We should all be eating less meat and better meat
Whenever you see crossed chives you are in trouble
Never eat anything bigger than your head
Cookery Quote

Taste

Happy Burns night!

The first Burns supper was held in 1796 when a group of the Ayrshire Bard’s chums held a dinner in his memory. Since then the idea of celebrating Rabbie Burns (incidentally he never called himself Rabbie, preferring Robert or Robbie) has meant that on the 25th of January Scots all over the globe gather to declaim poetry, raise a glass and tuck into haggis. This must make life pretty tough for the cash flow of haggis makers, some estimates are that 80% of haggis is eaten in a single month of the year.

From Fecamp in Normandy to the Burnley Miners Social

On the 5th December I had the privilege of attending the Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards dinner. As ever it was a fierce affair and we were swept along on a wave of different beers, each one seemingly stronger than the last. The large number of entries for each of the seven awards meant a great deal of reading for the judges, and in the end The Michael Jackson Award for the beer writer of the year went to Will Hawkes.

“I’ll just lie under the veranda and pant”

It’s hard to credit, but this year even if it rains steadily until October we will still have had a barbecue summer. The thermometer nudges its way to 30⁰ while the Government guidelines advise us to drink plenty and stay in the cool. Truth to tell a real, hot, old-fashioned summer comes along so infrequently that most of us are not sure how to tackle it. We all eat less, which could be construed as a good thing, but probably isn’t as cold beers, strawberries with clotted cream and snacking on crisps is no dietician’s dream ticket.

Mutton dressed as mutton

Saturday 22nd of June saw the inaugural Droitwich Food and Drink Festival. Roads were closed and battalions of visitors shopped their way around the town. With over 60 stalls it was the Spa town’s largest ever street market. I had the honour of making the opening speech and announcing the winner of the sausage competition. A week or so earlier I had joined a panel of sausage lovers gathered at the St Andrew’s Town Hotel to sample all the entries. The standard was remarkably high and deciding on a winner no easy matter.

How a large sow named Freda saved my bacon

2013 has seen a succession of events and celebrations to mark the centenary of the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig (the GOS society was formed in 1913 in Bristol), most recently at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern where a grand “celebrity pig handling” competition took centre stage on Saturday afternoon. You may be aware of the adage that you should never work with children or animals, what you may not be aware of is how chillingly accurate it is.

Snuffling through the book pile

It’s hard not to feel somewhat beleaguered. As the tube train rattles up to speed, cast your eye around the carriage and there will be half a dozen people with their noses pressed to electronic readers of some kind, and it’s a pound to a thimbleful of rat droppings that they will outnumber the people reading traditional books. There is a terrible power in the “latest technology”. A decade ago sending someone an email was cool – it said that you were modern, streamlined and efficient – now the email is omnipresent and the letter it replaced is an antique curiosity.

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Happy Burns night!

The first Burns supper was held in 1796 when a group of the Ayrshire Bard’s chums held a dinner in his memory. Since then the idea of celebrating Rabbie Burns (incidentally he never called himself Rabbie, preferring Robert or Robbie) has meant that on the 25th of January Scots all over the globe gather to declaim poetry, raise a glass and tuck into haggis. This must make life pretty tough for the cash flow of haggis makers, some estimates are that 80% of haggis is eaten in a single month of the year.

From Fecamp in Normandy to the Burnley Miners Social

On the 5th December I had the privilege of attending the Guild of Beer Writers’ Awards dinner. As ever it was a fierce affair and we were swept along on a wave of different beers, each one seemingly stronger than the last. The large number of entries for each of the seven awards meant a great deal of reading for the judges, and in the end The Michael Jackson Award for the beer writer of the year went to Will Hawkes.

“I’ll just lie under the veranda and pant”

It’s hard to credit, but this year even if it rains steadily until October we will still have had a barbecue summer. The thermometer nudges its way to 30⁰ while the Government guidelines advise us to drink plenty and stay in the cool. Truth to tell a real, hot, old-fashioned summer comes along so infrequently that most of us are not sure how to tackle it. We all eat less, which could be construed as a good thing, but probably isn’t as cold beers, strawberries with clotted cream and snacking on crisps is no dietician’s dream ticket.

Mutton dressed as mutton

Saturday 22nd of June saw the inaugural Droitwich Food and Drink Festival. Roads were closed and battalions of visitors shopped their way around the town. With over 60 stalls it was the Spa town’s largest ever street market. I had the honour of making the opening speech and announcing the winner of the sausage competition. A week or so earlier I had joined a panel of sausage lovers gathered at the St Andrew’s Town Hotel to sample all the entries. The standard was remarkably high and deciding on a winner no easy matter.

How a large sow named Freda saved my bacon

2013 has seen a succession of events and celebrations to mark the centenary of the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig (the GOS society was formed in 1913 in Bristol), most recently at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern where a grand “celebrity pig handling” competition took centre stage on Saturday afternoon. You may be aware of the adage that you should never work with children or animals, what you may not be aware of is how chillingly accurate it is.

Snuffling through the book pile

It’s hard not to feel somewhat beleaguered. As the tube train rattles up to speed, cast your eye around the carriage and there will be half a dozen people with their noses pressed to electronic readers of some kind, and it’s a pound to a thimbleful of rat droppings that they will outnumber the people reading traditional books. There is a terrible power in the “latest technology”. A decade ago sending someone an email was cool – it said that you were modern, streamlined and efficient – now the email is omnipresent and the letter it replaced is an antique curiosity.

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