Tag Archives: food

FoodInteriorsGardens (FIG)

You really need to see this because it’s fab.

A new blog by my chum Pascale.

Serious talent.





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Filed under gardens, oddbods, writing

STB (Stuffed to Bursting)

Christmas Cake

That’s it. Done. The cathartic moment when the turkey carcass stops leering at me from the fridge and enters its rightful place: the bin. I’m not going to bother with stock from its bones, for one thing I haven’t got a pan big enough to hold it in its entirety and I’m not spending my morning wrestling it into small pieces (have you ever tried to hack through a turkey’s back bone? No? Don’t waste your time: it will win).

So this is not a poem but a list of all the things we have picked at, eaten with relish, shoved to the back of the fridge in disgust, nibbled and spat out since Christmas Eve (not counting cups of tea and packets of Kettle Chips).

Pheasant x 2 (browned in butter, flamed with brandy and braised with apple juice and stock)

Celeriac, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes (apt)

Mashed potatoes (butter’s a main ingredient)

Chocolate Brazils

Mince pies (sweet shortcrust, home made mincemeat – thanks Delia – extra brandy)


Smoked salmon and thin thin brown bread

Champagne…for breakfast…for elevenses…for lunch…

More chocolate Brazils and a celadon green tin of Fortnum’s Explorers biscuits

Turkey, legs removed, boned, snipped of its ligaments and stuffed with….

Sausagemeat, chestnuts, lemon, sage

Butter, butter….more butter

Streaky bacon and thin sausages

Braised red cabbage (Viennese style)

Ubiquitous sprouts

Parsnips and spuds roasted in goose fat (I could just have had these alone)


The Hub’s cranberry sauce. Orangey. Sinus hurting.

Pauillac, Pinot Noir, Sauternes

Blue-flamed pudding (the one we forgot to take to Scotland last year)

Brandy sauce

No cheese..that’s tomorrow

Sloe gin, Drambuie

More crumpets

GLORIOUS LEFTOVERS (and a ham: scored, cloved, burnished and too darned big)



Fennel crackers

Thick nubbly fan shaped oat cakes

Chocolate ginger

Turmeric yellow Piccadilly Piccalilli (it must stain your insides)

And cake, cake…..Christmas Cake (the best I’ve made – thanks to Nigella and a tin of chestnut puree)

Today, 28th December. We’re having salad.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!


Filed under oddbods, writing

Ants or Aunts (a nod to Mr Dahl)

I don’t know what to call this one. Suggestions gratefully received.

Colony (thanks Juliet)

Lying here in the thin London sun,

high on the scent of lime tree blossom,

I think of the smell of family gatherings,

of potted meat and alcohol and pastry and

flowers from the garden if it’s summer,

the high opiate smell of lilies.

The warm bovine scent of the kitchen curls through the house,

fingers its way under wallpaper into plaster,

through clothes into skin,

its hard back layer of rendered meat

made sweet with nutmeg.

A solid-girdled cohort of grandmothers and great aunts

moves in formation between pantry and kitchen and dining room.


But they were knowing women.

Women who knew how to knead dough to the softness of powdered cheeks,

how to embroider French knots and knit socks.

How to build a fire in a grate and tend

those fragile things which tumbled through generations, picking up speed.

How to let go of their youth.

I watched a procession of ants once.

A black lacquer line fetching the honeyed remains of

a dropped baklava.

A long way from here, in Greece, in a stench of diesel and road dust,

waiting in heat for a boat.


Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry


I promise that I’ll stop at this…..no more meat poems….


Tripe Stall


She had a nice face the woman at the tripe stall.

A powdery-old coloured-in face: pink lips, green eyeshadow

all the way up to kohl-ed brows,

no hair there, just pencil marks.



I couldn’t see on top of the counter

but there were small wooden forks and a bottle of vinegar.

Just malt. Brown, nostril pricking malt.

I could see the bottle’s nubbled glass bottom.


I liked that counter: it leaned inwards

so that I could lean on it, forehead resting on its cool surface,

and be closer to the

honeycombed pieces of stomach

bleached fake white.

Fanned like concertina-ed paper decorations,

shivering in thick felted layers.

I wanted to touch it,

to place my palm flat and sink my hand into its cold deadness.


There was always a pie too,

heel and shin probably,

and a tray of black puddings,

skin stretched and dull half-polished

over cooked blood and nuggets of fat

like the black leather collars my grandfather used for his bulls.

I liked and the way the water boiled fatly around them

and the way they burst open at knife point

spilling innards.


I liked leaving a disc of breath on the glass.


Filed under oddbods, poems, poetry, writing