All posts tagged: Jane Grigson

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

Banana Bread

It was in a cold greengrocers that Jane Grigson first taught me about fruit. Every Saturday morning I would take her book down from a shelf and learn about the the history of the quince or how best to cook medlars. Jane helped me fall in love with ingredients. She also made working in an unheated greengrocers slightly more bearable for a fifteen-year-old with a hot water bottle permanently shoved up her jumper. As I read more and more in my breaks between serving customers, I came to look forward to new seasons in the fruit and vegetable calendar. September was my favourite month, when customers would bring in baskets of apples for us to sell. It was the Discovery first -a small, sweet apple with a deep crimson flush, and then the Worcester. By the end of the month we had dozens of varieties, piled high next to punnets of foraged blackberries and trays of patty pan squash. I always took the over-ripe fruit home with me. With Jane Grigson’s guidance I made apricot Read More

Fennel a la qrecque

Sharp right off Euston Road onto Gower Street, feet scrambling on the pavement, trying desperately to avoid the oncoming traffic of people. Late, always late. Through the iron gates. The stone temple of the UCL Octagon building stands opposite, almost two hundred years of study etched into its skin. I head towards it, bag swaying pendulum-like on my shoulder; pages and pages of History weighing me down. Through the wooden doors, down the stairs and across a courtyard. Some students are drinking coffee, for me there’ll never be time for that. Finally, I make it. A moment outside the door to catch my breath, neaten my hair. I’m late of course, some things never change. Then’s it’s in, find a seat, take out a pen, listen. Now I’m transported: From London to the Wild West, Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece. That’s History for you. Sometimes in life we need to be transported away from the present. For food, it’s the same. Vegetables, for example, on the supermarket shelf are uniform, soulless; rewind hundreds, maybe even thousands of Read More