This distinctive book – its size and multi-coloured stripes will ensure that you won’t mislay it in your kitchen – is a veritable tome but it is surprisingly readable. It sat on my coffee table for a month, chapters to be digested along with meals, and it has so many post-its hanging out of it to mark the ideas that interest me or recipes that I would like to try that it runs the risk of every second of the 1075 pages (not including the index) being marked.
It’s been years since I ate porridge regularly for breakfast. Lumpy and overboiled, it was always a one of the foods that I hated as a child – unless it was made in the Aga at Oldcastletown by my grandfather. Put into the bottom oven the previous night, his porridge was one of the highlights if we stayed overnight.
My mother makes the best scones. There’s always a carton of cream souring in the fridge to add lightness to the eventual product, which, when I come home, are often piled high on the wire rack to cool, large, golden and flecked with sultanas. They’re the kind of scones that you can’t resist eating warm from the oven, with plenty of melting butter…