The Timeless Appeal of Ardèchois Crique and Swiss Rösti

Why do we shred potatoes, I ask myself. After all there are so many other excellent ways of preparing, cooking and serving this popular tuber. Yet, throughout Europe, potatoes are grated, either raw when making an Ardèchois-style crique or half-cooked for a Swiss rösti. Both these types of potato pancake are fried, so perhaps it’s…

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Vine Leaves

Last year my 25 year-old grape vine decided to leave home. After forming a close relationship with a telephone wire it soon reached half-way across the road and even produced a few bunches of black grapes dangling provocatively above the traffic. In March, it was time to curb its enthusiasm and major surgery was called…

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The Origin of Recipes

Two questions are often addressed to food and cookery writers by readers: ‘Where do your recipes come from? And do you cook them all?’ For almost a decade Felicity Cloake has been answering both these enquiries in impressive style in the Guardian newspaper. She tests, cooks and tastes, then adopts the best workable ideas from…

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Summer Holiday Dishes

The 14th July, Bastille Day, until the final day of August is the official summer holiday in France. Many enterprises, large and small, close their doors or operate with a skeleton staff for this six week period. Try tracking down a builder, plumber or electrician, and you’re likely to hear a recorded message confirming this…

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Apéro Hour

Bowls of olives, plates of thinly sliced saucisson sec, and lots of opened bottles greeted us when the local white wines of 2018 were recently launched at the old cave co-operative in Saint Montan. The farmers who grew the grapes were keen to talk as they offered glasses of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and a superb…

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Goose Egg Cake

Lucas arrived to prune our olive trees and gave me a springtime present: six brown-shelled eggs from his hens. In his other hand, he held a large white egg, the first of the year from his only goose.  ‘Ideal for a cake,’ he said and disappeared into the garden. I weighed the large white egg…

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Writing a Recipe

Soon after my first book was published, the editor of my local Devon newspaper invited me to write a weekly food column. “But with no recipes,” was his only condition. So I sent in half a dozen pieces and he rang to say “Carry on, we enjoy reading them.” But what about the one that…

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Adapting a Cake Recipe

A reader asks how she could bake one of my cake recipes in a different size tin from that I’d specified. I replied by explaining how to work out the capacity of a round, square or oblong cake tin mathematically so that the mixture would still turn out well. But then I realised that there…

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