Interiors: deck the halls

Decorating for the festive season presents all sorts of dilemmas. Do you haul out the well-loved box of family hand-me-downs or opt for a super-sophisticated theme? The tree, inevitably, is the focal point, and this year department stores are stocking some particularly charming traditional decorations, such as John Lewis’s Midwinter range and Liberty’s glass baubles that encase miniature ships, birds ... Read More »

Edible cocktails: when a drink is not just a drink

When is a drink not a drink? When it’s a cocktail, apparently. Edible cocktails are all the rage, but what are they? Basically, they are drinks you can eat or (to use terrifying PR-speak) beverages that “distort the boundaries of food and drink”. From “cuptails”, to jelly shots, nitro meringues to dollops of boozy ice-cream floating in your fizz, cocktails ... Read More »

Gardens: how to keep basil alive

Apot of supermarket basil is an almost universal starting point for timid first timers making an initial foray into horticulture. Coming as modestly priced, ready-grown plants on the shelves of the veg aisle, they seem like the perfect “gateway drug” – a spot of gardening you can do even in the dark days of December. However, after just a few ... Read More »

My droid: ‘I’m the type of person who shows that something can be done’

What does this droid say about me? “I guess you could say I’m a Star Wars fan. People said my project was impossible, but I’m the type of person who shows that something can be done.” What the droid really says Here are Richard and R2-J1 hanging out together, as per. Richard is strap-hanging, R2 isn’t; naughty R2 is taking ... Read More »

Homes: how to transform a flat on a tiny budget

Once inside the north London home of stylist and designer Abigail Edwards, the hair-raising encounter with a number 57 bus gunning past her front door is quickly forgotten. With its rugged brick walls, tactile reclaimed wood and calming prints, her flat is a balm for the soul, belying its resolutely urban location. “I see so much new stuff through my work that I ... Read More »

Tom Kerridge: ‘Lots of blokes I know are very emotional: we have honest conversations’

I’m a very happy, fat, bald bloke who sounds like a pirate. If I wasn’t a chef, I’d probably be driving a white van, delivering furniture. But I’d be delivering it really, really well. My wife, Beth, is my complete opposite. She has to have a totally clear head to be able to work freely – I don’t like sitting ... Read More »

Indie kings: three wines from specialist importers

Nemea Aivalis Red, Nemea, Greece 2012 (£15.60, Southern Wine Roads) The British wine trade is rather like bookselling in many ways. Both have struggled to come to terms with the harsher realities of 21st-century capitalism, the gentlemanly networks of the past disrupted by the rise of ruthless big business. Fortunately, both too have their little-guy revenge stories, with the recent ... Read More »

Great Christmas wines under £7

The Exquisite Collection Semillon, Hunter Valley, Australia 2013 (£6.99, Aldi) I’ve been hunting around for Christmas wines that won’t max out the credit card this week, budget bottles for each of the courses in a traditional British festive feast. As an attractively lean, light and lemony dry white for seafood starters, Aldi’s Aussie Semillon is just below my self-imposed seven-quid ... Read More »

The best food they ate in 2015

Çiya Sofrasi and Kadiköy market, Istanbul René Redzepi Chef-patron, Noma, Copenhagen Walking through Kadiköy market in Istanbul you see dried aubergines hanging from stalls, dried chilli peppers and fresh dürüm, and Turkish tea being poured all throughout. You hear street merchants calling out their catch of the day, maybe a bag of sardines, turbot from the Black Sea or a ... Read More »

How to beat Lyme disease and keep enjoying the great outdoors

‘To be honest,” enthuses Dr Tim Brooks, “it’s a fascinating disease.” As head of the Rare and Imported Pathogens laboratory at Public Health England, trying to solve the growing problem of Lyme disease (and other bugs, such as ebola) is his vocation. Lyme disease – a bacterial infection spread by infected ticks – is a particularly complex puzzle, with little reliable data ... Read More »