19 November 2020

Last Supper


Illustrator and children’s author Joy FitzSimmons shares her appetite for art and all things canine What is a more wonderful sound to a dog than the clink of the dinner bowl? It is the dinner the gong equivalent. A sign of good things to come. We enforce home comforts on them. Teach them life from […]

15 November 2020

Hemingway puts the knife in

Hirst's Notes

The cool, luscious descriptions of the oysters consumed by Ernest Hemingway in Paris have never been bettered. Christopher Hirst explores the shellfish starters in A Moveable Feast I asked the waiter for a dozen portugaises and a half-carafe of the dry white wine they had there… As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea […]

1 September 2020

John Cage and the Music of Mushrooms


Often I go into the woods thinking, after all these years, I ought finally to be bored with fungi,’ the avant garde musician John Cage wrote in his diary in the late 70s, ‘But coming upon just any mushroom in good condition, I lose my mind all over again.’ Those already out obsessively searching for […]

5 August 2020

Mangia, Mangia!


Demi chef de partie Matthew Leadbetter-Conti shares his experience of lockdown cooking… I had just completed a trial week at Murano in Mayfair working under Angela Hartnett, when lockdown was announced.  So instead of embarking on the next stage of my training, I found myself back at home in Northamptonshire. My mother is Italian and […]

30 July 2020

Treat of the Week: Coffee and Walnut Butter


Coffee and Walnut butter is the fourth nut butter to emerge from Nutcessity, the South-West based start-up. (The other three are: Gingerbread Almond Butter, Caromel Cashew Butter, Date & Walnut Butter which won a Great Taste Award 2019.) This one is not ‘for the faint of heart or the sweet of tooth’ notes Nutcessity’s Founding […]

30 June 2020

Sea Change in Provence


A great, summery Provencal Rose from the eco-friendly wine company Sea Change. This light, well-balanced rose is made by Chateau Pigoudet and provides some consolation for any missed hols in the glorious South. And apart from boosting your spirits, Sea Change also provide support for the environment. Their wine is bottled with minimal, plastic-free packaging […]

22 May 2020

Pitchforked to Glory


  Another chance to do some simultaneous good to your palette and to the world of artisanal cheesemakers… The Trethowan brothers, Tod and Maugan, began their cheese-making careers on their family farm in Wales and have since moved to Somerset, near Cheddar Gorge, to  make raw milk organic slow matured cheddar and caerphilly. Both their […]

12 May 2020

The Leopard’s jelly


Christopher Hirst explores the wibbly-wobbly pleasures of a very grown-up dessert… “This was the Prince’s favourite pudding, and the Princess had been careful to order it early that morning in gratitude for favours granted. It was rather threatening at first sight, shaped like a tower with bastions and battlements and smooth, slippery walls impossible to […]

4 May 2020

Heat and Dust


As fierily red as a basket of Jwala Fingers, Azim Kahn Ronnie’s vibrant photograph of chilli pickers in the Bogura district of northern Bangladesh evokes an extreme world of heat and hard work. More than 2,000 people work in almost 100 chilli farms in Bogura, supplying chillies to local spice companies. Chilli peppers are a […]

1 May 2020

Fantasy breakfast with Winston Churchill


In the Daily Mail on Monday 29th November 1954 there began the publication of a series of articles on Sir Winston Churchill entitled ‘Life Begins at Eighty’. The series was written by an American journalist, Mr George W Herald and was reviewed anonymously in The Spectator in the form of a running commentary Here are […]

18 April 2020

Cheesy delights


Do yourself a massive favour and also help independent British cheesemakers by ordering Neal’s Yard Dairy’s new British cheese box.  Independent British cheese makers who previously sold much of their cheese to restaurants worldwide and in the Uk have had their market reduced almost to nothing by Covid19. The Neal’s Yard Dairy box contains wedges […]

15 April 2020

A bowl of gruel with Mr Woodhouse


Imagine being in lockdown with Mr Woodhouse. It’d undoubtably end badly, but since we’re all hypochondriacs now, racing to the computer at the slightest sign of a dry cough, fever, loss of smell or tingling in the arms, perhaps we should have a little more sympathy for the invalid father of Jane Austen’s Emma, a […]

11 April 2020

One Dozen Eggs for Easter


A classy box of twelve unadorned mini eggs in dark, milk or white chocolate, flavoured with hazelnut, caramel, almond, nougatine, pecan and pistachio, made by Pierre Marcolini, the Belgian chocolatier who famously roasts his own cocoa beans. Those in search of something slightly less paired back and elegant might prefer the Marcolini Easter bunny emerging […]

9 April 2020

Treat of the week: Chocolate Lemons


When life gives you lemons… as it seems it might have done this Easter, make them chocolate ones. Waitrose’s lemon-flavoured, decorated hollow white chocolate lemons are a good substitute for elusive Easter eggs and would look great piled up together in a lockdown fruit bowl Currently two for £5 or £3 each from waitrose.com

10 January 2020

Iris Murdoch’s four minute feasts


“For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following: anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. (Really good olive oil is essential, the kind with a taste, I have brought a supply from London.) Green peppers would have […]

28 November 2019

Treat of the week: Baskets


Under everything there’s something.  If your culinary life resembles this graphic description of the heaped piles of paraphernalia to be found in Somerville and Ross’s cluttered Irish kitchen, then you might be in need of a solution… Look no further than Danish company Broste who have produced a stylish selection of kitchen baskets – in […]

6 November 2019

Treat of the Week: Fresh Cinnamon


It’s astonishing how different fresh cinnamon tastes compared to the woody supermarket spice-pot variety. And how difficult, historically, it has been to find. But since the arrival of Cinnamon Hill, that’s no longer a problem. This small, family-run company produces individually wrapped fresh, intensely fragrant sticks of  Sri Lankan and Vietnamese cinnamon sourced directly from local […]

2 November 2019

Eat like a Puritan – recipes from the 17th century


During the English Civil War, the country was split not just by politics but also by food. There were stark differences between  frugal Parliamentarians and decadent Royalist households and it was at Christmas that these divisions were most keenly felt. By Jacqui Wood Those first Christmas’s during the Civil War (1642 – 1651) would have […]

31 October 2019

Who put the vril in Bovril?


Christopher Hirst explores the unexpected literary association of a British culinary stalwart ‘What is the Vril?’ I asked. Therewith Zee began to enter into an explanation of which I understood very little, for there is no word in any language I know which is an exact synonym for… the all-permeating fluid which they denominate Vril. […]

31 October 2019

All washed up


Mrs Wrayburn, Edwardian wife of a Cambridge academic, considers her life at the kitchen sink She looked at the sink, loaded down with all that was necessary when a husband had his daily meals in the house. Like most of her friends, she had prayed not to marry a clergyman, a general practitioner, or a […]

9 September 2019

Treat of the Week: Nocciola Gelato


Before summer finally ends and you’re still in the mood for ice cream… gloriously smooth and nutty Nocciola Gelato is made from hazelnuts grown by four generations of the same Italian family in Piemonte. Counterintuitively, it’s actually produced in Bristol, by Swoon, an artisanal gelateria that  specialises in rich and silken, well-sourced and richly-flavoured gelatos […]

28 August 2019

A Banquet of Bloomsberries


Christopher Hirst samples the food ahead of its time that bonded the menages a trois of Bloomsbury Including such stellar figures as the novelist Virginia Woolf, the artist Vanessa Bell, the economist Maynard Keynes and the popular historian Lytton Strachey, the Bloomsbury Group broke the Victorian mould in many different fields. They were sexually liberated […]

27 August 2019

Prairie Plums


The American novelist Willa Cather spent most of her adult life in Manhattan, but never forgot her Nebraskan childhood. My Ántonia, published in 1918, is a love song to prairie life. In it she immortalises not only the landscape, but the locals – mostly settlers from Bohemia, Germany, Poland and Scandinavia. The domestic round frames the narrative, […]

7 August 2019

Treat of the week: Les Recettes de L’Atelier chocolate


There used to be only one answer to stress in uncertain times, and that was a bar of gloriously unfancy Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, but its latest incarnation as a ‘diet bar’ containing 30% less sugar, means not only a horrible choice (Do I go healthy, or do I go original…?), but that other bars have […]

31 July 2019

Boiled is best for breakfast


Though it has been overtaken by fashionable cereals, Christopher Hirst says you should get cracking with a boiled egg An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.’ One of Oscar Wilde’s less famous sayings but also one of unexpected truth. I’m sure Oscar was talking about boiled eggs (though I doubt […]

29 July 2019

Food for the Gods


If you want to stuff in more food during a banquet, then eat while reclining on your left side.  That allows your stomach to stretch to fit – just one of the useful pieces of information available at the Ashmolean’s terrific new show, Last Supper in Pompeii. The show is mostly set in the culinary […]

25 July 2019

Dinner for Dame Edna


When she married Vincent Price, the actress Coral Browne went to live in Hollywood. On one occasion she and Vincent were invited to a party given by Zsa Zsa Gabor for Barry Humphries… The trouble was, the invitation said to meet Dame Edna of London, but Zsa Zsa forgot to introduce him to anybody. He […]

10 July 2019

Treat of the Week: Tala Cooking Bowl


Both beautiful and useful, the new Tala stoneware Mixing Bowl, part of their Indigo and Ivory Corn range, comes in a gorgeous dark blue decorated with ancient corn symbols. Previous Tala mixing bowls have had a starring role in the Great British Bake Off; this one looks like a shoo-in. Buy it while stocks last, […]

9 July 2019

Hard-boiled Adventures


According to Enid Blyton, a simple but sublime addition to any picnic or high tea was the no-frills hard-boiled egg… The phrase “lashings of ginger beer”,  is usually attributed to Enid Blyton. Yet although plenty of ginger pop is consumed over the course of  her stories, the closest we come to that phrase is  “lashings […]

19 June 2019

Dips from the Depths


Christopher Hirst explores two exceptional starters bestowed by the ever-generous cod Forty years ago, taramasalata was a near-obligatory dinner party starter, usually accompanied by its vegetarian brother hummus. Following this peak, the lurid pink dip, its day-go hue imparted more by e-number dyes than tarama (cod roe), steadily fell from favour. Its ubiquity and harsh […]

14 June 2019

Treat of the week: Radical Tea Towel


A Conservative leadership election; Trump’s state visit; Brexit stasis; global warming… The country, if not the world, is a mess but you can seek refuge in your kitchen with a new collection of tea towels each carrying quotes (from classical authors as well as political figures) illustrating social and political commentary inspired by times perhaps […]

12 June 2019

Passion and Pigeon Pie


“They had a very fine day for Box Hill … Nothing was wanting but to be happy when they got there. Seven miles were travelled in expectation of enjoyment, and every body had a burst of admiration on first arriving…” Yet as fans of  Jane Austen’s Emma will know, this seemingly propitious day ends in […]

29 May 2019

Treat of the week: Breakfast at Craigmhor Lodge


Her cuisine is limited but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotchwoman.’  That was Sherlock Holmes on the cooking of Mrs Hudson, his housekeeper at 221b Baker Street. For Holmes, that meant ham and eggs, but he would doubtless have been able to cope with the additional glories of the Scotch […]

14 May 2019

The Cracking Tortilla


Economical, versatile and tasty, the tortilla or Spanish omelette is a dish that every cook should master. But, as Christopher Hirst explains, a properly-made tortilla demands a bit of practise We all have embarrassing gaps in our knowledge. My blush-making secret is that, until quite recently, I did not know that the Spanish word tortilla […]

1 May 2019

Food Photographer of the Year


This year’s  winner of the 2019 Pink Lady Food Photographer of  the year is Chinese photographer Jianhui Liao who produced this cinematic shot of  multi-participation in a giant cauldron of noodles consumed in celebration of the goddess Nuwa. The judges, who included David Loftus and Claire Hyman thought Liao’s work  ‘stood out from the rest […]

30 April 2019

Treat of the Week: Whissendine Windmill


Photographer Euan Myles’s brief film about Nigel Moon, who spent 10 years restoring Whissendine Windmill, an 18th century mill in Rutland, provides a wonderful respite from Brexit and other horrors of the modern world. ‘I’ve never met a man more content than Nigel Moon’ writes Myles. ‘He’s dedicated his whole life to the windmill where […]

30 April 2019

Colette’s Cherry Clafoutis


The great French writer, Colette, passionately pursued the subject of love, but she was also known for her lifelong affair with food.  Her novels and essays are filled with sensual descriptions of culinary delights.  “Je suis gourmette, gourmande, gloutonne,” she once declared, and as old age approached she celebrated her incipient plumpness. Colette and her […]

27 April 2019

Beans, beans are good for the heart


Legume-lover Christopher Hirst laments the unfortunate side effects of eating beans and suggests a partial solution, plus a recipe for black pudding and white bean tortilla All together now: Beans, beans are good for the heart Because beans, beans make you fart. The more you fart, the better you feel, So let’s have beans for […]

8 April 2019

Sex & Drugs & Sausage Rolls


Christopher Hirst praises a daily luxury that ‘delivers unadulterated satisfaction for under a quid’ The tee-shirt slogan in vogue a few years ago wittily fused two quintessentially English elements. Was there ever a more English pop star than Ian Dury or a more English nibble than the sausage roll? I was prompted to consider this […]

25 March 2019

Oysters, corncrakes and venison


Christopher Hirst discovers how a single cookbook sufficed for the varied output of Charlecote’s kitchen Visiting the Elizabethan manor house of Charlecote Park near Stratford-on-Avon, owned by the Lucy family for 900 years, it came as a surprise to discover that, despite the strangely familiar coat of arms (‘ER’), the structure and contents were mainly […]

15 March 2019

The Essence of Time


Sophie Hart-Walsh takes a tour round the culinary hotspots of Soho with Jenny Linford author of a book about the complexities of time in food production Jenny Linford, is the author of countless food books including the much-loved gastronomic bible Food Lovers’ London – an exhaustive directory of the city’s food stores and restaurants. She […]

24 February 2019

Sandwich Heaven


Inexpensive cure-all for hunger pangs, hangovers and heartache, the sandwich is a culinary work of art says Sophie Hart-Walsh When I get round to pitching the TV show Sandwich Pilgrimage the first thing I shall address is this problem: one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten is by its very nature, unrepeatable. It […]

20 February 2019

Orwell’s extra-mature marmalade


Christopher Hirst reports on how George Orwell’s marmalade recipe has finally gained appeal after 70 years Coinciding with the arrival of Seville oranges in January, this year’s marmalade season was enlivened by a slow-simmering story concerning George Orwell. In 1946, the writer, best known for political essays like The Lion and the Unicorn, was commissioned […]

3 February 2019

A Great Day for Aunt Bessie


Christopher Hirst finds that size matters when it comes to Yorkshire pudding You might not have known that 3 February this year was Yorkshire Pudding Day though, since it was a Sunday, there’s a strong chance that you may have participated in an unconscious celebration. Simultaneously crunchy and absorbent, Yorkshire Pudding is an essential part […]

4 January 2019

Eat Up!


In her recent book Eat Up!, the food writer Ruby Tandoh urges us to put pleasure back on the plate.  At Bread&Oysters we couldn’t agree more. Here we share her favourite advice, from the dietician, Ellyn Satter, who reminds us to keep calm in the season of diet and detox… Normal eating is going to […]

31 December 2018

Treat for the New Year: Vallebona Box


The Table@Vallebona monthly box delivers a delightfully eccentric collection of Japanese and Italian ingredients (aka treats for the discerning kitchen) to your door. The products are chosen by Stefana Vallebonna, importer of Italian artisan food, and his Japanese wife Naoko and include seasonal items such as Testun al Barolo – a cow’s milk cheese with Barolo […]

30 November 2018

Top Ten Gifts for Under a Tenner


Presents for the kitchen that won’t break the bank…     Emma Bridgewater Sprouts tea towel £10 www.emmabridgewater.co.uk       Summer Truffle Guerande Sea Salt (100g) thegoodfoodnetwork.com RRP £7.50     Brindisa Arbequina Olive Oil £9.95  1 litre brindisa.com/products/brindisa-arbequina-1ltr       Snowdonia cheese company Boxed Duo: Black Bomber extra mature Cheddar and vintage […]

15 October 2018

Kenny Shopsin 1942-2018: the philosopher of the American diner


In September, one of the most original voices in American cuisine died at the age of 76. Kenny Shopsin became famous in 2002 when Calvin Trillin eulogised his Greenwich Village eatery in the New Yorker. The robustly opinionated cook was notable for both his idiosyncratic behaviour (an obituary in the New York Times described his […]

30 August 2018

Everything else is dross


Contradictions are not unknown in cookbooks though they are rarely as egregious as the one in Nikko Amandonico’s La Pizza (Mitchell Beazley). This exploration of the history and ingredients of the pizza concludes with 27 recipes including pizza with broccoli, with aubergine, with rosemary, with onion… Almost all would fall into the ‘dross’ category if […]

11 June 2018

A Fond Farewell to the Bard of the Bistro


The loss of Anthony Bourdain hit the food world hard. He was intense, driven, foul-mouthed (his books introduced the obscenity into recipes) but also charming, friendly and curious. His friend Fergus Henderson once described him to me, ‘Delightful. You should meet him.’ Sadly, this was never to be. We may be deprived of this idiosyncratic […]

12 April 2018

Top Ten Easter Eggs


With Easter fast approaching we hunt down the best last minute chocolate treats… Ikea’s self-assembly VÅRKÄNSLA chocolate bunny Keep calm: this flat-pack milk chocolate rabbit contains only three pieces. Who can assemble theirs first? Made from certified cacao from sustainable sources. £2.95   ikea.com/gb/en/ Solid Chocolate Egg Available in 5 flavours – milk, dark, white, caramel […]

26 March 2018

Audreys chocolates


Deliciously old-fashioned, famous for its rose and violet creams, Audreys, the East Sussex chocolatier, is ready for Easter. Edan Ambrose investigates Audreys, the product of a partnership between the famous chocolatier William Pain, Mr Floris, a Hungarian refugee and Fortnum and Mason, the august grocers on Piccadilly, has its roots firmly set in the 1920s. […]

26 February 2018

Toulouse-Lautrec tackles bronchitis


A little-known aspect of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is his culinary prowess. His recipes were collected in a beautifully illustrated book called The Art of Cuisine (co-written with the art dealer Maurice Joyant). The introduction points out, ‘He invented recipes with as much zest and unerring technique as he would put in decorating a menu card or […]

15 January 2018

Sugar Sugar


The price of fizzy drinks is going up in 2018 but in certain situations, only a can of pop will do says Sophie Hart-Walsh   Sugary drinks usually only occur to me when I’m flagging at work but another coffee is just not advisable. Around 15:35 on a Thursday say. If someone suggests I might […]

22 December 2017

A winter’s tale at Burton Agnes


Christopher Hirst enjoys a seasonal visit to a Yorkshire stately home Burton Agnes Hall, an exuberant Elizabethan pile near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, would make a wonderful set for A Winter’s Tale. The Hall has been owned since 1598 by the Cunliffe-Lister family and they have embraced winter with enthusiasm, covering  three floors with seasonal […]

23 November 2017

Light fantastic


A proper Christmas treat awaits those who stop by for a cocktail at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair – this year’s Connaught Christmas tree is designed by Royal Academician Sir Michael Craig-Martin CBE. The nine-foot tall Norway Spruce has been decorated by Sir Michael with a single strand of 12,000 bulbs which perform a magical […]

19 October 2017

A Day for D’Arcy Spice


As one supermarket chain has discovered, it’s time to start growing your own English apples. By Edan Ambrose It’s Apple Day on Saturday – a chance to celebrate the astonishing varieties of apples that still exist in this country, or a day or mourning for those that we’ve lost. It’s a difficult call; native English […]

18 September 2017

Strawberry Hill plus five of the best places for tea


Horace Walpole,  politician, gossip and man of letters, first moved into Strawberry Hill, his gothic fantasy villa by the Thames in 1747 and stayed put for the next 50 years. This month the house is hosting a series of events to celebrate the writer’s tercentenary, including an 18th-century style tea party. Guests will be served […]

14 September 2017

Coming up in October


Feasting at Stonehenge what did the people who built it eat and how did they cook it… Q&A: Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi reveal all about simple Italian food, date night suppers and inheritance recipes Five of the best on-line suppliers of Greek, Italian and French food, winter recipes, chocolate bars English apples growing your own […]

29 July 2017

Kitchen tricks of the walnut


Christopher Hirst visits the heart of Kent to discover the dark secrets of the pickled walnut For some of us, a small, knobbly, brown-black, oval nut is the apogee of pickles. Good all year round, it really comes into its own on Boxing Day when it plays a star role. Sliced into sour-sweet, tantalisingly flavoured […]

19 June 2017

Food notes from Catania


Sicily’s second city Catania has a wealth of restaurants, food markets, chocolate and fine Sicilian wine. By Nick Welch Catania, Sicily’s second city,  is on the eastern coast, slightly overlooked by the hoards of tourists that pour into Palermo,  but  well worth a visit in its own right. Catania is, first and foremost, a real […]

19 June 2017

Alphabetti Spaghetti


Cannelloni, conchiglioni and conchigliette…Sally Bayley recalls an early lesson in Swiss-Italian cuisine As an eight year old child I was sent abroad to stay with a Swiss-Italian family. The mother spent a great deal of time in the kitchen, pulling sausage-strips of pasta from a silvery machine. I dutifully recorded this domestic ritual in my […]

17 May 2017

The Original GI Diet


Peanut butter, hot sausages and doughnuts….novelist Marianne Kavanagh explores what happened when the Yanks arrived in wartime Dorset Bread and tea, tea and bread – when I started researching my new novel, I kept coming across these staples of our British diet. A story built from a snippet of Dorset history in 1878 grew into […]

11 May 2017

Use Your Loaf


Kneading, proving, baking… is homemade bread really worth the effort? Emma Hagestadt rises to the challenge Cactus Kitchens, based in Clapham North, is home both to the TV series Saturday Kitchen, and Michel Roux’s popular cookery school. It’s the perfect place for anyone with a secret desire to bake at a GBBO-style workstation, as well […]

26 April 2017

Food Photographer of the Year


Winner of the 2017, increasingly prestigious, Pink Lady Food Photographer of the year is Bangladeshi-based Shoeb Faruquee. His photograph, Food For God (above) ‘stood out from the rest’ said Andy Macdonald, CEO of Pink Lady in the UK, ‘in the way in which he made the subject matter – cooking for the breaking of a […]

31 March 2017

The Willy Wonkas of Acton


Hot cross bun eggs, frolicsome earls and knickerbocker glory truffles – Prestat, chocolatiers to the Queen are getting ready for Easter. Emma Hagestadt visits a real life chocolate factory One memorable year, Prestat, chocolatiers to the Queen and the late Queen Mother, forgot to deliver the Royal Easter egg.  Following a discreet call from a […]

29 March 2017

Ten of the best Easter Eggs


Prestat Pink Popping Easter Egg Milk chocolate egg with fizzing pink chocolate lining, filled with pink prosecco mini-truffles £14/170g, prestat.co.uk/shop/pink-popping-prosecco-easter-egg-170g.html Solid chocolate eggs Each egg is made with 42 pieces of solid chocolate. Five flavours: Caramel Milk, Dark, White, Milk and Columbian Dark £24.99/750g, solidchocolateco.com Hotel Chocolat Coffee Easter Egg Hard boiled coffee Easter Egg […]

8 February 2017

Whale, puffin and fermented herring: the forbidden foods of Scandinavia


The wilder shores of Nordic cuisine are explored in two books by  Swedish chef/photographer Magnus Nilsson.  Even Christopher Hirst has second thoughts… Published in 2015 and running to 760 pages, the Nordic Cook Book by the Swedish chef/photographer Magnus Nilsson is comprehensive but unwieldy. Possibly because his photographs are a little lost amid the 700 […]

4 February 2017

Kale – king of the greens


When lettuce is rationed and broccoli is just a memory, what do you eat instead…. a steaming bowlful of British kale, advises Edan Ambrose In a winter world of post-truth, alternative facts and totalitarianism, the last thing you want is a thinning plateful of iceberg…. How fortunate then, that supplies of salad from Spanish farmers […]

8 January 2017

Porridge: an exacting test of character


Cold, wet and miserable…? A bowl of hot oats is the answer says Sally Bayley, but getting it right requires patience On a wintry day there is nothing more comforting than a bowl of porridge. ‘This will soon warm us through’ my grandmother would say as we hovered over the hob. My grandmother taught me […]

21 December 2016

New Year biscuit hygge


Old Norse  tradition suggests that you should have, at the very least, seven sorts of biscuits for the winter festivities.  That poses no problems for Norwegian baker Rune Wold; he has the  recipes that will add ‘hygge’ to your New Year table… Originally from the squally west coast of Norway, Rune Wold now lives in […]

15 December 2016

Gin revival – the heart of a good cocktail


Christopher Hirst visits darkest Clapham to discover the secrets of premium gins… It is appropriate that Thames Distillers, a major player in the recent revival of London gin, is located not in the Victorian garret you might expect, but in a suburb. You will find the company, which makes gins for over 50 clients including […]

18 November 2016

Stir-up Sunday


In this darkest of years, it may be that sanity, or at least a sense of hope, could come from a brief return to a now almost defunct Christmas ritual: pudding-making on Stir-up Sunday. The term Stir-up Sunday, or the 25th Sunday after Trinity,  comes from the opening words of the Collect for the day […]

30 October 2016

Ingredients of an Ottoman thriller


Even in mid-case, it was impossible to keep Yashim, the flawed Turkish hero at the heart  of his series of detective stories, out of the kitchen, reveals author  Jason Goodwin When I started to write The Janissary Tree, the first of Yashim’s five adventures set in Ottoman Istanbul, I had no idea that Yashim would […]

22 October 2016

Raising a glass with Papa


Christopher Hirst explores the life of Ernest Hemingway through his favourite cocktails The world’s greatest writers and artists have inspired a tasty genre of cookbooks. Through anthologies of their favourite dishes, it is possible to join Proust, Monet, Dickens, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso at the table. But only one cultural titan has inspired books about […]

6 October 2016

Joseph Mitchell’s wonderful obsession


Christopher Hirst explores the fishy passion of a great American journalist and the book that inspired him… A star writer on the New Yorker in its Forties and Fifties heyday, Joseph Mitchell (1908-1996) is regarded as one of the great names of journalism. His collected writing for the magazine, published under the title Up in […]

20 September 2016

Cooking with Sylvia


Apricots and cream cheese, basil and bay leaves – Sylvia Plath’s shopping-lists were works of art in themselves. Sally Bayley delves into her diaries to find out more… Writing from Cambridge, England, in 1957, the budding future writer Sylvia Plath tells herself to ‘set each scene deep, love it like a faceted jewel.’ Plath’s writing […]

14 September 2016

From Borough to Barcelona


Working as a waitress in a Catalunya bar, Monika Linton became passionate about Spanish food. Emma Hagestadt talks to the woman who introduced chorizo, Monte Enebro cheese and tapas to a hungry British public With so many new cook books flooding the market every year, it’s sometimes hard to say which will become keepers on […]

5 September 2016

Preserving the lessons of the past


‘Use your eyes, ears and nose and appreciate everything that happens…!’ Sage advice from Elizabeth Luard, a food writer who has never been afraid to grab life, or indeed her dinner, by the horns. By Emma Hagestadt Over the course of a long and influential career, Luard has not only penned several classic cook books, […]

20 August 2016

Dulse delicious


Seaweed is the latest superfood to hit the health shops, but its use can be traced back to Mesolithic man and the early Irish monks. Xa Milne investigates My love affair with seaweed started a long time ago, prompted by a strange pregnancy craving for brown rice and seaweed, which was satisfied by a local […]

4 August 2016

Fish from the Rialto


How Christopher Hirst brought his supper from Venice to London… Probably the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed fish market in the world is at the Rialto in Venice. Dating from before 1100, its dozen large stalls run along the left bank of the Grand Canal. The heart of the market consists of a two-storey […]

3 August 2016

Where fast food means a pie


World Gravy Wrestling, Black Pudding Throwing, Pie Eating … there’s nothing Lancashire doesn’t know about food, says Charles Nevin I am not a foodie. This is not a boast so much as a regret: got the stomach for it, but not the palate. No, really: I speak as a man who once asked a French […]

1 August 2016

Sweet-hearts of the bean field


What transforms a humdrum vegetable into a favourite ingredient of Mediterranean cuisine? Christopher Hirst rediscovers a seasonal treat… Broad beans are a spring highlight in the Mediterranean. Marcella Hazan, regarded by many as the finest Italian cookery writer, describes them as ‘the most alluring of fresh beans, regrettably limited to a short period in early […]

20 July 2016

Saffron and rose water


  On a journey from  the mountains of Tabriz to the cafes of Tehran and the fishing ports of the Persian Gulf, Yasmin Khan revisits the food of her childhood.   She talks to  Emma Hagestadt It all began with pomegranates. As a child, Yasmin Khan would cling to her mother’s knees as she got ready […]

12 July 2016

Boat cuisine…


What can you expect for supper on board a small yacht half way across the Atlantic? Strangely, not a lot of fish, reveals intrepid sailor, Tim Halford Ever since standing on Horta harbour in the Azores in the late 1980s, I had had a dream of crossing the Atlantic on a yacht. Now in my […]

1 July 2016

Pleased to meat you


The Texan barbecue has made it to the UK, so dig a fire-pit, chop up the coleslaw and celebrate July 4th with a piece of lusciously marinaded brisket. By Edan Ambrose An April specialising in arctic winds and blizzards of snow which turned the tulips into stiff white lollipops above a sea of mud may […]

25 June 2016

Our Manifesto: 10 Proposals for British Food


For the first issue of Bread & Oysters, Christopher Hirst makes 10 Food Proposals ranging from how to eat Yorkshire pudding to a rousing cheer for butter. Stressing simplicity, seasonality and quality, they form a manifesto for this online magazine. Like Anna Del Conte’s 10 Commandments of Italian Food, recently published in The Guardian, we […]

4 May 2016

Milking it


Of the many things that supermarkets have had a hand in – some good, some bad – one of the most significant, in purely sociological terms at least, must be the demise of the milk bottle By Edan Ambrose Hardly anyone now gets their milk delivered to the door. Price wars between the supermarket giants […]

23 April 2016

Sour views of sourdough


by Christopher Hirst The sourdough bread now making a tentative appearance in UK supermarkets was rubbished in a recent Guardian taste test. Top place (6.5/10) went to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference San Francisco¬style sourdough, which was praised for its “bristly, lactic tang” despite “unappealing looks”. It led by a head from Asda’s As Chosen By […]

12 January 2021

Georgia on my mind…


The marshes of creeks of Savannah are home to sweet shrimp and blue clams. Laura Binder Hughes talks to  Savannah Bock and Audrey Bromstad about their first cook book and the cuisine of their beloved Low Country… The romanticisation of The Old South plantation culture may be gone with the wind, but what lives on, […]

23 December 2020

Jane Austen’s Hangover


When she wasn’t penning novels, Jane Austen was was a prolific and entertaining letter writer. Sadly most of her correspondence was destroyed by her elder sister Cassandra, shortly before she died.  This surviving example was written by 24-year-old Jane and describes a ball she attended the night before. ‘I believe I drank too much wine last night […]