Meet the chef who is grilling for glory

The Oxford Times:

12:37pm Thursday 28th August 2014

Helen Peacocke talks and eats with Chef of the Year finalist Lahiru Jayasekara in his kitchen at The Manor, Weston-on-the-Green

Foodies hungry for hot festival tickets

The Oxford Times:

11:55am Thursday 21st August 2014

Helen Peacocke on Thame Food Festival and the Foodies Festival this bank holiday weekend

Food poisoning is still hot topic

The Oxford Times:

12:29pm Thursday 14th August 2014

Keeping illnesses at bay is essential when preparing summer feasts, as Helen Peacocke discusses

Lettuce play

The Oxford Times:

12:21pm Thursday 7th August 2014

Helen Peacocke leafs through some fun facts on salad

Book with all there is to know on food

The Oxford Times:

11:51am Thursday 31st July 2014

Helen Peacocke looks at one of the best reference works on food, containing some 3,000 entries

No wonder Irish eyes are smiling

The Oxford Times:

10:43am Thursday 24th July 2014

Helen Peacocke meets foodie heroine and dynamic Irish chef Darina Allen

Ale trail sups on country's beauty

The Oxford Times:

10:40am Thursday 17th July 2014

Helen Peacocke has a starter for ten trailling Brakspear's rural pub challenge

My journey back to the First World War

The Oxford Times:

10:36am Thursday 10th July 2014

Helen Peacocke visits Adlestrop to reflect on the food in the trenches

You can't keep a good cafe down

The Oxford Times:

10:32am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Helen Peacocke on a beloved institution in St. Giles

Travel the world on Cowley Road

The Oxford Times: Aziz's special Carnival curry, which has been created especially for the event

11:57am Thursday 26th June 2014

Helen Peacocke finds wonderful and exotic dishes being showcased ahead of the carnival

Picnic celebrates English summer

The Oxford Times: Moveable feasts: A picnic should be good on the eye as well as delicious to eat

10:52am Thursday 19th June 2014

Helen Peacocke reckons it's hard to beat the traditional 'pleasure party' in the great outdoors

Big banger theory for great sausages

The Oxford Times: In the mix: Making your own sausages means you know what's in them

10:43am Thursday 12th June 2014

Helen Peacocke on the history and the variety of the humble sausage

Best in chocolate daring, bar none

The Oxford Times: Choc-full: Enrico, Maya, Ella and Isabel Ramaglia at Deddington market

11:26am Thursday 5th June 2014

Helen Peacocke on the family mixing it up with delicious flavoured confections

Why Carluccio is the pasta master

The Oxford Times: Why Carluccio is the pasta master

12:56pm Thursday 29th May 2014

Helen Peacocke on the joys of a book about the new world of pasta shapes

The week to enjoy vegetarian cuisine

The Oxford Times: The week to enjoy vegetarian cuisine

11:41am Thursday 22nd May 2014

Helen Peacocke extols the virtues of meat-free diets - and the taste

Oxon can attract top French chefs

The Oxford Times: Oxon can attract top French chefs

12:44pm Thursday 15th May 2014

Helen Peacocke learns some tips from the Marseilles-trained chef at The Swan, Tetsworth

British asparagus is simply the best

The Oxford Times: Fresh asparagus

12:47pm Thursday 1st May 2014

Helen Peacocke calls in on one of the local working farms producing this king of the vegetables

It's time for tea at Jackie Williams' party

The Oxford Times: Superb cook: Jackie Williams, from Eynsham

11:35am Thursday 24th April 2014

Helen Peacocke on the history of tea-growing after sampling a vintage celebration

Tender local lamb is a great Easter treat

The Oxford Times: Sunday joint: Roast lamb with fresh asparagus

12:39pm Thursday 17th April 2014

Helen Peacocke looks at lamb's popularity through the centuries

Why we can learn a lot from Canada's culinary choices

The Oxford Times: Delicious: Pork steak and lentils smothered with maple syrup and served with apple balls cooked in ice wine

11:46am Thursday 10th April 2014

Helen Peacocke says we can take a leaf out of maple's versatility

Where to get the best pub lunches in Oxfordshire

The Oxford Times: Boxing gloves at The James Figg

10:41am Thursday 3rd April 2014

Helen Peacocke on some great county inns for food and atmosphere

Nourishing recipes for literary society

The Oxford Times: Jans Ondaatje Rolls

11:44am Thursday 27th March 2014

Helen Peacocke on a new cookbook about the influential Bloomsbury Set

When it comes to crunch, try celery

The Oxford Times: When it comes to crunch, try celery

10:52am Thursday 20th March 2014

Helen Peacocke says there are many ways to enjoy this delicious vegetable

Forgotten fish can prove a wise catch

The Oxford Times: Gone fishing: Final-year Hospitality Management students from Brookes University visiting Haymans. From left, Alex Nicholson, Lenka Cencialova, Hana Smetanova and Sarah James

11:23am Thursday 13th March 2014

Helen Peacocke meets students from Brookes University organising a ‘Supper to Save the Sea’

Bringing history to life in a feast

The Oxford Times: Serving: Professor David Woodfine

10:40am Thursday 6th March 2014

Helen Peacocke explains how food was presented in Shakespeare’s time

Pancake day tips - it's that flipping time once again

The Oxford Times: A tradition: classic pancakes

11:00am Thursday 27th February 2014

As Shrove Tuesday approaches, Helen Peacocke gives us her pancake tips

A lemonade that tastes of lemons at Samuelsons of Witney

The Oxford Times: Drinking to success: Jonathan Luker

10:49am Thursday 20th February 2014

Helen Peacocke talks to the brains behind soft drinks firm Samuelsons of Witney

Tomatoes make up the perfect Valentines meal

The Oxford Times: Tomatoes make up the perfect Valentines meal

10:59am Thursday 13th February 2014

Helen Peacocke on why ‘apples of love’ help to make the perfect romantic meal

Blue Tim is not a name to forget

The Oxford Times: Joint owner: Emma Darke inside the shop

10:55am Thursday 6th February 2014

Helen Peacocke explores the origins of a fabulous farm shop

Food to benefit cancer patients

The Oxford Times: A collection of ideas for people and their carers: Penny Ericson's book.

10:40am Thursday 30th January 2014

Helen Peacocke investigates the fresh ingredients that can keep the body strong

Can you stomach a hearty haggis?

The Oxford Times: Haggis is the centrepiece of a Burns supper

11:38am Thursday 23rd January 2014

Helen Peacocke on the traditions that accompany Burns Night

There's the rub - local mustard maker Bruce Young

The Oxford Times: There's the rub - local mustard maker Bruce Young

10:25am Thursday 16th January 2014

Helen Peacocke meets a one-man band who’s keen on mustard

Oxford Times Restaurant of the Year: The Killingworth Castle is a worthy winner

The Oxford Times: Winners: Jim and Victoria Alexander with staff and the award at The Killingworth Castle

Katherine MacAlister did not lose any sleep over choosing her favourite eaterie

Begin the day with a brilliant breakfast

The Oxford Times: Healthy: Blueberries provide the fresh fruit that each person needs

11:32am Thursday 9th January 2014

Helen Peacocke looks at the healthiest and tastiest options

Why 2014 will be my year of the farm shop

The Oxford Times: Supporting the local community: Alison Hall and butcher Chris Collins, owner of The Red Lion Farm Shop

10:56am Thursday 2nd January 2014

Helen Peacocke finds the healthiest animals at a farm in South Oxfordshire

At top table: Review of Oxfordshire's foodie year

The Oxford Times: Sensation: Ru and Ladd at the newly opened Oli’s Thai

12:00am Thursday 26th December 2013

After a year of culinary highlights, Katherine MacAlister marks the renaissance of foodie havens in the county

Cookery book recommendations for Christmas

The Oxford Times: Hours of great reading: Some of the cookbooks recommended by Helen

3:58pm Thursday 5th December 2013

Helen Peacocke flicks through the pages of the Christmas publications

WI chef Peter Lien is picked for a top tutor toast

The Oxford Times: Peter Lien

1:41pm Friday 29th November 2013

Helen Peacocke speaks to the head chef of a WI college named best tutor in the UK

Currant affairs: Stir Up Sunday

The Oxford Times: Currant affairs

5:03pm Thursday 21st November 2013

Helen Peacocke recommends getting out the big spoons for Stir Up Sunday

The National Trust brews up interest in craft beer

The Oxford Times: Staff at Delevals brewery, Stephen Milburn, Richard Milburn, Sarah Baxter, David Gilfillan, Kathleen Kirby, John Gilfillan and Kerri-Anne Barnes

3:12pm Friday 15th November 2013

Britain now has more small breweries per head than any other industrial nation. Helen Peacocke explores the NT’s beer links

The question is, turkey or goose?

4:00pm Thursday 7th November 2013

Although Christmas Day is still several weeks away, there are certain items that are best prepared or ordered in advance, such as the Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, mincemeat and the festive bird. For those who would like to sample locally-reared turkey and goose, Peach Croft Farm, Radley, is staging its famous Tasting Day from 10am to 3pm this Saturday. This annual event provides us all with a chance to try some of the farm’s scrumptious award-winning Christmas produce, most particularly the free-range turkey and geese that are allowed to develop naturally on grassy paddocks and fields around the farm. By tasting both goose and turkey, visitors to the farm will get the chance to decide whether to go for the nostalgic touch and choose roast goose, as eulogised by Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol or enjoy the glorious white flesh of a Bronze turkey.

Talk of the wild side at The Trout, Tadpole Bridge

11:10am Thursday 31st October 2013

I shall start, for a change, with a side dish — a significant change because I don’t think I have ever done this before. But the vegetable dishes and salads at The Trout at Tadpole Bridge are so much better than one customarily finds — Kenyan green beans and carrot batons, anyone? — that they deserve pride of place in this article.

Halloween food treats 'Time for magical potions'

The Oxford Times: Time for magical potions

4:34pm Sunday 27th October 2013

Helen Peacocke looks at frightfully good treats for Halloween

Time for magical potions

The Oxford Times: Time for magical potions

3:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013

The weather is getting colder, bitter winds rattle the windows and the nights are dark — yes Halloween is approaching. Throughout the world this festival, which is thought to date back to pagan times, is celebrated on October 31. It’s seen as the night on which ghosts, witches, goblins and fairies are particularly active due to the barriers between our world and the spirit world being at their weakest.

A swine romance

The Oxford Times: Helen Browning with one of her pigs

4:00pm Thursday 17th October 2013

It was award-winning organic farmer Helen Browning’s overwhelming desire to improve the welfare of livestock and maintain a landscape that supported and encouraged wildlife to flourish, that led her to farm organically.

If you're feeling piggy, head for the market

The Oxford Times: David Bar selling nuts

4:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013

There was a happy buzz of activity in the playground as I entered the Wolvercote Primary school grounds last Sunday. This is quite usual on Sunday mornings when the Wolvercote and North Oxford Farmers’ Market is in full swing. With children’s faces adorned with face paint and glitter tattoos, and Henry Mcguinness, the Wolvercote busker, providing background music, the market was particularly jolly.

Chef James Martin heads for Oxford book signing

The Oxford Times: Chef James Martin heads for Oxford book signing

4:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013

James Martin is flat out. In fact he’s so busy I feel guilty even talking to him. But it’s his own fault for opening a new restaurant, filming a TV documentary, broadcasting Saturday Kitchen, publishing a new cookbook and tackling hospital food all at the same time. So what on earth possessed him? “I’ve got no idea,” he laughed. “Madness? If you still don’t know who he is, he’s the good-looking one from BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, the James Bond of the culinary world, whose love of food comes marginally ahead of his obsession with fast cars and planes. We’ve managed to grab a few minutes between shifts to discuss his upcoming visit to Oxford’s Waterstones to promote his new book Fast Cooking, so will he fly here? “Depends on the weather but I fly, whenever possible, otherwise it would be a long commute from Hampshire [where he lives] to Manchester [where his new restaurant is] and seeing Britain from the air is so memorable. “Cars and planes are my release from everything. I work 24/7 and have done for the last 12 years and need something to switch off,” he says. “So I go flying or sit in a car and just enjoy it. Everyone needs something.” You could be forgiven for thinking that James Martin is living rather a gilded life at the moment. In fact he probably was until he went severely off piste by taking on the mammoth task of trying to revise hospital food, the subject of an ongoing documentary, and a four-year project, which is slowly making progress. So why put himself through that when everything is cruising along so smoothly? “I ask myself that every day, because it’s such a headache and no one really gives a damn. There’s not an easyfix,” he shrugged. “Except that I still believe that patients should be given edible food and it shouldn’t be crap — you can produce healthy food on a budget, and we have made such a difference already. But the food is the easy bit.”

Spicy stuff from queen of the curry

The Oxford Times: Madhur Jaffrey

2:55pm Wednesday 2nd October 2013

Those who attended the Thame Food Festival last year don’t need reminding it was a remarkable event which attracted hundreds of foodies, not just from Oxfordshire, but the country. Next week (October 7-13) has been designated National Curry Week, to heighten our awareness of this popular Indian cuisine and create a platform on which to raise funds for charities, concentrating on those who are malnourished and poverty-stricken. Award-winning food writer and actress Madhur Jaffrey opens her latest book Curry Nation (Ebury Press, £20) by stating that “if Britain once colonised India, India has now returned the favour by watching spellbound as its food completely colonised Britain”. Madhur Jaffrey has probably increased our appreciation of curry more than any other celebrity, which is why she has been dubbed Queen of Curry. Her publications include the acclaimed The Curry Bible, which brings together all her years of experience as a cook and which, as the title suggests, contains virtually everything we need to know to produce wholesome, tasty Indian food. Now she brings us a book that highlight 100 of our favourite curries inspired by of cooking of the Punjab, Kerala, Goa and Bengal and a host of other states that conjure up India’s rich diversity of flavour. While the dishes she features are traditional classics she has given many of them a modern twist.

The yummy returns

The Oxford Times: Raymond Blanc and his development chef Adam Johnson at last year's festival

5:37pm Thursday 19th September 2013

Those who attended the Thame Food Festival last year don’t need reminding that it was a remarkable event which attracted hundreds of foodies, not just from Oxfordshire, but the country. This year’s festival, which takes place on Saturday, September 28 in the centre of this historic little market town, promises even more, including demonstrations by an exceptional line-up of chefs led by Raymond Blanc, the festival ambassador. Adam Simmonds, from Danesfield House, Marlow, who represented the South East on BBC1’s Great British Menu this year will be demonstrating, as will Shaun Dickens of The Boathouse in Henley-on-Thames, Chris Godfrey, head chef of Michelin-starred pub The Sir Charles Napier in Chinnor and Mike North of The Nut Tree Inn at Murcott, all cooking inspiring dishes from their menus. Festival patron Lotte Duncan has been involved with the festival since it began in 2008 as just a few food stalls and a cookery demonstration in the town hall. She is amazed at how quickly it has developed into a popular fixture that now compares favourably with major festivals throughout the country. Indeed she was thrilled when it won the Cultural Events and Tourism Award at this year’s Oxfordshire Business Awards in recognition of the festival’s success in attracting visitors to the area and promoting Oxfordshire as both a tourist destination and focus for the cultural events. “One of the special things about the Thame Food Festival is that you’ll see the big-name chefs everyone is talking about side by side with local growers and smallholders. The great thing is that every one of the chefs are taking part because they genuinely want to promote local produce. The Thame Food Festival provides them with the perfect platform,” she says. Lotte goes on to stress just how excited she is about this year’s festival. “We promised it would be bigger and better this year, and with 150 stalls, two demonstration theatres, a pop-up pub, children’s workshops, music, book signings and street food, that’s exactly what we are delivering. It is going to be the biggest festival yet,” she enthuses. “It began as an event for the community and that is still the ethos at the core of everything we plan. It now brings people from far and wide to the town and the surrounding villages together for a celebration of what is grown, produced and cooked in our area.” Real ale fan Jim Crew from Shabbington, near Thame, has made his contribution to the festival by winning a competition organised by the Vale Brewery Company. He came up with the winning name for the festival beer: Thame’In of the Brew. Jim’s idea for the name came from the fact that the beer needed a link to Thame, have a traditional feel to it and yet be nice and simple. Thame’In of the Brew is a 4.1 per cent mid-strength seasonal bitter that’s burnished gold, made with English hops and English malted barley, giving it a truly traditional harvest feel. It will be on tap at the licensed outlets during the festival and remain on sale at watering holes throughout the county for the rest of the month. Street food will be available in plenty too, including an authentic new range of Moroccan sauces and pastes from Belazu who will be serving delicious vegetable terrines and chicken flatbreads from their Mediterranean canteen at the festival. Rumsey’s, the makers of exquisite hand-made chocolates, who run coffee shops in both Thame and Wendover will also be selling their produce. Creative ways to ensure that good food doesn’t go to waste will be demonstrated by the Oxfordshire Waste Partnership who will be teaming up with the Pudding Pie Cookery School to show visitors how to save money and eat well. Those making a pledge to reduce their food waste by signing up to do things like plan their weekly shops, eat leftovers for lunch or make the most of their freezer, will get a free recipe book full of helpful ideas. For full festival details go to www.thamefoodfestival.co.uk

Some like it hot with fiery fruits

The Oxford Times: Some like it hot with fiery fruits

12:00am Thursday 12th September 2013

Have you ever wondered why we eat chillies? I ask because they are not only capable of setting our mouths on fire as they activate the pain receptors in our tongues, but they have no real flavour. Chillies provide a heat sensation painful enough to cause our eyes to water. A glass of water does nothing to dilute the heat. Only a milky drink will help when we chew on a fiery little fruit lurking in a sauce, curry or pickle and even that doesn’t diminish all the pain.



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