We love to learn new skills or find out more about the history and culture of a place. Read on for reviews of cookery classes, food and travel books, plus informative posts about the places we visit.

Making Cheese Vareniki and Meat Pelmeni (Russian Dumplings)

When twitter friend Sabrina saw my plea for authentic recipes for Russian pelmeni she kindly offered to loan me her copy of a charming Russian cookery book called Please To The Table. Written by Anya Von Bremzen and John Welchman, the book includes 400 recipes from the former Soviet Union, “from the Baltics to Uzbekistan”. ... Read more »

Valentine Warner’s Carne Con Chile

Although I like Valentine Warner’s approach to food and cooking, I have mixed feelings about his telly programmes, mostly stemming from his incessant winking and innuendos (which are no doubt charming in person but don’t translate via TV). I actually had to switch off when he referred to mini lavender meringues as “fairy tits”, though ... Read more »

Happy Halloween + Indian Pumpkin Recipes

The majority of my friends are real killjoys when it comes to fancy dress, so I seldom indulge. But last year, I went to town with hair dye, skeletons, cobweb scarf, spooky jewellery and green nails. I think I got the “demented witch” look down pat! You can learn more about the origins of halloween ... Read more »

Put Pork On Your Fork

Now and then we drive past enormous pig farms. Great expanses of mud, not a hint of greenery in sight, rows upon rows of corrugated iron pig huts. and lots and lots and lots of fat pink pigs as far as the eye can see. Not a bucolic scene! Jimmy’s Farm That is not what ... Read more »

Ice Cream Wednesday: Jean-Christophe Novelli’s Summer Baked Alaska

Two Wednesdays ago, Pete and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Novelli Academy, the Cookery School run by handsome French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli. Located in Tea Green, a small village on the outskirts of Luton, not far from the airport, the Academy is located in a beautiful 14th century farmhouse where Novelli also lives ... Read more »

Ice Cream Wednesday: Scandilicious’ Banana & Cardamom Ice Cream

It would be easy to dismiss my friend Sig’s new book as jumping on the Scandi band wagon, but it’d be completely wrong to do so. Since June 2008 Sig has been sharing the joy’s of Scandinavian cooking via her blog, Scandilicious. Describing her heritage as Scandinavian-English-American-Irish-German-Jewish-Lithuanian (and born to a Norwegian father and English-American ... Read more »

Pickled Rock Samphire & Pork Rillettes + Rules For Foraging Safely & Responsibly

There’s something deeply satisfying about making a meal of ingredients foraged directly from the earth, not by some faceless stranger who’s sold his lucrative hedgerow hoard to a restaurant chef, but by your own hands. Common mallow Of course, there’s the thrifty delight in a free meal. £3 for a bundle of asparagus or marsh ... Read more »

Jolly Olly’s Chicken Veronique

Olly Smith is well known as a wine writer and presenter, respected for helping the nation to find and appreciate good wine. But he’s also a keen food lover and has written his own cookery book Eat and Drink full of his favourite recipes, with an emphasis on food that great to drink with. The ... Read more »

Mamta’s Kitchen Cookery Class II

In May, we ran the first Mamta’s Kitchen cookery class, teaching three eager students more than 14 different recipes during a long but successful day. That class was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mamta’s Kitchen , and also the milestone of over 7 million visits. And we donated over £200 to the Khushboo Welfare ... Read more »