Going vegan for Veganuary

“I would get online support. There are Facebook groups out there…you can ask advice. You can talk to people who are in a similar situation. The Veganuary one is particularly good for that. People will say things like ‘I fell off the wagon’ and it's good for things like that. It provides moral support,” suggested Chef Day Radley, including at times when vegans are faced with unsupportive people around them.

Soljanka and the Christmas market in Dresden, Germany

One of my favourite dishes on the menu is Soljanka, a soup with Russian origins. Friends tell me that occupying Soviet troops introduced the soup to eastern Germany. To most residents of Saxony it proved more palatable than the presence of a foreign military power. Soljanka has remained popular following German reunification.

Dining Out: Brasserie Midi in Groningen, the Netherlands

“We keep the price low because we cut out the middle man. We go direct to the producer,” explains the 30-year-old restaurateur, who has formed close working relationships with farmers and fisherman from Groningen’s hinterland. Ten farms, for example, are now working together as part of a cooperative to deliver dairy products to the Brasserie Midi and other restaurants in Groningen.

The Rib Room restaurant at Ramside Hall, Durham

The Rib Room, in Durham, is one of the restaurants at the Ramside Hall hotel. The brasserie-style dining establishment holds a reputation for being one of north-east England’s premier steakhouses. The restaurant made a stylish first impression. We — myself and my brother — were greeted and shown to seats on a semi-circular leather banquette...

Fusion restaurant at Ramside Hall, Durham

Despite dining on a Monday night, Fusion was relatively busy. Soft music, subtle lighting and the chatter of dozens of conversations helped create a convivial atmosphere. The majority of tables were occupied; some by hotel guests, others by locals enjoying an evening out. The couple on our neighbouring table were clearly meeting for a first date. As we left they were sitting by the pewter-topped bar drinking cocktails together — things were obviously progressing well.

The world’s best pub? De Beyerd in Breda

The café-bar’s history goes all the way back to 1838. “It started as a very small bar on the other side of the museum. During the 1950s all the houses were demolished. In this place there was a tailor. He stopped just at that moment, so the pub moved to this site,” explains Jos.

Sunderland Restaurant Week (9-17 September)

“Sunderland was known for Indian and Italian cuisine five or six years ago but now the city has a massive array of dining offers,” said Kam Chera, the owner of The Funky Indian and Prosecco Bar. Diners can now find Egyptian, modern British and even Berlin-style Turkish dishes served on Wearside.