Christmas dinner!

Well, not the official one of course. But we're off to a Christmas gathering tonight, where the dish of honour will be toad in the hole. Not just any old toad in the hole either. This one's made with sausages specially ordered from a butcher in Thirsk in North Yorkshire, which have a rich vein of black pudding running through them...not for the faint hearted, but extremely good!. And to top it all off, a trifle from the Nigel Slater school of cookery (bless the man - he advocates making trifle with bought-in tubs of custard...). So far, so calorie-tastic!

Still in dessert mode, these guys in Minnesota will undertake to ship you cream pies and filled pies across the world. How do they do that without the pie getting squished?


New pies!

Apparently the Scots are going wild for buffalo pie. I'm intrigued. Wonder if it tastes like venison? Of course as a seasoned journalist, to get expert comment I should really go to Buffalo to ask the natives...wonder if I can wangle that one?


The best books...

The Food Programme on Radio 4 reviews the best cookbooks of the 2003...I have to say that my favourite wasn't a cookbook at all, but a food memoir (Nigel Slater's Toast), although Jeffrey Steingarten (The Man Who Ate Everything) ran him close. You have to read Steingarten on his quest for the perfect pizza...involving jacking up barbeque temperatures to ridiculous levels. You have to feel sorry for his wife...


Back from sunny Spain...

Well, Tenerife was fantastic, and suprisingly full of bananas. Plantations upon plantations of them across the island, protected from the winds by huge walls of plastic. The food wasn't bad either - lots of fish and meat, together with the inevitable Canarian potatoes (newish, and baked in their skins with lots of olive oil and salt).

Once you get into the interior of the island (and away from the Blackpool beach-style holiday resorts on the south coast, with their Irish bars, English breakfasts and McDonalds every 100 yards) it's surprisingly beautiful - and stunning in fact when you get up towards the volcanic Mount Teide, on a plateau full of lava formations that look like something out of Star Trek. It's the highest mountain in Spain at 3,317m (I think that's right, but I could be out by a few hundred metres), but we didn't get to the top, as the cable car was charging an astronomical 20 euros per person (about £16).