November 19

Harry And Meghan’s Wedding Chef Just Won Two Michelin Stars – Here’s Why

Clare Smyth, the chef who catered for Prince Harry and Meghan’s weddingreception, has been awarded two Michelin stars after opening her own restaurant. 

Smyth previously became the first British woman to run a restaurant with three stars, when she was heading up Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. However her debut solo restaurant, Core, entered the coveted guide on Monday with two stars after she launched the eatery in Notting Hill, west London, last year.

Smyth was the brains behind the evening food served to 200 guests during the final part of the couple’s epic wedding day in May.  

The menu for the lunchtime reception, headed up by Royal Chef Mark Flanagan, was released by Kensington Palace and guests enjoyed a selection of canapés and bowl food, including fricassee of free range chicken with morel mushrooms and leeks, plus pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and parmesan crisps.  

While details of Smyth’s menu for the more private evening do are under wraps – (Kensington Palace told HuffPost UK they would not be releasing details) – we’re sure it was equally delicious. 

Smyth’s debut restaurant Core prides itself on elevating simple, quality ingredients. Its website boasts an “emphasis on natural, sustainable food, sourced from the UK’s most dedicated farmers and food producers”.

A three course lunch at the restaurant will set you back £65, while a three course dinner costs £85 per person (and that’s without drinks), but guests seem to be impressed. 

On Instagram Smyth said the most popular dish at the restaurant is based on the humble potato. The spud acts as a vessel for carrying dulse (seaweed), a buttery beurre blanc sauce and trout roe. One fan commented: “I still think about this dish, genuinely one of the nicest dishes I’ve ever eaten.”

Smyth’s also a believer in making guests feel special with extra surprises. She likes to welcome her guests with a canapé before every meal. Core’s Gougères – mini baked savoury choux pastries – are served with a variety of scrummy fillings.

Other mouth-watering dishes on the menu include langoustine and veal sweetbread served with fennel, carrot and vin jaune, and duck and nectarine
served with thyme, honey and Timut pepper. 

If the food hasn’t convinced you of Smyth’s all-round awesomeness, she’s a proud feminist and a force to be reckoned with. She previously told HuffPost UKshe’s “a firm believer in “changing others’ opinions of what they perceive our gender should be”.

“We should never allow that to stand in our way. In a kitchen, there is no difference between the sexes,” she said. 

The secret to her success is “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.

“When I’ve made mistakes or done something that I perhaps shouldn’t have, I’ve taken the positive from it,” she added. “It’s all part of the process of learning – either at work or home. You can only hope, as you get older, the mistakes get fewer and you become wiser.”

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September 19

Bundesliga: Dortmund slip up again with draw at bottom club Nuremberg

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund managed only a 1-1 draw at bottom club Nuremberg on Monday to see their gap at the top cut to three points after their third straight draw in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund are in the midst of a form crisis, having failed to win any of their last five games in all competitions and having been eliminated from the German Cup while also losing 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League round of 16 first leg last week.

As expected the Ruhr valley club had the upper hand throughout but could not score, with Nuremberg keeper Christian Mathenia in fine form and repeatedly denying Mario Goetze as the visitors had 18 shots on goal.

The keeper also tipped a Paco Alcacer’s low shot wide in the 86th and the Dortmund forward was ruled off side a little later after putting the ball in the net.

Dortmund are on 51 points. Champions Bayern Munich are in second place on 48 after their 3-2 comeback win at Augsburg on Friday. Borussia Moenchengladbach are in third a further five points behind.

The hosts, who replaced coach Michael Koellner last week after seven defeats in their previous eight games replacing him with interim coach Boris Schommers, earned a point to move within two points of the relegation playoff spot.

September 19

Labour Resignations: The Magnificent Seven Of Centrism Or Seven Dwarfs Of Sellout-ism?

On Monday, for the first time in weeks, Brexit was not at the forefront of Westminster’s political minds. Instead, the looming spectre of the UK’s imminent exit from the EU was eclipsed somewhat by the dramatic exit of seven MPs from the Labour Party. 

When Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey announced their plan to split, they cited Jeremy Corbyn’s “betrayal” on Brexit and described the party as “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

From Berger’s very first words, the sheer gravitational pull of being in the Labour party was still evident. “I’m the Labour Member for…” she began, before quickly correcting her political Freudian slip and confirming the worst kept secret in Westminster.

But it was the testimony of the less high profile MPs in Monday’s grouping which will have perhaps struck even more of a chord with many of their former colleagues not present. 

Angela Smith got to the heart of the problem with Corbynism, as viewed by many in the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party), which is that her leader and many around him are privately educated, middle class types who both “patronise” the poor and fail to understand working class aspiration. 

Smith’s barb that Corbynistas see poverty as a “state of grace” is shared by many Labour MPs who see Jeremy Corbyn as nothing more than an ageing student activist. And it was no coincidence that Smith and others today name-checked former Labour PM Harold Wilson. Wilson once said of left-winger Tony Benn (the second Viscount Stansgate) that he was “the only man I know who immatures with age”.

Smith, who like Mike Gapes grew up in a postwar council house before benefitting from Wilson’s higher education reforms, was withering about the class and cultural disconnect between Corbyn and many Labour voters.

The anguished testimony of Ann Coffey, another of the less famous of today’s Independent Group MPs, will be seen by the PLP as all the more powerful, precisely because she is not a shouter or a headline grabber. A former social worker for decades, she cannot be described as a careerist or member of the special adviser cadre that gave Blairism a bad name. 

Yet the presence of Coffey was also a reminder that aftershocks from the twin earthquakes of 2016 – of the Brexit vote and Corbyn’s landslide reelection as Labour leader – are still being felt to this day.

Few remember that it was Coffey who joined Margaret Hodge in co-tabling the motion of no confidence in Corbyn days after the 2016 referendum, a motion that triggered the abortive coup’ by shadow ministers. In some ways, Coffey quitting the party today may mark the end of nearly three years of that particular internal struggle.

Back in 2016, in their letter to fellow MPs, Coffey and Hodge declared that Corbyn’s lacklustre campaigning in the EU referendum had been disastrous. They also said he was the wrong person to win back Labour heartland voters who had fled to UKIP and Leave. 

But that brings us to a major difficulty for today’s independent group. Corbyn will argue he actually won back many UKIP voters in the 2017 election, voters who thought stopping Tory austerity was now the pressing issue.  

Many Labour MPs will emit a hollow laugh at Corbyn’s reaction today (he repeated he won the largest increase in the party’s vote since 1945), stressing he failed the basic leadership task of winning that Blair and Wilson so clearly carried out. Yet the fact is that Corbyn can say he increased votes and seats in 2017. The “security/patriotism” concerns were aired at that election and any voters still backed him.

The other problem for the new grouping is that Corbyn can counter that he rather than they is the one in touch with working class Labour voters’ determination to get out of the EU. 

The breakaway MPs also have to deal with the contradiction that they believe politics is about power not posturing, yet their actions risk keeping the Tories in power while they are themselves reduced to a tiny rump of backbenchers with as much clout as the Lib Dems. 

Some of them will argue that if other MPs join them they can build a group that exploits the hung Parliament as effectively as the DUP has. The danger is they undermine rather than boost the second referendum cause within Labour, as only Corbyn can make it a reality. 

The charge of antisemitism is much tougher for Labour to ignore than the Brexit trigger of today’s rebels. Berger’s resignation may mark an irreparable split with the Jewish Labour supporting community. Already the Jewish Labour Movement is considering whether it has a future. For many worried about bullying and abuse on this issue, John McDonnell’s bank manager mask slipped recently when he told Berger she could stop her local party confidence votes by staying in Labour. 

There is also a hard truth to what many of the seven ex-Labour MPs said today about their former party. It is no longer that party they joined. Its leadership, party HQ, ruling National Executive Committee and membership have all shifted leftwards.

Ever since Corbyn was first elected, his critics have been split over how to respond. Gavin Shuker was one of those who felt in 2016 the leadership challenge was too early, that Corbyn should be allowed to fail on his own terms. Some felt that the longer he was allowed to stay, the longer it would take to rid the party of Corbynism itself.

And thanks to a change in party rules that puts the membership in charge (and makes deselections easier), Corbynism could be around for many more years to come. Today’s rebel MPs think that the 200,000 new left-wing members will forever have a stranglehold on the party’s direction and its millions of voters will as a result be condemned to Tory rule.

That cold logic of a member-led Labour party, rather than the emotional pain, is what really lies behind today’s divorce.

Still, our electoral system makes life very difficult for small new parties. The fact that the new grouping hasn’t a party, a name or a leader looks ominous. So does their ruling out fighting byelections in their own seats. Chuka Umunna weakly inviting the public to submit ideas to a website felt like him hosting a consumer watchdog TV show rather than leading a party. 

Their supporters will see today’s MPs as the Magnificent Seven of Centrism. Their enemies will view them as the Seven Dwarfs of Sellout-ism. The reality may be they end up as neither. But there will be many other Labour MPs left behind who share their belief that their party is further away from power than ever. 

  • 7 MPs Quit The Labour Party To Form ‘The Independent Group’
  • A List Of The Labour MPs Leaving The Party – And Everything You Need To Know About Why
  • Labour Split MP Apologises For Appearing To Describe BAME People As Having A ‘Funny Tinge’

September 15

Outdoor Adventurer Thabo Sefolosha Saved A Woman From Drowning

Hey, what’d you do this summer? I built half a porch onto my house, badly, and now have to climb over a construction zone in order to enter my home, with no end in sight. Probably you did something a lot cooler than this. If you’re Thabo Sefolosha, some of what you did this summer is save a woman from drowning to death on the Provo River, and that is so much cooler than fucking up your home.

The Salt Lake Tribune has the story of Sefolosha taking his family out to enjoy some outdoor adventuring in Utah, where they’ve moved since Sefolosha signed with the Jazz. While rafting down the Provo River, the family happened upon Lisa Clark, who’d been tossed from her tube by rapids, and found herself in dire straits:

It was rougher for some than others: Clark had decided to float on the river with several of her friends and her children, on what she called a “bucket list” adventure. But the river was faster and harder to handle than anticipated — many weekend tubers can relate.

With about 20 minutes left on the trip, Clark hit a boulder in the stream and flipped over. Her tube and oars quickly floated downstream. Her life vest rode up past her head, and she was struggling for air.

August 19

Lewandowski out to torment mentor Klopp at Anfield

Robert Lewandowski hopes to torment his mentor Jurgen Klopp when Bayern Munich face Liverpool in Tuesday’s Champions League clash.

Lewandowski, Bayern’s top-scorer with 25 goals in 30 games this season, is relishing playing at Anfield when he leads the Germans’ attack in the last 16, first leg.

“I know that their fans don’t want us or me to score a goal or win, but for me personally, in such an atmosphere I’m even more energised at kick-off,” he told UEFA.com.

“That’s what makes it special for me and I’m excited to play in such a stadium. And if you win, it’s even better.”

Lewandowski arrived at Borussia Dortmund as a 21-year-old to work under current Liverpool boss Klopp when neither he, nor the German head coach were yet household names.

“He made a huge impact on my career. I have to be thankful to him because of what we did together at Dortmund,” said Lewandowski.

“We grew together and it’s led me to where I am today.

“He released that striker’s instinct in me and that allowed me to make the next step up.

“I didn’t know that I still had so much potential, more than I thought, and that means he saw something in me that I couldn’t see.”

Lewandowski scored eight goals in 33 games in his first Bundesliga season, when Klopp made his name with Dortmund’s first Bundesliga title for nine years.

More silverware followed in 2011/12 when Dortmund again won the title and added the German Cup with a 5-2 thumping of Bayern Munich in the final when Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in Berlin.

The Polish international cemented his status as one of the world’s best strikers by scoring all four goals when Real Madrid were routed 4-1 on a golden night in the 2012/13 Champions League.

Dortmund went on to lose the final to Bayern at Wembley and Lewandowski signed for the Bavarian giants on a free contract a year later.

He has now scored 176 goals in 225 games for Bayern.

Lewandowski sees the Anfield clash as a chance for Bayern to prove themselves after exiting the Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid in each of the last two seasons.

“When you’re playing against Liverpool, a team that has so many good players, anything can happen. But for us, if we are ready 100 percent, anything can happen for us as well.

“In the round of 16, one mistake can make the difference.”

May 19

Loose Women’s Carol McGiffin Left In Tears As Cold Feet Breast Cancer Clip Stirs Memories Of Own Diagnosis

Loose Women panellist Carol McGiffin was left in tears on Friday’s show, as a poignant clip about breast cancer from ITV drama Cold Feet reminded her of her own experiences. 

The presenter broke down after watching the moment character Jenny Gifford found out she had the disease, admitting it stirred memories of her own diagnosis. 

Carol was discovered she had breast cancer in 2014, going public with news of her illness a year later, having undergone a mastectomy, six doses of chemotherapy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy. 

As the panel were joined by Cold Feet actor Fay Ripley to discuss her character’s current storyline, Carol burst into tears after seeing a clip from the show. 

“I’m sorry I never cry on TV,” Carol said, as she mopped her tears with a tissue. 

“I haven’t seen that. I know exactly how it feels.”. 

Fay comforted her, saying: “I know you do and that’s the thing we are tackling something that’s in everyone’s lives.

“That’s the thing that was the hardest, because they said to me how do you feel about it.

“Members of my family have cancer and my friends have cancer, the world appears to have cancer.

“The thing that really was the thing for me was that I just didn’t want to let you down.”

Carol admitted to not having seen the current series of the ITV drama, telling Fay: “I thought this will be tough to watch. I hadn’t seen those clips yet. Just the look on your face is how it happens.”

“But, just the look on your face is exactly how it happens isn’t it and keeping it secret as well, I kind of understand that, because I didn’t tell anybody – only Mark [Cassidy, her husband] that’s it.”

Carol, who earlier this week announced she had privately married partner Mark Cassidy a year ago, later took to social media admitting she had felt overwhelmed by seeing the clip. 

She wrote on Twitter: “Bit of a shock seeing the poignant clips from #ColdFeet with the brilliant @FayRipley talking about Jenny’s storyline.

“Sometimes, amidst all the great stuff in my life, I forget that I had breast cancer and have so far survived it, hence the rare (public) tears….x @loosewomen.”

May 16

On I Am The Night, “Aloha” means hello, goodbye… and murder

In one of my favorite issues of one of my favorite superhero comics, Astro City—in volume one, #2, “The Scoop”—veteran reporter Elliot Mills looks back at one of the biggest stories he ever stumbled across, when he witnessed an epic fight between heroes and villains in a subway tunnel, with team-ups and world-ending threats the city had never seen before, plus freaky cult activity that involved sacrificing a shark on the train-tracks. The only problem? Mills was the only one able to go on the record about it. After his editor forced him to reduce the story only to provable facts, what Elliot was left with was this: “Trolley Delayed By Shark.”

I thought about poor Elliot Mills while watching “Aloha,” I Am The Night’s penultimate episode. Early in the hour, flaky muckraker Jay Singletary corners his beleaguered editor Peter Sullivan—once again—to update him on everything he’s dug up lately about the Hodel family. Sullivan—once again—warns him not to bother with any of that “boogeyman shit” about George Hodel being the Black Dahlia killer. Instead, Peter likes the one actual, verifiable hot scoop Jay’s found: that George’s estranged, long-absent daughter Tamar has a kid of her own, Fauna.Outstream Video

So here’s Singletary, sitting on what could be the story of the century (or at least the mid-century); and his editor won’t let him bring it home, because he’s been burned before by Hodel’s powerful, moneyed connections. He does though offer to give his shrewd but shaky reporter the money for a couple of plane tickets and a rental car, to take Fauna to meet Tamar. That’s the hot story, to Peter. And Jay will take whatever he can get—even if it means lying to his boss and to Fauna—because he’s still certain that if he can ask the right questions to the right person in the right place, he’ll find the key to unlock the Dahlia case.

March 19

Mum Asks: Is It Ever Okay For A Wedding Guest To Wear White?

Wedding guests don’t have too many rules to follow but there are some things that have become non-negotiables: tell the bride she looks beautiful, don’t get drunk and have a fight with the best man, and don’t ever wear white. 

Or do you? One Mumsnet user has started a debate about whether it is still taboo to wear the same colour as the woman of the hour – will you be stealing her thunder or will she be too loved up to care about your outfit? 

The mum in question explained that she has bought a dress for a charity event but wanted to justify the cost and wear it to an upcoming wedding as well. There was just one hitch – it’s white. 

She tried to justify it, saying: “It will be paired with black shoes and a black bag and the bottom of the dress is like a taupe colour.” But lots of people still thought it was a dangerous move.

One said: “Someone wore a short white lace dress to my wedding which was almost exactly the same as my bridesmaids dresses. She hadn’t done it on purpose but it looked really odd in all the photos. She looked like some nuts person who had tried to tag on the end of the bridesmaids. Some older family members did have a bit of a grumble about it.” 

Another said: “If it was any other colour it would be fine. But white to somebody else’s wedding is a no IMO.” A third added: “Absolutely not. It’s lovely, but not for a wedding. Just don’t be that person.”

“It’s a nice dress but it looks too cream / ivory for a wedding. If you wore that to my wedding, I wouldn’t have said anything but would be a bit  ,” said another.

A few people were more reassuring and thought she could get away with it if she styled it in the right way. “Oh, thats really unusual and lovely!” said one. “I think you could wear it to a wedding, with the right accessories. With something bold, like navy blue, the ivory colouring could be overlooked. Disclaimer: I am shite at this stuff!”

Another said: “Fine by me, the colour is OK in my book as it doesn’t look like a wedding dress at all. Unless you know the bride is especially uptight (and honestly, it would take a pretty uptight bride to be upset that someone’s wearing pale-not-wedding-dress) in which case maybe avoid.”  

It seems the jury is still out.