Monthly Archives: January 2017

Reading List (31/1)

Portraits of people affected by Trump’s immigration ban. And how this will affect the places you eat. A long read on immigration and homogeneity in Poland. A restaurant employing refugees from Syria.

Alain de Botton on writing things down to calm the mind and organise thoughts. “Self-disgust is second nature to most writers; procrastination is endless. It’s a pity for literature that the news has been quite so interesting lately. It takes a long time – and a lot of browsing of The Guardian website – till the pain of achieving nothing at all trumps the fear of doing something badly.”

Deliciously Ella. 

We are in Spain at the moment. I am rereading The Historian, for comfort and reassurance in these troubled times. 

On teaching creative writing

A salmon with an old soul.

A travel guide to Santa Fe.

This honey cake. Ways to get more cookies in your life. Wonderful words from Rachel Roddy.

Have a good week. x

Reading List (24/1)


Did you march on Saturday? Here’s a roundup of some of the best highlights I’ve seen. [Also proof that I live in a bubble, my Facebook and Instagram feeds were full of these scenes all weekend.] These photographs, the ducklings in Boston, Margaret Atwood signs, Ashley Judd’s poetry, this essay.

Falling out of love with clean eating. How the clean-eating gurus are shying away from the label. Plus risk, food choice and cancer.

Advice on blogging. Ideas to boost creativity. How writing can help students develop grit.

I like the look of these, for quick breakfasts. I want to make this cake.

Fergus Henderson on Marcella Hazan. I have a deep desire to spend a Sunday making her 5-hour ragu.

The issue of money and being a writer.

Banning wifi in coffee shops.

An interview with Fuchsia Dunlop.

Using mindfulness to help with PhD stress.

Hidden things in library books.

Montaigne: on writing, reading and how to live. (Added this book to my wishlist).

These posters.

Are there more than five tastes? Could there be one for fat? This is a fascinating video about taste, genetics and the possible ways you can do research.

Food in two (dystopian) novels.

A museum, underwater. And an exhibition about Emily Dickinson.

I’ve falled into a John Rebus wormhole recently. I discovered there were loads of Ian Rankin audio books at my library and I’ve spent the past several weekends listening to John Rebus solve various crimes, deal with gangsters, and pretend to be retired. It’s been ace. So far, I’ve listened to: Even Dogs in the Wild;  Saints of the Shadow Bible; and Standing in Another Man’s Grave. In-between all the Rebus, I listened to We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which was bizarre and fascinating and thought-provoking and weird all at once.

Have a good week. We are heading to Spain tomorrow. x

Reading List (17/1)


How much should you share on your food blog? Personally, I am much more interested in food blogs that are about people’s lives, rather than just recipes with great photos (although I obviously love those too, and use them a lot). Perhaps this is because I am fascinated by our lives, how we live well, and how we tell the stories of our experiences?

Write in spite of everything.

Fossil nightshades. How ridiculously, totally cool is that?

A nostalgic but lovely description of Oxford.

I read this and wanted to book tickets to Prague immediately.

It may not be the best idea to eat Nutella.

On libraries. Anyone want to start a book to art club with me? Also, this kid.

The best breakfast spots around the UK.

Some words on Italy, and a recipe for pasta.

Jay Rayner on the things that drive him crazy in the food world.

Buying from indie shops.

Gender stereotypes.

Cooking to accompany Netflix’s new A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Adding this to my list of things I want to do this year.

This is a great idea: library boxes filled with food and essential household items.

On British Indian food, restaurants and immigration.

Dan Barber is coming to London.


Reading List (10/1)


Re-reading books in times of stress. I so relate to this. I read hardly any new books during my final year as a PhD. I re-read (and listened to) a lot of Harry Potter, some Austen, some Bronte, The Secret Garden – pretty much anything that was easy and comforting.

Pasta with potatoes with cheese. Just what these dark January days need.

Ruby Tandoh on eating clean and dietary restrictions. And on white sliced bread.

Pete Wells on Locol. (This has caused a bit of a furore in the food world). A response to Pete Wells’ review of Locol.

This for dinner.

Celebrating the food of refugees.

Places to visit this year: from Buzzfeed, The Guardian, and the New York Times.

Lily Vanilli.

Bee Wilson on choosing books for awards.

Places to eat in foodie cities.

From the 1962 New Yorker: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. (Long, but worth the read.)

The making of roscón de reyes cakes for January 6th.

What is a PhD and what is the point of doing one?

Fantastic conversation between Krista Tippett and Maria Popova this week.

Running a whisky ‘dramathon‘. Any takers?

I was catching up on podcasts over the weekend. I loved the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme on cake, its popularity in modern times and its history. I’ve added Cake: A global history to my (long) list of books I want to read this year.

I also listened (with much delight and laughter) to Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. The story of Cat Morland is transported to Edinburgh and the Scottish borders. I loved it. It was ridiculous with tinges of gothic and some fantastic vampire references.

On returning a Michelin star.

Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes.

Another review on a new book on the evils of sugar.

Tracing the history of plants and through that, the history of culture and food tradition.

An interview with the head chef of Petersham Nurseries (one of my favourite places ever).

Have a good week! x

Reading List (3/1)

Welcome 2017! Hope you had a good new year celebration and are back into the swing of work things. I’m still recovering from illness. Gah. But I am at my desk… Here is the year’s first list.

Food horoscopes for 2017. Predicting food trends for 2017. Best ingredients for 2017.

Really interesting video talk on how we plan for our future selves, and often fail to imagine how much we will have changed when we become them.

Ridiculously funny conversation about the different accents of British cows.

They are talking about fracking Sherwood Forest. Honestly.

A fascinating article on sugar.

A round-up from Lucky Peach on the best things read and eaten in 2016.

A collection of articles on wellness.

Should we be adjusting the way we grow food because of potential water shortages?

Did you do any reading over the break? I don’t really have any memory of last week, being that I was mostly asleep. When I was not, I was reading. I couldn’t stop reading In the Woods. Thoroughly recommend it if you love a detective story – it is one of those that gets under the skin and stays with you long after. I also read The Innocents which was a fascinating look at families, what makes them, how they keep themselves together, how communities are formed. Yesterday I finished The Improbability of Love. This last one has been a particular favourite, recommended by friends on a whatsapp bookclub and one I devoured in a few days. Art, food, love, mystery. All my favourite holiday themes. (And here is a story on art forgery.) Next up is Eligible, The World According to Anna, and When in French.

Oh my, this Instagram account.

Have a good week! x