High life

High life | 9 April 2011

New York I went to see a revival of Arcadia in the beautiful Ethel Barrymore Theatre last Saturday night, and it made my day. Tom Stoppard is our greatest playwright, and I think Arcadia is his best play, although a couple of other gems of his come close. I was with Marine Major Michael Warring

Low life

Low life | 9 April 2011

After Cow Girl abruptly terminated our relationship, there was a long radio silence between us, during which time I was fairly demoralised. I’d thought I was lovable. If anyone could be bothered to look hard enough, or dig deep enough, I’d always thought, they’d find gold. But Cow Girl had struck no pay dirt, knew

Real life

Real life | 9 April 2011

Nothing makes me want to move to Cobham more than a letter from Lambeth Council that begins like this: ‘Dear householder: We have made changes to our recycling and refuse services. These changes are the result of a waste strategy that we have been developing over the last two years with your help.’ I hadn’t

Wild life

Wild life | 9 April 2011

Weregoi Plains Three shots rang out in the night air. Rustlers had attacked my neighbour’s boma a few hundred metres from home. At the time, our children were watching a cartoon before bedtime. Thankfully, the bandits were only after the cattle. They got away with a couple of dozen steers. Cow theft is a noble

More from life

Status Anxiety: Reading between the lines

On Tuesday I received an invitation from the Women’s Institute asking me if I’d be prepared to participate in a debate at their annual general meeting in Liverpool on 8 June. They want me to speak ‘in opposition to a motion urging central government to maintain support for local libraries’. You have to take your

Dear Mary

Dear Mary | 9 April 2011

Q. We normally drive guests departing our house in France to our nearest station for trains connecting them to Eurostar. One departing guest, an attractive divorcee, had half an hour to kill, so I suggested a croissant and coffee, which meant lugging her very heavy case over to the café and back again to the


Hit and miss

Going out for a meal shouldn’t be an occasion for stress; other than first dates or tricky business lunches of course. Yet often, simply being handed the wine list can cause your palms to sweat and pulse to race — and not in a good way. The problem is two-fold. Those of us with limited

Titbits and Crumbs

Ever found yourself drowning in a sea of newspaper recipe clippings you never find time to sort through? A nifty iPhone app, Chef’s Book, gives you the facility to record what you cook and file each recipe into personalised categories. MODERN MENU Ever found yourself drowning in a sea of newspaper recipe clippings you never find

Scoff out

KOPAPA CAFÉ AND RESTAURANT 32-34 Monmouth Street Seven Dials WC2H 9HA 020 7240 6076 by Will Vaughan Covent Garden and Leicester Square has long been a restaurant-goer’s no-man’s land. That is, until now, because fusion supremo Peter Gordon has opened Kopapa, situated conveniently on Monmouth Street, moments from the Donmar and the Royal Opera House.

How to….

… … Make a genuine ‘Sugo’ by Gareth Jones Tomatoes weren’t cultivated in the place we now call Italy until the late 16th century. Like chocolate, corn and Columbus’s other South American bounty, the Spanish held onto tomatoes for decades. It’s said tomatoes made it to Southern Italy with a Spanish chef to the Spanish

Kitchen kit

Just as there are cat people and dog people, there are dishcloth people and dish brush people. Sometime around the age of 30 (usually after marriage), arguments surrounding the merits of brushes versus cloths seem to take on great importance and ferocity, but our own collection of washing bowl beauties are sure to stop the

Spring Recipes

Crispy Raw And Cooked Vegetable Tart by Alain Ducasse I spent my childhood days on a farm and so vegetables have always hugely influenced my cooking. I love to use seasonal vegetables and this dish on the menu at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester celebrates the simple pleasures of combining raw and cooked vegetables. It

Advertisement Feature: The King’s Ginger Liqueur

There can be no more appropriate drink with which to celebrate the forthcoming Royal union than The King’s Ginger. There can be no more appropriate drink with which to celebrate the forthcoming Royal union than The King’s Ginger. Prince William’s great, great, great-grandfather was King Edward VII who ascended to the throne 110 years ago.

Sugar daddy

Rum is a relatively young drink – 15th century – and still under-appreciated, but at its best can match any whisky or brandy for complexity and sophistication. Peter Grogan enters the darkness A long time ago a knuckle-dragging ancestor of mine left a gourd-ful of palm sugar out in the rain. Trolling along, the right

Blonde Bombshell

The Czech town of Plzeň is the birthplace of the world’s first golden lager, and both are elegant, spicy and hugely enjoyable. Adrian Tierney-Jones visits brewing Disneyland Lunchtime at Na Parkánu, a restaurant attached to the Museum of Brewing in Plzeň (or Pilsen). A glass of Pilsner Urquell, served unfiltered and unpasteurised from a tank

Keeping it real | 9 April 2011

Italian food is about simplicity and seasonality, and in Sicily spring brings the fragrant lemon harvest – eagerly awaited in one corner of Devon. Hattie Ellis takes a trip to the mother country with a pioneer of real lemonade Do you remember when lemonade used to be just that harshly fizzy clear stuff you bought

Streets ahead?

The citizens of Stockbridge in Hampshire must be surprised and delighted that their high street was voted Best Foodie Street in Britain in Google’s inaugural Street View Awards. Perhaps not overly surprised, however, judging by a sheepish comment from Google’s press office to the effect that local gastro-guerrillas ‘went to a lot of effort to get interest

Moveable feasts

It’s midnight, and I’m hanging upside down in the bilges, diesel-polluted seawater sloshing under my nose, trying to pull a greased pig through the locker hole. Or, more accurately, a dry bag containing enough food to feed 20 tired, wet, hungry people for a day. The outside is anything but dry, and I’m hoping the

Heavenly simplicity

Borgo Egnazia in Puglia opened last year and immediately gained a reputation as one of Europe’s most spectacular holiday resorts, not least thanks to its cookery school under the tutelage of the resort’s executive chef, Mario Musoni. Until recently Musoni had his own Michelin-starred restaurant outside Milan. When I asked why he didn’t seem unhappy

Hidden gem

Britain is a country that loves its imports: its BMWs, its Egyptian cotton, its Russian vodka and its hardworking Polish builders. And with our history of imperialism and exploration, our palates have developed a taste for a smorgasbord of flavours. We delight in the Kama Sutra pleasures of Indian food in Brick Lane, Birmingham or

Rooftop chic

Paris’ s top restaurants, the Opéra, Louis Vuitton: rooftop beehives are the latest must-have for the best French addresses. Margaret Kemp samples the sweetness Ever since the achingly chic Left Bank restaurant La Tour d’Argent announced the installation of six beehives on their rooftop overlooking the Seine, beekeeping is the new black in Paris. The

Advertisement Feature: Beauty and the Beast

Advertisement Feature UNNECESSARILY WELL MADE The objective at Glenmorangie is whisky perfection; there are no quick fixes and, at each stage, only the best will do. The distillery has been pursuing this same goal since 1843 and makes Scotland’s favourite single malt. Glenmorangie is known for having the tallest stills in Scotland, standing at an

The Cure | 9 April 2011

On the continent, the creators of cured meats can draw on a tradition imbued in the genes (in the case of Parma ham, for example) since the time of Hannibal. Can a much newer generation of British charcutiers possibly hope to compete, boosted by the surge of interest in hand-made food with clear, local provenance

Taste test: British Charcuterie

Overall, we were a little disappointed at the quality of British offerings, but perhaps it’s not surprising given the newness of our charcuterie traditions. And, in the sparkling setting of Harrods’ new wine rooms, we did unearth a few treats Panel: Tilly Culme-Seymour, Deputy Editor, Spectator Scoff (tcs) Dan Jellinek, Co-Editor, Spectator Scoff (dj) Bruce

Pie in the Sky

Airline food does not enjoy the best of reputations, but with a new breed of on-board cooking and menu selection systems now emerging, its future could be a journey back to basics – with boiled egg and soldiers. Dan Jellinek reports Airline food has long had a poor reputation — odd-tasting, odd-sized and arriving at

Mountain miracles

Lamb is a foodstuff intimately connected with Wales. Long subjected to cheap humour, Welsh farmers are now enjoying the last laugh: since 2006, the European Union has conferred on Wales the distinction of a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), making it the equal of products such as Parma ham. So when the opportunity arose for me

Rage against the tagine: Supermarket swipe

Wine is one of life’s great joys – so why, asks Jason Yapp, do major retailers do such a dismal job of flogging it? I have several items to declare: bags of prejudice, a heap of self-interest, a smidgen of latent snobbery and chips on both shoulders. But even accounting for all of the above

An A-Z of Scoff

Q IS FOR QUANTITY The problem with food and health can now be summed up in one phrase: ‘too much’. More than six out of 10 men and five out of 10 women in the UK are overweight or obese. Talk to medics such as cancer experts and they say it’s especially important not to


It’s been a long cold winter, but here we are at last in the blossom-laden, golden days of spring. It’s been a long cold winter, but here we are at last in the blossom-laden, golden days of spring. There’s plenty of seasonal produce for food and wine lovers to enjoy within our pages, much to



Heavenly jockeys, splitting trousers and plenty of Pinot Grigio – Imogen Lycett Green enjoys a breathless lunch in the Cotswolds with Jilly Cooper Two hours earlier she had rushed, panting, into the Crown Inn in Frampton Mansell. ‘I am SO SORRY I am late!’ she said, falling into the fire-smoky bar wearing leggings, knee-length brown

Time is of the essence

We move through silent streets walled by shuttered houses and closed stores. I know that the French leave en masse in August, but in Cognac the ritual seems also to extend to wintertime. Even the landscape seems somnambulant. Skeletal vines whose cordons point crabbed fingers towards where the sun should be line the roadsides. Yet

Hine: the vintage house

Bernard Hine has impeccable manners. However, as we meet for an apéritif at Hine House, he is a little disgruntled. The source of his unhappiness is a stomach upset which means he is unable to indulge in the foie gras and the 1953 Vintage port, among other treats. A lesser man would have made his

Liquid hideaways

Last year, in a nod towards austerity, I gave up my membership to Milk and Honey, a cocktail club in Soho. I rationalised that as a non-member, I could still book a dimly lit, silver-toned booth downstairs to enjoy their delicious Penicillin — a reviving concoction of peaty whisky, honey, ginger and lemon — at

Mind your language

Mind your language | 9 April 2011

Colonel Gaddafi was making something of a point when he kept referring to the Western coalition against him as crusaders. It harked back to  President George Bush’s words five days after the outrage of September 11, 2001: ‘This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.’ He was immediately jumped on, not

The Wiki Man

The Wiki Man: Sporting behaviour

‘You’re never alone with a Strand’, created by the S.H. Benson agency in 1959, is now famous as the most unsuccessful advertisement ever. With its raincoated figure standing alone on Albert Bridge, seeking solace from some unseen misfortune by drawing on a Strand cigarette, it was admired on artistic grounds until it emerged that the