Author: Alice

view from Monte Grignone

A world unfolding

Last week, after tunneling under the squat heft of Monte Bianco, and with the cloud-tangled peaks of its French facade in our wake, I watched two alpine cows tumble together in a meadow by the side of the road. The white of their bellies blurred with the brown of their backs, and it seemed that they were locked in a play fight. How amazing, I thought. But as we drew closer to the dancing cows, the image corrected itself: it was just a small windmill turning furiously in the strengthening wind. We were going home. To the home beyond the hills and mountains; far from the Alps, and the Pre-Alps, and the green, terraced footholds that wrap around Bergamo like a frilly collar. To the rushes, reeds and washes of East Anglia and the flat swathes of the Cheshire plains. Driving across France – wheels on earth, dogs in the boot, rain belting the windscreen – was a physical process of connecting the two: our Italian home and British one. A week ago, this journey Read More

baked peach mascarpone

Baked peaches

If anything was going to bring me back to writing, it was going to be a baked peach. Ever since the days of reading Jane Grigson in the greengrocers at my Saturday job, bundled up in knitwear and watching the clock on the wall tick laboriously by, I’ve dreamt of baked peaches. In the summer, late August usually, an elderly Italian woman who lived in Bungay would bring in a crate of peaches; big and fat and rosy. They were from her garden, and I would buy three and take them home to savour. The shop is no longer there, but the idea of a peach tree in Suffolk – perhaps planted by a homesick immigrant – has stayed with me. I ate those home-grown peaches with gusto – no time for baking – but I would think of Jane Grigson’s recipe for baked peaches as the juice dribbled down my chin. The hollow left from the stone is filled with crumbled amaretti – or coconut macaroons, this is after all 1980s Britain. The cooked Read More

Memories of spring

I’ve written a poem, and as that’s something I rarely do, I thought I’d share it here. In the midst of this parched and listless summer, it’s a reminder of the soft, dewy spring. While I’m here, let me say that everything is good, even if the endless sun has found me impatiently hopping from foot to foot, watching the clouds for rain. We’ve been busy. In the past month we’ve been to Venice (to talk to a man about a wedding), and the Lake District (to eat a 10 course tasting menu of dreams). And in two weeks we’re going to the South of France. It’s been a good summer. Memories of a Spring Each week I watch the quiet journey of spring along the A-roads leading from the North West to the east East. The furthest east that you can go. The place where elderflower grows too fast, blooming and bursting and heavy with scent, foaming from the side of the road, always drying up too quick to make cordial. Next year, next Read More