Food File

Eat like a girl... write like an angel

Eat like a girl . . . write like an angel

Book of the Week

Who would have guessed that lean, stylish and uber-cool Mayo-born London restaurateur Oliver Peyton was "a pastry and pudding nut"? But that's just how Prue Leith describes him on the cover of his new book, Peyton and Byrne British Baking.Peyton runs four bakeries in London with his three sisters, Caitrina, Siobhan and Marie, operating under the banner of Peyton and Byrne and named in honour of their parents Mary Byrne and Patrick Peyton. Peyton describes himself as liking to think his restaurants in London – among them Atlantic Bar Grill, Coast, Isola, Inn on the Park – "have been recognised for their design as well as for their cooking", and his book is a testament to his strong and confident sense of style. The handsome pastel-hued volume has recipes on the left and images on the facing page, a clear-cut, orderly design that really works with the rigours of the baking discipline. If the title is a little off-putting, don't let it be: it's not entirely an Anglo-fest, there's even a recipe for fig rolls, so if you've ever wondered how Jacobs got the figs in their biscuits, read on.

Peyton and Byrne British Bakingis published by Square Peg (£16.99/€20)


Another food blogger . . . another book deal. It's great to see some new names being given publishing deals, and London-based Niamh Shields, originally from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, is the latest in the New Voices in Food series from Quadrille. She is currently finalising recipe testing for her first book, Comfort & Spice,with photographs by Georgia Glynn Smith, which is due out in September.

Shields, who studied physiology and then did an MSc at UCC, originally went to London for work, and has been there for the past nine years. For a while she ran a market stall in Covent Garden, selling the dishes she wrote about. She is pictured on her stall (below left) with Denise Medrano, who blogs as thewinesleuth.

Eat Like a Girl was nominated as one of the top 50 food blogs in the world by Times Online.How did she come up with the name? "I decided on Eat Like a Girl as it frustrates me when people think that all women calorie-count and watch what they eat."

And the book title? "The food I cook is accessible and a little different, influenced a lot by my travels, my Irish upbringing and living in London. It is home food with a bit of a twist and a lot of spice. So Comfort & Spiceseemed perfect."

Cook, Eat, Sleep

This sunny terrace (pictured) in a village in the Languedoc region of France is where you’ll be put to work, as well as enjoy delicious meals that you’ve helped prepare, on former Dwyer’s of Waterford chef/proprietor Martin Dwyer’s first Taste of Languedoc cookery courses (June 22nd-27th and September 28th-October 3rd). Dwyer and his wife Síle run a chambre d’hôte in Thézan Lès Béziers, and the four-day/five-night residential courses will cost €675 per person, including tuition in cooking regional specialities such as cassoulet, duck confit and pissaladière. Full details at


Primadonna extra virgin olive oil from Lidl (€3.29) was the top choice of chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett in last weekend's Observer Food Monthly Taste Test, earning the same star rating as another Italian oil that costs almost six times as much.