The St Michael All Colour Cookery Book.
This title by Jeni Wright predated my arrival in the book department. Try as we might, we never surpassed this collection of recipes.
It was and is the main backbone of my cookery collection. The one in the photograph is not my original. My one was so battered from over-use that when I spied a newer one in a charity shop I had to buy a replacement.
My pages were falling out, covered with buttery finger-prints, flour and the occasional wine glass stain a newer model was introduced. Sometimes, it is just the traditional recipes that will suffice, the photography may look dated and some of the ideas seem old- fashioned but for me this is a real comfort food manual.
When all the family come home from University and bring their friends a quick spag bol or chilli con carne can be rustled up with a click glance at worn pages.
We returned from Italy to find that the garden had gone mad with the downpours we had been having . The plants had bolted and the vegetable patch was looking rather abundant.
The rhubarb had lost its hat and was demanding some attention. This variety is called 'Victoria', guess why we chose it.
When it rains and rains and the wind is howling outside and all you want to do is snuggle down and watch a black and white film on the television with warm smells emanating from the kitchen, then rhubarb and ginger crumble is just the thing to pop in the oven.
I always use this lovely old French casserole dish for my crumble. It is not posh but for me it is top of the range and fits in my oven gloved hands so well, like holding a large cup of hot chocolate or some other comfort drink. I love breaking through that crisp, browned, sugared crumble top and seeing the juices bubbling up through the doughy bread crumbed surface. No adding oats to the crumble mixture for health purposes. My health and well-being comes from the thick custard [with a skin] or the ice-cream that provides that hot and cold contrast of heaven.