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…

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…

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…

Suppose for Christmas

I don’t SUPPOSE many of my readers start buying presents for loved ones in October. Then again, you might. Please do correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway, when I visited my local supermarket yesterday there were plenty of chocaholic advent calendars on display, which makes me think that if I start buying the odd present…

Nossy Be, La Baule

Following a rough pregnancy and even rougher ‘special delivery’ of our small person this summer, I seriously doubted I was up for a trip to France. Two months into parenthood, still feeling battered and bloated and somewhat embarrassed to be seen in public, I somehow lost the family holiday debate to the ever-persuasive Monsieur and…

Chez Bruce

On a recent Sunday, as the sun cast a gentle glow over the lazy autumn day, a group of us walked to Chez Bruce, the Michelin-starred restaurant on Bellevue Road by London’s lush Wandsworth Common. Now that we’re domiciled in the Sarf London ‘hood, it was time to check out this south-western stalwart of the cuisine scene, established in 1995 by the restaurant’s namesake, Bruce Poole,…

This Little Piggy Went to Market – in La Rochelle

Doing the daily shop, French-style. These aubergines are shinier than a militia man’s boots. The lobster tank was looking a bit empty. I suspect there’d been a rush on lobster for cooling summer seafood platters. This little piggy went to market, to hang out next to his brothers who are now a pair of delicious dried sausages….

The Salade Not-so-Nicoise

World over, there are many versions of the Salade Niçoise and much debate over what constitutes the correct serving of this classic dish. Purists insist that no cooked component should be added, apart from the tuna itself, and even then the tuna is either optional or tinned (not in MY kitchen). As you can see from the title of…