Discovering Turning Leaf colours

Published on Foodepedia on 25th May 2011:

Californian winemakers Turning Leaf have recently launched their “Discover the Colour” campaign to present their portfolio of five wines as expressions of colour. To be precise, Turning Leaf’s oenologist Stephanie Edge has teamed up with Dutch chef Esther Röling to create a new series of colourful recipes designed to match the Turning Leaf wines throughout the seasons. I was invited to sample their selection of wines and some of the summery dishes to match.

The concept itself is quite interesting. When you start thinking about wines, there seems to be only red and white. But as you explore the different grapes and regions, you soon realise that there are a lot of different shades within the spectrum of red and white with subtle nuances of flavour and aroma.

The five Turning Leaf wines, a mixture of red and white, make great everyday wines but when matched with the vibrant dishes, they really do evoke colour. Esther was on hand to cook up three dishes for us and it was easy to see the colours on the plate.

The first dish we tried was a pan fried mackerel with lime oil, fennel and green apple salad. It was a really summery recipe, with lots of green ingredients, matched to their fruity Pinot Grigio. The next dish we had, red mullet with Moroccan couscous, was more golden. It signified a change in the season, moving towards the autumnal. The second wine was a fuller bodied Chardonnay which was almost richly caramel in taste. Despite both being white wines, the colours they have been portrayed are very different and it definitely echoes their different characteristics.

Then it was on to the portfolio of reds.

The Pinot Noir stepped up first and was matched with a pan-fried quail with purple beetroot, which we didn’t get to try. The wine is said to be filled with dark cherry and raspberry flavours and the purple beetroot certainly matches those colours well. The final dish that we sampled was a beef carpaccio with rye bread crumb, designed for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The beef lended plenty of support for the full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and the two together created a ruby red illusion. The last wine in the portfolio was a Zinfandel, matched with a wintry slow-cooked veal with winter vegetable purée. Zinfandel is probably generally better known in rosés but in this case it was a red wine, which with the matched dish should give that orange glow of late autumn and early winter.

And that makes the complete portfolio of Turning Leaf wines – Pinot Grigio (green), Chardonnay (golden), Pinot Noir (purple), Cabernet Sauvignon (red) and Zinfandel (orange). All that’s left was to finish the last of the colourful food, enjoy the wine before heading home to try the recipe myself.

For more information about Turning Leaf wines and to see these and more recipes, visit

Commemorative food and drinks for your own Royal Wedding party

Published on Foodepedia on 17th April 2011:

If you’re having your own party for the Royal Wedding, here are a few things to get you started.


  • Brace yourself for the latest Heston from Waitrose product – a Royal Trifle. The creation is a combination of trifle and Eton Mess and is big enough to feed ten people. Priced at £13.99, it will be available in Waitrose from the 20th of April.
  • Chocolatiers Prestat have created a box of truffles to fly the British flag. The box contains five different flavours that are designed to echo the fun (pink Marc de Champagne), excitement (sea salt caramel), history (oranges and lemons), grandeur (hazelnut pralines) and romance (passion fruit) of the occasion. The special box, priced at £15, is available from the Prestat boutique at 14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, London SW1Y 6DS and online at
  • There’s probably nothing more British than a simple pie. Pieminister have created a Kate & Wills commemorative pie just for the Royal Wedding. Made with British beef, wine, bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms and a dash of brandy, the pie is available exclusively from Sainsbury’s for £3.25 each.
  • Cox Cookies and Cake, the Soho boutique by shoe designer Patrick Cox and cake boy Eric Lanlard, have created a range of cakes just for the occasion. They are available in store from 25th of April and will feature five cakes with a British theme. Available are the Crown Cake, the Queen Cake, the Bulldog Cake, the Brits Kiss Cake and the Brit Flag Cake. Prices start from £2.50. Visit for more information.
  • To mark the Royal Wedding, Country Life has launched a Great British Butter with a Union Jack packaging. It will be on sale for the month of April only. The butter is made exclusively with milk from British dairy farms and is available at all good supermarkets.
  • Quality Street have launched a commemorative tin for the Royal Wedding, which is available exclusively at ASDA for £7. The tin will contain all the classics but will feature an image of the couple on the front. Visit to find your nearest ASDA.


  • Champagne Pommery has created a very British looking POP UK bottle, the latest addition to their POP champagne range. The single serving (20cl) bottles are priced at £12.50 each, and feature the Union Jack as the packaging. It’s designed to be drunk from the bottle either as it is or through a straw. The UK bottle will be available from Harvey Nichols or online at
  • Chapel Down, the largest producer of English wines, have released a new sparkling wine called “The Union” to mark the occasion. It’s a special blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. There are only 2011 bottles available, priced at £24.99 each. It is available from their website or directly from the winery by calling 01580 763033.
  • If you fancied holding an afternoon tea at home, Twinnings have just the thing. They have created a Royal Wedding Commemorative blend of White Earl Grey tea. Presented in a special box, the blend is available at Waitrose nationwide and online at for £4.99
  • Mills & Boon, the romance novel publisher, have teamed up with tea specialists Yumchaa to create a loose tea leaf blend called Mills & Boon Royal Tea to pair with their special commemorative mugs. The blend contains ingredients such as black Kenyan tea, blackberries, blue cornflowers, silver candy balls and red candy hearts. The tea and mug is priced at £7 and £5.99 respectively and are available from and

Royal happenings to celebrate the Royal Wedding

Published on Foodepedia on 17th April 2011:

Whether you think the Royal Wedding is an over-hyped media circus or the most exciting event to have happened for decades, or perhaps you’re simply nonchalant about the whole thing, there’s no denying that it’s a great excuse to party. Taking place on the 29th of April, the event precedes and follows Bank Holidays giving some of us a much deserved break.

Naturally any excuse for eating and drinking is a good enough one for me so here’s a small collection of what you could get up to in the name of the Royal Wedding.

Big meals:

  • Fortnum & Mason are having a Royal Wedding brunch in-store on the 29th of April, where between 10.00am to 2.30pm, you will be able to watch the event on large screens and enjoy a champagne brunch. As well as small canapés, nibbles and dessert, there will also be a choice of mains. The brunch is priced at £75 per adult with various prices of children. Call 0845 602 5694 to book.
  • The Roussilon will be serving a Royal Wedding Breakfast, from 7.00pm on the day of the wedding. It will be a five course menu, to include a glass of champagne, for £65 per person. They are also offering a Royal Wedding Brunch from 1pm to 4pm for £37.50. Call 020 7730 5550 or email to book.
  • Langtry’s Restaurant will be serving up a replica of a four course meal that was served at the Queen Mother’s wedding in 1923. Priced at £29.95, the meal will include consommé a la Windsor, lamb cutlets Prince Albert, strawberries Duchess Elizabeth and Montgomery cheddar with Queen Mary’s Biscuits. Call 0207 201 6619 to book.

Afternoon Teas:

  • The Balmoral in Edinburgh will be serving a special Royal Afternoon Tea until the 1st of May, priced at £23 per person. The Royal Scottish Blend tea will be served with finger sandwiches and a pastry selection. Call 0131 556 2414 to book.
  • The Podium Restaurant at the Hilton Park Lane has created a Sapphire Afternoon Tea, inspired by Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring. The afternoon tea includes a complimentary Loveberry cocktail, sandwiches, scones, cupcakes, miniature fancies and a specially blended tea. It’s priced at £32 per person and can be booked by calling 0207 208 4022 or at
  • Waterloo Bar and Grill will be serving Royal High Tea all day on the 29th of April. The menu will celebrate the best of British with a selection of Bramley apple pork pies, scones served with Jersey cream and Royal velvet cup cakes. The Royal High Tea is available for £30 and there is also a wedding special cocktail menu available. Call 0207 960 0202 to book.
  • The Ritz will be offering a Monarchy & Matrimony programme. Guests will be able to enjoy a special Royal Afternoon Tea in Palm Court, for £50 per person, where live footage of the wedding will be streamed. Alternatively they can attend the Royal Wedding Brunch between 10.30am and 3.30pm, priced at £150. Bookings can be made by calling 020 7300 2345.
  • Moti Mahal celebrates the event from the 25th to 29th of April with an Indian Afternoon Tea. There will be Masala Chai with sandwiches, scones, macaroons and sweets; all with an Indian slant. Priced at £21 per person, the Afternoon Tea is available between 3pm and 5pm and can be booked by calling 020 7240 9329 or emailing


  • If you are a Will and you know a Kate, or vice versa, head on down to The Botanist or The Cadogan Arms for the chance to snap up a free three course meal. The first Wills and Kate pair, with ID proof, to present themselves at either venues will be treated to a three course meal plus a bottle of wine completely free. Visit and for details.
  • From 22nd to 25th April, Wellington Arch will be host to a “Let Them Eat Cake” exhibition, sponsored by Tate & Lyle. The unique space will be filled with royal wedding cakes through the ages. Admission is free and there will be workshops as well as cakes to eat. Visit for more information.
  • If you have more than enough wedding memorabilia, you can trade them in at Renaissance pubs across London for food and drink. The “swaperama” takes place between 12.00pm and 6.00pm on the 29th of April. A mug, tankard or a glass will get you a glass of house wine or a pint of beer, lager or cider; a side plate will get you a bar snack; and a main plate/silver spoon will get you a dish from the main menu up to the value of £12. Terms and conditions will apply so visit to find your nearest pub and more information.
  • The Bavarian Beerhouse will be hosting a “Wills & Kate Lookalike Contest” on the night of the Royal Wedding, with no admission charge. In addition, every guest who dresses like a bride or groom will receive a free Feigling fig vodka shot. For further details visit


  • Soho’s Secret Tea Room will be hosting various vintage inspired events on the 29th and 30th of April. From 9.30am until 2.30pm on the 29th of April, they will have an “eat as much as you like” champagne breakfast, priced at £69.95. From 2.00pm, lunch and traditional afternoon tea will be served with a variety of teas on offer. After 6.00pm, there will be a tea dance. Similar events will run on the 30th of April. Call 07827 532899 or email to book.
  • Lainston House Hotel in Hampshire will be hosting a Royal Wedding Tea Party on the 29th of April. Traditional English champagne afternoon tea will be served on the lawn while the wedding is broadcast live on a large screen set up especially for the event. The afternoon tea is only available on the 29th of April and will cost £35 per person. Call 01962 776088 to book.
  • The Gun in the Docklands are hosting a day of eating and drinking from 10.00am to 10.00pm. For £10 you can enjoy two special Royal Wedding drinks or for £25 you can enjoy a sit down meal with a drink. There will also be an outdoor market stall selling various pub food. Of course, the wedding itself will be shown on large plasmas so you won’t miss the event itself. Call 020 7515 5222 to book.
  • Chez Manny in Battersea will be hosting a party from 10am to late. The restaurant will be opening up its patio and welcoming diners with live music, a large screen to watch the wedding, and free goodies to mark the occasion. Bookings for tables in the restaurant for food can be made by contacting Chez Manny on 0207 223 4040 or at

Other events:

  • Young’s have created a special brew, the Prince of Ales, just for the occasion. It is available at selected Young’s pubs until the 2nd of May. On the day of the Royal Wedding itself, the ale will be available for only £2 per pint until 2.00pm. Visit to find your nearest pub.
  • Throughout April, The Manor House at Castle Combe, Wiltshire, will be offering its usual Michelin starred service but with a visit to Highgrove House included. You will be driven to Highgrove House in a chauffeur driven car, where you will receive a two hour garden tour led by a volunteer guide at the house. Two nights stay, including dinner and breakfast, is available for £775 per room. Call 01249 782206 to book.
  • Park Plaza has created four cocktails to help you toast the Royal Wedding. There is something old (Old Fashioned), something new (Wedded Fizz), something borrowed (Best Man-hattan) and something blue (Blue Moon). The cocktails can be enjoyed at one of their London venues at £9 each. Visit for more information.
  • Yo! Sushi have created a special sushi dish – the smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber sushi ‘sandwich’. The creation will be available nationwide from the 22nd of April for one week priced at £2.50. All proceeds from the sale of the ‘sandwich’ will be donated to Help for Heroes. Visit to find a Yo! Sushi near you.

Good Godfrey opens at Waldorf Hilton

Published on Foodepedia on 17th April 2011:

The Waldorf Hilton has once again found itself in the cocktail world with a brand-new bar that’s a nod to the Waldorf’s theatrical past.

Good Godfrey, situated in the ground floor of The Waldorf Hilton, takes its name from Howard Godfrey. Back in the 20s Howard Godfrey was the celebrity bandleader of the ‘Waldorfians’, the Waldorf house hand, and had hits such as ‘In heaven’ and ‘My canary has circles under his eyes’.

It’s not just the name that’s reminiscent of the past though. The bar’s décor features illuminated marble, chrome fixtures and upward lighting. There’s even original listed wood panelling. And it all helps to evoke the theatrical heritage of the hotel – just settle into the plush seating and admire.

There’s a good selection of cocktails too from the award winning head mixologist Nelson Bernardes. The ‘Refined Madam’ (£12) comes spritzed with gin and rose; the ‘Astor Hip Flask’ is presented in a real hip flask; and then there’s the ‘Hot Gin Punch’ which arrives in a tea pot for two to share. To accompany, there’s also breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and a good selection of nibbles.

Good Godfrey is at The Waldorf Hilton, 22 Aldwych, London WC2B 4DD

Egg-tastic treats for Easter

Published on Foodepedia on 14th April 2011:

With Easter right round the corner, it’s time for us to bring you a round up of some of the best Easter eggs out there.

Everyday (under £5):

  • There’s no quibble about whether the chicken or the egg came first with Smarties’ chocolate Chicken and Egg. The milk chocolate chicken shell opens up to reveal a chocolate egg, which in turn opens up to reveal a secret stash of Smarties inside. It’s available at all major supermarkets. (RRP £2.49)
  • Carluccio’s have a rather interesting take on the Easter egg with their quirky Uovo alla coque. It looks like a soft-boiled egg but has dark chocolate and hazelnut paste inside and is topped with white chocolate. You can probably serve it up for breakfast. It’s available in-store or online at (RRP £2.95)
  • New for 2011 from Guylian, the people best known for their Belgian seashells, is a trio of hand painted eggs. Made from dark, milk and white chocolate, there’s a hand decorated egg for everyone and no need to share. It’s available from all major supermarkets. (RRP £3.99)

Premium (under £25):

  • Get a real sense of spring with butterfly inspired floral Easter eggs from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range. Available in dark, milk and white chocolate, each egg stands up all on its own. It’s available only at Sainsbury’s. (RRP £6)
  • Why let someone else have all the fun when you can decorate your own eggs? Stas Temper Temper Make Your Own Egg Kit has all the edible vital parts you need to create an owl, rocket or chicken egg. It makes a Easter great activity for kids. It’s available from Waitrose. (RRP £9)
  • If you’re a Japanophile then the Easter tin from Matcha Chocolat is just the thing to have. Each tin contains eight ganache filled eggs with flavours such as sencha & cherry blossom, matcha & ginger, yuzu and raspberry & wasabi. It’s an eclectic mix of Eastern promises. It’s available from (RRP £9.95)
  • The Real Hen’s Eggs from Rococo is a great surprise treat for praline lovers. Real eggs are blown out and filled with hazelnut praline so while they look like real eggs, they taste divine. So good, you might be forgiven for any pranks you play. It’s available in-store or online at (RRP £12.50)

Super-premium (under £100):

  • William Curley’s eggs can be filled with a section of nibbles including Cinder Toffee, Caramelized Piedmont Hazelnuts, Roast Gianduja Almonds, Crystallized Orange dipped in dark chocolate. It’s available in-store or online at (RRP £30)
  • You just won’t know where to start with the Glam Egg from Demmarquette. Six assorted mini caramel eggs separate two parts of the main egg. There’s also another six hiding in the base of the egg, ready to be discovered. It’s available in-store or online at (RRP £35)
  • Eggs don’t have to be 3-D with Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini’s reinterpretation. The egg is embeded into a sheet of chocolate which then slides neatly into a shelf of one of his boxes of chocolates. It’s available online at (RRP £40 for two)
  • Have your customisable egg and eat it too with a nougatine Easter egg from Godiva. The half chocolate egg shell comes filled with 1.5kg of Godiva chocolates of your choice and if you’re a real chocoholic you will want to add a second shell and even more chocolates. It’s available by order from Godiva stores. (RRP £50)
  • Prepare to be impressed by the Ostrich Egg from Hotel Chocolat. The huge eggs, available in dark or milk chocolate, comes in multiple layers of chocolate and nuts. And if that’s not enough, each treat box also contains smaller chocolate eggs and treats to share or put inside. It’s perfect for a party centrepiece. It’s available in-store or online at (RRP £65)
  • Paul A Young’s exclusive Easter product is a large egg available in either 70% dark, caramelized milk or white chocolate all with silver leaf and inlaid with shimmering purple and gold decoration. Presented in a hand-made box specially designed for Paul each box contains a drawer filled with Paul’s award winning chocolates. A limited edition that’s available from both of Paul A Young’s London chocolateries. . (£75)

Out of this world (£580!!!):

  • The Easter egg has been incorporated into a work of art with the Easter Vegetable Garden from La Maison du Chocolat. The white, milk, dark chocolate piece is scattered with slivers of chocolate and nut vegetables and praline eggs. It’s available only at La Maison du Chocolat boutiques. (RRP £580…!)