Month: October 2015


It was a good weekend. On Friday evening we walked from Chinatown to London Bridge, along the Southbank and through the dimly lit streets of Borough. I drank in October London in all of its damp, heady glory, knowing that when I come back it will be muffled by the  gloom of January. But even now,  autumn London seems miles away from this autumn Verona, where the sun still shines in abundance. I’m currently lounging on a terrace eating a slice of pizzette. Not even three days here, and I’ve already tucked away two pizzas, five pastries, steak, two plates of pasta and a seven-course meal. When I return I fear I’ll resemble a fattened little wild boar. In my defence, most of these meals were entirely unexpected. On Sunday I was invited to a ‘client lunch’ (the father of the family I’m staying with is a bigwig lawyer). As it turned out, the lunch wasn’t only for the client, but his wife, mother, children, nieces, nephews and me. The various old aunties practically gobbled up the Read More

Fregula with pancetta and squash

Although the topic has been the focus of countless poems, photographs and childhood memories, I would like to bring something to your attention: the sweetness of an October evening in London, circa 6pm. It was on yesterday’s commute home from Putney to Canary Wharf – I know, I know, it’s madness – that I first noticed it: the trees scorched with yellow and bronze, the sunlight melting to a soft amber. Autumn has come. In London, autumn doesn’t come with the same prelude as at home, where the sky is so big and the trees so numerous that the transition from season to season becomes a show in itself. Instead, there’ll come an October day when it hits you. Yesterday was that day. I might even have uttered something about it feeling like Christmas, but don’t worry, we’ll keep that thought on hold for a couple of a months. In the kitchen, October is a ripe, golden month. A month of produce burnished with ochre and brimming with flavour – the type of food that cries out to be softened with bacon Read More

To the table: bread and butter pudding

Food memories – the good and the bad – are the most enduring. It’s not just the taste, but the things that accompany it: memories of the kitchen table in a childhood home or of the person standing by the stove; nostalgia for a smell, a sound, a place or a time. I quite often find myself thinking about these dishes of my childhood. The ones that I’d take on my desert island, the meals that taste like home. But out of all the contenders, bread and butter pudding probably comes out on top. I remember the first time I tried it, at the end of a Sunday roast. The crisp top giving into the quivering, buttery pudding underneath. No other pudding has as many cousins. On the one side of the spectrum you have the devilishly rich, like Nigella’s caramel croissant pudding – a far cry from bread and butter pudding’s 12th century peasant origins. Then there’s the all-American bread pudding (I’m thinking of the Louisiana kind, doused in bourbon). I even remember making a doughnut variety in Read More