Food & Drink

Recipes, cookbook reviews, interviews with chefs, culinary insights and wine columns
  1. Whisky is the barrel-aged distilled spirit made of grains produced in Scotland; in Ireland and the United States, they add an “e” to produce “whiskey”.Spirits connoisseurs may be familiar with American whiskey, bourbon, made primarily from corn. But bourbon hasn’t always been the whiskey of choice for Americans. Rye was widely grown in colonial Maryland and Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s and used to make whiskey known, naturally, as rye.Pennsylvania whiskey was made entirely from rye and called…
  2. A decade ago, China-based entrepreneur Allan Warburg was offered an opportunity to acquire a Californian winery in financial difficulties. By 2011, he and his wife, Mei, were the owners of Donum wine estate. Initially, Warburg thought it would be a short-term investment but he changed his mind once he saw the property.“Often, the good things in life come by coincidence,” Warburg says. “We had enjoyed the wines from Donum for many years before purchasing the estate. We have also been collecting…
  3. Did you like baking as a child? “I grew up in Balingen, a village 70km south of Stuttgart, Germany. There was a bakery opposite our house, and every morning I could smell the bread. My grandmother lived in a different village so every Wednesday my older brother and sister and I spent the afternoon with her. She was still baking bread in an old wood-fired oven. She did everything by hand.“I made savouries, sweets and bread with my grandmother and mum. When I was around 12 years old I did a pre…
  4. Ask any foodie with a long memory what they know of chef Marco Pierre White and chances are they will remember stories of his fierce temper (he once made a 20-year-old Gordon Ramsay cry), his marriages and affairs, unpredictable behaviour (he fought with food critics and customers), and the legendary £25 plate of chips made by White himself for a customer who insisted on having them even though they weren’t on the menu.In 1994, when he was 32, Michelin awarded Restaurant Marco Pierre White…
  5. A pomelo looks like a large, slightly misshapen grapefruit, only it’s much more delicious, at least if you get a good one. The pomelo, which is one of the parent fruits of the crossbred grapefruit (the other parent is the orange), can be juicy and mildly sweet, with a diverse range of flavours – my favourite is when it tastes something like strawberries. A bad pomelo, however, has dry, fibrous flesh. Even the experts can have a hard time choosing a good one.Thai pomelos, which tend to be…
  6. Although Notes from a Country Kitchen was published in 1979, it takes us back to an era when people were self-sufficient as a matter of course. They didn’t bake their own bread or preserve fruits and vegetables only because they were bored at home during a pandemic – they did it to survive.In the introduction, Nanjing-born British author Jocasta Innes (who died in 2013) writes, “Everyone has a picture of how a country kitchen should look […] Usually it is an old settled place which comes to…
  7. Whisky has been part of Scottish culture for centuries. According to online retailer The Whisky Exchange, the Highland region, Scotland’s largest, produces 23 per cent of the country’s whiskies (Speyside produces 65 per cent, Islay 6 per cent, Lowland 5 per cent and Campbeltown 1 per cent).The Highlands is a vast area and its distilleries are flung far and wide. The diverse geography, water sources, weather and landscapes means Highland whiskies are varied in style but they all share a nutty,…
  8. When did your food journey begin? “I cooked a lot at home when I was a kid. When I was 16, I opened a pop-up restaurant in an abandoned newspaper factory in Chai Wan. A friend of a friend had a space and he was kind enough to lease it to me for free. It had a wine cellar and a semi-professional kitchen. It came about because my dad and I were thinking of what to do for my last summer in Hong Kong before I went to college [in the United States] and the idea of a pop-up restaurant came up. I had…
  9. My desserts tend to be tarts and simple cakes that are quick to make and need little decoration. Sometimes, though, an impressive, labour-intensive creation is needed.Chocolate layer cake with salted caramel, praline and caramelised hazelnutsThis cake recipe is based on one in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes (2009), by Rose Levy Beranbaum, and the caramel recipe is adapted from The Last Course (2001), by Claudia Fleming. Store the leftover caramel in the fridge, where it keeps for weeks. Melt it in the…
  10. What was your childhood like in Finland? “My family lived in a small town called Mäntsälä, in the forest. We ate simple food like potatoes in soup or boiled potatoes with meat and vegetables. For every meal we ate lingonberries. As kids, when you live in the forest, the city is more exciting. But now I think back, there were so many good things in nature.“My maternal grandparents had a small dairy farm. The best thing I miss is, once a cow gives birth, the first milk they produce is really rich…