Apologies to Demon Cook followers and fans for the paucity of posts in recent weeks. I have been busy in my other life as a piano teacher, and have also been away on holiday.
Since August is the "silly season", here's a light-heated questionnaire which perhaps says something about my "food personality":
First food memory
Eating a pound of peeled prawns aged about 5 in the garden in front of my friend Estelle. Apparently, I said "I love prawns!" and proceeded to eat the whole bowl before being violently sick.
Eating fresh crab sandwiches on the quay at Lyme Regis
Fresh samosas cooked before me in Old Delhi
'English' afternoon tea on a houseboat in Kashmir
Lunch at a waterfront restaurant in the Guidecca district of Venice, April 1990
Lunch under the tree ferns at Petersham Nursery
Marmite. Love it or loathe it?
Love it, especially on hot buttered white toast or sourdough
Peanut butter. Ditto.
As above. I also adore Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (chocolate AND peanut butter)
Foods I adore
Cheese, chocolate, creme brulee, calves liver & mash, scallops, avocadoes, carpaccio of beef, prawns, mussels and other seafood
Foods I loathe
Oysters, celery, raisins & their near cousins, any dried fruits
Scallops with chorizo and/or black pudding
Calves liver with onion & bacon gravy and mashed potatoes
Marlborough Montana Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Campari & Orange, Caipirinha cocktail, Badoit sparkling water
Tea or coffee?
Tea is my favourite and I need at least one large mug of Redbush to get me out of bed in the morning. My other favourite tea is Lapsang Souchong, which is smoke-dried over pinewood fires. I don't like fruit or herbal teas. A good coffee is hard to beat - and hard to find! The best espressos have been drunk in Italy.
Sweet or Sour?
Tricky one: I like both. Oh, all right, sweet
A bar of Green & Blacks white chocolate, a mug of Lapsang Souchong tea and the afternoon play on Radio 4
My mum's "coffee kisses" (coffee shortbreads sandwiched with coffee buttercream - she brought me a box when I was in hospital the day after my son was born).
Strawberries, melon, cherries, nectarines, mangoes, rhubarb
I love all veg, but my favourites are aubergines (ok, purists, they are fruit!), courgettes (ditto!), squash, new potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli, fresh peas eaten straight from the pod
Garlic, coriander, basil, rosemary, tarragon, rocket
Belazu Rose Harissa - not as fiery as more traditional harissa. Zhoug paste - Carlo brought it back from Israel for me (now that's what I call FIERY!). Homemade preserved lemons.
Naughty but Nice
Bendincks Bittermints, Thornton's Viennese Truffles, a good ripe Camembert, Manchego with membrillo, chorizo, deep-fried calamari
Nice and healthy
Sushi - I love it!
Favourite food writers
Claudia Roden, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson
Favourite TV chefs
Usually I avoid these at all costs, but I do have a soft spot for Jamie
Favourite foodie film
Tampopo (check out the raw egg scene!)