A Foodie Blast from the Past

When we were first married, in the late 1980s there was a BBC programme called "Food & Drink", an eclectic mixture of recipes, food news, wine recommendations and cooking. It was  hosted by Jilly Goolden (wine), Chris Kelly (food news) and Michael Barry (chef) with guest appearences from Oz Clarke amongst others.

We really enjoyed it (I think it made us feel domesticated and grown up!) and I remember that one feature recommended a Gerwurztraminer wine to go with Chinese food: up until then I had never (a) thought there WAS a wine to go with Chinese food or (b) liked the Germanic "flowery" wines. This changed my mind, as we sat eating Peking duck (from the Sainsburys down the road) and drinking Gerwurztraminer - midweek! How decadent!

In my old recipe book, that I started when we got married (again, that made me feel very grown up!) I have various recipes written down & stuck in, including several scribbled down from the "Food & Drink" programme (it was before the days when you could just "go on the internet" to print them off). So today I'm going to share a couple of these recipes with you.

Serves 4
175g penne pasta
14 oz tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
5 oz mozzarella cheese
4 oz grated parmesan
2 tbsp chopped basil
black pepper 
(sorry about the mix of imperial & metric. Just how it was written down!)
1. Cook pasta
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the tomatoes and oil, breaking the tomatoes gently with a spoon (you can get chopped tomatoes now, you know!)
3. Add the mozzarella, half the parmesan, the basil & pepper. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat.
4. Drain the pasta & put in an oven proof dish
5. Pour the sauce over & mix well. Top with the remaining parmesan
6. Bake in a pre heated oven (200°C/400°F/GM6) for 10 minutes
7. Serve

Yes, I know that this is just pasta in a cheesy tomato sauce, but I do remember feeling quite proud when I served this up at one of our first "dinner parties" - I served it to mum and dad on one of the few times they visited us in our first proper house in Milton Keynes. I remember Dad sitting in the armchair, complaining about acid reflux (not after the meal, I hasten to add!) - unfortunately, the first signs of the oesophagal cancer that took him a couple of years later. Sigh. Of such memories, good and bad, are our lives made up.

Here is another Michael Barry recipe I cooked for "dinner parties". I use speech marks, as I feel "dinner parties" give the impression of something quite formal, with several courses and finger bowls. I suppose "meals with friends" might be better - but that doesn't sound quite special enough. It used to be a big thing having people for dinner: it meant we were growed up!

Anyway, this one was even more of a favourite - but was only for special occasions!

Serves 2 (?)
1 duck breast
1/4 pint water
1/4 pint stock
juice of 1 lemon
juice 1 orange
4 oz soft dried apricots, cut in two
zest 1/2 orange
1 dsp cornflour
tagliatelli, carrots & mangetouts

1. Fry breast very quickly & trim off the skin
2. Pour most of the fat away. Cut the duck breast into chunks
3. Replace in the pan with everything else except the lemon juice & cornflour. Cook for 15 minutes over a medium heat.
4. Cook tagliatelli, & stir fry the carrots and mangetout in a little oil. Mix these together & pile onto serving dish.
5. Remove the duck, & place on pasta
6 Make a slake of cornflour & lemon juice, and add to sauce. Boil rapidly, stirring, until sauce is thickened. Pour over the duck & pasta & serve (topped with flaked almonds, if desired)

I'm glad I managed to find time to write this post. It has made me smile with my memories AND given me ideas for two meals this week. Huzzah!

Yesterday's rather hurried (and unexciting!) post is over at the Teapot. Only a couplee more days to go and I'll have blogged every day in November: woo-hoo!


  1. We used to watch "Food and Drink" in the old days too- but our budget was so stretched we could only dream about the recipes!!

  2. We always watched the programme too. Cookery programmes are a bit different now, I think.

  3. We've just had Chinese... with Tesco orange juice or eau! Like the duck recipe- maybe I'll copy that into my notebook, also started when I got married!


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