Anne’s gratin dauphinois

Anne Philit was a French au pair in the neighbouring village to mine during the summer before I went to study in Avignon. We spent our summer helping each other learn our respective languages while walking my dog through the fields that joined our villages and preparing meals for the kids she was looking after. What strikes me about Anne is her ease and grace. She is patient, kind and always willing to help. It is through her that IRead more

Alessandra’s peppery salmon gnocchi

Alessandra was our Italian flatmate in my final year of uni at Liverpool – she was the sea of calm in a decadent household in Toxteth. She kept herself largely to herself, was quiet and demure until her boyfriend arrived. Then no amount of doors, floors and ear plugs could stop you hearing her. My diet at this time was polish Kielbasa sausage, beer and chips. Alessandra showed me this dish when I was hungover and woefully helpless. It’s simple, effortlessRead more

Pug’s savoury grilled cheese

This is my go-to comfort food/hangover (which is increasingly becoming my weekend default state) snack and is not really a recipe, more an assembly. I like bold tastes, I like crunch (the crispy fried bread and the crunchy peanuts give this) and above all else I love melted cheese. If you have allergies or a penchant for the bland, then move on, this isn’t for you. The key to success with this is the bread – over the years I’veRead more

Stuffed loin of pork for dad

My dad is smart man, with a dry wit, dry humour and a twinkle in his eye that can evoke sympathy, empathy or fear,  depending on his mood. I love him not only as the man who worked extra hard to ensure that his family had everything they  needed for a good start in life but also as the closet Romantic Poet who can quote Shelley, Byron and the Rubaiyat of Omar  Khayyam with a tumbler of red wine inRead more