Author: Alice

Coming home

Sometimes all you need is a Saturday afternoon – the sky an egg wash blue, bare trees crackling against the softness of it, like great lightning bolts. A bedbound husband, a coffee fast going cold and a cake in the oven. 40 minutes to spare. 40 minutes to tell a story. I want to tell you all about Lecce and the honeyed streets. The way the stone was as warm and rich as a pat of butter. We spent 12 months there – the most permanent home Dom and I have known for a long time. Our apartment was on the seam of the old town. In the first few months, I would quicken my step to get through Porta Rudiae, into the heart of the city. But by the end of the year, the orbits shifted and this messy hem of flat-roofed buildings and cracked pavements fizzled into focus. Within a 5 minute walk, we had everything we needed: three pizzerias, four cafes, three greengrocers, two fishmongers, a butcher, and a bakery that only 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