Trolley Dolleys

I’ve been to the shops. This may not sound like a big deal but I haven’t actually been to the shops (aside from on outings) since May when I made my last public appearance in the Oxford M&S Food Hall. I have been expecting to hear bad trading figures since I fell off their till figures but remedied (or stalled) that today.

Can’t believe how exciting it was to drive to lovely food shops. Not only that but I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by a friend (of long-standing) who knows (and shares) my shopping predilections only too well. To make the occasion truly special she brought along her long-discussed new shopping trolley for its maiden voyage.  The outing was only enhanced when she was told that she had the Rolls Royce of shopping trolleys and that other friends may now need to upgrade…You may think my world has shrunk beyond comprehension but these were always things that I have held dear!

We had a really jolly time reminiscing about the early days of our friendship when we shared the same excitement at entering our first truly mega-supermarket. This was Nine Elms Sainsburys in, we think, 1982!

M&S has really tickled my chemo-damaged taste buds, particularly their fantastic fruit and veg. I certainly made up for lost time and seriously indulged. As a result, it is fresh tuna, “Drowned Tomatoes” (courtesy of Florence Wright from her book “One” see below)  and salad for tea tonight.

It was then a quick (this is now very much a relative term!) to “Cook” which I also love, to check out what has been happening in my absence. I now feel less de-skilled and more up to date!

I may be exhausted but will rest easy in my bed tonight as the fridge (and freezers) are full and I have been re-invigorated by a reminder of many more culinary temptations.


Before summer finally disappears here’s a brilliant way to make use of the last of the season’s tomatoes from chef Florence Knight’s lovely first book ‘One’.

Serves four to six


Before summer finally disappears here’s a brilliant way to make use of the last of the season’s tomatoes from chef Florence Knight’s lovely first book ‘One’.

Serves four to six
550g mixed heritage tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 bunch of thyme
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
about 250ml extra virgin olive oil

These tomatoes are swimming, or even drowned, in olive oil, which accentuates their sweetness and depth. Especially pleasing through crisp salad leaves, toppled over a soft poached egg on toast or even steamed with clams. You can use any variety of tomato to make this recipe, from golden cherry to sweet baby plum, but I find that heritage work particularly well.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas 5.
Run the tomatoes under cold water and pick out any stalks.
Place the garlic cloves in warm water for a couple of minutes – this helps to loosen the skin. Pop them out of their skins.
Slice the tomatoes in half and gently lodge them cut-side down in a pan or casserole dish that can go in the oven. Thinly slice the garlic and scatter it over the tomatoes. Drop over the thyme and bay leaves, and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Pour over the olive oil until the tomatoes are sitting in about half a centimetre of it.
Bake for about forty-five minutes until the tomatoes are soft, a little wrinkly and blistered and have absorbed most of the olive oil.
These will keep for a few days in a jar or airtight container stored in a cool place or, if cooled first and kept under a layer of olive oil, up to a week in the fridge.
What to drink: It’s hard to recommend a match without knowing what way you’re going to use these but you should be pretty safe drinking Italian – Chianti if you fancy a red or almost any kind of dry Italian white like a Verdicchio or Vermentino.



3 thoughts on “Trolley Dolleys

  1. delighted to read your latest may nt be a praying woman gut many of your readers(novelist?)are .i never prayed for myself but when i told a churchgoing friend about my remission he said sometimes prayers are answered lets hope all ours are. .there are plenty of us.try tomato tart pastry case layer of marcascapone then sliced tomatoes bake as you know how.. i just guess.i’m waiting for the chicken soup recipe.keep up the good work xx


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