the literary cook

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Endless summer days invariably mean long hours in the sun, late nights and possibly a little bit too much fun, if there is such a thing. So, sometimes we need to take time out for ourselves and recharge. A simple, restorative green mung bean soup can really do the trick. The tiny mung bean is … Continue readings

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  It’s hot, hot, hot! Proper summer. Actual heat – and we’re British. What do we do? Well, what we do best. Eat, drink and make merry! The sun’s a great excuse for getting together with loved ones. And while, lots of cold beer and bags of tortillas with jar dips probably would do a … Continue readings

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  YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT’, they say (whoever the mysterious ‘they’ are). Certainly, that seems to be true for a small population of people living in Hunza, a remote, former princely state – allegedly the inspiration for James Hilton’s Shangri-La – found high in the mountains of what is today northern Pakistan. Its inhabitants seem … Continue readings

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  This is that weird time when the climate’s not quite caught up with the changing light. Still, longer days bring that hope of spring and new beginnings. Food-wise, comforting soups and stews give way to salads and lighter dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Now, I don’t eat a huge amount of dairy, mainly because … Continue readings

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  I COME FROM A LARGE, NOISY FAMILY in which lovingly prepared food is considered the equivalent of a hug. When we were growing up, my mother had an open-door policy at mealtimes – our neighbours, friends, and friends of friends knew they were welcome to stop by and break bread with us. As numbers … Continue readings

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  I love soup. It’s my ‘go-to’ food when I need a little bit of comfort, a little bit of love. Quite simply, soup puts the world to rights. And I’m not the only one, who feels like this. According to food historians, people have been making soup, in one form or another, since around … Continue readings

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  ‘Pho is so elemental to Vietnamese culture that people talk about it in terms of romantic relationships. Rice is the dutiful wife that you can rely on … Pho is the flirty mistress that you slip away to visit.’   … SO BEGINS ANDREA NGUYEN’S BRILLIANT INTRODUCTION TO ALL THINGS PHO. Now, I’m a … Continue readings

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  Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.” – Julia Child   FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, PANCAKE DAY – or ‘Shrove Tuesday’, as it’s also known – has been a much-anticipated date in my diary. This year it falls seemingly early on Tuesday 28 February, but I’ve already … Continue readings

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  Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe is famous for his interest in food and all things to do with his stomach. There’s even a Nero Wolfe Cookbook (Rex Stout; 1987), made up of recipes mentioned in Rex Stout’s novels. In this clip from the first episode of the 2001–2 TV adaptation, Nero and Fritz debate the … Continue readings

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  I have, in recent times, realised I enjoy a good crush. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the subject. I don’t discriminate on the grounds of sex, age, race, even species – I am an equal-opportunities bestower of my affections – something that has sadly led to ridicule by certain friends and … Continue readings

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  Master of Hammer Horror Vincent Price was a bon vivant and cook. In addition to writing several cookery books, he made various foodie TV and radio broadcasts and, in 1971, starred in Cooking Price-wise, a Thames Television-commissioned six-programme series, in which Price cooked his way around the world – in a rather sad studio … Continue readings

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  Master of Hammer, Witchfinder General and the weak-chinned lover of the female protagonist in Otto Preminger’s original and magnificent film noir Laura (1944), actor Vincent Price informs our cultural consciousness. But how many of us know that Price was the Master Chef of his time? A bon vivant and gourmand, Price not only loved … Continue readings