Editor, The Steeple Times
What would you like to plug?
Name your three dessert island ingredients
Given that there would hopefully be lots of fish to be caught and exotic fruits to harvest, I’d have
to take a limitless supply of No. 3 gin, tonic water and though it’s not an ingredient an absolute
essential would be an ice machine.
What would I find in your fridge that I might find odd?
Wispa chocolate bars.
Food stuffs that you would put in room 101
Peanut butter, artichokes and tofu.
What would you like to have for your last supper?
Snipe on white toast with lots of butter.
What cook book do you use the most?
The world wide web.
Your favourite spice is …..
Naturally, given my love of gin, it has to be juniper.
Best dinner party guests and what would you cook them?
Jamie Oliver’s beetroot salad with cottage cheese, followed by a roasted shoulder of lamb with
spices and couscous, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding and then lots of English cheeses. We’d begin
with a Negroni or three, G&Ts and a little champagne and then move to a good Chablis followed by a
Spice is the variety of life so if it were to be an imaginary list, I’d have a few of the following: General
Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Sara Blakely, Arthur Ransome, Kathy Lette, Steven
Berkoff, Leona Helmsley, Nigel Farage, Martha Stewart, Alan Whicker, Iris Apfel, Norman Balon,
Natalie Massenet, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, Baroness Trumpington, Claus von Bülow, Nancy Wake,
Charlie Richardson, Clare Balding, Lapo Elkann, Rebekah Brooks, Lord Lucan, Anna Wintour, Mary
Frost, Dame Judi Dench, Loyd Grossman, Dame Maggie Smith, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Winner
and Count Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees. With such a variety, a few sparks might fly.
What was your tea time treat as a child?
Cheap white toast which I preferred served with Captain Birdseye fish fingers and Heinz tomato
ketchup as a sandwich. Many will be horrified but this is still one of my guilty pleasures.
What was the first thing you learnt to cook?
And what was the first thing you taught your children to cook?
I don’t have any children yet but when I do, it’ll have to be roast chicken.
What was your mother’s signature dish, and do you try to copy it?
As I grew up with lots of fish and game around me, both my mum’s salmon and sea trout dishes and
such things as stewed hair were always on the menu. I’d like to say I try and copy such but mine are
never nearly as good.
What dish gets you out of a tricky situation with your partner?
I am single but a hearty lamb hotpot normally cheers up most people when there have been problems.
What would you say was your most memorable meal?
This year, so far, it’s a tie between one at a friend’s house which finished with a visit from the police
and a lunch party that started at 1pm and ended at 1am the next day. That one began at Mari Vanna
and ended in The Rib Room. Lots of horseradish infused vodka was consumed I do believe.
And what would be your biggest disaster?
Managing to spill red wine over Cecil Parkinson at a dinner when I was a teenager.
What do you wish you had never eaten, but had to?
Popcorn. I detest the smell.
What do you consider to be the Best of British?
Meat from Allens of Mount Street.
What do you think are the best and worst things about London restaurants?
The worst things:
1. The increasing prevalence of ones with “no reservation” policies.
2. Menus peppered with spelling and grammatical errors.
3. Amateurs who’ve watched TV shows and therefore think they’re restaurateurs.
The best things:
1. The huge variety of cuisines on offer.
2. The array of talented individuals who create such.
3. The vastly improved quality of ingredients used.
In your opinion what do you think will be the next big thing, food wise?
Anything but restaurants with no reservation policies please.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Gin and tonic. Make mine a No. 3 or a Miller’s Westbourne Strength. Served in a rocks glass, lots of
ice, no lime, no lemon.
It really depends on what mood I’m in but my dependable favourites are The Rib Room at The
Carlton Tower, Chabrot in Knightsbridge, Ziani in Chelsea and
Nigella or Delia
Given that Delia swears a little much and Nigella needs a little less throttling in her life right now, it’ll
have to be Nigella.
Museli or fry up
Fry up. The best one in London is served at Arthur’s Café in Dalston.
KFC or Burger King
I can admit I occasionally have a McDonalds burger with a glass of Chablis. I haven’t been to a KFC or
Burger King for years.
Gin or Vodka
Gin, of course.
Wine or beer
A beer is a good first drink but generally wine.
Food: Delia Smith jointly with Gordon Ramsay.
Drink: Sir Cliff Richard and his ghastly plonk.
I’m not really into sweets but I do enjoy Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding very much.
Favourite flavour of ice cream
Vanilla. I especially like Jude’s.
Favourite ever food advert
And finally your top tip for cooking.
Everything’s in the prep.