Food

Damson chutney recipe plus wine reviews

plumsLess wine and more vinegar has been sampled this week as I’ve been sipping samples of hot home-made chutney straight from the boiling pan. After picking several tonnes, (well it seemed like it) of wild damsons and, its near neighbour, wild bullace from the Shropshire hedgerows I needed to find a recipe that would do justice to their flavours. After perusing many recipe books and websites, while finishing off the dregs of a bottle of South African red opened the night before, I finally came across just the recipe I was looking for.

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Up for sale: the best dessert ever

Poolway House HotelYou'll have to be quick if you want to sample The Poolway House Hotel's hazelnut meringue as the hotel is up for sale: £520,000 is the asking price and no mention of the best dessert ever.

The sensible diet that saves you money

tape measureThe ‘fat’ Woman’s Hour listener in her 40s looking for practical weight loss advice didn’t find any from the panel of three experts (a researcher, a diet book author and a life coach) bussed in to discuss ‘Diets don’t work – or do they?’ (broadcast Radio 4, 14 February). Instead woolly solutions were offered including: eat more meat (this to a woman running a home and family of 5 on average wages) and overcoming deep-seated psychological issues (‘I’m very happy and have a fulfilled life’ was her response). So how do you lose weight? Follow the sensible approach – eat slightly less and exercise slightly more.

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Easy Christmas cake recipe

Christmas cakeIf Pimm’s No.1 is the soaking liquor of choice for the dried fruit then the Penguin Cookery Book’s 1952 version of Christmas cake has to be the recipe of choice. It’s quick, easy and you don’t need an O-level in home economics to get a really good result. To make a 7-inch cake you’ll need:

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Flaming good wine

barbecue flameBarbecues and subtle, delicate wines do not go together. To compete with the rich smells and flavours of barbecued food you need a wine with dark fruit and chocolate notes, so forget about whites and rosés – think instead of robustly-flavoured reds.

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Macaroni cheese and all that

sausage pastaDespite having a diverse culinary heritage inspired through invasion, it seems we British are more interested in mastering Italian cuisine than our own traditional dishes. A new European-wide survey by Apetina cheese found that 61% of the Brits that responded would prefer to cook as Pietro and Paola rather than Peter and Paulas. But I've got news for those pasta throwing wanna-bes – ravioli and macaroni have been part of British culture for centuries.

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Use your loaf

sandwichLet's toast the sandwich as it's British Sandwich Week. Sandwiches have come a long way since the Fourth Earl of Sandwich ordered meat between two slices of bread to keep hunger at bay while he continued gambled in 1762. With over 200 varieties of bread available and as many fillings to choose from, the sandwich is a versatile and tasty snack.

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Chutney season

plumsLess wine and more vinegar has been sampled this week as I’ve been sipping samples of hot home-made chutney straight from the boiling pan. After picking several tonnes, (well it seemed like it) of garden damsons, and its near neighbour wild bullace from the Shropshire hedgerows, I needed to find a recipe that would do justice to their flavours.

Read more: Chutney season

Wine for chocolate Easter eggs

mouth and chocolateEaster means eggs. Chocolate eggs. And there's lots out there in the shops at the moment. Dark chocolate eggs, milk chocolate eggs, eggs filled with Smarties and even chocolate eggs filled with liqueur chocolates. But come the final egg count this Sunday there will be two important questions to answer: “Which one to unwrap first?”, and “What wine will match all that chocolate?”.

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Marmalade recipe for bears and writers

orangesPaddington bear is celebrating his fiftieth birthday. Yes it's been five decades since the Peruvian immigrant with a love for marmalade sandwiches arrived at a certain railway terminus and took up residence with the Brown family. Their housekeeper, Mrs Bird, instinctively knew that bears need plentiful supplies of that bitter-sweet breakfast jam if they're to maintain the shine on their fur. And so a message was sent to the local grocer for top up supplies. How times have changed. Now finding and purchasing a decent pot of marmalade suitable for south American bears and Wiltshire-born writers with a penchant for chunky, dark and sour marmalade is virtually impossible.

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