Favorite foods and drinks (including pubs restaurants etc.)



I’m limited this year use to location, but my drinks menu for Christmas is:

  • Buck’s Fizz for breakfast.
  • Sipsmith gin for sipping during the day.
  • Graham’s tawny port for dessert.
  • Scapa Skiren for the evening.
  • An own-label hock for dinner.

It should keep me in a state halfway to stocious for the day!


I don’t really drink much alcohol but I do like the taste of some Bailey’s for the holidays (e.g. in hot chocolate)


I’ve had tawny port, and liked it, but it was from Australia. “Hock” is not a term used in NZ or the 'States, but I take it to mean German riesling, which comes in a range from gaggingly sweet to off-dry.

A wine I just discovered this year is Muller-Thurgau, from a cross of riesling by a Dr. Müller in Thurgau, Switzerland. The vine moved to Oregon in the 'States, where it seems to prosper. Airlie is owned by a woman and the winemaker is also female (and they advertise “dog-friendly” tastings). Didn’t find that out until after I dedicated a bin in my cellar to it. It’s somewhat sweet and very aromatic and spicy.

I fancy Irish single-malt (Tyrconnell, Knappogue Castle) but can only afford an annual bottle. Noticed a new Irish malt for a bargain price, and went for it—

It’s a by-blow of Bushmill’s, made in County Antrim, aged in sherry casks. The bottle’s eye-catching, but an awkward shape: be prepared to spill some at first. The whiskey needs work. It’s thickish but not smooth, with a harsh edge and a bitter aftertaste. Cutting it with water and letting it sit reduces the snarly quality, somewhat. But I shan’t buy it a second time.


Haven’t seen the Sexton’s at my usual haunts. It might be export only. But I shall keep an eye out. Bushmills is good, but they did go through a period where their 10-year whiskey was off. There was a batch that tasted like soap a few years ago. You can get good single malts for about 50USD. Tithe Whiskey Exchange have a very reasonable export charge, and I’ve used them before to ship stuff to the USA.

I like my hock slightly sweet at Christmas. It needs to cut through all the savoury foods.


This is a decent drop, a notch up in price but very pleasant (named by a genius).

It’s a blend of single malt and pot still whiskies, and none of the grain.


I found a bottle of it at the end of August. The distillery hasn’t been in operation long enough to produce their own whiskey yet, but they hope to be at that stage soon. In the meantime, they are blending from other distilleries’ spirits.

As a drink, it is warm and slightly sweet, with none of that peaty taste I dislike in many other whiskies. Not as sweet as an Orcadian, though.


Happy Christmas Eve everyone! What’s your Christmas dinner strategy? I make a veg stock brine and soak my Turkey overnight, have done for the past four years and it’s worked really well for me


Cover in bacon to keep it moist, then roast it in a low heat. No need to baste that bad boy.


Solid strategy! I personally don’t like bacon and Turkey together but I know lots of people who think it’s delicious. Plus it’s always great to lend some fat to lean meats


No turkey tricks. I stuff it with a bread, walnut, celery, and onion dressing, with fresh sage. Cut celery and carrots to line the pan and add water or white wine. Then roast at 350°F. Start breast side down and flip it an hour or so into the cooking time. Baste with melted butter, and then towards the finish with the pan liquor. Foil boots for the wings, legs, and breast.

We’re having ham this year. I found a fairly plain, lean ham from Canada. Scalloped potatoes (Yukon Gold for the garden), green beans, simple green salad with greenhouse spinach, roquette, and tomatoes picked on Christmas Day.


Favorite food: potatoes in any shape or form. BIG FAN! Also if they are accompanied by any kind of dip (say alioli, bravas, roquefort…) better. As for drinks: I’d say plain and simple water, but also red cranberry or pear juice.


Just read this. As a former somm, in England, I thought you might have tried some of the English sparkling wines.


Most of the vintage Champagnes are above my wine budget. My present favourites are from New Zealand and New Mexico in the US.


YOOOOOOOOO Gusbourne, the main wine talked about in that article, is the absolute bomb and I would recommend you try their brut reserve or sparkling rose if you ever get a chance.

My old restaurant actually hosted a purely Gusbourne wine dinner and they were never off our list. This article misses out a lot of the really great stuff about Gusbourne vineyards, like how they are built on artificial land and so have a much more similar style of soil to Northern Burgundy than Champagne. They also use Burgundy clone grapes and that really helps their brut have that delicious apple flavour without the harshness you get in mediocre champagne or English sparkling.

Other English sparklings are hit and miss, Nyetimber is a big name and I’ve worked with them before, they do fall into the slightly to acidic bracket on some vintages but I’ve had some that are divine and their Demi-sec is always a go to for me.

I’ve had some brill sparkling wines from Australia, surprisingly, but I can’t say I’ve tried any from NZ yet!


You’re a treasure!

I’ll see if I can get some. Coincidentally, one of the best areas in New Zealand for Chardonnay is Gisborne, on the east coast, North Island.


Just checked the winery website. It’s not by any means cheap: £35 for the Brut Reserve and £40 for the Rosé. Plus, they don’t ship outside the EU.

There’s a guy I like, with a tiny liquor store and wine shop, who enjoys puzzling out how to get hard-to-find wines. He got me a case of rather obscure Aussie wine. And he charges cost +10% on full cases, which is marvelous.

I’ll print out the NYT piece on Gusbourne wine and ask if he’d like to split a couple cases. At the least, he’ll poke about with his distributors and the State Liquor Commission–who knows?

I’ve got a pricey case of NZ wine on the way. With that and my three-week holiday over there, I’m not sure what my wine budget will be for the coming year.


bruh my all time favorite foods are falafel and dal. The best dal I’ve ever had was from a bistro in Colorado (i know lmao it was semi-authentic but I’d love to try it elsewhere) and I’ll eat literally any falafel you put in front of my face. :woman_shrugging: so good.


I don’t know much about Indian cooking. Dal is made with those wee orange lentils, yes? Cooked with onions, etc. and spices. Eaten with flatbread?

Falafel is a spiced patty of chickpeas, etc., fried or grilled?

Do you make them at home, or is it a treat for eating out?


Yeah, dal is basically a lentil soup! :slight_smile: sooo good with flatbread.
and yup, falafel is just seasoned, ground chickpeas rolled into balls. In my opinion they’re best fried, but you can bake them too (or even form them into a patty for a grilled falafel burger ha)
I make dal at home, but I’ve yet to master an at-home falafel recipe. Despite their simplicity they’re pretty challenging to get just right, so I like to order them out whenever I can find them!


Made something more-or-less Indian: hot mango chutney. Besides diced mango, I used tomatoes that were ripened in a paper sack for bulk, acidity, and to deepen the colour. Instead of the usual extra-hot peppers, I tried ancho chile powder. Posted the pic on another thread, but it fits here as well:


NO WAY??? mango chutney is SO GOOD especially with samosas oh my goodness. i’m thoroughly jealous. you’ll let me have to know how it turned out!