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).

How to eat well for less

Inflation is (if you’ll excuse the pun) biting. So how can you keep down the cost of the weekly shop and get maximum bang for your buck in the kitchen without compromising? I have always shopped by the yellow sticker and the discount aisle. When I first started getting creative in the kitchen as an

How the Michelin Guide went green

Michelin, alone within the hospitality industry, possesses the ability to provoke elation or tears in professional chefs. If you thought the victims on the receiving end of an expletive-laden tirade from Gordon Ramsay were a sorry sight, just imagine the faces of the poor broken chefs who lose one of their coveted Michelin stars. Some

How to cook with wild garlic

In British cooking we have traditionally had a complicated relationship with garlic. Let the french use it to their hearts’ content: fine in a Toulouse but no thank you in a Cumberland. Suggestive of this wariness is wild garlic’s many names – ‘devil’s garlic’, ‘gypsy’s onions’ and ‘stinking Jenny’ amongst others. But in recent years

How to spruce up your spice rack

They sparked the Crusades, built Venice, and spurred European colonialism. In many ways, spices and the spice routes along which they were traded, made the modern world. And how many other ingredients can make that claim? Not avocadoes, not goji berries, not truffle, no matter how fashionable. No, when it comes to historical importance, spices

The unstoppable rise of ‘bowl food’

Poke House last week opened four new restaurant sites in London. It is just the start of a fishy influx with the Californian-inspired poke bowl chain planning to open 15 London sites and 65 UK sites over the next year. It is little surprise; where West Coast America goes London soon follows. But the huge

The secret to great bagels

Everyone should have a catering trick to easily host a large party. As Jeffrey Archer once told me, while pointing out Oxford landmarks as if it were his university rather than mine, he was famous for his legendary Shepherd’s pie and Krug champagne Christmas soirées. I have my own party formula: ‘Bagels and Booze’. I

The joy of Chicken Tikka Masala Pie

At this time of year, nothing beats a cosy tavern with steamed up windows, a roaring fire and hearty food. ‘Gastropubs’ have come under some justified criticism over the years: trying too hard to be restaurants and with prices to match, pricing out their former loyal clientele. Too many regular pubs meanwhile are happy to serve

Cheat’s Penda: a Diwali dish with a British twist

Diwali is synonymous with fireworks and candles (diwas) – it is after all the ‘festival of lights’ – but sweet morsels of sugar and spice are almost as important a part of the festivities. Just as Christmas is a time when restraint rightly crumbles in the face of mince pies and lashings of brandy butter,

A foodie’s guide to game season

If the brimming hedgerows were not enough to sate your taste buds this autumn, then it’s time to turn your attention to game season. As I’ve written, game is not only delicious but sustainable and healthy too. Indeed, venison is higher in protein and lower in fat than any other meat. It’s not for nothing that the

How to spice up winter soup

There are few things as good as soup for comfort and warmth. Though, with the very notable exception of Heinz tomato, I find ready-made soups invariably dull. The fresh counter ones are even worse than the tinned: bland, gloopy, surprisingly calorific and expensive for what is, after all, liquid food. When it comes to soup, I

The secret to making egg-fried rice

Getting a takeaway doesn’t quite mean what it used to. The choice used to be between a pizza, ‘an Indian’ or ‘a Chinese’, and was reserved as a Friday night treat, to be eaten out the box while flopped on the sofa watching Cilla Black’s Blind Date. Nowadays one is as likely to order a

How to make Bhanda – the Indian-African fusion dish ideal for autumn

African politicians often have a playful turn of phrase. The former president of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa, was dubbed ‘the cabbage’ by his political opponents. There is nothing to suggest that the founding president of Malawi, Hastings Banda, was called ‘the kidney bean’ by the political opposition but he could’ve been. For banda/bhanda is the word

Curry can be guilt-free (if you know how to make it)

Two of the misconceptions surrounding curry that it consistently struggles to shrug off are one, that it is unhealthy, and two, that it is difficult to make at home. I’ve always found both perplexing. Turks and Persians must be similarly bemused given the reputation of their archetypal food, the kebab. Yes the late night version,

In defence of curry

When a dear friend recently was clearing out her dad’s house following his death, she uncovered a tin of ancient Harrods’ Madras Curry Powder – several decades old and emblazoned for some reason with the name ‘Ameer’ on the front. This sort of attic find is considered an offending item nowadays, if the recent ‘curry is racist’

Food, glorious food: the rise of the culinary mini break

After a fraught summer of changing restrictions, it seems likely that staycaytioning is here to, er, stay. The good news for food-lovers is that Britain is now home to a growing number of boutique breaks that are centred around eating. Our weather may be unpredictable but the top-notch dishes at these destinations will more than compensate for

How to make your own sushi

I have an ambivalent attitude to sushi. It has become, on the one hand, one of the favoured foods of the joyless ‘clean eating’ and perpetually-dieting brigade. On the other, sushi is as delicious as it is healthy; filling but not heavy; dainty but not pretentious. No need to feel abashed then about being a

Al fresco dishes to serve outside

We have all become rather used to socialising outside. Thanks to the pandemic, for perhaps the first time in our national history, al fresco dining has become the norm well outside of the summer months. We shivered under wraps for the last nine months only to finally be allowed to socialise indoors once more just

Quick, crowd-pleasing snacks for the big game

Until this week I don’t think my mother had ever in her life watched a football game. Wednesday changed that, marking the start of her new-found frenzy and puns about England’s ‘Sterling effort!’ (to squeals of laughter from her female friends gang). Now they’re in a state of hysterical excitement and are busy planning their