On The Menu: Gin; Leon; Excellia Tequila; Boursin; Tsuru's chilli oil

 

This week I've been drinking... gin with my dinner

Gin is probably not most people's first choice of drink for a four-course dinner, but after an evening spent with Hendrick's and the chefs, The Young Turks, at the Ten Bells Pub in London's Spitalfields, I can report they go together like gin and, well, tonic.

Together, chef and gin brand put on what was hailed as an "Unusually Literary Banquet", which looked at mother's ruin in literature, and paired unusual dishes with gin cocktails. Wood pigeon salad, say, was served with a hot gin punch and feather blade beef was accompanied with something called Trimalchio's Funeral, a mix of gin, lemon juice, ginger syrup, honey and ale, which was so lively it may have revived old Trimalchio.

This was the last event for a few months, but look out for more themed evenings from the duo in the future. And maybe have a go at some pairings yourself.

tenbells.com

Cook it now

The first Leon restaurant opened on London's Carnaby street in 2004. It mission was to serve fast food – but good food, too. So burgers and pizza were out; meatball boxes and sides of hummus and spicy corn resolutely in. There are 13 now, serving 70,000 mouths per week, but not one of those gobs is outside London. A problem of population density, maybe? Either way, now my mum, and everyone else, can get at their latest recipes in, as yet, its best cookbook: Leon Book 4: Family and Friends. From contents page to index, a joy. £25, octopus books.co.uk

Real, smooth

I did not know tequila could be like Excellia Tequila. It didn't quite take me to Jalisco, Mexico – where the blue agave plants are cut, shredded, fermented and aged – but it did take me far away from those times at university where the only tequila came with an aperitif of salt with lemon as dessert. But that's as it should be, because Excellia has been split between Grand Cru Sauternes and Cognac barrels, the contents then married together, the grapes meeting the agave, by the master blender after nine months. The result is unique – something honeyed and floral, with a mouthfeel smoother than treacle. £42.79, thedrinkshop.com

Soft option

There is a lot of Boursin snobbery about these days – of the "it's awfully commercial, darling, not a lot to do with cheese" variety. To me, however, it is the most perfect of comfort foods: soft, spreadable and when on an oaty biscuit with parma ham, entirely compatible with one-hand TV snacking. Plus, you can get it anywhere. I loved the old style and I love the new fig and nut version even more. £2.20, tesco.com

Hot news

Noodles are everywhere at the moment. Emporiums dedicated to their sale seem to pop up all the time, like dawn mushrooms. At home there is only one thing to put on your ramen, or so I reckon, Tsuru's new "eat the bits" chilli oil, which is tingly, hot and quite incredibly messy on your table. £4.95, tsuru-sushi.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
scienceBumping fists rather than shaking hands could reduce the spread of infectious diseases, it is claimed
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried