Rowley Leigh

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Profile:

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Full name: Rowley Leigh

Area of interest: Cookery

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times

Email: rowley.leigh@ft.com

Personal website:

Website: http://www.ft.com/life-arts/rowley-leigh | http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/rowley-leigh

Blog:

Representation: Chapman & Vincent: info@chapmanvincent.co.uk tel: (01763) 245005 fax: (01763) 243033

Networks: https://twitter.com/#!/lecafeanglais

Biography:

About:

Education: Clifton College, Bristol; Christ's College, Cambridge

Career:

As chef... "After a variety of schools, Cambridge, a spell of dairy farming and a misspent youth in the snooker halls of Fulham, Rowley Leigh got a job at the Joe Allen restaurant in Covent Garden as a grill and short order chef. He migrated to Le Gavroche and learnt classical French cooking under the inspired tutelage of Albert Roux before spells as baker, butcher and buyer to the group. He returned to the kitchen as sous-chef and then head chef of Le Poulbot in the City of London before opening the trailblazing Kensington Place in Notting Hill with Nick Smallwood and Simon Slater in 1987." (info: Author Tracker)

As food writer... The Guardian; Sunday Telegraph: food correspondent; Fnancial Times: columnist (since January 2004)

Current position/role: Columnist

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role: Chef and restaurateur - patron of Le Café Anglais

Other activities:

Disclosures:

Viewpoints/Insight: Rowley Leigh on food & wine by Natasha Hughes, April 2008

Broadcast media:

Video:

Controversy/Criticism:

Awards/Honours: The Guild of Food Writers Awards: Jeremy Round Award, 2001; Glenfiddich Award for the quality of his newspaper writing

Scoops:

Other: Opened restaurant Le Cafe Anglais in Bayswater, London, November 2007

Books & Debate:

No place like home Rowley Leigh.jpg

Latest work:

Speaking/Appearances:

Debate:

Financial Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Cookery

Section: FT Weekend

Role: Commentator

Pen-name:

Email: rowley.leigh@ft.com

Website: FT.Com / Rowley Leigh

Commissioning Editor:

Day published: Saturday

Regularity: Weekly

Column format: Single or multiple items

Average length: 500/750 words

Articles: 2014

  • The natural food debate - Illustration by David Sparshott of foraged food©David Sparshott This passion for all things foraged is getting silly. Why the fuss over strange weeds found in woods rather than fish, game or berries? - 23rd August

Articles: 2012

  • Recipe: Rack of lamb with persillade - Not the easiest piece of meat to cook, but once mastered a rack of lamb is perfect for dining ‘à deux’ - 2nd June
  • Recipe: Duck with peas - ‘Although the apple sauce strains my seasonal sensibilities, I find the idea irresistible’ - 19th May
  • Three bruschettas - An exercise in the simple art of making nice things to eat - 12th May
  • Recipe: Crème Dubarry - ‘It really is time to put our prejudices aside and appreciate the Comtesse in her own right’ - 5th May
  • Pork chop with endives - Well-husbanded, traditional breeds such as Tamworth and Duroc will give the sort of chop required - 28th April
  • Recipe: lemon tart - ‘Never has the difference between “shop” and homemade been so pronounced’ - 21st April
  • Recipe: cos salad with peas and Parmesan - Freshly podded peas are beautiful to eat raw - 14th April
  • Recipe: spaghetti with clams and Swiss chard - Swiss chard lends a pleasant earthiness to this stunning variation on the classic spaghetti vongole - 7th April
  • Recipe: Acquacotta - The appeal of this dish lies in its simplicity - cooking stripped of artifice - 31st March
  • Recipe: Onion tart - This slice of Strasbourg is best served warm with a little salad - 24th March
  • Recipe: steamed hake with shrimps, bok choy and lemon - 'Much as I like cod, hake has a finer texture, a sweeter smell and a more distinguished flavour’ - 17th March
  • Recipe: Roast parslied chicken with fromage frais - ‘My customers have liked this dish very much recently, although I have not revealed its origin until this moment...’ - 10th March
  • Recipe: Raw tuna with citrus dressing - The fish seems unimpaired by freezing. If anything, it seems firmer and ‘cleaner’ - 3rd March
  • Recipe: upside down apple cake - Simple cakes are better made at home; buying one in deprives us of that sense of righteousness that home baking confers - 25th February
  • Recipe: Oeufs en meurette - A Burgundian dish that does not take eggs for granted and a good way to mark the beginning of Lent - 18th February
  • Rib-stickers’ delight - Simply braised short ribs bond perfectly with paccheri and makes a change from boiling them or creating a Bourguignonne - 11th February
  • Fool’s paradise - This rhubarb fool is quite tart, bearing in mind the biscuits will add a little sugar - 4th February
  • Puntarella salad - One can easily imagine a bunch of centurions chomping such a salad 2,000 years ago - 28th January
  • Snap kicks - This squash and sugar snap curry proved very popular, perhaps because the comforting flavours of squash and coconut were offset by the chillis - 21st January
  • Winter layers - Although Vincisgrassi is a pasta dish, it is a brave appetite that attempts another course afterwards - 14th January
  • A fine fillet - This clean, light and healthy dish can steal the show - 7th January

Articles: 2011

  • Aw, shucks! - Some prefer to take oysters as nature intended – raw in the half shell – but they are also excellent when cooked - 17th December
  • Pheasant heaven - A simple roasting will usually render a dry or undercooked bird, says Rowley Leigh, who recommends cooking it gently in a casserole - 10th December
  • A Christmas goose chase - Rowley Leigh, long enamoured of the golden bird, visits a Worcestershire farm. He then gives us a feast in six recipes - 3rd December
  • Another fine (and fiery) pickle - A novel mixture of pickled pumpkin, coriander and prawns tossed in a piquant dressing makes for a zesty salad - 26th November
  • Liver little - Calf’s liver, like kidneys and sweetbreads from the same animal, belongs to an offal überclass - 19th November
  • Softly soufflé - Even now, in an era of high technical skill and trickery, this dessert still exercises a degree of fascination - 12th November
  • The forgotten fruit - Difficult to find and not immediately accessible to eat, the quince redeems itself by being exceptionally easy to cook - 5th November
  • Turbot power - Rowley Leigh finds baking this king of fish on an oven tray very satisfactory, just as long as it is cooked on the bone - 22nd October
  • Beautiful game - Rowley Leigh comes up with a lamb and partridge stew that, once its component parts have been cooked off, would be a doddle to put together - 22nd October
  • The anchovy addict - Scallops and tomatoes with spaghetti does not quite do it. Enter pane grattugiato, laced with anchovies - 15th October
  • Going for golden - Russet apples hold up beautifully in a tarte tatin, with a lovely residual acidity on the finish and a luscious aroma - 8th October
  • The fat pig - The idea of prunes, pork and double cream might be a little overwhelming for some, but the nights are drawing in - 1st October
  • Salad days - This is a deluxe and slightly deconstructed ‘frisée aux lardoons’ with warm ingredients – but without the hot buttery vinaigrette - 24th September
  • Nine easy pieces - The notion of chopping a chicken into pieces and throwing them into a sauté pan is a rather archaic one - 17th September
  • An Italian job - The peppers are coated with bagna cauda sauce, another example of the naughty butter and oil combination -10th September
  • Fish soup with rouille - In Paris, the fish are gutted and scaled, whereas fishermen in Marseilles just throw everything into the pot - 3rd September
  • Aubergines ‘imam bayildi’ - Rowley Leigh makes aubergines ‘imam bayildi’, a dish one should happen upon as part of a spread and then swoon with pleasure - 27th August
  • Rosemary, meet garlic - Far from appearing daring, to spike a leg of lamb with shards of garlic and a few leaves of rosemary now seems to be rather a cliché - 13th August
  • Sinfully sweet - Parson Woodforde’s recipes exhibit a love of good things that might now be thought slightly gluttonous - 6th August
  • Properly spelt - Rowley Leigh had written off spelt until he discovered spelt pasta, which has an earthier, nuttier taste than wheat varieties - 30th July
  • All things Nice: Salade Niçoise - Salade Niçoise is meant to be a product of the sun, vibrant with the sweet flavours of the vegetables of the Midi - 23rd July
  • Picnics: Practical makes perfect - The key to a good outdoor meal is simplicity, writes Rowley Leigh. Follow these easy recipes to avoid fiddly, last-minute preparations - 16th July
  • Sardine snobs - Sardines are often the only decent piece of fish in an English supermarket and Rowley Leigh says it is not hard to identify a fresh one - 9th July
  • Skirt tales - Irish adventurer Jimmy McCurry invented his ‘chimichurri’ sauce for grilled meat in a campaign for Argentine independence - 2nd July
  • A chef’s omelette - An omelette should be a soft pillow of egg flavoured with nothing more than a few ‘fines herbes’, such as chervil and chives - 17th June
  • Claws célèbre - The sight of a lobster slowly turning a shade of vermillion over the hot coals, with the juices bubbling slightly in the carapace, is an intoxicating one - 11th June
  • Swish roll - Fruit and chocolate combinations are often a bad idea, but Rowley Leigh introduces the Roulé Marquise, an exceptionally light sponge cake with whipped cream and raspberries - 4th June
  • Hunky Dory - Snowy white when cooked, John Dory is as fine to eat as a sole or a turbot – high praise indeed for the fish sometimes known as ‘l’horrible’ - 28th May
  • Broad minded - Like most legumes, broad beans combine well with starches and grains. In particular, they make an excellent risotto, especially with some form of ham or bacon - 21st May
  • Earn your chops - To emphasise how misguided it is to dismiss veal as having no taste, Rowley Leigh recounts the challenge of roasting an entire leg and offers an indulgent recipe with cream and fresh morels - 14th May
  • Jelly for grown-ups - Most children today would turn up their noses at a concoction full of rhubarb and strawberries and topped with a cold milk pudding - 7th May
  • Sauce of wonder - Adding milk to a ragu, as Bolognese sauce is called in Britain, may sound peculiar. But Rowley Leigh says that it does not curdle and serves to make the concoction even more unctuous - 30th April
  • A leg with kick - Should cooks serve mature ‘hogget’ lamb, with its strong, almost ‘muttony’ flavour, or should they serve a pale, tender meat that they regard as being rather tasteless - 23rd April
  • The white stuff - Compared with the green variety, white asparagus has a stronger taste, has that hint of bitterness that makes it much more complex, and is more versatile - 16th April
  • My kind of plaice - It is the light, perfumed quality of mace – a spice that features rarely in recipes these days – that makes it such a good complement to fish and to some seafood - 9th April
  • Down pudding lane - When the Sussex Pond pudding is cut open, a rather luscious, rich brown syrup oozes out and forms a puddle while the lemon is revealed in the centre - 2nd April
  • A bitter loveliness - If our mouths pucker slightly on the first bite of endive, we immediately want to repeat the experience, just as the true curry fiend loves serious heat from his chilli - 26th March
  • The Roman way - When spaghetti cacio e pepe is made properly, the rasping acidity of the pecorino and the fierce bite of the pepper are a formidable combination - 19th March
  • Richly deserved - Many people try to supercharge their osso bucco while forgetting the overall impact of this ambrosial veal dish. Served with risotto Milanese, it should be comparatively spare - 19th March
  • Crêpe expectations - Although endowed with many of the same virtues as the pizza, the pancake never matched the success of its rival and is now rarely seen - 5th March
  • Holy mackerel - The astringent note from rhubarb is a brilliant adjunct to any oily fish, serving the same role as lemon or gooseberries in a few months’ time - 26th February
  • Go on, pig out - When I eat belly pork, I want it to taste as it should and not be lean and flavourless – after all, much of the fat is rendered out in the cooking process - 19th February
  • Kale and hearty - If sea kale vaguely resembles celery, it doesn’t taste like it. When cooked, it acquires both an incredibly delicate and subtle flavour and a very succulent texture - 12th February
  • The big pineapple - Rowley Leigh is all in favour of making things hot for the take-it-or-leave-it fruit, and finds that grilling concentrates the flavour. Chilli should play an active role - 5th February
  • The joy of ceps - Apart from a concentrated intensity of flavour, the dried mushroom has two other great assets: they are not hard to find and they are in season throughout the year - 29th January
  • Golden bouillon - Boiling certain cuts of meat – usually dry, lean cuts such as silverside or brisket of beef – produces both a succulent piece of meat and a flavoursome broth. It is a win-win situation - 22nd January
  • Acid beets - A beetroot and orange salad is an excellent way of starting a winter meal, being refreshing and pleasing to all those looking for healthier diets - 15th January
  • Pepper talk - Piperade is a pretty simple dish: it needs good rich eggs, strong seasoning and fully flavoured peppers and tomatoes to avoid being insipid - 8th January

Articles: 2010

  • A feast at your table - Most professional chefs are ‘last-minuters’ when it comes to the big day. Rowley Leigh, an old hand at the Christmas game, shows how to cook against the clock - 18th December
  • Paradise islands - Rowley Leigh finds that a little exotic fancy in these wintry times does not go amiss as he puts together a tropical variety of ‘oeufs à la neige’ - 11th December
  • Bitter harvest - Although radicchio can be eaten raw, in which case it is crisp, juicy and bitter, cooking reveals a distinctive, smoky taste that becomes addictive - 4th December
  • Not to be truffled with - In spite of probably making a loss every time he shaves white truffles, Rowley Leigh says there is a point at which the price just doesn’t matter because he simply has to have the delicacy - 27th November
  • American pie - Rowley Leigh, who used to regard the pumpkin as as a watery, stringy gourd that was useful only for Jack-o’-Lanterns, offers a recipe for a tart that is both savoury and sweet - 20th November
  • Savoy, but ritzy - A cabbage cake with mozzarella and chestnuts can be served with meat, on its own as a main or as a starter. Rowley Leigh would be very happy with a slab of it for his lunch - 13th November
  • Game on - Pheasants are reaching their best now, getting a little plumper and more flavoursome, but cooking them is not an easy undertaking - 6th November
  • Mr mussels - The juice that one slurps at the end of a moules feast can be transformed into a glorious sauce that can accompany a piece of fish or be run through a plate of pasta - 30th October
  • Pear necessities - Rowley Leigh makes a leisurely dessert – the concept of which may seem English but was actually dreamt up in 18th-century France – of pears in red wine and hazelnut tart - 23rd October
  • Rabbit redux - More than just a satisfying dish, blanquette of rabbit with cider is also one of those concoctions that gives the cook a lot of pleasure to make - 16th October
  • Mellow fruitfulness - Highly acidic and firm in texture, English apples cook extremely well, lending themselves to a large repertoire of tarts, crumbles, pies and charlottes - 9th October
  • Surf and earth - Both scallops and ceps respond equally well to being sautéed quickly, seasoned and then flavoured with a little chopped parsley and garlic - 2nd October
  • A main attraction for vegetarians - A dish of aubergines layered like lasagne with cheese and tomato sauce and baked in the oven is noble, but don’t go calling it a main course - 25th September
  • Slowly does it with sirloin and saddle - Gently roasting a shoulder of lamb, which has muscles running in several directions, produces a well-cooked piece of meat that is both succulent and rich in flavour - 18th September
  • Bigger is better with bass - Although fish farming is not necessarily to be deprecated, it has to be said that farmed sea bass is a sorry alternative to wild - 11th September
  • The raw, the fried and the cooked - Oysters used to be the preserve of gentlemen’s clubs and posh fish restaurants. Today they are seen in most restaurants and many gastropubs as a matter of course - 4th September
  • The essence of high summer - We have them all year round, but the fact is that tomatoes reach their best only in July and remain at their best until the end of September - 28th August
  • From cephalopod to salted cod - There are only three options in central Italy if you want to eat fish, says Rowley Leigh. You can opt for lake fish, the frozen kind or the country’s absolute staple - 21st August
  • We ate late but it was worth the wait - Holidaying in southern Umbria, where the nearest town is a 20-minute drive away, Rowley Leigh makes do with a rib and loin of beef to cook rare steak and potato chips - 31st July
  • Pizza with a Gallic twist - Rowley Leigh prefers his Mum’s version, derived from French bastardisations of the original, but has foregone the bread dough and used puff pastry as the base for his pissaladière - 24th July
  • When cream rises to the top - Although heavy creams mask the flavour of ingredients, Rowley Leigh cannot resist a splash of cream when the luxurious combination of chicken and morels hoves into view - 17th July
  • Go strong on the garlic - Made of fresh eggs, olive oil and a fair amount of garlic, aïoli is a very simple dish that requires honesty in its preparation and what you eat with it - 10th July
  • The case for a bit of cherry-picking - Inspired by the clafoutis, the simple peasant dessert that appeals so much in theory but is often disappointing in practice, Rowley Leigh cooks a cherry soufflé - 3rd July
  • Easy peasy - Rowley Leigh, who finds ‘risi e bisi’ almost elemental in its simplicity yet incredibly satisfying, is annoyed when chefs cannot leave well alone - 19th June
  • Perfectly peachy - A good peach does not need much doing to it, apart from some careful handling and good timing - 12th June
  • Get to grips with a pincer movement - Rowley Leigh suggests eating lobsters 10 minutes after they are cooked – with a wedge of lemon, a bowl of melted butter and a napkin tucked into the collar - 5th June
  • Now’s the time to get your fill of beans - A raw, peeled broad bean is a luxury, albeit a simple one, and an uncomplicated dish offers a good demonstration of the galvanising power of the legume - 29th May
  • How to make a mean terrine - Making pâtés and terrines at home need not be difficult, provided you have the right equipment - 22nd May
  • A taste fit for toffs - Rowley Leigh cannot understand the aversion to kidneys, liver and sweetbreads, which are delicate, savoury and succulent in texture when cooked with a light touch - 15th May
  • Eyes on the pies - Rowley Leigh used to have an aversion to the idea of cooked strawberries until Simon Hopkinson gave him a hot strawberry pie - 8th May
  • Like a lamb to the sacrificial altar - Having been born on St George’s Day, Rowley Leigh celebrates with English asparagus, juicy langoustines and lamb with a great many Jersey Royal potatoes - 1st May
  • Five ways to cook asparagus - The British asparagus season starts next week. It may start with a trickle but Rowley Leigh says it’s worth getting those stoves ready and waiting - 24th April
  • Could I rise to the Riesling? - While preparing a menu to accompany 13 Rieslings from the distinguished house of Dr Loosen, Rowley Leigh bears in mind the claim that the wine does not go with food - 24th April
  • Appetisers on the brain - Rowley Leigh added ‘cervelle de canut’ to his menu, thinking that there was a certain ring to it. It has not been an easy sell - 17th April
  • Know your plaice - Nothing is quite so seasonal as plaice and it is but fitting that this delicate fish should come with spring and an appetite for lighter food - 10th April
  • Old classics die hard - Rowley Leigh says the technique to poaching eggs is simple enough: drop them into near-boiling water where the bubbles are rising rapidly to the surface - 3rd April
  • Time to grasp the nettles - Rich in both iron and acidity, nettles work very well in soup or in risotto and in pasta. But, as Rowley Leigh says, they sting horribly - 27th March
  • How to save a fowl foie gras situation - When a pigeon dish turns out to be a disaster, Rowley Leigh salvages the situation by creating a different one altogether - 20th March
  • A fridge too far? - The fridges – there are two – in Rowley Leigh’s home are never truly empty, nor are they marvels of organisation - 13th March
  • Some like it hot - Rowley Leigh’s favourite curry is a sophisticated dhansak, a rich and aromatic dish that is characterised by a distinct tang of sweet and sour fruit, preferably with tamarind - 6th March
  • Make no bones about it - Although a lot of people like the idea of a kipper, Rowley Leigh says they rarely order them because they expect the filleting to be done before the fish has arrived at the table - 27th February
  • Fool around on St Valentine’s - Simple is best if you are cooking at home for your enamoured. Rowley Leigh suggests scrambled eggs, roast chicken or a little crab linguini followed by a rhubarb dessert - 13th February
  • The morel of this story - When there are no fresh wild mushrooms about, dried are a godsend, writes Rowley Leigh. Dried ceps and morels are much the best and there is no doubting their strength of flavour - 6th February
  • What’s wrong with jelly? - Rowley Leigh cannot understand why the French find jelly incredibly amusing – after all, they were the ones who invented the stuff - 30th January
  • The beer essentials - Rowley Leigh counsels caution when cooking with the alcoholic beverage, since bitter can indeed be bitter. Carbonnade, the classic beef and Belgian beer stew, is the exception - 23rd January
  • A fruit to lift the spirits - Although the fruit might be a little overpowering, Rowley Leigh admits to being a convert to a plate of ripe, carefully prepared pineapple - 16th January
  • Hooray for the soufflé - soufflés belong to an older tradition that has largely been dispensed with in favour of infusions and foams, of smoke, pastilles and other modern tricks - 9th January
  • All in the game - Rowley Leigh is annoyed to see imported frivolities such as quail and guinea fowl when the real thing – which includes rabbits and pigeons – is alive and well, zipping around hedgerows - 2nd January

Articles: 2009

  • Zuppa desserts - While English desserts have not made great inroads into Europe, Rowley Leigh says trifle – that sublime and most self-deprecating of puddings – has been taken by Naples to its bosom - 26th December
  • No red herrings on my Christmas fish list - Rowley Leigh is as partial to good smoked salmon as the next man, but he thinks he might change his tune a little this year and introduce herring and ‘blinis’ to the menu - 19th December
  • True confections - Inspired by his grandmother, Rowley Leigh prepares dessert courses that make very welcome Christmas presents - 12th December
  • Party pieces - Slices of spiced beef or smoked salmon are acceptable Christmas party food, but with it being winter, it is also a good idea to offer something hot - 5th December
  • Pudding at its peak - Mont Blanc is often made as a cake and served as a free-standing dessert. Adding meringue or ice cream is optional, but Rowley Leigh deems chestnut purée a must - 28th November
  • When in Rome ... do as the vegetarians do - Rowley Leigh just had a vegetarian main course. An unusual occurrence for someone reluctant to move away from the idea of a chunk of protein as being the centrepiece of a meal - 21st November
  • The rice man cometh - Rowley Leigh recreates a risotto that he enjoyed in Italy: very simply cooked, with a nice broth, flecks of pumpkin and sage and the rice still perfectly firm - 14th November
  • Pleasures of ekeing out - The use of leftovers is a thing of the past. Affluence has not just made us extravagant, it has also made us neurotically hygienic - 7th November
  • Charming both Chardonnay and Chianti - The suckers that cover an octopus’s legs are incredibly succulent and flavoursome and manage to go well with both white and red wine - 31st October
  • It’s easy to tackle fish - A lot of people are a bit afraid of fish, Rowley Leigh muses. They are not so confident when it comes to a proper piece, especially when it is on the bone - 24th October
  • Don’t upset the apple tart - The Egremont Russet’s rich wine-like taste, slightly nutty, slightly creamy and very long in the finish makes it not only a beautiful dessert but very good cooked - 17th October
  • Deer prudence - The roe deer may be bad news for Surrey gardeners but for foodies of Woking and Thames Ditton, it is the best venison for eating by being the leanest, darkest and richest of all - 10th October
  • The simplicity and elegance of Parma ham - On a press trip to Italy, Rowley Leigh gorges on the famous delicacy and finds the simplicity of its preparation almost bewildering - 3rd October
  • Wounded BBC puts on a show of courage - The broadcaster produces news, analysis and documentary of unrivalled quality and depth, far better than the profit-based channels of the US - 26th September
  • Chicory tips - Rowley Leigh muses at how the hitherto unpopular endive – whether cooked or prepared as salad – has become widely appreciated like Mom’s apple pie - 26th September
  • Raw land, raw fish - Rowley Leigh visits a salmon farm and says whatever one understands of the environmental issues in fish farming, it is a simple truth that a happy animal, or fish, will make for better eating - 19th September
  • Beans on toast by any other name - Cooked with care, dried borlotti beans can be very good. But they are no match to the creamy texture and nutty flavour of fresh ones - 12th September
  • Seafood fit for a US president - lobster – which is plentiful and cheap in Cape Cod – would be a shoo-in for a presidential dinner - 5th September
  • First moment to savour - It is a tribute to its distinctiveness that one treats grouse with caution. Grouse meat has a sweetness that is lost when additional sweetness is added - 29th August
  • The upper crustacean - Rowley Leigh, who did not think lobster shells could produce flavour, was proven wrong after cooking a mound of discarded shells for a paella - 22nd August
  • Lore of the Colombe d’Or - The hors d’oeuvres in the French hotel’s restaurant served as inspiration for Rowley Leigh’s Le Café Anglais - 15th August
  • What a plum job - Rowley Leigh has a passion for the mirabelle whose greenish tint to its ochre colour develops into a deep mustard yellow before it positively bursts with sweetness - 8th August
  • Peace reigns in Perugia - Although it is not especially well-reviewed or a place of gastronomic pilgrimage, La Rosetta typifies the diginified calm Rowley Leigh looks for in a good Italian restaurant - 1st August
  • The dream cream - Thirty years ago chefs used cream with abandon, now they now have to be more careful. But Rowley Leigh maintains that there are moments when a bit of cream is sublime - 25th July
  • With a British cherry on top - If fresh cherries are the embodiment of innocence, pickled cherries – which can be served plain as a nibble with an aperitif – are more sophisticated - 18th July
  • A hoodie with a heart - Artichokes, with their annoying thorns, may be a real chore to prepare but Rowley Leigh loves them for their rich subtle flavour - 11th July
  • When life’s anything but a picnic - Play it simple, is Rowley Leigh’s advice to festival-goers contemplating a picnic – use paper napkins and disposable glasses and take wine that is bottled with a screwcap - 4th July
  • Venetian visit with a twist - The owner of Ristorante Riviera averts a great ‘faux pas’ in Italian gastronomy about to be committed by a dining companion of Rowley Leigh - 27th June
  • Summer’s the time to play gooseberry - Every year gooseberries – which are quite luscious and good baked in a tart with frangipane – get harder and harder to find - 20th June
  • Not on your Nellie - The original Pêche Melba had no sauce at all and was conceived by a besotted Escoffier for a dinner party given in honour of the great soprano - 13th June
  • Cure-all dishes - Hospital food made Rowley Leigh reflect on food for invalids, for whom the common prescription is whiting which breaks into moist and succulent white flakes when cooked - 6th June
  • Halibut harvest - If they survive disease and terrorism the female halibut grow to at least eight kilos, by which time they produce thick, juicy and flavoursome steaks - 23rd May
  • New tricks from two master chefs - Italian cuisine experts show Rowley Leigh how to make two kinds of fresh pasta - 16th May
  • A sucker for octopus - Eating octopus risotto in a restaurant in Porto made Rowley Leigh realise just how rich and flavoursome the stock from an octopus could be - 9th May
  • One potato, new potato - Rowley Leigh says it’s all about the potato skin: when first lifted, it is a mere silky membrane that washes off under the slight pressure of the cold tap - 2nd May
  • Sweetness in a forced marriage - Rhubarb and strawberries are the newest heavenly conjunctions of foodstuffs that make the food at this time of year so special - 25th April
  • You cannot trust a pea - The legume has two kinds, says Rowley Leigh. One barely needs cooking while the other needs braising on a bed of bacon, shredded lettuce and spring onions before it can be rendered palatable - 18th April
  • Put a spring in your step - Spring lamb should become sweeter as the weeks go by, and a stew with fresh produce will make a pleasant change - 11th April
  • Froth and substance - In texture, sorrel soup must hide an iron fist in a velvet glove; in taste, it must capture the fresh acidity of the leaf whilst being suave and luxurious on the tongue - 4th April
  • A different kettle of fish - A cassoulet is a dish of pork and beans augmented by meats and sausage – goose, duck, mutton, lamb, partridge – depending on which south-western French town you come from - 28th March
  • A good squeeze works wonders - We tend to take the flavour of the lemon for granted, but it makes the best sorbet, the best cheesecake and probably the best tart of all - 21st March
  • Time for a proper pâté - You can call anything a pâté these days but what you rarely get is a proper one, which is a mixture wrapped in pastry and usually served hot - 14th March
  • Eggs par excellence - Rowley Leigh has never had an ‘oeuf’ for breakfast in France, where it is only for lunch or supper. Over there, a superior one is often poached in red wine - 7th March
  • One pot for the lot - In spite of the alluring simplicity of one-pot cooking, Rowley Leigh finds most ‘easy’ recipes exasperating – but he makes an exception for a hearty vegetable stew - 28th February
  • Why turkey is the veal deal - Apart from being much the same colour, turkey and veal are both rich, savoury meats that profit from being cut thin and quickly cooked - 21st February
  • Getting to the heart and sole of the matter - Dover sole is a rare treat for Rowley Leigh, something he feels he has to have occasionally - 14th February
  • The paler the better - Chicken livers are joining the ranks of the unwanted, therefore remaining gloriously inexpensive for use in a gâteau de foies de volaille - 7th February
  • A roaster turned poacher - Since his restaurant knocks out 200 roast chickens every week, Rowley Leigh prefers to cook this versatile meat in an odd mixture of herbs, ham, lemon and savoury little curds of milk - 31st January
  • Hot stuff from the Med - Rowley Leigh prepares a fish soup full of flavour and body and serves it with croutons, cheese and a chilli-hot rouille that invokes a degree of caution after the first mouthful - 24th January
  • Hitting a purple patch to lift the winter blues - Rowley Leigh is thankful for the sprouting broccoli, an extraordinary vegetable whose stalks have an asparagus like delicacy and depth of flavour - 17th January
  • Seafood variations - Kaffir lime leaves, whose aromatic fragrance is the keynote of Thai cooking, are very essential when Rowley Leigh cooks mussels - 10th January 2009
  • Thereby hangs a tail - The once very lowly oxtail – an underrated cut of rich and gelatinous meat – has always been a bit of a treat in Rome - 3rd January 2009

Articles: 2008

  • Why I love to go cold turkey - You can debate the bird’s merits as a meat but it is beyond dispute that its carcase produces a superlative stock for risotto - 27th December 2008
  • Feast from the east - Rowley Leigh discovers why wine connoisseur Michael Hill Smith’s idea of proper food is defined by one dish – the black pepper crab – when he got to eat it in a New York restaurant - 20th December 2008
  • Beef up your Christmas menu - The great holiday tradition of pickling, or spicing, the meat has nearly been forgotten. Rowley Leigh brings back an old favourite - 29th November 2008
  • Happily ever afters - Candied yams during Thanksgiving is not a good idea, says Rowley Leigh, as it adds a great deal of sugar to an already sugar-saturated, starchy vegetable - 22nd November 2008
  • Acquiring a taste for real cider - Rowley Leigh says baking brill, skate or turbot in the oven with butter, sliced shallots and a glass or two of the not-so-palatable drink is an excellent choice - 15th November 2008
  • The Cinderella cephalopod - Cuttlefish can be grilled or stir fried, butRowley Leigh likes it best when slowly braised as it creates a remarkably rich and flavoursome sauce - 8th November 2008
  • Justly famed desserts - Inspired by ‘La Belle Hélène’, Poires Belle Hélène is glamorous in its presentation and is an exception to the rule that fruit and chocolate do not mix - 1st November 2008
  • Affordable luxury of mackerel - Because mackerel is not rare, Rowley Leigh says we can enjoy this inexpensive fare. However, a good fishmonger is hard to find and it may be better to learn to fillet - 25th October 2008
  • A feast of partridge - Given its proper title and presentation, the ‘Chartreuse’ has artful origins. A Lenten diet of cabbage soup, of the odd turnip and shard of salt cod must have been trying for even the most devout monk - 18th October 2008
  • The true oyster cult - Marco Pierre White’s dish of linguine and oysters inspires Rowley Leigh, who admires the high level of skill and timing required to execute and present it - 11th october 2008
  • King of the squashes - Any recipe for pumpkin – soups, gnocchi, risotto, pies and all – will probably be enhanced by the concentrated flavour of ’potimarron’ - 4th October 2008
  • Make sure your wines are a winning pair - There are quite a few rules when it comes to planning a wine dinner. But Rowley Leigh says that in the end, one has to forget them and actually taste - 26th September 2008
  • Fun and game - Wild ducks are tricky birds to cook and Rowley Leigh says it’s best to stick to Eliza Acton’s sage advice in the 1845 book ‘Modern Cookery’ - 20th September 2008
  • Children’s favourite, tastily dressed for the grownups - For those much too sophisticated to want to eat a corn on a cob, sweetcorn can be used in other guises - 13th September 2008
  • Don’t get the risotto blues - Italian chefs are very protective of the heritage of this dish, but different varieties of rice and new cooking methods are blurring traditional boundaries - 6th September 2008
  • A far cry from hairy and salty - Instead of a trip to Collioure, epicentre of the French anchovy trade, Rowley Leigh settles for a walk to Borough Market to sample exquisite imported fish from Spain - 30th August 2008
  • The magic of mushrooms - Britons ought to get to know their mushrooms better – especially the wild types, which have a rich and earthy flavour - 23rd August 2008
  • The best game of all - It looks like being a bumper year for grouse. Gamekeepers and dealers are confident that the stocks are back to a healthy level and we can expect plenty of birds, presumably at a reasonable price - 16th August 2008
  • Less choice, more flavour - The hill towns of Umbria are different from those of Tuscany or southern France. Although just as vertiginous and gloriously medieval, as commanding in their viewpoint and as sinister in their side streets, they lack something: visitors and commerce - 9th August 2008
  • Aubergine genie - We did not have much idea of what to do with aubergines, or eggplants, when they first arrived in Britain. They looked mysterious and utterly inedible in their raw state. Furthermore, every recipe told us to cut them up and salt them for an hour, resulting in a handful of salty, fibrous carpet material - 26th July 2008
  • When tepid tastes terrific - A couple of weeks ago I extolled the virtues of cold meat, attempting to explain that the firmer texture of cold meat actually led to a superior release of flavour - 19th July 2008
  • Well done, old bean - My father did not consider himself much of a gourmet. His mother cooked plain English food, very well, according to him and even, apparently, in my mother’s estimation. He had a deep suspicion of anything fancy - 12th July 2008
  • A taste for cold comfort - Customers in restaurants feel short-changed if their meat is not served piping hot. Lukewarm or cold meat is not often appreciated - 5th July 2008
  • A soufflé with the stress removed' - “Crème pat” we call it and it is, or used to be, the bricks and mortar – or mortar at any rate – of the pastry cook’s art. It is the patissier’s equivalent of Louis de Béchamel’s white sauce, once ubiquitous but now considered very vieux chapeau - 30th June 2008
  • Custard cuts the mustard - I have mentioned before my dislike of the term “signature dish”. It is an egotistical notion and we chefs have a bad enough reputation for egotistical behaviour without needing to exacerbate it - 21st June 2008
  • There’s nothing better than porchetta - I may not be well qualified to talk about street food: I haven’t been to a street market in Singapore or wandered around the barrios of Mexico City - 14th June 2008
  • Consummate consommé - When you worked for the Roux brothers, just occasionally you were given a recipe – most of the time, though, you were not - 7th June 2008
  • Get your claws into this - Lobster – and prawns, and plenty of other sea food besides – “goes” rather well with pulses. I say this with a small degree of misgiving because, in a way, it shouldn’t. I am staring at a picture (in Umbria, by one Julia della Croce) of a very appetising-looking seafood stew composed of squid, clams and mussels in brown lentils and am equally discombobulated - 2nd June 2008
  • When in Rome .... - May in Rome means a familiar litany of ingredients that it would be difficult to tire of - 24th May 2008
  • Do yourself a fava - Some people eat broad beans in their pods. Picked very young, thinly sliced like runner beans and dropped briefly in boiling water before being tossed in butter, they can be very palatable - 19th May 2008
  • Great delicacy up for crabs - I have had a tricky time with crab over the years. For many years I would refuse to prepare it on the grounds that contact with the shells left my hands irritated and inflamed - 12th May 2008
  • Duck decisions that boil down to peas - Nothing could better illustrate the differences between the French and the Anglo-Saxon styles of cooking than duck with peas but I cannot decide which I prefer - 5th May 2008
  • The spear delight of asparagus - It is almost a cheek to give a recipe for asparagus. The best recipe probably runs: cut the asparagus, drop them in boiling, salted water until the tips are tender and serve with a pot of melted butter - 28th April 2008
  • The etiquette of gariguettes - My friends’ three young sons had already devoured oysters, salsify fritters, roast kid and chips. We had fed them puddings while we lingered over our red wine and a little plate of cheese. It seemed a safe time to bring on the strawberries - 21st April 2008
  • Gastronomic dreaming - We were supposed to go to Sicily last weekend, but trying to get childcare provision to coincide with airline and hotel availability proved troublesome. In the end, it seemed easier to stay in England and dart down to Devon - 14th April 2008
  • Now and hen - A weighty volume arrives in the post from the depths of Dartmoor. The accompanying note is characteristic of its eccentric publisher, Tom Jaine - 7th April 2008
  • A sorrel sign of spring - I have made what I think is a rather nice plate of stewed rabbit with some very creamy (no cream, just milk and butter) potato, a few glazed button onions and fine ribbons – chiffonade, as we cooks call it – of sorrel - 31st March 2008
  • Neolithic takes on the scientific - Next door to me – actually on the same workbench, practically on top of each other – Brett Graham, the absurdly gifted and young chef from The Ledbury in Notting Hill, London, was preparing a shoulder of baby lamb - 24th March 2008
  • Easter the Irish way - An early Easter is a tricky proposition for the cook. No doubt the butchers will be selling expensive gigots of so-called “spring” lamb - 15th March 2008
  • Sweet and sour - “And what is today’s rhubarb dish?” inquires my duty manager, her sarcasm only barely held in check - 8th March 2008
  • A lot to like about leeks - For the uninitiated, mutton cawl is a stew, not dissimilar to Irish stew, to which a great deal of leeks are added towards the cooking time - 1st March 2008
  • There’s a leg in my soup - We sell a lot of chicken at Le Café Anglais. Poor old Chris Fredericks, the besieged producer of Label Anglais chickens, is having a tough time keeping up the supply - 23rd February 2008
  • How Provence came to Parsons Green - The recipe from Elizabeth David was enticing, as were, nay, are, so many of her recipes - 16th February 2008
  • Deer prudence - The idea of hunting purely for fun only came in with the advent of fox hunting at the end of the 18th century; until then the purpose of venery was food, even if it was an awful lot of fun at the same time. The result, venison, was considered the best meat and therefore the privilege of the rich - 9th February 2008
  • The alchemy of risotto - Risotto used – in my childhood, at any rate – to be a subject for fear and loathing. Only “rissole” caused greater consternation, although, in truth, there was not necessarily that much difference between them - 2nd February 2008
  • Mussel power - Maxim’s in Paris was never famous for its food; it was famous for being Maxim’s - 26th January 2008
  • Orange origins - There is a story that James Keiller invented marmalade in the 18th century when a cargo of Seville oranges was stuck in Dundee harbour because of fierce storms. He bought the cargo but could not sell the cheek-puckering fruit, whereupon his wife took some and made jam - 12th January 2008
  • In praise of gourmands - It would be hard to nominate a favourite dish for the late Hugh Massingberd. The obituarist, editor and trencherman who died on Christmas Day liked everything. One favourite story is of the waiter who recited to him the litany of breakfast fare (sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, kidneys ...) and was given the simple answer “yes please” - 5th January 2008

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