Calling bullshit on the cult of the Great British Bake Off

Programme Name: Great British Bake Off - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: 13/08/2013 - Picture Shows: Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Des Willie

There is an innate rebellion in me that feels the need to eschew all things that were once reserved for the independent thinker and have become a mainstream capitalist commodity: 1950s circle skirts, Amy Winehouse, Lena Dunham, oversized glasses, kale, This American Life and most ubiquitous of them all: cupcakes.

If there’s an hour of television to embody everything I hate about cupcakes, it’s the Great British Bake Off. It’s style over substance, sickly sweet yet simultaneously bland, non-ironically reactionary, and reproduced over and over again, to ever-lower standards. (more…)

My admiration for Nigella Lawson, why you should buy her new book, and what I’d ask her at my dream dinner party 2015-07-20 19-32-08

I adore food in all its forms. I spend hours reading about it – from obscure recipes and historical cuisines to analyses of trends within the industry and personal essays about the pleasures of cooking and eating. There is nothing that fills me with a greater sense of calm purpose combined with a giddy thrill than preparing a new dish for the first time, and bar a byline in The New Yorker, I can think of few things that would give me more pride than serving a dish of sensory ecstasy to my guests.

When the latest cover of Nigella Lawson’s upcoming cookery book was unveiled last week, I was ready to be excited, yet conversely found myself disappointed by its simplicity. I felt that the restrained yet decadent, bright and subtly nuanced aspects of the author’s food (and, I suspect, her personality) were ill-reflected in the book that I was already looking forward to reading. (more…)

My tips for an amazing weekend in Riga, Latvia



Where to stay

You have to stay in the old town. Wandering down little cobble stoned streets will give you that instant holiday feeling, and the main square is packed full of inexpensive alfresco bars and cafes. It’s about a 30 minute drive from the airport and within walking distance of most of the key tourist attractions.

Airbnb seemed like a better option than a hotel in Riga, and we stayed at this one. The pictures don’t actually do justice to the weirdness of the decor, although the mixture of derelict industrial with kitsch and bold seemed to be something of a theme across the city. 2015-05-29 15-17-17