The Saturday Miscellany: How to cook perfect roasties; Olivia Williams' bookshelf; Tiipoi tableware; Red Ruby Rouge jewellery


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How to: cook perfect roasties

By Oscar Quine

Who better to make your Christmas spuds perfect than Michelin-star collector Marcus Wareing of Marcus, Tredwell's and The Gilbert Scott?

"Choose the right potato: my favourites are King Edwards as they get a crisp outer and fluffy inside. Peel and ensure all are roughly the same size so they cook at the same time. Rounder edges are better for roasties so try to pick similar ones rather than cutting them."

"Place in cold, well-salted water (you need to get the seasoning into the potato and this is the only time to do it). Boil them until tender, allow to cool, then rough up with a fork in a colander."

"Preheat your oven to 200C. When hot, place a roasting pan with a healthy amount of beef dripping, thyme and garlic in the oven for at least 5 minutes. Season the potatoes well, then carefully place in the hot dripping and cook until crispy."

Rotating column: Accidental veggie

By Simon Usborne

We should eat less meat, climate change scientists say, lest farting cows doom us all. And yet we are eating less meat, in Britain if not globally and in places like China. But we're not doing it because we've come over all Linda McCartney, but because we're becoming a nation of accidental vegetarians.

I love a steak, bacon* – the whole once-living shebang. Fish, even. But for two years now, I've lived with a woman who is a much better person than me, and one who decided at the age of just six that animals aren't for eating. So now I'm an outdoors carnivore, sticking to tofu and halloumi indoors (we still do dairy).

A friend is a weekend carnivore, without even a better half to inspire him, and several more have realised it's possible to survive on less flesh. And it's actually OK – you make it through each day. Just don't thank us.

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. My step-mum always gives me the worst presents imaginable. Can I retaliate with something equally bad?

A. Who cares if your stepmum is trying to insult you? Perhaps she just has very peculiar ideas about what constitutes a thoughtful gift. Either way, your next move is the same. Buy her something spectacularly awful. She'll love it.


Micro extract: Origins of Flesh

"It was the title that caught my eye. Rich of Flesh: it had a ring to it (although I had to tinker with it a little before putting it on the menu, to avoid puzzling customers) and a disarming frankness. Like calling a dish Protein and Carbs."

From 'Historic Heston' by Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury, £40)

Four play: Capitals that changed

1. Moscow, 1712

2. Jerusalem*, 1949

3. Brasilia, 1961

4. Abuja, 1991

*Knesset voted to move, today in 1949

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby


Table wares

Created using materials which have "a true currency in India's tradition, reinterpreted through modern design", the first tableware collection from Tiipoi is heavy in brass, copper, wood and stone. And it's very pretty.


Butt out

Now in hardback, 'FOREVER BUTT' is an anthology bringing together the best images and words from more than a decade of cult gay magazine 'BUTT'. Featured interviewees include Gore Vidal and Marc Jacobs. £24.99,


Ruby Tuesday

An online boutique that is a hub for emerging designers across the world, Red Ruby Rouge is the perfect antidote to the commercial mass-production of Christmas.