Baked Mackerel with Calvados

Baked Mackerel with Calvados

One of Lord Bone’s favourites this. “Drinking Calvados while cooking is optional,” he says, but we suspect it’s not exactly frowned on. Serves 2. 2 mackerel, cleaned and heads removed 30g (1 oz) butter 3 large spring onions, chopped grated rind of ½ lemon 50g (1 ¾ oz) white breadcrumbs 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1 medium Bramley apple, cored and finely chopped or mashed oil 2 tbsp calvados Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Wash and dry the mackerel….

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Arak Cookies

Arak Cookies

Arak, which originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, lays claim to being the very first liqueur, created when aniseed berries were added to distilled palm wine as far back as 800 BC. The first historical mention of arak occurs 2,500 years ago, and it spread rapidly through the Middle East and North Africa. Ouzo may be substituted, but arak is the real thing. 450g (1 lb) butter, softened 125g (4 oz) icing sugar 4 egg yolks 750g (1 ½ lb) plain…

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Amaretto Spumoni

Amaretto Spumoni

Spumoni is the original ice cream, originating from Naples and giving birth to the famous Neapolitan ice cream we know today. This simple version is courtesy of my friend Max. “Makes loads,” he says—or “about 9.” 9 egg yolks 8 tbsp caster sugar 300ml (10 oz) double cream (lightly whipped) amaretti biscuits to serve (one per serving) 1 wine glass of Amaretto (“Fill it up”) Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy. Slowly add the amaretto and continue…

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Amaretto Spinach Salad

Amaretto Spinach Salad

The legend of Amaretto goes that in 1525, a church in Saronno, the liqueur’s home town, commissioned the artist Da Vinci and his student Bernardino Luini to paint their sanctuary. As the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Luini needed to depict the Madonna, but was in need of a model. He found his inspiration in a young widowed innkeeper, who became his model and his lover. Out of gratitude and affection, the woman wished to give him a…

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Amaretto Mousse

Amaretto Mousse

This light, nutty little number makes 6 scrumptious servings, perfect for the tired palate. 1 pt whipping cream 1 tbsp gelatin powder 4 eggs 3 tbsp icing sugar dash vanilla extract, to taste dash almond extract, to taste 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped 125ml (½ cup) Amaretto Whip the cream and stick it in the fridge until ready to use. Heat the Amaretto very gently in a pan—just enough to dissolve in the gelatin. In another pan, beat the eggs…

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Advocaat Ice Cream

Advocaat Ice Cream

Or, to give it it’s proper, Polish name, Lody z Kremu Jajkowego. This freezes pretty hard, so get it out the freezer a little while before you want to eat. 300ml (1 ½ cups) double cream 300ml (1 ½ cups) single cream 5 tbsp white sugar 175ml (¾ cup) Advocaat Beat the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then add the single cream and sugar, beating until it again retains its shape. Add the Advocaat and fold in very…

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Roast Pork with Apple Stuffing and Cider Sauce

Roast Pork with Apple Stuffing and Cider Sauce

Quite an undertaking this one, but there’s nothing quite like roast pork with apple sauce—particularly of the more boozy variety. This way, the apple sauce cooks in the pan with the roast. ½ tbsp olive oil ½ tbsp butter 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tbsp minced fresh chives 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley ½ tbsp fresh sage ½ tbsp fresh thyme 1 large, tart apple, peeled and chopped into 1cm (½ in) pieces 180ml (¾…

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Odd days

Odd days

Last week was the final day of trading at Oddbins Camden High Street, the finest wine merchants in North London, where I spent five years – on and off – drinking learning about wine, and other beverages. It’s hard to express what an impact this place – and the culture of Oddbins in general – had on me. Before I worked there I knew nothing about wine, and no particular interest in it. By the time I left, I was…

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Scotch Ale Spuds

Scotch Ale Spuds

These dark and beery potatoes work well on a barbecue or in a hot oven, and are great with lamb, in particular. Serves 4. 4 large potatoes 2 tbsp oil twigs of fresh rosemary 4 shallots, finely chopped ½ can dark Scottish ale Mix the ale, oil, shallots and rosemary in a bowl. Chop the potatoes into thumb-sized chunks, and toss them in the mixture, coating them well. Leave to soak for at least an hour, then pick out the…

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Beer Puffs

Beer Puffs

These puffs can be filled with any filling of your choice—pâté, tuna salad, seafood, cheese or vegetables all work. This makes 60 to 80 small puffs. 110g (4 oz) butter 150g (5 oz) plain flour, sifted ½ tsp salt 4 eggs filling of your choice 250ml (½ pint) beer Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas Mark 8. Butter a baking tray well. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter into the beer and heat until it just starts to boil. Add…

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