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Whisky usually means an ethanol-based spirit produced in Scotland. Ethanol is an intoxicating chemical liquid created by the fermentation of sugar by yeasts and has been used socially for millennia. Whisky doesn’t have to be made in Scotland, and today Japan makes whiskies that are often very highly judged in international competitions. Sometimes these are […]



A kitchen instrument manufactured with a series of thin metal wires, each formed into a loop so both ends of the wires attach to a handle. The loops, which are placed in slightly different directions from each other, form a rounded bulb shape. Whisks are used to blend ingredients together quickly or to incorporate air […]


Wheat grass

Wheat grass is the young shoots of wheat, triticum aestivum, and contains much chlorophyll (the green stuff) and other vitamins and minerals. But is it better than anything else? Rather like bean shoots, it depends who you ask and, particularly, who is selling it. The NHS and the British Dietetic Association disagree with the common […]



Thought to have originated in Africa, watermelons are distinct from musk melons such as cantaloupes, ogens, charantais, galia and honeydew in that they are very watery and have a far less intense flavour. But there are compensations – they can grow to up to six kilogrammes in weight, and their crisp, sweet flesh is phenomenally […]


With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard and is one of the strongest-tasting salad leaves available. It has a pungent, slightly bitter, peppery flavour and is highly nutritious, containing significant amounts of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and E. It’s sold in either bunches or bags, and is good […]


Water chestnuts

An ingredient with a very unusual, utterly reliable crunch and light sweetness. They are not chestnuts or nuts but the corms of an aquatic vegetable that is native throughout Asia, Africa, Australia and Pacific Islands. The texture and flavour is closely related to that of lotus root. The corms can be made into a flour […]



The Japanese answer to horseradish, wasabi is related to watercress and grows in a similar way, with its roots in water. The root is pale green in colour, and either grated and used fresh, or dried and made into a powder or paste. Fiery and spicy, it’s one of the main flavourings in Japanese food, […]



Walnuts are one of the most popular and versatile of all nuts. When picked young, they’re known as wet and their milky white kernels are mainly used for pickling. Far more common is the dried nut, either shelled or unshelled. The brown-skinned kernel has a ridged surface, which looks like two halves of the brain. […]



Originally associated with Russia, Slavonic, Baltic and Scandinavian countries, vodka has become one of the world’s favourite spirits, largely based on its supposed lack of flavour and it being undetectable on the breath. Both of these suppositions are incorrect, although both can be lesser than from other spirituous drinks. In its purest form, vodka is […]



A scented favourite Viognier is one of the great success stories of recent times. Never one of the easiest grapes to grow, production had shrunk back to a tiny amount in the Northern Rhone at Chateau-Grillet. There Condrieu was famed for its exotic perfume and rich, full body. Slowly, and with better, more reliable vines, […]

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