I’ve just come back from a whistlestop tour of the Baltic region. Eight days of exploring and eating in Copenhagen, Tallinn, Riga and Stockholm. Despite a diet of mainly blood sausage and chips I’ve lost three pounds. My feet ache from walking miles in the wrong shoes and my joints are stiff, but the weather was more glorious than we could have hoped for. Copenhagen was first. All elegant pastel blues and pinks and white edged with gold. Magnificent parks and pretty palaces.
Serves 6 Ras el hanout is a north African blend of sweet and hot ground spices. There's no definitive list, but hanout means "shop" in Arabic, so "top-of-the-shop". Usually it includes ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, black, pepper and cinnamon. Shop-bought ras el hanout is fine, Ottolenghi says, but feel free to add to to it. He prefers more cinnamon. The purée is a good alternative to hummus, and can be made in advance, and kept under cling film in the fridge unt
A Snow Garden by Rachel Joyce, (Transworld, £9.99) Rachel Joyce's writing sneaks up on you. Just when you think you're reading a nice little story about a father spending Christmas week with his sons, or Magda and Johanna welcoming their new baby, or a popstar son ditching life on the road for the comforts of his parents' yuletide home, you suddenly finding yourself reaching for the Kleenex. Joyce's writing is exquisite. Robust and unsentimental, real and magical. Her charact
Serves 8 as a starter, 4 as a main Credit: Jonathan Lovekin 150g white miso paste, at room temperature 50ml mirin 30g light brown sugar 2 tsp sherry vinegar 40g unsalted butter at room temperature 2 tbsp sunflower oil 8 whole quails, de-boned with wing tips left on or de-boned chicken thighs (1.1kg) coarse sea salt and black pepper Salsa 150g pomegranate seeds (seeds of one medium pomegranate) 70g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped 35g pickled walnuts, rinsed, skin removed,
Not sure I went for these as my track record on fritters is not great: they are always well done on the outside, sloppy in the middle and fall to bits. I don't like cardamom that much either as I find its perfumed taste tends to dominate. However... Makes 12 fritters to serve 4, or 24 smaller fritters to serve eight as a snack Credit: Jonathan Lovekin For the fritters 3 medium courgettes, trimmed and coarsely grated (580g) 2 small shallots, finely chopped (50g) 2 garlic clove
Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully (Ebury Press, £28) So, I've got all Yotam Ottolenghi's books, I've eaten in his Ottolenghi restaurants and seen the TV series. You could say I'm a fan. It's the flavour combinations. I know, I know, you hear a lot about these, but Mr Ottolenghi has a way with flavours that it is, it is no exaggeration to say, mind-blowing. He doesn't improve on existing ideas, he goes out and creates his own and, thanks to his, exquisite palette, the
The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson (Transworld, £20) Cycling home the other day I whizzed past a small tatty tree with little bits of laminated paper tied to its branches. I stopped and went back to investigate because that’s the kind of thing Bill Bryson would have done. This tree, I was informed, had been dedicated by the Living Poetry Society, to the memory of Robin Williams and those affected by suicide. Its a random tree in south London between a burger bar and
Here's something to get out of bed for: Gemma Selzer's early morning writing Write & Shine workshops. A gentle start to your writerly day or a couple of hours of creativity before the working world sweeps you away. It's the kind of thing New York does all the time, but London's been a bit shuffley and slow up about it. Until now. Gemma's a writer and performance artist who loves mornings, which is more than I can say for myself. Her projects include the digital literature pro
Football and I aren't really friends. I don't hate it, I've just never really got it: I'd rather be doing other things. So until a week ago, I'd never been inside a football stadium. Then I got to go on a tour of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and I very nearly became a fan. Emirates Stadium at dusk. Credit: Ed g2s The place is a massive monument to loyalty and sport. The pride is palpable, everywhere you turn is a nugget of information, a fact, statistic that reinforces Arsenal'
A Cold Death In Amsterdam by Anja de Jager (Constable, £19.99/Kindle £9.99) Last night was the launch of Anja de Jager's book A Cold Death In Amsterdam . Anja and I met on a writing retreat six months ago when she was working on the proofs of her first book and the draft of her second. "I'll invite you all to the launch," she told the group. I thought it was just one of those things people say, but generously she did and six of us from the course joined the party to celebrate