Hardeep Singh Kohli: Twitter and a tapenade recipe

PUBLISHED: 12:32 08 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:32 08 December 2016




Inspired by an old friend, TNE’s resident food columnist creates a recipe with olives, anchovies and capers

The modern age confounds me. The onset of the seemingly surreptitious cyber revolution has impacted our lives in subtle and subliminal ways.

The first Scottish independence referendum created cyber soldiers, slugging it out for Scotland, hope over fear, Better Together besting the civic nationalists. Brexit was bought by boorish and blatant lies, myriad media misrepresentation; the sale sealed by social networks. Trump triumphed on Twitter, twenty-four/seven, firing falsehood and fiction in one hundred and forty characters.

After the mainstream media’s abject capitulation – through wave after wave of vested interest journalism – the power of social media has never been more pronounced. And while occasionally beacons burn brilliantly on the horizon in terms of the established press (this newspaper being one), our lives, our politics and our everything is increasingly being expressed remotely. Twitter not only shapes the zeitgeist; it is the zeitgeist.

But in amongst the surly slings, the accused arrows of outrageous virtual warfare are little lights of loveliness. New friends, excellent jokers, hilarious parodies and a plethora of food-related deliciousness. Last week I hosted a Book Week Scotland event with a guy called David Ross. This very successful, internationally prolific director of Scotland’s most respected architecture practice is also a celebrated writer. We met on Twitter (@dfr10). There’s a guy called Jason (@NickMotown). I remember when he started out he had but a handful of followers. Today he has more than 20,000, all of whom enjoy his unique comic insight.

Then there’s Andrew McKie, or @distantcities as he is known in the cybersphere. Andrew and I were at Glasgow University together, thrown together as comrade debaters for The Distributists, a political society there. It was rather apt for me, a Jesuit educated boy, given that the economic ideology of Distributism was based on Catholicism. This debating society, based on the Westminster model, is responsible for many movers and shakers, being as it is the most successful debating institution in the world.

Andrew and I were good pals. He was an effortless eccentric while those around him flapped and flailed as they experimented with their self-expression. He glided gracefully with his singular sense of style. No-one smoked untipped fags like McKie; no-one consumed cognac like McKie; no-one riffed a riposte like McKie. He was technicolor in a world of shades of grey. He graduated in Philosophy and then promptly disappeared. Some years later I heard he was at The Daily Telegraph. It was the late nineties and we hadn’t spoken in a decade. Andrew was deputy comment editor (once writing a leader on the importance of soup) and, for 10 years, its obituaries editor. I was glad to hear he was doing well. I emailed him. We exchanged a few missives then life got in the way. We never managed that cuppa or the lunch we promised ourselves.

And a year ago he pops up on Twitter. It’s more than three decades since we met. For all the time we spent in transit from teenage into the adversity of adulthood I never knew of his passion for cooking.

I learnt from a random tweet he fired out. “@misterhsk Whereas, here I am today, having cooked nothing more dangerous than a loaf & pasta amatriciana. And quite dangerous tapenade…”

Tapenade that blends olives and danger; there is no more succinct a summary of the spirit of Andrew. When I was young and thrusting upward I failed to always appreciate the jewels bestowed around me, the brilliant people hidden in plain sight. Andrew is one of those. I’ll be popping down to Cambridge to spend a weekend cooking, drinking, laughing, debating and reminiscing with a man I haven’t seen since I was 20 years old. There’s something to be said about bonds forged in the white heat of those most impressionable of ages. And while our cities might be distant it feels like our souls remained close.


Dangerous Distributist Tapenade


250g Wrinkled black olives, greasy, stoned

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tbs salted capers

2 to 3 fresh basil leaves

1 mild chilli

1 tsp fresh mixed herbs

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil


Simply combine all the ingredients, save for the olive oil, in a blender. Then just blitz and blend whilst drizzling a steady stream of the oil.

Like this? Check out Hardeep’s recipe for Hungarian garlic sauce.

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.

Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European

If Yes, Name to appear in The New European

Latest articles

Blow for Hard Brexit as Cabinet ‘unites’ behind transition deal

The Cabinet is “united” in backing a transitional Brexit deal which would mean continued access to migrant labour, Michael Gove has said.

What Euratom really stands for

The Euratom row lays bare the innate flaws of Brexit. But it also gives pro-Europeans their biggest chance yet to regain the initiative

How did Brexit Britain lose the spirit of the 2012 Olympics?

How did Brexit Britain lose the spirit of the 2012 Olympics?

Brexit could force UK to set up new healthcare scheme for tourists

Brussels is holding out on the government’s hopes of continuing membership of the European health insurance scheme post-Brexit.

Fox says UK does not need trade deal with Europe after Brexit

Brexiteer cabinet minister Liam Fox has reiterated the government’s widely ridiculed negotiating tactic of “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

UK and EU clash over ‘fundamental’ differences on citizens’ rights and divorce bill

The European Union’s top Brexit negotiator has demanded the government clarifies its position on citizens’ rights and stumps up a Brexit divorce bill.

Britain’s creative brilliance has taken decades to build... it could be destroyed in months

It is no accident that Britain’s creative sector has grown as borders have become more open. Now, decades of progress are in peril, says one of the world’s leading architects

We can learn from the British motor industry: Our economy needs capital and talent not slogans

The British economy can succeed. But it needs less wishful thinking and a more hard-headed assessment of the facts

Juventus is Europe’s most colourful football club

The club in Turin is a football club quite unlike any other - an institution which combines excellence and ugliness

How climate change is forcing native American culture to change

Just because Donald Trump doesn’t care about it, doesn’t mean climate change isn’t already having an impact in the US.

The Honours system is so corrupt it would be an embarrassment in Zimbabwe

The idea that the British establishment is predicated on civilised values of ‘fairness’, ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ is beginning to unravel.

Somali pirates are back - history shows how we can stop them

The fight against the menace of modern day piracy must start on the land, not the sea

Translating for the enemy: Tempting financial services out of post-Brexit UK

For some in Europe Brexit offers an opportunity to prize business away from London and the UK.

London hit by Brexit ‘wobble’ as fewer Europeans come to work in capital

London’s economy is “wobbling” due to the aftershock of the Britain’s decision to back Brexit, according to a new report.

Online ‘echo-chambers’ are an effect of hate, not a cause

Legacy publishers such as the Mail and the Sun are condemning the environment they create

Oh shit... we’re blowing Brexit

Things are now so grim in Brexit Britain - there is no hero riding to the rescue – but it’s not too late to rethink

Remember this moment from Orwell’s 1984 and don’t let the Tories rewrite history

Really Theresa May? Consensus? With the “saboteurs”, the “enemies of the people”?

BBC and Channel 4’s obsession with so-called ‘impartiality’ is stifling true debate

Forget the social media whirlwinds around media bias, impartiality is overrated

‘EU leaders are willing to consider freedom of movement changes to stop Brexit’

It’s becoming clear what the British people want from Brexit. But they are not being given the option, says former PM Tony Blair

Brexit pathology: Leave’s latest lie shows the trouble they are in

A new Big Lie is currently entering the Big Lie lexicon. It is that 51.9% having voted Leave last June 23 – National Self-Harm Day – the number has now risen to over 80%.

Watch us on YouTube

The rollercoaster ride of Theresa May's plummeting approval ratings

Views: 242

A year of failure and fiasco in May’s Number 10

Views: 200

Tory minister Steve Baker demands the EU is to be ‘torn down’

Views: 400



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter