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4:32pm Wednesday 15th May 2013
Have you ever been sitting at dinner, craving a juicy steak, when your partner orders the fish of the day? What wine do you get then? Do you order wine by the glass accepting the limited choice? Or do you get a bottle knowing that it won’t quite match one of the meals?
4:42pm Thursday 9th May 2013
10:04am Tuesday 7th May 2013
9:32am Tuesday 30th April 2013
Last weekend gave us a hint of summer. Temperatures barely touched 20 degrees and Oxonians responded by leaving their houses and movie theatres to join the al fresco crowds outside. Girls in shorts rode up the High Street on their bicycles. Young mothers in skirts pushed prams down George Street. Men munching magnums wandered along the Cowley Road.
12:00am Thursday 25th April 2013
Saint Mary’s, the beautiful and very ancient church that stands on Witney’s church green near the town centre, is also a home for local community groups and is now being used regularly to stage concerts, festivals and other events.
11:14am Wednesday 17th April 2013
There’s always something quite exhilarating about that warm conversational buzz that hits you the moment you enter a Peach pub. It signifies life, enjoyment and a sense of welcome that some pubs fail to offer.
3:54pm Wednesday 10th April 2013
Those who knew and remember the late Mollie Harris of The Archers fame, who lived in Eynsham, will no doubt recall her excitement as the middle of April approached. This was the time she began in earnest gathering ingredients for her home-made wines from the countryside.
3:50pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013
If this cold snap continues, and April proves to be the cruellest month, then mention of salad vegetables, even hot fiery ones such as radishes, will prove out of order. So as I write, I have my fingers crossed that the weather will turn and a salad article becomes appropriate by the time this is published. However, If these icy winds continue to blow, may I suggest that you fold this page up and read it in a month’s time when the weather is kinder and you are preparing for those al fresco meals in the garden.
12:00am Thursday 28th March 2013
Events that encourage an entire community to get involved and produce are such positive things to attend. As Kennington Fairtrade patron I was lucky enough to be invited to judge a cake-baking competition at the village hall during Fairtrade Fortnight. It proved such a happy and worthwhile event. Most of the 30 cakes entered were cooked by St Swithun’s Primary pupils and all of them were made of Fair- trade products. The event attracted not just parents, but neighbours, friends and Fairtrade enthusiasts and was devised and organised by Asma Maskell, a member of the Kennington 4 Fairtrade steering group. Kennington obtained Fairtrade status in 2011 in recognition of the community’s active support. Not only are Fairtrade products sold in the local shops, but are used to provide refreshments at village meetings and at the school which aims to achieve Fairtrade status too. Helen Atkinson, the new head, who also attended the event said she’s seeking to nudge the school’s Ofsted report from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.
12:10pm Thursday 21st March 2013
‘This is the second-best day of my life’, little James said, as we kneaded our focaccia dough. “What was the first,” I asked? “Seeing Mo Farrah winning gold at the Olympics.” Yeah I can see that,” I said, almost lost for words. “I think it’s great too,” my teenage son butted in, “because we don’t need to do the washing up.”
12:04pm Thursday 21st March 2013
Food is featuring large in this year’s Oxford Literary Festival which continues at Christ Church until Sunday. Lovers of fine food are really well catered for this year, as are those who love curry and spicy dishes. One of the highlights of the festival took place last night when Atul Klochhar prepared dinner at Gee’s Restaurant where the winner of the new £7,500 Jeremy Mogford Food and Drink Literary prize was presented with her prize.
1:27pm Wednesday 13th March 2013
Regardless of whether you are making a sweet or a savoury pie, there’s a secret to the art of pastry making which many cooks acquire instinctively, while others struggle and never quite get it right. Give a dozen cooks exactly the same amount of ingredients to make pastry and the end results will differ greatly. The art of pastry making is a very personal thing. I find it fascinating that some cooks never weigh their ingredients, they just a grab a handful of this and a handful of that yet their apple pies always seem to taste the same, due no doubt to a magic ingredient that never appears in a recipe book but is deeply ingrained within the cook’s skills. I am writing about pies in order to address a reader’s question which links with the piece I wrote on cottage pie last week. I was asked if any dish that had a topping could be called pie, regardless of what the topping was, or whether a pie could only be a pie if it was covered with pastry. She pointed out that both cottage pie and shepherd’s pie boasted a mashed potato topping rather than pastry.
10:12am Thursday 7th March 2013
1:12pm Wednesday 6th March 2013
Yes, Sandy Hellig, proprietor of Cornucopia Cooks, Eynsham, has certainly got something to smile about. While catering outlets and food stores all over the country are removing goods seen to contain horsemeat from their shelves, she is working even harder to keep up with extra orders for her home made ready-meals that she cooks each week.
1:37pm Wednesday 27th February 2013
Over the years, members of the Enstone History Society have brought history to life by staging authentic period dinners. This year they decided to go for a medieval feast, cooked by Steve Ramli-Davis, chef of Harris Manches-ter College, pictured, and served by David Woodfine from Stonesfield.
2:13pm Wednesday 20th February 2013
The Oxford Literary Festival, which this year takes place from March 16-24, will include several fascinating talks about food along with a presentation dinner at Gee’s Restaurant which will celebrate the winner of the £7,500 Jeremy Mogford Food and Drink Literary prize. Talks with food-related subjects include a slightly quirky talk by the award-winning historian and food writer Bee Wilson, who aims to open our eyes to the incredible creations and kitchen tools that have shaped how and what we cook.
3:57pm Wednesday 13th February 2013
It’s St Valentine’s Day — the day that the birds are supposed to begin looking for a mate which makes it the most romantic day of the year. Well it’s certainly the one of the most celebrated days of the year, generating world-wide sales for Valentine cards of more than a billion.
1:22pm Friday 8th February 2013
Archaeological findings suggest that pancakes were probably the earliest cereal foods eaten in prehistoric days. The main difference between then and now would probably be the method of cooking. We cook them in a pan — hence the name pancake, whereas early man would have probably cooked them on hot stones.
11:02am Thursday 7th February 2013
Walking into the Big Society on Cowley Road feels more like walking into a quirky Californian watering hole. Historic wooden locker doors front the bar. Glazed tiles and funky artwork hang on the walls. A bottle cap stamp emblazoned with Big Society and reminiscent of 1960s Cuba, is scattered on the old school furniture.
3:52pm Wednesday 30th January 2013
Parsnips are considered quite modest vegetables. They seldom dominate the central shelves in the supermarket, but are usually tucked away on one of the lower shelves. Indeed, they are often quite difficult to find. Strangely that doesn’t seem to matter as shoppers looking for tasty, but basic, winter vegetables will seek them out, just as they will the potatoes as parsnips with their sweet nutty flavour rate as very honest vegetables.