Review: Cooking With Heroes

The Royal British Legion is marking 100 years (1921-2021) with a new cookbook featuring recipes by personnel with contributions from, celebrity cooks and chefs.

The first thing to say about Cooking With Heroes is that it’s a very ambitious book at 470 pages. A tome both in terms of content and weight, it requires both hands to hold it up to read. The recipes appear by regions from Armagh to Zimbabwe, Essex to The Gambia, and Hampshire to New Zealand. There are favourites (Hello, Welsh rarebit!) and posh fish ‘n’ chips and other recipes, for instance, potato and apple bread, contributed by Chief Petty Officer John Potts, Royal Navy (Retired). Add to the mix personal stories, snippets of history and stunning photography and the wide appeal of this book will solve many Christmas gift shopping dilemmas. Or add it to your own Letter to Santa.

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This week… tigers, skulls and a Del Boy moment

Temperatures have dropped in the UK this week and after what seemed like endless days of autumn sunshine we now have heavy rain. From now until around March bracing country walks, warming hot soups and evenings on the sofa watching great classic films are the general rule, including an annual rerun of Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (BBC, 1979) with the much-missed Alec Guinness.

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These are a few of my favourite (autumnal) things

The early mornings are now cooler but by late morning the light mists burn off to reveal the atmospheric, pale autumn sunlight. The leaves on the trees are just beginning to turn colour, with a promise of blazing reds and burnt oranges soon to come. In the UK you need to pace yourself though because spring is a long way off. Celebrating the changing seasons is a form of mindfulness or meditation. Taking things slowly, enjoying the simple daily pleasures of changing landscapes and seasonal food, autumn is a time of year to truly indulge the senses.

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Whistler’s Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan

If you have never read Wilkie Collins’s novel Woman in White written in1859, I urge you to remedy the situation before you visit a new exhibition opening in February. (So, no excuses, you have plenty of long winter nights to catch up). It is a wonderful Victorian tale of intrigue surrounding a mysterious woman lost in London and dressed entirely in white. A new exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts also aims to ‘cherchez la femme’, in this case the flame-headed Joanna Hiffernan, through the work of American painter and printmaker, James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903).

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