Wine News

The best UK supermarket Christmas delivery slots 2023 Wine News

  • Minimum spend: £40
  • Cost of delivery: £7 for orders less than £40, £1 – £5.50 for orders more than £40
  • Earliest delivery: same day (before 12pm)

Sainsburys’ delivery slots are already open, available on dates between and including December 18 to 24, as are the click and collect slots for December 22 to 24. Collections cost 50p, or £4 for baskets under £25. Same day click and collects costs £2 for orders over £25 and £6 for orders under £25.

With a minimum spend of just £25, Sainsbury’s offers a handy small-shop option. But note that delivery can cost £7 for smaller baskets. Larger orders over £40 incur just a £5.50 delivery charge. Regular customers can make savings, however, by investing in a Delivery Pass.

Ordering is simple and you can create a dietary profile so the site can flag up products that you should avoid. The range is as broad as you’d find in the supermarket itself and same-day delivery is sometimes available, provided you order by 12 noon and the don’t need your groceries before 6pm. 

Alternatively, you can book a slot for another day from 8am to 11pm and order by 11pm for next-day delivery. Click and collect is also available from various locations and if you order by 11pm, you can collect the next day between 8am and 8pm. If you order by 12 midday, you can collect on the same day from 4pm. 

Sainsbury’s follows in Ocado’s footsteps with their environmentally-conscious delivery service, with eco-friendly ‘green slots’, where you can schedule a delivery to coincide with when a Sainsbury’s van is in your area.  

Shop now

4. Ocado

Best UK supermarket delivery service for choice

Ocado Christmas delivery slots available from: December 20 – 24, bookable now 

Ocado Christmas click and collect not available: Ocado is online only

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This notice was published: 2023-11-23 16:11:13

Wine News

Three easy spring baking recipes to try this Easter weekend Wine News

There are few things as enjoyable as spending time in the kitchen making a cake or a few scones. The simple act of baking engenders a sense of happiness.

Over the years, I have cooked in many different kitchens, from the cool Victorian rectory kitchen of my childhood, with its huge painted dresser and north-facing windows, to my current urban basement kitchen, all German minimalism with clean lines and soft light.

In between, I’ve experienced everything from gleaming stainless-steel restaurant kitchens to bedsits with little more than a Baby Belling, kettle and sink. No matter how small the space, I step into another world when I bake – a sensation that I suspect is familiar to many cooks.

Maybe it is the peculiar mix of precision and creativity that baking demands which takes you into another zone. As your hands are exercised by practical tasks such as beating or kneading, your mind drifts away on the currents of evocative smells. I can be in London on a hot summer’s day, but if I whip up the strawberry cream cake my mother used to make for my father’s birthday, I find myself back in a rural English garden, transported by the sweet scent of sugared sponge and ripe strawberries.

These three recipes conjure up the scents and tastes of spring – and if you choose to spend this season getting more creative in the kitchen and baking these recipes, they are guaranteed to make you smile.

Lemon Victoria sandwich cake 

Traditionally, the sponge is unflavoured and filled with raspberry jam or lemon curd; this is a more luxurious, buttery lemon version.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-23 15:51:55

Wine News

Diana Henry’s recipes that bring the best out of summer apricots Wine News

It’s apricot time again. I’ve been buying expensive Spanish ones to eat straight away and supermarket apricots you’re supposed to ‘ripen at home’. 

I don’t ripen them at home, though. I bake them – as I do every year – in a chipped cast-iron dish with white wine and vanilla, and sugar dusted on top. In blue-skied summers you’re tasting holidays when you eat these; in rainy summers – there was a depressingly rainy one a few years ago – you hold on to them as a sign of something better.

I pile those hard supermarket apricots in bowls for the kitchen table because they look beautiful, no matter what their flesh is like. I eat the baked ones for breakfast with yogurt, or sneak a spoonful from the fridge when I fancy it. 

Beyond that I could make apricot dishes every day: tarts, both simple and elaborate, upside-down cakes, ice cream, poached apricots to serve with chai-flavoured creams, jellies in which halves are suspended in muscat wine. And we’re not even on to preserves yet.

Apricots are, hands down, my favourite summer fruit (though tart Scottish raspberries run a close second). I like the weight of them in my hand, a perfect round that you can conceal if you want to (I don’t want to share ripe apricots with anyone). 

They’re less celebrated than other stone fruits. It was peaches that Renoir painted obsessively – peaches with almonds, on linen, in a white bowl. In fact he thought every artist should paint peaches because it was good practice for conveying the tones and softness of skin.

Because of their size I feel apricots make fewer demands than peaches; they’re not hungry for attention. But look at that blush skin. It burns red in some parts, and is often dotted with tiny freckles. I tend to go for the reddest ones though I know, from experience, that it doesn’t make a difference to the flavour. You usually can’t tell what you’re getting into when you bite an apricot.

In this country, we rarely get to taste them as they should be tasted – ripe, warm and straight off the tree – though if you’re willing to spend the money, you can buy the best available here (some years the most intensely flavoured come from France, sometimes from Spain).

Most of the run-of-the-mill sort are blighted by a woolly texture and insipid flavour. But they hide a secret. The blandest, most ordinary apricots are transformed by heat. 

When I bake them, I think, looking at a particularly unpromising load, that it’s not going to work this time. It always does. The application of heat brings out flavours even the sun can’t. The flesh becomes intensely honeyed with a shot of tartness. 

Baked apricots can be almost difficult to eat at times as they hold this sweet-tart balance as if teasing you. Will the next bite make me shudder? With an apricot and almond tart I’m always chasing the pastry or the frangipane, an antidote to the fruit’s intensity.

I chase apricots that aren’t even in the fruit bowl. Wines made from the viognier grape are most often described as having apricot tones. Some scorn this – they think the grape produces wines that are blousy – but I love them. They’re big and fat and honeyed and have a whiff of violets. 

You can sometimes detect apricots in a riesling too, and – a heady pleasure – in Sauternes and Hungarian Tokay. The latter is like drinking the very essence of apricots.

Austrian apricot slices

I’ve been making this recipe – I got it from Café Sperl in Vienna – with plums for years. This summer I tried it with apricots. It’s so good that my children had to take it away and distribute it among their friends. 

I’m telling you, these are delicious, and you don’t even have to roll out any pastry.

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This notice was published: 2022-08-09 10:32:58

Wine News

Best student recipe books plus seven quick-and-easy meals for university Wine News

As hundreds of thousands of young adults gear up to return to university, it might be time to ditch high-street takeaways and a quick Pot Noodle in favour of a few wholesome meals made from scratch. Nailing some easy, nutritious recipes will not only provide better brain food for coursework, but it’s also a great way to earn brownie points with your housemates or mix with new groups – think sociable dinner parties and the resulting hangover-easing brunches.

Three to four homemade meals a week may help with the bank balance too, leaving a couple of extra pounds spare for a textbook here, or a night out there…

Start simple with a curry, noodle dish, roast dinner or kebab, all certified student favourites.

The best cookbooks for students

Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson (Chatto and Windus, £26)

Save Nigella’s How to Eat for a 21st-birthday present; Express is far more user-friendly, with speedy suppers and genius desserts. Cooking from it is the best way to ensure harmony among flatmates.

The Art of the Larder by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, £25)

This book is a saviour for those with limited fridge space; its pages focus on meals made from store-cupboard stalwarts such as chickpeas, rice, polenta and spices.

One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay (Headline, £16.99)

Barclay’s debut book does exactly what it says on the tin; quick, easy dishes at £1 per portion. Indispensable for budget-friendly dinner parties as well as everyday meals.

Solo by Signe Johansen (Bluebird, £8.49)

Inspired toast-toppers, single-serve pasta dishes and a few sweet treats make this the perfect little book for those opting for studio flats.

Slater is renowned for his ability to create beautiful plates of food from a handful of ingredients; Eat is packed with more than 600 of them, and will inspire cooks for life.

Easy student recipes

Stuffing, roast potatoes, perfect chicken, delicious gravy… what more could you want?

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This notice was published: 2022-08-26 08:31:16

Wine News

From slow cookers to using your hob efficiently Wine News

Fridges and freezers, switched on 24/7, are among the most energy hungry items in your kitchen. Older fridge-freezers can cost as much as £500 a year, though a new one can cost a tenth of that according to the Centre for Sustainable Energy. But CSE points out that not defrosting your freezer regularly can add £150 a year to your bill, and that keeping it full is also more efficient. Defrosting food in the fridge isn’t just safer for the food, it keeps the temperature low in there so the motor has to work less hard. Likewise, allow hot dishes to cool before you put them in the fridge or you’ll raise the temperature and the fuel used. Plus it’s not really efficient – whatever they do on Bake Off, the fastest way to cool a cake is in front of an electric fan or by an open window, not in the freezer.

Be oven savvy

If you have a double oven, use the smaller one whenever possible, as it will take less energy to heat up and maintain temperature. Try cooking at least two dishes at the same time, though be aware that extra steam created can slow down browning and crisping. Avoid opening the door to peek at the food cooking – the oven will have to work harder, and use more fuel, to replace the heat that escapes.

Rethink preheating

New ovens heat up much faster than older cookers, saving fuel. Recipes often call for the oven to be preheated right at the start of the process (yup, I’m guilty of setting out directions like this) but if your oven gets to temperature quickly, don’t put it on until later. Apart from dishes that need a blast of quick heat, like pastry, bread, cakes and biscuits, you can often get away without preheating the oven at all. Finally, you can turn off the oven five to 10 minutes before the end of cooking time and let the dish finish cooking in the residual heat (see below).

Check your seals

Loose door seals let the warmth into fridges and freezers and out of ovens, meaning they have to use extra energy maintaining their temperature. To check yours are as efficient as possible shut a folded piece of paper in the door – it should be hard to pull out. Repeat on all four sides.

Use the right-sized hob ring for your pan

If you can see any of the electric ring, or any gas flames, when you look down on the pan from above, it’s heating the air in the kitchen not the pan – so a 15cm pan on a 20cm ring could be wasting 25 per cent of the energy. Swap the pan to a smaller ring.

Put a lid on it

Cook with the lid on your saucepan wherever possible: less heat escaping means that the dial can be turned lower, saving as much as 66 per cent of the fuel usage, according to Edison, a US power provider.

Don’t drop the mike

We all love the crisp, browned finish an oven gives, and foodies can be very snobby about microwaves, but it may be time to love the little rotating turntable. Microwaves are much more energy efficient than a conventional oven at simply delivering heat, so jacket potatoes (for example) can be started in the microwave then given half an hour in the oven to crisp the skin. Likewise reheating food is better done in the mike, even if you finish with a blast under the grill.

Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle

Boiling a litre of water can use more than twice the energy it takes to boil the minimum amount, according to Which? If it’s just a mugful you need, use the mug to measure the water into the kettle. Limescale isn’t just annoying to find in your cup of tea, it also forces the kettle to use more power to boil, so descale as soon as you see a deposit. There’s no need to buy expensive descalers – just boil a cupful of cheap white vinegar, leave to cool then pour away and rinse well.

Soak beans – and rice

We all know that you don’t have to soak dried beans. If you are in a hurry, you can simply boil them for longer – an extra 20 minutes or so should do it (some people say that if you are sensitive to beans, you may find them a bit less digestible cooked this way). But soaking them overnight first saves fuel, and I find they keep their shape better this way, meaning there are fewer split beans.

Soaking rice for about half an hour in cold water will reduce the cooking time by about 20 per cent and also improve the flavour if you’re using a fragrant rice like basmati or jasmine, as heat destroys the delicate flavour compounds – so the shorter cooking time the better.

Try fasta pasta

This will make pasta purists hot under the collar, but according to the American chef Alton Brown, we’ve been getting how we cook it all wrong.

Traditionally dried pasta is cooked in loads of water: Anna del Conte, the doyenne of Italian cooking, recommends a litre of water for each 100g of dried pasta. This means cooking supper for four might involve bringing 4 litres of water to the boil, which will probably take more time and fuel than cooking the pasta itself.

Brown says to use far less water, just 1.9 litres for 450g pasta and then – here is the radical part – put the pasta and the cold water in a pan with 1 tbsp coarse salt, cover and bring to the boil. Then uncover, stir, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 4½ minutes exactly. Then drain, saving the cooking water for the sauce and serve.

I’ve tried it and it works perfectly for penne – you’ll need to test and adjust the cooking time for the variety of pasta, as fine vermicelli (for example) will be ready sooner. I’ve even scaled down, doing a single serving of 80g of macaroni in 340ml of water, though you won’t want to reduce the water any more. If all the measuring seems like a faff, Brown also suggests simply covering the pasta with water, so that it is 2.5cm above the top of the pasta, and then following the directions in the same way.

The other bonus is that the saved cooking water is well thickened with starch from the pasta, and brilliant for loosening the sauce – some traditions are definitely worth hanging on to.

The low-down on residual heat

The simplest form of residual-heat cooking is a haybox, basically a box packed with hay. A pan full of stew or rice, for example, is brought to the boil, covered tightly and put in the haybox before being covered with more hay and the lid. The dish finishes cooking in its own heat. In the Second World War tin-lined tea chests were used, and lining the box with foil and newspaper is a sensible move. You could use old pillows and duvets instead of hay. 

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This notice was published: 2022-09-01 06:02:42

Wine News

How to make the best cup of tea, according to the scientists Wine News

However, there are ways to avoid the film in the first place, suggests Kiran Tawadey, the tea expert behind Hampstead Tea. “We always recommend that you use filtered water for tea,” she explains. “It takes away the whole film business and you get a nice, clear cup of tea provided that you use high quality tea, that’s a huge variable. You get different origins from different countries with different levels of polyphenols in them.” 

It might also be worth looking at how your tea is cultivated, Tawadey says. “Tea is an intensively cultivated crop these days and, anecdotally, I find that organic tea tends not to have this reaction with water, I’m not sure why. It might be to do with the very fine particles in tea leaves. When people use tea dust you get a film of dust which agglomerates with the hard water film and exacerbates the problem, but if you use a larger leaf tea, you’ll find that much less.” 

The Zurich study found that the film only becomes visible after 30 minutes, so it pays to drink your tea while it is still hot. 

Another way to thin the film or remove it entirely is to add a dash of an acidic substance such as lemon or orange, adds Tawadey. “The calcium carbonate in the film is alkaline, so adding an acid like a dash of lemon dissolves it,” she explains. But be careful with what you add to your tea. “If you put lemon in an English breakfast with milk, you’ll just have a really disgusting cup of curdled tea; that definitely wouldn’t work. Lemon is a specific flavour that won’t work with all teas, I definitely wouldn’t put lemon in with an Asam tea. It’s lovely with an Earl Grey, I’d prefer orange in Darjeeling tea.”

This new research into the film on tea is hardly the first attempt to codify ways to make the perfect blend. Here are a few other tips on brewing the perfect tea… 

The five minute brew method

According to Dr Stuart Farrimond, an expert tea maker, the longer a tea is brewed for, the higher its caffeine and antioxidant content. A tea brewed for 30 seconds contained 35 milligrams of caffeine, while a five-minute brew increased the figure to 50 milligrams. Leaving the teabag in for the same period also doubled the antioxidant level. 

“Tea is a great source of antioxidants and these are natural substances that our body uses to help fight disease so it is important you leave it to brew”, says Dr Farrimond. 

Dr Farrimond cited four golden rules of tea. They are:

  1. Never drink from a Styrofoam cup, which absorbs the flavour
  2. Use a red or pink mug, which makes the drink taste sweeter
  3. Filter the water, which removes calcium and magnesium residue, preventing scum from forming
  4. Brew for five minutes

Patience is key

In 2011 a study at the University of Northumbria found that it took eight minutes to make a proper tea. After eight minutes, the tea’s temperature drops to 60C, the right heat to experience all the flavours at their most palatable.

The method involves adding boiling water to a teabag in a mug for two minutes before removing the bag and adding milk for six minutes. But the researchers stressed it was crucial not to wait too long, 17 and a half minutes to be exact, as the tea will drop to 45C, which will damage the flavour. 

Top 11 rules

Author George Orwell was a tea obsessive. In January 1946, Britain still reeling from the war, he published an 11-step guide to brewing the perfect comfort drink in the Evening Standard.

He insisted on taking the teapot to the kettle rather than the other way around, and encouraged tea-drinkers to avoid sugar, which destroyed the drink’s flavour. “You could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water”, he quipped.

And what of the divisive tea or milk first debate? Tea was always first for Orwell. “I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable.” 

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This notice was published: 2022-09-21 07:08:06

Wine News

Six foods that are best eaten out of a tin Wine News

Tinned fish beats fresh on cost, ease and, in many cases, sustainability. It’s an added bonus that a primary-coloured tin of Ortiz sardines (£3.90, The Fish Society) looks very stylish on a kitchen shelf.

 “In almost every case, tinned fish is oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, tuna and salmon – high in omega-3s and known for its health benefits,” says Bart van Olphen, chef and author of the Tinned Fish Cookbook. “It’s also very sustainable, provided you choose fish that’s certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Tinned sardines, like wine, only get better with time the longer they’re in the tin.” 

From a sustainability perspective, the MSC’s Good Fish Guide advises that it’s better to buy tinned Pacific salmon than fresh Atlantic salmon, as stock is so low. Try Rockfish, founded by Devon chef Mitch Tonks, for more adventurous locally-sourced tinned seafood, including Brixham cuttlefish and Lyme Bay Mussels (both £5.95, 

3. Dried lentils and pulses

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This notice was published: 2022-09-29 07:00:54

Wine News

The best pre and post-theatre restaurants to book for dinner in London this autumn Wine News

Best for… Young Vic; Old Vic; The Vaults

The Cut 

The ultimate test of a theatre-based restaurant is whether you dine there even if you weren’t seeing a show. The answer, in the case of Young Vic’s The Cut is, yes: you would.

The ingredients are scrupulously sourced and the menu hangs on their quality, with boldly simple dishes like Thai raw salad, smoked haddock and poached eggs, and a variety of tapas options. Choose freely: everything here is designed to be served in time for a quick dash to the show.

The Cut, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Southwark, London SE1 8LZ; 020 7928 4400;


Nestled in the middle of Elephant and Castle is Paladar. A hidden gem – with an even more hidden courtyard – this Latin American restaurant serves up a variety of colourful and flavourful dishes and drinks. The innovative recipes all feature distinctive spices and fresh ingredients – while all being 100 per cent gluten-free too. Top tasty bites include the pulled jackfruit empanadas and the coconut chilli prawns, while larger plates such asoOctopus tentacle seared with guajillo chilli and tamarind, yellow plantain mofongo, salsa verde will tide your tummy over until the show has finished.

Paladar, 4-5 London Rd, London SE1 6JZ; 02071865555;

The Anchor and Hope 

It’s a gastropub, but there’s a world of difference between the Anchor and Hope and your average Ember Inn. The menu changes; vegetables are treated with as much tenderness as the meat, which is carefully sourced and butchered nose to tail in house. Fresh fish arrives twice daily. The wines are artisanal. Yet the pub has lost none of its pub-ness with the addition of a damn fine restaurant: on the contrary, the numbers of regulars, the no-frills decor and the pride with which pints are pulled by fast, friendly staff suggest the effect has been quite the reverse. 

Anchor and Hope, 36 The Cut, Southwark, London, SE1 8LP; 020 7928 9898;

Crust Bros. 

If you’re strapped for time before a show then Crust Bros. might be just the thing to help you out. This incredibly low-key and casual miniature restaurant is a pizza lover’s dream where you design your dinner from the ground up. Select as many or as few toppings as you like and it’ll be freshly prepared and cooked on a Neapolitan pizza base right in front of your eyes. Unless you go absolutely crazy you’re very unlikely to pay more than about £15 for a pizza, making it a pretty cheap place to eat too. 

Crust Bros., 113 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8UL; 020 3034 3424;

Best for… Victoria Palace Theatre; Victoria Apollo Theatre; The Other Palace

A Wong 

Andrew Wong’s contemporary, informal-but-serious-about-food Chinese restaurant offers everything: you’ll get Gunadong dim sum as well as Shanghai dumplings of pork and fresh ginger, Sichaunese aubergines and red braised fermented fish from Anhui. Late eaters should check out the myriad snacks available at Forbidden City, its underground bar.

A Wong, 70 Wilton Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 1DE ; 020 7828 8931;

Rail House Café

A steampunkish venue just around the corner from all of Victoria’s three brilliant theatres. The modern eclectic menu offers something for everyone including steak, burgers, noodles, stir fries, and fish dishes. There’s even a tasting menu should that strike your fancy. Cocktails also come very highly recommended. 

Bear in mind that when it’s busy, the tight spaces of this restaurant can make service a little slower than it could be, so make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the theatre. 

Rail House Café, 8 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5DJ; 020 3906 7950;

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi

One of the newer branches of the Danish-Japanese sushi and yakitori restaurant, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is another eatery situated in the oh-so convenient Nova Building. With a selection of hot grill options and sushi plates, there’s something for the whole group to enjoy.

Start off with small plates such as the ebi bites (addictive tempura shrimp), scallop ceviche, fried cauliflower with a black sesame truffle sauce and the iconic beef tataki – topped with smoked cheese, almonds and spring onion. The sushi sister is a crowd pleaser – offering every type of sashimi on the menu, while there is a myriad of rolls to choose from. Our favourites have to be the Hell’s Kitchen kaburimaki – tempura shrimp with avocado, topped with tuna and spicy barbecue sauce – and the house rolls which feature the likes of wagyu, black cod, softshell crab or scallop. Don’t forget your sticks, now: get a sharing board of the miso-marinated black cod, pork belly in a yuzu miso, Emmentaal cheese wrapped in bacon and either the lamb chop or beef fillet in miso herb butter. Then waddle to the theatre or tube station.

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, 3 Sir Simon Milton Square, London SW1E 5EB; 02031418240;


This sleek restaurant serving French cuisine is located literally two doors down from the Victoria Palace Theatre and is more than worth a look. There’s a set pre-theatre dinner menu which costs £25 for two or £29.50 for three. You do not want to miss your shot to be defying gravity after tasting these dishes. 

Aster, 150 Victoria St, London SW1E 5LB; 020 3875 5555;

Best for… Arts Theatre; Noël Coward Theatre; Wyndham’s Theatre; Garrick Theatre; Duke Of York’s Theatre; Playhouse Theatre; Trafalgar Theatre; Savoy Theatre


With a reputation such as this one, it’s no surprise that Blacklock has opened up another site in London – making all your meaty dreams come true. The restaurant’s biggest location yet, it’s prime spot in the heart of the West End makes it a solid choice for any pre or post theatre-goers.

As usual, choose the size of chop; the source of the chop (lamb, beef or pork) and, of course, your sides. Then rest easy in the knowledge that the chaps behind the chophouse are veterans of Hawksmoor, and the meat is well sourced. Can’t decide? If you’re dining with friends pick the ‘All In’ and get starters and a plate piled high with meat to share for £22 per person. £5 cocktails make it even better. If it’s your first time visiting Blacklock, we couldn’t recommend a better way to dive right in.

Blacklock, 16a Bedford St, London WC2E 9HE;


An oldie but a goodie. Barrafina has dependably delivered exquisite Spanish cuisine to our tables for years now, treating our taste buds to a variety of tapas dishes. Whether you’re favourites are the ham croquettes – or your prefer to order from that coveted specials board, feast as though you’re in Spain before or after your show. The smaller space means seating is limited and in demand, so book early. The majority of seating is counter stools – adding to the atmosphere of the evening.

Barrafina, 10 Adelaide St, London WC2N 4HZ; 02030960359;

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill

The original London restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge brings a lot of the pub food that made him famous at the Hand & Flowers in Marlow from turbot and chips to pig’s cheek pie and mash. It is quite expensive, but perhaps that’s only to be expected when the quality is as high as it is here. The last tables available to book are at 10pm, though you can get unreserved tables at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis. If your trip to the theatre is to mark a special occasion, a meal here might be the icing on the cake. 

Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, 10 Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5AE; 02073213244;

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This notice was published: 2022-10-25 15:28:26

Wine News

When is it, how to celebrate and what is the history? Wine News

Then in 1846, author Sarah Josepha Hale waged a one-woman campaign for Thanksgiving to be recognised as a truly national holiday.

In the US the day had previously been celebrated only in New England and was largely unknown in the American South. All the other states scheduled their own Thanksgiving holidays at different times, some as early as October and others as late as January.

Hale’s advocacy for the national holiday lasted 17 years and four presidencies before the letter she wrote to Lincoln was successful. In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, he supported legislation which established a national holiday of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November.

Lincoln perhaps wanted the date to tie in with the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod, which occurred on November 21, 1620. Although we now use the Gregorian calendar. In 1621 the date would have been November 11 to the Pilgrims, who used the Julian calendar.

So Hale finally got her wish. She is perhaps now better known, though, for writing the nursery rhyme ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’.

In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week to try and give a boost to retailers before Christmas during the Great Depression.

Several states followed FDR’s lead but 16 states refused the holiday shift, leaving the country with rival Thanksgivings. FDR changed his mind after coming under pressure from Congress and in 1941, a resolution was passed returning the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November.

Atlantic City mayor Thomas D. Taggart later described the Thanksgiving holiday from 1939–1941 as “Franksgiving”.

Thanksgiving food: turkey, pies and stuffing

There are several potential reasons Americans eat turkey on the big day: one claims that the pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote a letter about that now-famous meal in 1621 which mentioned a turkey hunt before the dinner.

Another theory says the choice of turkey was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I who was eating dinner when she heard that Spanish ships had sunk on their way to attack England. She was so thrilled with the news she ordered another goose be served. Some claim early US settlers roasted turkeys as they were inspired by her actions.

Others say that as wild turkeys are native to North America, they were a natural choice for early settlers.

When European settlers encountered turkeys for the first time in the early 1500s, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl. Since this group of birds were thought to come from Turkey, the North American bird was dubbed ‘turkey fowl’.

This later became shortened to ‘turkey’ and entered the vernacular. The English navigator William Strickland, who introduced the turkey into England in 1550, was granted a coat of arms which included a “turkey-cock in his pride proper”.

So what comprises the classic Thanksgiving dinner?

Turkey: and/or ham, goose and duck or turduken (a spatchcocked combo of three whole birds!)

Stuffing (also known as dressing): a mix of bread cubes, chopped celery, carrots, onions and sage stuffed inside the turkey for roasting. Chestnuts, chopped bacon or sausage, and raisins or apples are also sometimes included in the stuffing.

Pies: pumpkin pies are most common, but pecan, apple, sweet potato and mincemeat pies are also quite popular.

Candied yams: sweet potatoes baked in a sugar syrup is exactly the sweet contrast you need on your plate full of savoury dishes. Sounds questionable, tastes delicious. You can also top your sweet potatoes with marshmallow if you want to be really authentic.

Mashed potatoes: Not specific to Thanksgiving but you’ll struggle to find a celebratory dinner without them.

Thanksgiving recipe inspiration

From pumpkin pie to mac and cheese, Americans go all out for Thanksgiving. Here are our favourite recipes:

Delicious sweet pastry combined with the popular autumn squash. Share America’s love for pumpkin pie with this traditional, simple recipe. 

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This notice was published: 2022-11-23 07:04:33