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The Herball’s Guide to Botanical Drinks by Michael Isted

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This comprehensive look at the botanicals you can use in drinks is splendidly inspiring. Beginning with a brief history of the use of plants as medical tonics throughout the world, the book is divided between a herbal of commonly used plants and an extensive recipe section including drinks that aim to cleanse, restore, relax and revive you. There is a ...

Courtesan, Brixton

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On International Women’s Day, Tania O’Donnell celebrates at Courtesan where women call the shots… You’d think a place named Courtesan would take a somewhat regressive view on the role of women in society; however, the courtesan here is not a high class prostitute but one of the immensely talented intellectual entertainers that peopled the royal courts of ancient China. To emphasise ...

Broth to Bowl by Drew Smith

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January is a month in which soup comes into its own. We’re all down with the sniffles and nobody has much of an appetite after the excesses of the festive season so what better than a soul-nourishing soup to warm your cockles? Drew Smith has form in examining a complex subject in such a way that it is rendered accessible ...

30-Second Whisky Edited by Charles MacLean

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We’re all so time-poor these days and are blasted with info from right, left and centre. So it seems as though a book such as this is very apt for our times. Split into 50 elements of whisky, each entry takes only half a minute to read. Some are written by editor and whisky expert Charles MacLean, others by contributors ...

The Modern Cocktail: Innovation + Flavour by Matt Whiley

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Matt Whiley’s Talented Mr Fox drinks consultancy has sorted out the drinks list for several well-known restaurants and bars in London and Manchester. This book has more than 70 recipes for those who want to recreate his genius at home. The book is so clearly laid out and the design is so clean, it is almost reminiscent of a periodic ...

The Little Book of Craft Beer: A guide to over 100 of the world’s finest brews by Melissa Cole

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This little book is almost as delightful as its author. Full disclosure: Melissa Cole is the chair of beer judging at our Quality Drink Awards. The beer judging session was the most hilarious and enjoyable of all for me this year, primarily because Melissa is knowledgeable without being snobby, funny without being mean, and a great guide to beer without overloading ...

Wine Lover’s Kitchen: Delicious recipes for cooking with wine by Fiona Beckett

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There are books that are foodie challenges – the sort of books that are meant to be kept on a shelf to impress visitors and only dusted down when you’re trying something really spectacular – other books become so essential to your daily cooking that they get battered and covered in wine and sauce. This is definitely in the latter ...

Cottons, Vauxhall

Barbados Shrimp Curry Cottons Vauxhall

The sorority and fraternity of Caribbean food fans is about to discover a new haunt for their authentic goat curry fix… enter stage right, Cottons of Vauxhall If you enjoy a good roti and goat curry or a glorious jerk chicken and you don’t have a Jamaican grandmother on hand, life can be pretty difficult. You have to scout out ...

Orestone Manor Country House Hotel, Devon

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Known for its great food and drink, Orestone Manor offers sophisticated luxurious breaks in Devon based around a restaurant that is a big hit with visitors and locals alike. Tania O’Donnell stays for the night… Our waitress has just given us a hug and, despite the fact that I usually avoid hugging strangers, it doesn’t feel weird or over-familiar. It ...

Peyotito, Notting Hill

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This Saturday is Mexican Day of Independence so we scouted out a fabulous Mexican restaurant at which you can celebrate. Poppy Treadaway on Peyotito in Notting Hill… Nestled in the heart of Notting Hill, Peyotito celebrated its first year of opening in July, with Chef Eduardo Garciam creating authentic Mexican food at a refined and sophisticated level. Given the recent swathe of Mexican ...