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Drink: Forgotten Wines

somewhere-over-the-rainbowGood on Waitrose for starting a forgotten cuts of meat campaign (see Release the Pressure below). Perhaps I need to start a Forgotten Wines campaign. Whilst the buying power of the supermarket giants (again Waitrose is the only place that makes an effort) should give us more choice what we actually get is a sterile range of alcoholic fruit juices. There are over 300 different grape varieties grown around the world producing countless styles. Then why can we only have our Shiraz smoked, our Chardonnay oaked, our Merlot, Sauvignon and Cabernet ….um and our individuality choked? Read more

Cook: Don’t release the pressure

release-the-pressureIt was Heston the lord of molecular, who first preached the virtues of pressure  and since the purchase of my £25 Tower (I wish I had traded up to the shinier, easier to clean stainless version) I have never looked back. A pressure cooker cooks quickly without allowing any evaporation so flavours become concentrated. This is great for curries, soups and sauces, but this device really comes into its own for stewing particularly tough cuts of meat. The likes of ox tail, beef cheek and scrag end of lamb would usually take hours of slow cooking are tenderised in under an hour. Read more

Cook: My Goreng Soup

SoupMee Goreng is a famous Malay dish. My Goreng is my version of a beef brisket noodle soup inspired by my great local Puji Puji and Chinese friend Anna, who made me a similar dish. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you are a loser! (Increase cooking time to 3-4 hours on the hob) Read more

Drink: £500k – what it cost to feed (and water) G20 leaders

G20Whilst the rest of us enjoy the recession (I was reduced to a bottle of red from Tesco last night – rant to follow) G20 leaders tuck in to great vintage Bordeaux (Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1986). Good on them is what I say! Read my comment on the full wine list at www.independent.co.uk

Cook: Gnarly gnocchi

Gnocci FactoryI first learnt how to make gnocchi on a family trip to Piedmont when I was ten. A decade later my second attempt proved to be one of my worst culinary disasters. Made ahead of time the gnocchi that I had foolishely piled on top of each other did a Terminator and morphed back into one solid block of dough – just in time for the dinner party. My spiteful vegan friend Pernille reminded me of this incident everytime we met and it has taken me another decade to get back my gno-jo. The basic mix was about 750g of riced potato and squash, 250g flour and 100g parmesan. The bit where you ridge with a fork is a bit tricky, but I did get there in the end. Read more

Cook: Crab Stock

crabWithout stock there is no life. Without crab stock there is no bisque. I was unable to finish my huge Cock Crab on Monday at the Royal Native Oyster Stores in Whitstable, so asked for a doggie bag – we are in a recession you know! Read more

Burger Index: The Ivy

Burger

Forget about foie gras. Knowing your burger onions is the sign of a true gourmet. However, finding a good burger is quite like finding a good woman. So complex, so illusive and so many variables that can go wrong. But when you find a goody…oh boy!

This is the story of one man’s search for the best bit of pattie in town.

 

 

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Cook: Mum’s Birthday

A special dinner for a special woman! When you have some really good wine better plan the menu around it and keep things simple. Read more

Eat: Marcus Wareing (Lancashire Hot Pot)

There was a Scotsman (Gordon Ramsay), a Welshwoman (Angela Hartnett) and an Englishman (Marcus Wareing) and they all lived happily together in a pressure cooker called Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH). Wareing joined Ramsay’s Aubergine in 1993, where he became Sous Chef and after running the Grill Room at the Savoy Hotel, Wareing opened Petrus for GRH at the Berkeley Hotel and quickly gained two Michelin stars. Then one day the Englishman decided that he wanted out. The Scotsman huffed, and he puffed, but he couldn’t blow the Englishman’s house down and he reopened Petrus as Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. Read more

Burger Index: The Stafford

Look at those bunsForget about foie gras. Knowing your burger onions is the sign of a true gourmet. However, finding a good burger is quite like finding a good woman. So complex, so illusive and so many variables that can go wrong. But when you find a goody…oh boy! This is the story of one man’s search for the best bit of pattie in town.

 

 

Read more

Eat: MARC Restaurants

The Dish:
MARC Group (Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation)

The Recipe:
Take one multimillionaire who knows a thing or three about fine dining. Add prime locations in Mayfair and New York. Dress with bespoke interior design, handmade plates and fine artwork. Source the finest ingredients (whatever the cost). Add a few drops of the finest wine from Marlon’s private collection. Season liberally with talented chefs and understated service.

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Fix: I like to moob it, moob it!

Start Weight: 106.6KG
Start BMI: 26.9
Cup Size: 38CC

I didn’t think it would happen to me. I swim. I work out. I eat a balanced diet (whatever that is). But it has happened to me……the big M. Moobs, Mantits, whatever you want to call them. The above stats make for sorry reading. What do you do? Give up and buy a training bra? Or fight back? I chose the latter option. But I have been here before. Boot camp, spin camp, swim camp, even camp camp (don’t try this one in Soho) I’ve tried them all. Then diet – Atkins, LA, Grapefruit -  hell I even tried colonic irrigation once. But it always seems to slide back on. I decided I needed to try something new, something radical and I found the 25 Club in Hanover Square. Can I lose the moobs in 25 days? (Read On)

Precious: The Reel Godfather

Who is the grandaddy?The Reel Poster Gallery is the premiere international gallery for original vintage movie posters on Westbourne Grove in west London. It was established in 1991 by co-owners Bruce Marchant and Tony Nourmand. Film poster art is hugely popular today: whilst other art may seem elitist demanding a degree of knowledge, movie art is accessible to all and the audience is global. Many people associate certain films with particular times in their lives which can make posters of seemingly obscure films priceless to certain individuals. The gallery recently made the news with the sale of the most expensive poster to date priced at $690,000. The original poster of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1926) was sold to a private collector in LA. (Read On)

The Reel Gallery 72 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH 020 7274 488

Sleep: TerraVina

In 1994 Gerard Basset was one of the founding partners of the incredibly successful Hotel du Vin boutique chain, which was sold to Malmaison in 2004 for a cool 66.4million. He pocketed an estimated 2.4m from the sale and while most of us would move to warmer climes and drink margaritas in the sun, Gerard and his wife decided to open a small 11 room hotel in the New Forest. The couples philosophy is very much hands-on: Nina looks after the hotel operation and the restaurant and cellar is Gerard’s natural domain and passion. Read more

Eat: Masala World

The Dish:

Masala World restaurant group

The Recipe:

Put everything you know about Indian food into a mould and break. Take precious threads of regional cuisines and weave into a rich tapestry. Stir in exotic locations heady with atmosphere. Saturate with sophisticated, yet understated service. Add much more than a pinch of spice. Serve immediately with crusty naan. Read more

Sleep: Hotel de Paris, Monaco

The Hotel de Paris owes its existence to the famous casino across the road: in 1863 on the verge of bankruptcy Prince Charles III of Monaco enlisted the help of a French businessman, who established the casino on the hill (Monte Carlo = hill of Charles). Gambling was illegal in France and Italy and soon the casino owners Societe des Bains de Mer were turning over a small fortune and had to build hotels including the Hotel de Paris and Ermitage to accommodate its wealthy clientele. Read more

Fast: The Classic Car Club for Automotive Swingers

Citroen DSCheryl Tweedy is undoubtedly one of the UK’s sexiest women. But could you settle down for the rest of your life if you had the likes Kelly Brook, Scarlett Johansson, Carla Brunei or erm Aimee Walton (the infamous adulterous hairdresser) pestering you for a piece of the action? If like Ashley Cole you have commitment issues and want fun, fun, fun with no strings attached the Classic Car Club could be for you. Once you join you can strike the words depreciation, garage fees, tax, insurance, congestion charge and maintenance from your vocabulary forever. (Better ask your partner about the commitment thingy) But hold on. I have gone off-message here. This isn’t about saving money; it’s about freedom and pleasure. [Read More]

Drink: Krug Clos Encounters – The best things come to those that wait

KrugIn the world of luxury absolutes are rare. What is the unquestionably the most luxurious hotel in the world? Which is irrefutably the most luxurious car? Which Savile Row tailor is without shadow of doubt the most luxurious? In Champagne there is no such ambiguity: Krug is unquestionably, irrefutably and without a shadow of doubt the most luxurious. Krug don’t produce Champagne – they produce Krug!
Unusually amongst the great houses, Krug (founded in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug) still has the original family at the heart of the business, though it was acquired by LVMH in 1999. I was met at their Reims head office by sixth generation Olivier Krug. As I took in the rather drab surroundings of his office he seemed to read my mind “At Krug we invest our profits in the wine” he said smiling as he poured me a welcome glass. [Read On]

Drink: Potocki Wodka: a taste of freedom

potockiWe all dream about breaking free from the daily grind, cashing in the big house, car and life insurance (on your partner!). But what next? Your pipe dream may be a little vineyard in Tuscany, Zebra farm in Kenya or dive school in Mexico (the perfect hunting ground for a new, improved better half). But how many of us are actually prepared to put our hard-earned on the line?
Not so Jan-Roman Potocki who gave up a successful career in banking to resurrect his family business and enter into the cut throat vodka sector – a world in which new vodka brands appear and disappear like Beckham’s haircuts. Is there a method to his madness? [Read More]

Eat: Angelus

Small yet perfectly formed is Angelus personified. Gallic owner Thierry Tomasin, though charming, is rather rougher around the edges . Two decades ago, he left his home town near Toulouse in south west France (famous for garlic and rugby) for the bright lights of London. In between times he was Head Sommelier at the two starred Le Gavroche in Mayfair for 12 years before moving on to be General Manager of Aubergine in Chelsea, where Ramsay made his name before allegedly stealing the reservations book from owner Marco Pierre-White. Read more