The Butcher of Bologna

Our meal is a disappointment. Beautifully presented pasta and delicious melanzane parmigiana, yes, but the atmosphere is lacking and the prices are steep. Our waitress rushes around the sleek surroundings in a joyless and harried fashion, which is something of a surprise in foodcentric Bologna. It’s almost a relief to be out on the street, … More The Butcher of Bologna

Plastic Peccadilloes

I imagine Bettina Maidment to have enviable cupboards full of Kilner jars in which she keeps colourful lentils in nice neat rows. I bet there’s not a single piece of plastic to blight the eye For Bettina is the Plastic Free Community Leader for Hackney. She took the decision to live without plastic a couple … More Plastic Peccadilloes

Ristorante da Enzo

I’m watered as I examine the restaurant menu hanging at street level. I take it to be an invitation of a sort. Ristorante da Enzo in Modena (a first floor establishment) has windows back and front, dressed by a variety of healthy plants. Responsibility for their welfare falls upon a green-fingered older woman who is … More Ristorante da Enzo

Le Sfogline

Le Sfogline – sisters of pasta. More accurately, it means: those who make sheets of pasta by hand in the traditional way by using a rolling pin (mattarello). Rick Stein met them once (these particular sfogline, who are indeed sisters) and they reminded him that never in Bologna – or Italy for that matter – … More Le Sfogline

Kitty the Dancer

Kitty’s a dancer. She’s agile and flexible and recognises a cue. I haven’t seen her take a single (dance) step yet, but soon I know this is true. We’re talking about kids. Kitty says she wouldn’t want to be young in today’s world – the pressures! Nobody ever expected her to achieve anything at all … More Kitty the Dancer

Shy daffs

Shy daffs of yesterday are showing off today. Happy days. It must be Spring.

Cornish pasty

I’ve known I was a Cornish Pasty ever since I can remember. It’s a family thing, a bit silly, but consider that my parents’ audience (many years ago) was a delighted group of three small kids. We loved that my biggest brother was a Cockney Sparrer, and that my other brother and I were great … More Cornish pasty

East End Shadows

Rachel Kolsky is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on this drizzle-damp morning. She carries an über-loved fabric flower like a wand, and darts around our group at twice the speed that I can presently think. Her ears prick up when I say the words ‘fairy cake‘, but I confess that I have none with me; I was … More East End Shadows

Labels, chorizo and falling off the wagon.

Not long ago, my husband and I were discussing food, thinking through weekend meals. I suggested a chickeny something for the Saturday night. My husband agreed that this was a safe bet for the whole family, before remembering that I rarely eat meat nowadays. He said, “You’ve become a vegetarian really, haven’t you?”. Except for … More Labels, chorizo and falling off the wagon.