The best Ice – size matters

I recently wrote a post about my favourite cocktail of the moment, a Bees Knees:

But there’s another, more classic drink with a similar flavour balance – rich, sweet and sour – that deserves a place in this blog.

Whisky sour is up there with the great cocktails, and if you’re partial to shaking one up, as I am, this is the drink to get started with.

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Paris Restaurants – the new wave

Where would you go and eat in Paris? If you’d asked me that 20 years ago, I would have had lots of ideas, but none of them new or exciting. “Voltaire, Lipp, Bofinger or Chez L’ami Louis – or if you want spend a fortune you could try Reblochon” I might have said.

But over the past 10 years, there’s been a new scene emerging, so seeking the advice of young and plugged in restaurateurs in London, I headed off with a list of names to see if Paris had found a new groove.

I remember a time when Parisian restaurants were known as the best in the world. Not just the ones strewn with Michelin stars, but the easy bistros, the little places serving steak with Boulangere potatoes, or a plate of garlicky escargot and a good glass of wine. But for the past 15 years or so, finding a reasonably priced, exceptional dinner in Paris had become something of a challenge.

Then came the new wave of bistronomique and the Neo-Bistro. Some say it started with a 29-year-old chef from Chicago, Daniel Rose, when he opened a tiny, instantly popular restaurant called Spring. A little place in the 9th Arrondissement with an open plan kitchen and a multi course set menu drawn from the best market produce. It was booked out for months in advance and has since moved to a larger premises in the 1st to accommodate the ever expanding demand.

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SPRING restaurant

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Apple and blackberry galette

Around this time of year, there are just a couple of weeks when the late blackberries ripen and the last apples are ready to picked. That starry, seasonal alignment happened last weekend and I was determined to make the most of it. Making a fruit galette is usually my fail safe recipe to turn to when I lay my hands on exceptional bounty like this, be it figs, plums, or this time, apples and blackberries.

The pastry used for galette is thin, crisp and buttery and plays a good supporting role to the fruit, rather than overwhelming it. The free-form shape also allows for a ‘stuffed crust’ – off cuts of the fruit can be finely chopped and tucked inside the folded crust, so every mouthful is a perfect balance of rich pastry and sweet fruit.



I love the way the blackberries bleed their colour over the apple. This is best eaten warm, with a generous dollop of creme fraiche

Last weekend I stumbled upon a bank of wild blackberries at the peak of ripeness. They were so ready for picking, they were starting to drop off the bushes. That same day, I’d gathered the last apples from the tree. Autumnal fruit flavour combinations don’t get better than this.

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