Ameer Kotecha

Ameer Kotecha is a British diplomat, pop-up chef and writer on food, travel and culture. He is the author of The Platinum Jubilee Cookbook (Bloomsbury).

Why now is the time to visit Aldeburgh

I have been reading Ronald Blythe’s Next to Nature which came out in October, just a few months before the great man’s death aged 100. And so a weekend holiday in Suffolk was calling to me. I went to Aldeburgh, on the coast, north of the river Alde. The town appears to be thriving –

The art of the pocket square

When imagining a monarch’s wardrobe, what comes to mind? With the late Queen, it was bold-coloured dresses (as she famously said, ‘I have to be seen to be believed’), elaborate hats, silk headscarves and those black Launer handbags. Our new King is no less a style icon. For him it’s well-tailored double-breasted suits from Anderson

In celebration of street parties

There is something very equalising about a street party. At one gathering I attended last year on a central London mews, a trust fund baby peered nervously out from his living room window before deciding to emerge, carrying two bottles of champagne and a flower vase filled with a tumultuous mess of a Platinum Jubilee

Why the coronation matters

At one level, asking why the coronation matters is to slightly miss the point. Living as we do in a constitutional monarchy, the coronation doesn’t need to make a case for itself. It is simply an indispensable part, primarily in symbolic terms, of the installation of our new head of state. But setting aside for

How to celebrate the coronation weekend

Lots of things seem to get described as ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences nowadays, but for many of us the coronation really will be just that. So, how to make the most of the historic long weekend? Clock off from work at a reasonable time on Friday and while getting dressed into your glad rags

The timeless rules of youth

Every so often, one stumbles across some long-forgotten text that could have been written yesterday. It’s a reminder that often the answers to today’s problems lie in the past. I had one of those moments when I read Lord Baden-Powell’s Rovering to Success. Recently I had another such moment reading about Kurt Hahn’s Six Declines

Why bother cooking?

In a world of ultra-convenience, I think making the argument for home cooking is important. Because a lifestyle of takeaway delivery apps, ready meals or eating out every day is not a recipe for health and happiness, no matter how easy the modern world makes it.   One of the downsides of the cult of

Save our sweet shops

There are only so many times I can watch Lord Sugar swivelling in his chair and reusing put-downs from three seasons ago before enough’s enough, so I’ve dropped in and out of the latest series of The Apprentice. But one contestant that has caught my eye is Victoria Goulbourne, the flight attendant turned online sweet

Why you should write poetry

In a recent Low Life column, Jeremy Clarke referred to Edward Thomas and his writing of 16 poems in just 20 days. Similarly, practically all of the poems that made Wilfred Owen famous were composed in a few months (and when he was still in his twenties). It has been the same for many of

The charm of crumpets

At this time of year, it is pancakes and hot cross buns that are meant to enjoy a moment in the spotlight. I shall not begrudge them that. But my heart really belongs to the crumpet. They are the epitome of the simple pleasure, and an economical choice in a cost-of-living crisis. There may have

In defence of February

Everyone has their own most loved and hated months. While for Chaucer, Browning and others April was a time of joyful rebirth, it was of course for Eliot ‘the cruellest month’. Still, February tends to get a bad rap from everybody. It manages to be both the shortest and longest month of the year. In

10 Scotch whiskies to try on Burns Night

Burns Night always feels like a particularly well-timed celebration. Hot on the heels of ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the most miserable day of the year – it’s certainly nice to have a reason to get merry. It also happens to be the perfect refutation to those killjoys determined to make Dry January the new Lent.

The power of the royal Christmas message

Today, shortly before 3 p.m., there will be a collective heave as backsides – weighed down from turkey and roast potatoes – are prised from dining chairs and plonked on to sofas to tune into the King’s speech. So I very much hope. For the royal Christmas broadcast is important, and this year’s of course

The King’s speech

Christmas dinner is the meal we love to hate

Many of the elements of the Christmas spread have more detractors than admirers. Turkey can seem an undistinguished bird thrust into an undeserved limelight: bland and unwieldy, it’s a far cry from a rich goose or even a regular, moist chicken. Carrots and parsnips – uninspiring. Bread sauce resembles the gruel ladled out to Oliver

What should be on your Christmas cheeseboard?

No overindulgent gourmand worth his salt fails to own a stilton scoop. Mine has a bone handle and Mappin & Webb silver plate. It has an ingenious contraption to release the cylindrical pellet of cheese: a bit like those retro ice cream scoops that, with a little squeeze, crack like a whip, the metal slicing

What makes the perfect pub?

From Geoffrey Chaucer’s Tabard and Martin Amis’s Black Cross to Thomas Hardy’s Buck’s Head Inn, literature is as replete with pubs as are villages and high streets up and down the land. It is no surprise. They are atmospheric settings for a plot, and places of inspiration and contemplation besides; many authors have written their

Best of British: Christmas gifts for under £20

Christmas shopping has its challenges at the best of times. Oxford Street crowds and high street tat; Black Friday generating more excitement than a White Christmas. And this year will, for many, be more challenging than ever. Who needs the Grinch when the cost-of-living monster threatens to steal Christmas? When looking to keep down the

The full English is a breakfast to be proud of

The British playwright Somerset Maugham once said that ‘to eat well in England you should eat breakfast three times a day’. I think he meant it as a jibe, but we should take it as a compliment. Our breakfast is as powerfully evocative of England as any part of our cultural heritage. In The Lion

Three cheers for Branston Pickle

There is no shortage of foodstuffs (or people) jostling for admission into the hallowed hall of ‘national treasures’. Perhaps the best litmus test for right of entry is time-proven popularity, and appeal across class and generational divides. No mere passing flavour of the month or millennial indulgence. Something that unites us all in affection. Branston

The pomp and pageantry of the Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a mix of traditional buttoned-up pageantry and let-your-hair-down carnival. A bit like the state opening of parliament without all the MPs, and Notting Hill without the jerk chicken. I am a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, one of the ‘Great 12’ livery companies of the City of London. The Lord