee). Part three involves grilled fish (come on! how tame can you get?), sparrows and scorpions, and ‘tender’ bull’s penis: Part four sees Andrew Zimmern tucking into silk worms and snails at…

Cheerleader Friday

Last weekend I spent an afternoon having fun with eighties’ retro tracks on You Tube. Out of the blue I decided to watch Toni Basil’s 1982 hit, Oh Mickey: That in turn reminded me of Gwen Stefani’s 2005 hit, Hollaback Girl… (it’s all about cheerleaders, apparently), which made me think about the second series of Heroes (Series…

Friday is Fun Day

Friday is Fun Day. It’s ‘I-can-wear-jeans-to-work’ day. It’s a day to share jokes, look forward to the weekend and wind down after a week at full velocity. At least, that’s what I aim for on Fridays. It doesn’t always pan out. When I worked for The Auction House, I used to send all my friends…