The Truffler

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The notoriously acerbic Elizabeth David still inspires awe for the influence her writing had on cooking and eating in Britain. When the contents of her kitchen were sold at auction seven years ago, even the doyenne's wooden spoons fetched sky-high prices. Expect even more of a stir from the sale next week of some of her literary papers and material, the first time any has appeared at auction. Items to come under the hammer on 16 November include books, some annotated with characteristically caustic remarks, carbon copy typescripts of David's articles, and typescript and manuscript recipes. Viewing takes place on Tuesday 9.30am-5.30pm, Wednesday 9.30am-8pm, and the sale is on Thursday at 1pm at Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 3-4 Hardwick Street, London EC1 (020-7833 2636). As well as Is there a Nutmeg in the House?, reviewed here this week, fans may like to know that Grub Street has reissued David's Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. And at £12.99, it's a tenth of the Thursday

The notoriously acerbic Elizabeth David still inspires awe for the influence her writing had on cooking and eating in Britain. When the contents of her kitchen were sold at auction seven years ago, even the doyenne's wooden spoons fetched sky-high prices. Expect even more of a stir from the sale next week of some of her literary papers and material, the first time any has appeared at auction. Items to come under the hammer on 16 November include books, some annotated with characteristically caustic remarks, carbon copy typescripts of David's articles, and typescript and manuscript recipes. Viewing takes place on Tuesday 9.30am-5.30pm, Wednesday 9.30am-8pm, and the sale is on Thursday at 1pm at Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 3-4 Hardwick Street, London EC1 (020-7833 2636). As well as Is there a Nutmeg in the House?, reviewed here this week, fans may like to know that Grub Street has reissued David's Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. And at £12.99, it's a tenth of the Thursday's guide price of the original typed recipe for apples stuffed with spiced lamb, which appears in it.

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The publicans of Battle are apparently up in arms after our review of The Food Rooms two week ago described the town's pub grub as dodgy. Truffler would like to pour oil on the already troubled waters of West Sussex, and assures them that only one pub's scampi and chips were found wanting, while the rest simply didn't look at their most inviting the day they were invaded by Norman and Saxon warriors.

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A more genteel battle between French and English than that once fought in Battle is being waged on the British cheeseboard as the two nations' dairy industries jostle for position there. British cheeses have been suffering for some time at the hands of the French, with sales of "regionals" such as Cheshire and Lancashire having fallen by 30 per cent in three years. French cheese producers urge us to use up left-over cheeses in recipes such as lettuce-wrapped Port Salut kebabs and baked Camembert. But Britain's fighting back, with Jilly Goulden suggesting cheese and drink pairings. What about British Brie and brandy, mature Cheddar with Guinness or strong dry cider, or Shropshire Blue and a cup of tea?

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And she just can't stop the suggestions. There Jilly was again, at last week's Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Award at the Café Royal, matching drinks to fish and chips. Apart from Safeway's 2000 Chenin Blanc Early Harvest from South Africa, Co-op's Rio de Plata Torrontes, or a nice cup of Assam, she recommended ginger beer, elderflower cordial, Appletise or Newcastle Brown. But before the drink gets to me and I forget what Jilly was really there for, the award winner was Les's Fish Bar in Crewe.

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If Marie Antoinette had had a bakery instead of a dairy, it would surely have been Poilâne. The Parisian baker has opened its only branch outside France at 46 Elizabeth St, London SW1 (020-7808 4910). The elegant shop bakes hand-shaped sourdough loaves in a wood-heated oven. Other treats are butter shortbread sablés, chocolate bars, walnut and sultana breads. And darling, £5.50 for a loaf is a small price to pay when it lasts a whole week, as I promise it will. That's because a whole loaf (you can buy a half or a quarter) has the same circumference as my waist and, thanks to extended fermentation, it stays fresh for longer than most bread. Seeing the staff in their charming linen smocks, and with a job advertised in the window, Truffler's almost tempted to play shops...

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