Rules to be broken – “Red wine with meat, white wine with fish.” 

This is a recipe for those of you who like to break rules. My late husband, Slater, was a great rule-breaker, and when I discovered this recipe, I knew it would amuse him – and it did.

I met Slater at the 1983 Edinburgh TV Festival when this complete stranger with a lovely smile and curly hair waltzed up to me with the line, “I couldn’t decide whether to look at you or Jonathan Miller”, before disappearing into the crowd. I was much amused by this opening chat up line as Jonathan Miller, the renowned theatre and opera director, had given the opening address to the TV festival. Continue reading “Rules to be broken – “Red wine with meat, white wine with fish.” “

Amore Appassionato – falling in love with Spaghetti Bolognese

The boys are back in town – in this case, oldest son, Tom, and his friend Kieran. Old habits die hard and I started thinking of recipes for pasta – the proverbial family standby. But it wasn’t always so. It may be hard to believe, but I was 10 before I ever ate pasta. Continue reading “Amore Appassionato – falling in love with Spaghetti Bolognese”

An Ode to Broad Beans – Habas con Jamon

May and June always meant two things for me when we were living on the Welsh Borders: our spring holiday escaping to the mountains in Southern Spain for the May half term; and the first broad beans in my vegetable garden, ready to pick in June when we returned. They are inextricably linked in my mind by one recipe – Habas con Jamon.

The Jamon would be a huge leg of Jamon Serrano, a speciality of the Alpujarras Mountains in Southern Spain. The mountains are famous for their salted air-dried hams, with the best coming from the highest village of Trevelez. While not cheap (even back in those days),  the flavour was excellent. Invariably, we would be tempted and buy a whole leg. Slater would board the return plane with a rucksack on his back containing an entire ham with the pigs trotter gently nudging the back of his head! Continue reading “An Ode to Broad Beans – Habas con Jamon”

Mary Poppins and The Pasta Bake

I am in admiration of all my children working full time, but frankly horrified at the price they now have to pay for child care. Thirty years ago like so many women who wanted to keep their foot on the career ladder as well as raise children, it was my problem. Continue reading “Mary Poppins and The Pasta Bake”

A Tea Trolley Favourite

Let me be quite clear about this, I am a fan of stodge, the thick, warm, comforting hit of carbohydrate rich puddings and cakes, that come steamed or baked, sticky with jam or fruit purees or chock full with dried fruit. I’ve written about it in Oh, Lardy, Lardy, where I make my love for lardy cake happen. Continue reading “A Tea Trolley Favourite”

Colonial Adventures – East African Curry

I grew up in MMBA – a colonial acronym for ‘miles and miles of bloody Africa’. My first food memories are of mangoes and paw-paws, avocados, fresh crabs and lobsters on holidays down on the Kenyan Coast, and spicy hot Indian curries – thanks to the large Asian community who lived in Nairobi. I loved going with my mother on her shopping trips to the Indian bazaar to buy spices. Continue reading “Colonial Adventures – East African Curry”

Everything Stops For Tea…

If you’re British, a cup of tea is seen as the solution to many of life’s problems. Crash your car, discover you’re bankrupt, fall down a flight of steps – what you need is “a nice cup of tea”.

A friend of mine once had the job of keeping the cellars of Buckingham Palace stocked with wine. About a year after the tragic death of Princess Diana, Mark (not his real name), was having dinner with a senior member of the Palace staff and, when this gentleman mentioned he had been the unfortunate person who had answered the Palace phone at four am to be told that the princess had been in a car crash and was fighting for her life, Mark asked, “What did you do?Continue reading “Everything Stops For Tea…”