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).

In defence of instant coffee

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Ten or 20 years ago no one would have thought twice about enjoying Nescafé or its equivalent. There is soothing ritual in spooning, pouring, stirring and sipping the mud-brown concoction in a mug. But nowadays, for a generation nourished on slow-roasted Colombian cashew-milk cortados,

The remarkable success of the East African Asians

When Idi Amin’s voice crackled through the radio on 4 August 1972 with his fateful ultimatum, my family paid little notice, save for wondering briefly why a government announcement had interrupted the blaring Bollywood tunes. My father’s two sisters were getting married the next day (both tying the knot at the same time meant half

Inside the recharged Battersea Power Station

At its peak, Battersea Power Station supplied a fifth of London’s electricity, including to Buckingham Palace and parliament. Today, the most electric thing about it is the virtual reality gaming venue on site. Times have changed – but the reopening of the power station allows us to rediscover one of our finest pieces of industrial

What to eat in game season

Game is a perfect refutation to the sort of militant vegan campaigners who go around placing floral tributes on packaged meat. So long as shoots are responsibly conducted, game is as environmentally sustainable and ethical as meat-eating gets. But this year looks set to be a tough one for parts of the industry. Chiefly because of a severe

A chef’s tips to cut food waste – and your bills

Food waste is suddenly the subject on everyone’s lips. A combination of environmental concern and biting inflation has propelled an issue that was already rising up the public consciousness on to centre stage. Some supermarkets are dropping ‘best before’ labels on fresh produce, and this month the British Frozen Food Federation launched a campaign to

Elizabeth II was our greatest diplomat

The grief is still raw and the news has barely sunk in. I feel quite heartbroken. But I know that many the world over feel the same. The death of Queen Elizabeth II has special resonance here in this country, in the Realms and in the Commonwealth. Yet there is barely a corner of the

Order, order: MPs’ favourite restaurants

Westminster is often described as a village, and like most villages it has a clutch of good pubs and a decent curry house down the road. But beyond that the area isn’t overly blessed with places to eat, drink and be merry. There’s little in the way of bars (except in hotels and the Palace

In praise of British lamb

In one of Roald Dahl’s lesser-known short stories, ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, the guilty Mrs Maloney tempts police officers into enjoying a spot of supper while they’re at her house hunting for the weapon used to kill her husband. That’s the hell of a big club the guy must’ve used to hit poor Patrick, one

The enduring wisdom of Robert Baden-Powell

I do not yet have any children of my own, but a large extended family means plenty of young nieces and nephews to buy presents for come birthdays and Christmas. Those moments provide an opportunity to indulge in some pedagogic guidance: I’ll be damned if you’re getting the latest Fifa game for the PlayStation 5

A diplomatic sweetener: the power of marmalade

It took Paddington Bear to solve the age-old mystery of what the Queen keeps in her handbag. When Her Majesty pulled out a marmalade sandwich during the pair’s sketch at the Platinum Jubilee concert this summer, it did more than just tickle the audience. It also served to remind us of our national love affair

Why Italy’s Emilia-Romagna beats Tuscany

The guidebooks will tell you that Emilia-Romagna is Tuscany without the crowds. It’s generally true, though at the moment – in the peak summer season and when all the world seems to be descending on Italy after years of Covid-imposed separation from la dolce vita – there’s really tourists everywhere in Italy. But yes, with

The bliss of second-hand shopping

I know of few greater pleasures than a Saturday morning spent moseying around one of my local second-hand shops in Pimlico. These charity and vintage stores attract a varied crowd. Old-timers, but youngsters too, for whom vintage shopping is hip: not just for its ethical and sustainable credentials but thanks to the current clothing fashion

The renaissance of Indian cuisine

For anyone with any interest in the story of Mumbai, or the modern history of Indian food in the UK, Britannia & Co. is a worthy lunch destination when on the subcontinent. An institution in the city, it is one of a clutch of surviving Irani cafes that once filled Bombay. Their fame has peaked

The art of the State Banquet

The French epicure Jean-Anthelm Brillat-Savarin, writing in the early decades of the nineteenth century, remarked, ‘Read the historians, from Herodotus down to our own day, and you will see that there has never been a great event, not even excepting conspiracies, which was not conceived, worked out, and organized over a meal.’ And indeed it

The secret to making sumptuous scones

I love scones. I would go so far as to say they are my favourite morsel of all in the traditional afternoon tea spread. Yes the finger sandwiches are nice, and the mini tarts, eclairs and macarons often an impressive display of the pâtisser’s skill and finesse. But if the afternoon tea doesn’t have a

The art of edible flowers

There are many slightly pretentious ways to make an ordinary plate of food look beautiful. Powders, foams, and gels are all much favoured by Michelin chefs – though they generally don’t improve anything and make it look as if someone has spilt something on your dinner. But edible flowers are one cheffy trick that I

In praise of British strawberries

Ask a foreigner to name the fruit that above all others epitomises their image of Britain, and it will surely be the strawberry. It is less a fruit than an icon. Redolent of royalty: not just for its role jam sandwiching together a Victoria Sponge but for its colour too, as patriotically red as the

How to make the most of asparagus

It is hard to think of a vegetable which is as eagerly anticipated as that of home-grown asparagus. Partly it is because the season is so short: St George’s Day traditionally marks the start of the season which typically lasts for just eight weeks. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and, so long as we

In praise of British beef

Beef is one of our proudest national exports. Though showcasing British beef to the world has at times had its challenges, one story raises a smile: as a result of BSE, British beef was banned in France during Lord Jay’s tenure as our ambassador in Paris. He and his wife Sylvia made a principle of

How to roast Easter lamb

Easter is almost upon us and with it comes the mouth-watering prospect of roast lamb. It has become increasingly fashionable in recent years to eschew the leg and do a slow-cooked, meltingly tender shoulder of lamb for a Sunday roast. Rightly so, for the shoulder meat is rich and delicious, but when it comes to Easter there is