This week I've been eating...pork scratchings
I am not an out-and-out pork fat fancier. Crackling I like, scratchings not so much. It's a combination of childish dislike and the fact that whenever I've tried one before it's tasted airy and artificial, like Monster Munch with added pork flavouring, and not a bit like its oven-cooked cousin, crackling.
But I've been converted to the artery-filling pleasures of deep-fried piggy fat – and food writers Tom Parker-Bowles and Matthew Fort are to blame.
The well-bred pair have created Mr Trotter's, a crackling-scratching hybrid made of slow-cooked rind seasoned with salt and a secret mix of spices. And, oh, the taste and texture of them. There's that initial crunch as your teeth get to work, the slight softness inside and the deeply savoury piggy flavour and salty finish. Not near Selfridges? You can get a quick fix from M&S's more-ish new pork crackling straws, £4.49. £1.89, selfridges.com
A clear winner
We all know the benefits of drinking filtered water. Less chlorine, lead and copper particles knocking around in our tea. But if the filter's empty, you've a bus to catch, and you're dying for your morning cuppa, chances are you just throw the water straight into the kettle and filter be damned. Problem is filters use something called a "second reservoir", which basically translates as "long wait". The new replaceable-filter bobble jug, however, does away with the reservoir, delivering fresh water straight away. £29.95, harveynichols.com
Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes' Loft Project, London's best steak restaurant Hawksmoor, and everyone's favourite Moorish restaurant Moro – the roster of restaurants taking part in the Long Table Night Market in London's Hackney is a glutton's dream. Every Friday between now and Christmas from 6pm to 1am, Abbot Street in Dalston becomes a mini food carnival with long communal tables, live bands and plenty of cocktails being shaken. thelongtable.net
Sake has a bad name. It's often sickly sweet and too often used as a fuel for late-night Karaoke sessions. That said, good sake can be a treat. Raymond Blanc, for instance, uses plum sake as a dessert wine at Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons. So it's worth checking out M&S's new of range of rice wines. Along with a crisp Kimoto and a Soy wine, there is a superb miya mizu water sake from Kyoto, which makes for a flowery, almost minty drink that sets off spicy dishes incredibly well. £9.99, marksandspencer.com
Looking for a stocking filler for the foodie in your life? Check out the dinky oval jars of morello cherries in Somerset apple eau de vie from writer and chef Mark Hix. They are perfect for topping off a bowl of vanilla ice cream or for making a Hix Fix, by adding a teaspoon of the eau de vie and cherry to glass of champagne. £4.80, ciderbrandy.co.uk