My favourite recent charity-shop find is the Two Fat Ladies cookbook. I never saw these two on TV (although since buying the book I have watched all the YouTube clips I can find), and I am sorry that I didn’t discover them before Jennifer Paterson passed away, because the book is wonderful. They wrote with such gusto and joie de vivre – about the recipes, the ingredients, their experiences of cooking, their lives – and the food is just what I want to eat at this time of year (in moderation!): luxurious, courageous, robust atheroma-inducing old English comfort food, with a side of no-nonsense brilliance and a hearty sprinkling of colonial eclecticism.
Some friends moved into their new flat over Christmas, and Deri helped carry their stuff and build flat-pack furniture. When they invited us round last night to toast their new home, and asked us to bring “nibbles,” the least I could do was bake something. But nibbles are savoury, aren’t they? Oh dear. I can only bake cakes.
Luckily, I’d been wanting to try this recipe of Jennifer Paterson’s for a while. How could you resist something reputed to be “perfectly splendid with a good cocktail”?
They were perfectly splendid with champage, too. Crispy, crunchy, buttery and cheesy – unsurprisingly, for something made of equal amounts butter, parmesan and flour, flavoured with celery salt, paprika, mustard, and cayenne pepper. Moreish, too. We ate them all, sitting around and telling stories.
Mike and Sarah – thank you for having us, thank you for your wonderful friendship, and Happy New Home!
And Jennifer, thank you.
(I would feel bad typing onto the blog a recipe which I have just cooked straight from a book – out of respect, and also for copyright and plagiarism reasons. Twenty-two years of exams will do that to you. But I also love sharing recipes, and the community and heritage which grows from that, and I know lots of people in the blogsphere do it without blinking. What do you think?).