Saturday 31 March 2007

The Archive.....

Do people still keep battered notebooks, containing motley collections of once and future favourite recipes? I consulted mine yesterday, to check the 'official' details for Poulet Antiboise, which I know for a fact was inscribed there sometime in 1979, sitting at a cafe table in a courtyard garden, fountain trickling, in a blisteringly hot Greek summer......

My notebook is a standard issue blue-covered school exercise book, bought from the Lykos general store, half way up Matogianni, on the right hand side of the street, with the eternally bad-tempered old woman on the cash desk and her bushily be-whiskered husband, the twinkle in whose eye clearly suggested a colourful past (and possibly explained her mood). The pages were quite soon filled, and the book then became a repository for handwritten notes, recipes on postcards from friends, and pages torn from long-vanished magazines - all of which spill out in a stream every time (rarely, these days) the archive is consulted. And they all come with memories: the ratatouille that accompanied roast pork loin at a candlelit dinner party for fifteen in the garden at Piero's old house, followed by a mountain of cold poached pears; Anne Willan's delicious recipe for Walnut Tart, from kitchen supper at 49, Bankside; the fax with Claudia Roden's Semifreddo alla Mandorle on it, which became so faded that I finally had to track down the book from which it originally came (but the illegible fax remains folded inside the exercise book, all the same....)

It must be ten years at least since I graduated to the greater efficiency of a computer-based recipe archive. Much easier to search, and much more efficient when it comes to passing on a recipe to somebody else. But, somehow, it lacks the dog-eared charm of the older method.....There's progress for you - I suppose!

The Mucco Pisano ravioli were very good. Quite 'edgy' in flavour - almost gamey, in fact. Worth watching out for.

Dining out tonight, so the menu is Ms Robinson's responsibility.

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