Tea and Tattle

The delightfully-named Arthur Probsthain opened his oriental and African bookshop in Great Russell Street exactly 110 years ago. Upstairs it’s still family business as usual. A few years ago, however, the latest generation, Tim and Chris, cleared out the bulging cellar and turned it into a tiny tearoom. It’s turned into a favourite haunt of…

Coddle up for Winter

When I was a kid, my mum used to make us ‘poached eggs’ using a frying pan-like saucepan with little shallow cups simmering over water. She’d put a dab of butter in each cup, break an egg into each then let them boil to a soft set. I grew up sincerely believing that that was what…

Bordeaux Patrol

Bordeaux is misunderstood. Like an older, mysterious brother, the region so familiar to us both from holidays and supermarket shelves somehow manages to lead an unexpected ‘other life’. We tend to think of its rich, red wines, yet the region’s been producing whites for a thousand years. Bordeaux itself has a reputation for dark, enigmatic…

Chocolate for Men

Damian Allsop’s ‘water ganache’, dispensing with the traditional butter and cream.  The extraordinary exploding chocolates of Gorvett and Stone. The understated elegance of William Curley. Chubby cherubs gallivanting around Rococo’s fabled blue and white cornucopia. In the past few years, a chocolate revolution has burst onto our tastebuds, relegating the old choice – between cheap…

Skirret – the Forgotten Tudor Vegetable

“The sweetest, whitest and most pleasant of roots,” raves gentleman gardener John Worlidge, in his 1677 Systema Horticulturae Or The Art of Gardening. “Pleasant and wholesome,” agrees Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Yet the subtle sweetness of the modest skirret, noted by Pliny as the Emperor Tiberius’s favourite and a mainstay of Tudor tables, is all but…