Allegra McEvedy The Good Cook (Hodder £14.99)

If you’re tiring of fancy food and celebrity chefs, but still love your grub, then Allegra McEvedy’s new book might be for you. She's done stints at some serious establishments including Manhattan’s TriBeCa grill, the venue that boasts one Bob De Niro as a proprietor, but she’s so down-to- earth her own no—nonsense restaurant, The Good Cook, is in a Notting Hill community centre. It says a lot about her attitude that when I tried to call her the only way I could get through was by calling her mobile; she'd forgotten to pay her domestic phone bill.

So what is a good cook? ’For me it’s about making good food accessible and affordable to everyone,’ she says. 'l've worked in some posh places and I don't like the idea that it should be something just for posh people.’

As well as cooking and writing McEvedy lives up to her principles by providing training courses for those on low incomes and is about to start a project for school children. But in case this sounds too pious, you should know that she's closer to Jamie Oliver than Mother Teresa, a 28-year-old leather trouser-wearing blond who likes a drink when work

is over. 'Cooking is an army,’ she says. where once the service is finished, everyone goes out

and parties a lot.’

As well as good honest recipes, The Good Cook provides the kind of titbits you can't resist from De Niro's favourite dish (penne pasta with spinach) to Mike Tyson’s table manners, but McEvedy is as unawed by celebrity as she is unimpressed by fancy cooking. She


After transforming the \.‘.’()l'k[)|d((‘ and broadenrng our shopping hon/ons, the rnternet may now have a hand In (handing the (ulture of eating out .Spm (o uk, a new venture by Culasdov.’ busmessmen Ronnie Somervrlle and [David lvlagurre, enables restaurant—

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Allegra McEvedy believes in good food for all, not just the posh

aims to provide something a little simpler. ’Well I'm sure they just feel like me, you think "god

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Cheap eats for early diners

goers who are happy to drne outwnh standard busy times to eat more (heaply

The new website provrdes up-to-the- mrnute information about drs<ounted tables at restaurants during then off peak periods While most drners book for drnner at eight, If you're prepared to eat earlier you (ould get a bargain

and you don’t feel like there are seventeen pairs of hands that have been in your food before you’ve seen it. A lot of the famous people I've cooked for in the States and Britain have come back because of that.’

Partmpatang establishments post details on the srte, then diners can book tables onlrne on a frrst come, first served deIS.

'The customers seem to love rt,’ says Richie. Middleton, assistant manager at Cantrna Del Rey, one of the member restaurants 'It's incredibly popular and rs prtkrng up week by week, | thrnk a iot of people like drnrng between 5pm and 70th It's ideal, but not excluswely, for office workers '

Somervrlle and Magurre, owners of Glasgow eateries Lux, Stazrone, Cantrna Del Rey and Salsa, have been running the servrce on a prlot basis srnre 20 January. 'We’re looking at twelve or so Glasgow restaurants be(omrng members shortly,’ says Somervrlle 'In the next few months Edinburgh restaurants Will come on board, then we're progressing to the rest of the UK, Europe and Australia We really wanted to make the pornt that It's not a parochial thrng So eating for less at short notr<e may soon betome a world-Wide phenomenon iDawn Kofrel


Spit or swallow

It’s all a matter of taste.

Vivian Ducourneau 1999 ’VDP, Frame,

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Vrognrer has gone from being a relatively unknown grape to the world’s most fashionable white mne grape Never prevrously found In anything other than £20 Condrreu, It is now being produ<ed Ill trendy wineries all over the place. That's not to cheapen :t, t". fantastic, and thus rs a great exavrtple Loaded with peaches, aprztots and (ream

Fairview Goats Do Roam, 1999.

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Thoud’t modelled on a COtes ou RhOne, from which :t derives IIS na'ne, thrs :s far gutsrer and more approa<hab|e, the grapes havrng been Chosen by the wrnemakers' own goats' Very full-bodied, with vrbrant black bramble flavours, yet very low rn tannin, which makes thus Ill( redrbly easy to drink. Brt of a one-off, and definitely one to try before it's gone

Penfolds Bin 28 , ._ Kalimna Shiraz, a a... 1996 «Australia, ,, ! £8 99, buy two " fin/OIZJ We 20°?“ The m1 mm BIN zs legend returns ‘” Kalrmna has been one of the jt?\‘.'0l5 In Penfold’s crown for many years Thrs ;s Quite mature by now but trnte hasn't mellotted the t)()\‘.(‘lltll Shrra.‘ nose, spr(y, and pa< ked \‘.lll‘. menthol, unmrstakable top—noti h Aussie Shrra.‘ Not (heap, but quality-Wise Is seriously under-priced Ex< use me now I'm off to get another glass

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