Today’s thought

8th April

Writers ‘disappear’ for weeks or months while they are creating their latest work. For me this means no lunches with friends, limiting Twitter and Facebook and devoting myself single-mindedly to the task of writing the book.

A novel is set in an imaginary world. A memoir is different. It’s an immersion in the past. My latest book EPISODES, Two girls, two lives, one time, written with Monika Sears, is no fiction – it’s all true. Before I embarked on this wartime story, I asked Monika’s permission to interweave a harrowing account she had already written about her life in Nazi occupied Poland, with contrasting details of my life growing up with the bombing, blackout and food shortages of 1940s London.

The book has received good reviews:

“Fantastic. The whole idea is so creative and interesting.”

“I sat up all evening reading it. Despite the extreme disparity in circumstances, there is a dramatic tension showing that whatever they are experiencing, young children tend to live in the moment.”

“Thank you for recapturing memories that would otherwise have been totally lost.”

“The book took me by surprise. Even though the basic facts about the lives of these two girls are made clear in the blurb on the cover, I didn’t expect to be as emotionally caught up in the narrative as I was.”

You can order a copy of EPISODES here.

* * * * * *

16th January

In a past career I used to submit articles to newspapers. I was lucky to have some published in The Times, The Telegraph, the Financial Times and a paper which only exists as a free sheet now, The Evening Standard.

At that time (nearly thirty years ago) it was hard to catch an editor’s eye; specially if they already had their own cookery columnists. That didn’t stop me thinking up an endless stream of ideas and sending them off. Here is an idea for a book that I found recently, illustrated by my own drawings (which you can see above):

It was to be called ‘Just another glossy cookbook’ . With the designs I sent a note saying:

“Would you like to discuss it with me? I will happily bombard you with glowing criticisms of my past work, more details of the layout with recipe suggestions and some other articles I have been writing which I hope to have published shortly in Taste Magazine.”

Since this never made it to print, I must assume that my cheeky request was ignored or refused. 

Now I spend my time writing a blog, which has no need to be submitted to an editor. So those of you who follow it here will know that I can choose what to write about and to give my own opinions, without being told ‘Not for us, thank you.’

*   *   *   *  *

19th November

When to keep quiet

These comments are from John Le Carre, famous author of espionage novels (of which he wrote more than 20).

On his personal life:

“I hate the telephone. I can’t type. I ply my trade by hand. I live on a Cornish cliff and hate cities. Three days and nights in a city are about my maximum. I don’t see many people. I write and walk and swim and drink.”

Advice for other writers:

“A good writer is an expert on nothing except himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue”

  *   *   *   *   * 

30th July

Win a prize!

Click on Contact Me and subscribe to my email list.  You will then be in a Prize Draw to win one of my novels or cookbooks.

I look forward to hearing from you

*   *   *   *   *

28th July


Comments about relationships are not new; it isn’t just social media that makes us evaluate who our friends are. Here are two thoughts from very different periods: James Baldwin (1924 – 1987) and Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662).

People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”

James Baldwin.

(American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America.


I lay it down as a fact that if all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.”

Blaise Pascal.

(French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines. After three years of effort and 50 prototypes, he built 20 finished machines (called Pascal’s calculators) over the following 10 years, establishing him as one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator. Pascal had poor health, especially after the age of 18, and he died just two months after his 39th birthday.)


  *   *   *   *  


Some quotes on memory

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.  Abraham Lincoln

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.  Oscar Wilde

Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem. They’re no good at all.  Kurt Cobain

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.  Albert Schweitzer

Nothing fixed a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.  Michel de Montaigne 

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.   Steven Wright

There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory and I forget the third. Timothy Leary



The Book Excellence Awards (based in Toronto, Canada) chose my novel Sextet as a winner in the category ‘music’.

For a taster of what Sextet is about, you can see a short video

Hope it makes you want to read the book.

Sextet costs £8.99 in paperback and only £2.49 on Kindle.  You can buy it from Amazon here.


Recipe collection

I have a collection of over two thousand recipes (including the blog, all my cookbooks and files of cookery notes). Originally I intended to put the whole collection on this website, but being realistic, this would take far too long and it’s better for me to be working on the new ideas I put up four times a week.

To get an idea of the range, the best way to find a dish that interests you is to go to Blog and look at the Archive. There you’ll find, month by month, a picture of each post I have put up in the past six years. 

When you find a picture that appeals to you, it may have a recipe or a link to one. The recipes I choose are either my own, or the best I can find online.  Even better is when I find a video because this is the best way to demonstrate a new dish. For less experienced cooks it’s far better than reading a description in a book.

So if you see a photo you like and want to know how to make something, do send me a message.