Agony uncle

Baffling culinary problems, tragic kitchen disasters or just puzzlement over boiling an egg... let our culinary agony uncle solve your kitchen angst.

6 February 2017

Last of the salad days

Agony Uncle

Q: The current salad and courgette crisis caused by bad weather in the Mediterranean seems to be real, but I’m not prepared to fight frenzied shoppers for the last lettuce. Any alternative suggestions? CH Harrogate Relax and simply use it as an excuse to go back in time to when we all, except for the […]

19 January 2017

Burns Night dilemma or Haggis McHorror

Agony Uncle

Q: Since Brexit, my boyfriend has become more Scottish than usual, and has suggested that we host a traditional Burns night dinner on the 25th January. The neeps and tatties I can deal with, but haggis sounds disgusting. Is there an acceptable alternative? TY Orpington A: No, there is no alternative, Robbie Burns even wrote […]


23 December 2016

Sprouting fears

Agony Uncle

Q: I have heard rumours that there is a sprout crisis this winter. What should I do if this is true? Buy if I see one, even if I can’t use it, or find an alternative? BR Wantage. If there is a sprout crisis, then rejoice! You will not have to work out how to […]

21 November 2016

Thanksgiving or no thanks?

Agony Uncle

Talking turkey and other Christmas dilemmas… Q: I am aware of a number of articles in the media suggesting that we ought to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey dinner. Should I ignore them? MP Lincoln A: Yes, unless you are an American, or addicted to turkey. This event  has not much to do with […]

31 October 2016

Restaurant Chefs have it Easy

Agony Uncle

Dear Kitchen Agony, I feel inadequate every time a TV food programme goes behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen. The chefs are always super-efficient and the kitchen runs like clockwork. My dinner parties are fraught with chaos, panic and dropped potatoes. What am I doing wrong? Give yourself a break. Ask yourself these questions: […]

7 August 2016

Too many cooks

Agony Uncle

  Dear Kitchen Agony, I’m a huge fan of celebrity chefs. I never miss a favourite’s TV programme, buy all their books, cook their recipes and try to live the foodie lifestyle to the hilt. But I’m scared that my interest is becoming unhealthily obsessive. It’s eating up all my leisure time and spare cash […]

14 July 2016

You are what you eat

Agony Uncle

Dear Kitchen Agony, Given Brexit’s wholesale rejection of European values, will we now have to give up garlic? As the most successful foreign cultural infiltrator to Britain in the past 40 years, garlic should be a prime candidate for the Brexit bonfire, along with all the other European ideals, freedoms and pleasures that we suddenly […]

25 June 2016

How to feed small children

Agony Uncle

Dear Kitchen Agony, I am having my young nephew and niece to stay for a couple of days and as I have no children of my own, I’m worried about what to feed them. My sister says they eat anything, but I have just witnessed a child in my local café scream with fury on […]

25 April 2016

A single egg – what are you good for…

Agony Uncle

What can I do with a single egg…? A PG Wodehouse thought ‘the good old egg’ was ‘the foundation of daily life… I’m never much of a lad till I’ve engulfed an egg or two and a beaker of coffee…’. Wodehouse was naturally engulfing in multiples; it probably would never have occurred to him that […]

21 April 2016

Fridge scrapings

Agony Uncle

I came home from work hungry for supper the other day and looked in my fridge for inspiration. I found a couple of old limp carrots, a leftover piece of broccoli and the end of a cauliflower. There was a sausage too, but it looked worryingly long-term in its residency. What could I have made […]

20 April 2016

How do I make a stew for one?

Agony Uncle

How do I make a stew for one? It’s something I ate almost on a weekly basis when married with wife, aga and several children. Now I’m single, and have an oven it’s taken me two weeks to work out how to open, a saucepan and a metal spatula. Somehow these things don’t seem to […]