Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.
02 September 2014 12:00 AM
Even a decade ago, this lively historical cruise round the ocean of gin would have been a publishing non-starter. Towards the end of the last century, London's traditional spirit – neutral alcohol re-distilled with various flavourings and spices known as "botanicals" – was approximately as fashionable as the celluloid collar and the Marcel wave. According to Williams, London Dry Gin was "associated with Betjeman's twee vision of England – of golf clubs, tennis matches and dinner parties". You still encounter red-nosed Sixties types, who, though far from averse to other mind-altering substances, find the very mention of gin to be repugnant.
24 July 2014 02:50 PM
Surely no country offers richer pickings for a cabinet of curiosities than India. The diverting assemblage in Sam Miller's A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes (Cape, £18.99) ranges from the putative appearance of St "Doubting" Thomas in Kerala to the mutilation inflicted on 300 British soldiers imprisoned by Tipu Sultan in the 1780s. "Terribly alarmed for our foreskins," wrote one colonel.
The Star Inn the City, restaurant review: This All-Day Menu plays the Yorkshire card with a heavy hand
19 July 2014 12:00 AM
The Star Inn the City, Lendal Engine House, Museum Street, York (01904 619208)
21 June 2014 12:00 AM
The exotic rum, pineapple and coconut concoction was made Puerto Rico's 'official beverage' in 1978
My Scotland, Our Britain by Gordon Brown, book review: Homage to home country reveals more of the man than the manifesto
19 June 2014 03:15 PM
"This is not a political manifesto," insists Gordon Brown at the conclusion of his predictably slanted contribution to the referendum debate. This is true. Perhaps his argument for Scotland staying in the UK would have benefited from a bit more political grit. His book is, however, heartfelt, well-informed and persuasive – if you can stay the course. Unfortunately, its relentless didacticism will have limited appeal, especially among the 98,000 16 and 17-year-olds whose votes may be crucial.
The Westwood, restaurant review: 'A lump of grilled halibut might have come from the creature that housed Jonah'
17 May 2014 12:00 AM
The Westwood, New Walk, Beverley, East Yorkshire (01482 881999). Around £120 for two, including wine. Set menu £22.50 for three courses (Tue-Fri)
13 May 2014 10:57 AM
26 April 2014 12:00 AM
Having scored a bestseller with The Farm, a closely observed account of his father and brother losing an uphill battle on the Yorkshire Wolds, Benson swaps rural for industrial and skips back a generation in The Valley. Covering a century in the ravaged Dearne Valley near Doncaster, this epic panorama of mining life focuses on Benson's maternal grandparents, Harry "Juggler" Hollingworth and his wife Winnie. Fortunately for both reader and author, they turn out to be good company on this marathon, intriguing oddities with curious lives beyond the colliery.
24 April 2014 04:30 PM
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'