In the kitchen: Plastic free?

A few years ago after donating the microwave to the local charity shop, along with the non-stick pans and baking trays, and ditching the cling film (and the aluminium foil), it turns out that going plastic/toxin-free is not that easy. Plastic Free July®starts tomorrow and while I’m not really a fan of the national ‘donut day’ type of intiatives, this is a global movement worth getting behind.

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A chocolate love affair

Chocolate has come a long way in recent years. It’s up there with raw honey, extra virgin olive oil and fine wines in terms of terroir. A gourmet product involves craftsmanship and loving care so, as with all slow food, take the time to appreciate the work and ingredients that have gone into each tantalising mouthful. Less is best when it comes to consuming sweet foods so it’s worth ensuring the chocolate you eat is delivering the best possible experience in every bite.

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This week… wellies, weather and wild food

This week I pulled on a sweater and my wellies and headed out into the Hampshire countryside around Winchester. Despite muddy ground underfoot the ethereal autumn sunlight danced on the surface of the River Itchen. I never tire of exploring this ancient countryside in the footsteps of Iron Age and Roman peoples. The city was subsequently the medieval capital of England and is surely a candidate for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amongst this green and pleasant land I can breathe deeply and it literally goes to my head, as surely as a glass of vintage champagne.

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This week… bling, boats and broken biscuits

You know how news bulletins always end with a ‘feel-good’ story? Well, this week I’m opening by shining a light on positive news, inspired by the contents of incoming emails recently focusing on paying it forward. Sometimes we’re not in a position to repay a kindness directly but a time will come, in the near or distant future, when we’re able to pass on that goodwill to another, and possibly in a different form. It might be as simple as passing on a theatre ticket you’re not able to use or a voucher for a complimentary coffee. It always lights up my day when it happens to me and I enjoy paying it forward when the opportunity presents itself.

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Interview: Tom Savano

Are you sitting comfortably? It’s story-telling time.

Tom Savano had time on his hands. As a business entrepreneur, he enjoyed the good things in life that he had worked hard to achieve. But, in time, Savano tended to avoid places where the affluent set gathered to party in summer, or rendezvous in winter.

Travelling for its own sake wasn’t part of his natural character. Living for experiences rather than to accumulate trappings he began to seek out new and authentic cultures.

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This week… under lockdown (thirteen)

Another interesting week in the new social landscape. I’ve been under lockdown solo since it all began and this week a PPE-clad engineer came to carry out the annual boiler service, the first person to enter my apartment since March. He seemed as nervous as I was. I also spent four days without internet connection, so this visit was quickly followed by another engineer to fix the broadband. I began to wonder how on earth people coped during the Black Death. While they didn’t have to concern themselves with luxuries like running hot water and internet connection in the 14th century, there must be many similarities to today’s pandemic.

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