Noel’s cinnamon lemon chicken with rice

Noel has been my best friend for 20 years. We met in the mid-1990s when we were both barmen working in the upstairs bar at 79CXR, the first central London bar to have a late night license while we had a late night attitude. At its best, our part of the bar was five-deep with customers each being served with sass and, if needed, sarcasm. The bar is long gone but our friendship remains. Noel is a talented portrait artist, anRead more

Alessandra’s peppery salmon gnocchi

Alessandra was our Italian flatmate in my final year of uni at Liverpool – she was the sea of calm in a decadent household in Toxteth. She kept herself largely to herself, was quiet and demure until her boyfriend arrived. Then no amount of doors, floors and ear plugs could stop you hearing her. My diet at this time was polish Kielbasa sausage, beer and chips. Alessandra showed me this dish when I was hungover and woefully helpless. It’s simple, effortlessRead more

Pug’s savoury grilled cheese

This is my go-to comfort food/hangover (which is increasingly becoming my weekend default state) snack and is not really a recipe, more an assembly. I like bold tastes, I like crunch (the crispy fried bread and the crunchy peanuts give this) and above all else I love melted cheese. If you have allergies or a penchant for the bland, then move on, this isn’t for you. The key to success with this is the bread – over the years I’veRead more

Stuffed loin of pork for dad

My dad is smart man, with a dry wit, dry humour and a twinkle in his eye that can evoke sympathy, empathy or fear,  depending on his mood. I love him not only as the man who worked extra hard to ensure that his family had everything they  needed for a good start in life but also as the closet Romantic Poet who can quote Shelley, Byron and the Rubaiyat of Omar  Khayyam with a tumbler of red wine inRead more