Ask Roger Collis

  • Cottage Pie

    Finely chop two large Spanish onions and sauté slowly on a very low heat, turning frequently with a spatula. When they start to become nice and soft and brown, generously sprinkle dried herbes de Provence, sage, rosemary, a few coriander seeds and plenty of ground black pepper. Add a chopped red pepper; a finely chopped clove of garlic and a finely ch ...

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  • Q: My wife and I are planning a six week trip to Asia, and possibly New Zealand.

    Instead of booking in advance in the normal way, we are considering the possibility of booking to, say, Dubai, and, once there, find out what flights are available to, for instance, Singapore, and, if the price is right, go there. If not, we will consider other possibilities – like Bangkok, or Manila… It might be worth a try. What do you think? ...

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  • Cauliflower Cheese

    This is one of my favorite comfort foods. Divide a small cauliflower into florets, cut any green bits from the stems, but save and chop up the stalk – important for flavor. Cover with skimmed milk, add a bay leaf and clove, and bring to a gentle simmer. When the cauliflower is tender, but has still got some bite – but not mushy, for heaven& ...

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  • Q: What is the best way for me to get to Chicago?

    I need to travel from Geneva to Chicago soon. Can you please suggest the best itinerary? Astrigh Lindemann, Lausanne, Switzerland: A: You have many options: You have to count 12 hours from Geneve to O'Hare; an important consideration is ease of transfer at connecting airport; then you need to weigh up the best value for money, depending on wheth ...

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  • Magret de Canard (Duck Breast):

    This takes about 45 minutes and can be prepped well in advance. With a fork prick the skin of each breast and with a small sharp knife score the skin diagonally both ways to form a diamond pattern. Season with salt and black pepper. Place them skin-side down into a frying pan and cook very gently for 20 minutes until most of the fat has rendered and t ...

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  • How Can We Anticipate Flight Delays

    Q:  My husband and I are frequent fliers. Recently, his flight was delayed for four hours. We knew it would be late taking off before we left for the airport, but we weren’t sure whether he still had to check in at the normal time. He was unable to check in on line so didn’t have a boarding card. And since he was aware that the flight was f ...

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  • Connecting flights

    Q: I have booked a flight from Los Angeles to London in February on Virgin Atlantic in premium economy. I have two-and-a-half hours to connect to a British Airways flight to Delhi, for which I have purchased a business class ticket. If Virgin fails to get me to London in time to connect, what are my rights for getting to Delhi? Andrea Correnti ...

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  • Vichysoisse

    One of the very best chilled soups, this is a sublimely silky mixture of potatoes, leeks, onions, chicken stock and cream. Melt a large chunk of unsalted butter in a large saucepan and sweat the chopped leeks until they are soft.  Add a couple of chopped floury potatoes and the stock bring to the boil and simmer until the potato is nearly ...

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  • Q: Who owns Frequent Flier miles; the company or the traveler?

    My wife and I are frequent fliers with several airlines since we split our time between Greece, Hong Kong and London. My company’s new travel policy requires that I should travel in economy at the best possible price – and business class only in exceptional circumstances. However, the policy states that any staff member may upgrade using their ...

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  • Spaghetti and meatballs

    Thoroughly mix 400g of lean minced beef (no more than 5 percent fat) with some pieces of bread (softened with milk) in a bowl with mixed herbs, finely chopped parsley, a beaten egg, and a fair amount of seasoning in a large bowl. Knead the mixture into balls, keeping your hands damp to stop the stuff sticking to your fingers. Saute the meatballs in a heavy ...

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