Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Sintra is an idyllic well-to-do resort half-an-hour's train journey from Lisbon. It has the fairy-tale Pena Palace, on a hillside and feels very pre-war Hollywood - lush landscape, wiltingly hot, azure sky and it smells of a honeyed paradise. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


 Music by Fado singer, Amalia Rodrigues

Monday, 18 July 2011

Fanny and Johnnie

Fanny and Johnnie Cradock were an intriguing couple.

They wrote under the name of Bon Viveur for the Daily Telegraph from 1950 - 55, encouraging the public to be more experimental with food, in a very dictatorial manner. She of the raised painted eyebrows and he of the removed air (and hair) with a cravat had become household names by the time she took part in that tv programme "The Big Time", with Esther Rantzen (1976).

Julia Davis and Mark Gatiss appeared in "Fear of Fanny", in 2008.


Top photo: "Home Canning: Johnnie manipulates the home canning machine as Fanny packs grapefruit sections ready for scaling."
Bottom photo: "Johnnie shows off one of their giant jars of whole canned peaches bought when the price of peaches was down to 3d each."

My top three Fanny recipes:
1.  the Brawn recipe begins: "Scour the head thoroughly and see that the eye sockets are clean ..."
2. Shrub: ("very old, very English, very good")
3. Apple Ginger: "This admirable deception is the hostesses stand-by when unexpected guests make an emergency sweet imperative. All you need to have besides is a tin of cream OR fresh cream in the house."

To preserving in general Fanny advises: "DO NOT be a slave to ritual jam and jelly making ... they are eaten, faute de mieux, if they were to be put on the table with the exhortation, 'this must be finished up!'"

Fanny Brice "Cooking Breakfast for the One I Love". 1930

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Vintage dressmaking

 Saw this image of a dressmaking pattern for a vintage maternity jacket on etsy (very Doris Day, thank you to The Playful Needle)

and it set me thinking  ... all those wonderful 1940s - 1970s patterns that I've got tucked away should be enjoyed.

Let's see the iconic Joan Crawford in the original 'Mildred Pierce'.

 A few years on -  the '60s ...

Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in the classic film "The Graduate".

Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen in "The Thomas Crown Affair" sooooo stylish ...

Wonderfully evocative and psychedelic theme also sung by Noel Harrison  'The Windmills of Your Mind'

More style and very sinister ...

            Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland in 'Don't Look Now'. 
(Just as well I haven't got a dressmaking pattern for a red duffle coat!)