Got $15,000 to spend on temporary accommodation? Neiman Marcus, the luxury department store in the US, has a fantasy gift to make good little boys’ and girls’ dreams come true.  The Christmas Book catalogue features an amazing 6 ½ foot tall edible gingerbread playhouse by Dylan’s Candy Bar.  It’s built of 173 kgs of gingerbread, 235 kgs of royal icing and it’s part-furnished with a lollipop tree inside.  Self-proclaimed Candy Queen Dylan Lauren says she was inspired by the classic Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie.

Which leads us neatly into our next story.  The Independent reports that UK restaurants throw away more than 600,000 tons of food each year – and they’re blaming most of the waste on US-supersized portions, though a portion is inevitably down to food prep.  The Sustainable Restaurant Association, who published the report, really want restaurateurs to cut out the waste, save themselves money, and save the planet.

With a small glass of Madeira, Fire & Knives is celebrating its first year of publication as a quarterly magazine – without sponsorship or advertisements – of new writing about food by people who love food full stop.  It was founded by Observer food blogger Tim Hayward and the magazine is a thing of beauty, where graphic design meets worthwhile content.  The tone is ‘enthusiastic amateur’, though you’ll recognize some of the bylines (Oliver Thring, Tom Parker-Bowles).  The submission guidelines are a model of self-effacing clarity and there’s apparently a Fire & Knives Book Group that’s taken wing, too.

We first read about it on The Barrister Blog, by barrister and writer Tim Kevan, which is a way outside our culinary brief, but the guy is intelligent, writes well and really, really cares about food in between caring about good causes, trying to sell his surfer mate’s van, flogging his own very funny book, and recommending music to try.  He was The Times Baby Barista.  He also turned us on to an enthusiastic new blog about restaurants in Bristol.

A Foodie’s Guide: Brizzle & Beyond is covering the Bristol scene and, er, beyond.   Having been blogging for just two months, the anonymous blogger has gotten to Piccolino, Three Coqs Brasserie, Aqua, up to London, down to Abergavenny and who knows where by the time you catch up with him/her.

And that leads us neatly to one of our favourite bloggers, Essex Eating, who has relocated to Bristol – see the thinking here? – and just made his first foray into creating his own supper club, the Montpelier Basement.  He and partner ‘E’ were chuffed to be applauded by their guests, including Xanthe Clay, and have plans for the next supper club on Saturday, 30 October.  Brizzle, are you game?