How do you spell ratatouille? “Educating Rita” by Willy Russell

Going to see a production of “Blood Brothers” at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal last year brought me back to Willy Russell, whose plays I love but – sadly – didn’t form any part of my degree course. Today’s post is about what is probably his best known work – “Educating Rita”. Written in 1985, the play tells the story of just two characters – Rita and … Continue reading How do you spell ratatouille? “Educating Rita” by Willy Russell

Come Rain or Shine: Gin and Tonic in Philip Larkin’s ‘Sympathy in White Major’ (1974)

This month the Literary Kitchen is taking an alcoholic turn: it is that time of the year when many of us would like to be outside and enjoy a perfectly cold beer or cocktail; and for me (Nico – but maybe Amy too), when that time comes, it has to be a gin and tonic. Gin and tonic was not at all a popular choice … Continue reading Come Rain or Shine: Gin and Tonic in Philip Larkin’s ‘Sympathy in White Major’ (1974)

‘There is Always The Other Side’: Fried Plantains in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Until last month, I had never been to the Caribbean. Or the Tropics. Or something that could be vaguely classified as either, except perhaps the North-East of Australia. Then, a few weeks ago I had the chance to go to one of the Canary Islands for a short holiday and its beauty struck me with the strength of a long-awaited revelation. I have to say, … Continue reading ‘There is Always The Other Side’: Fried Plantains in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Revisiting Fruit Tart: ‘The Woman in Black’

Last year I wrote a blogpost about fruit tart in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White which you can read here. Now, it’s time to retrace my footsteps with apple tart in Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. Although the title and genre of Hill’s novel is a nod to Collins’s gothic romance, the narrative of The Woman in Black is significantly pared-back compared to … Continue reading Revisiting Fruit Tart: ‘The Woman in Black’

A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

England has been swept by a real heat wave in the last couple of weeks; today, it seems like autumn is finally settling in – the sky has taken grey tinges, the trees are putting up their best colours, and one feels the need of putting an extra layer of clothes on, and using the oven. Today’s recipe comes from France, but is somehow linked … Continue reading A Tin of Biscuits: Petit Beurres in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Last September (1929)

Michael Longley: Lost For Words

As our Northern Irish readers will know, stoically eating ice cream in the drizzle is something of a local tradition. If drizzle is not available, then usually a heavy downpour means that ice cream can be consumed in the car. I am privileged that my parents now live within 10 minutes’ drive of a fabled ice cream shop – The Cabin in Donaghadee. It’s a … Continue reading Michael Longley: Lost For Words

Not Quite Scones, Not Quite Biscuits: Welsh Cakes! From Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (1954)

I (Nico) have never been to Wales. So far, my only points of “contact” with Wales have been: Dylan Thomas a few Welsh people met in England (mainly students) the 1995 film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain (which may or may not have been popular in Italy during my childhood because of a very young and very charming … Continue reading Not Quite Scones, Not Quite Biscuits: Welsh Cakes! From Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (1954)

Good Food, Not Just Any Food: Andrea Camilleri’s ‘Inspector Montalbano’s Arancini’ (1999)

Not long ago, I was informed by a student in an essay that the word ‘arancini’ had made its way into Oxford Dictionaries in 2014. This made me smile, of course, because it means Italian can still influence other languages –albeit mainly through food items. Then again, I find it hard to believe that such a specific Italian word for one type of Sicilian street … Continue reading Good Food, Not Just Any Food: Andrea Camilleri’s ‘Inspector Montalbano’s Arancini’ (1999)

Endlessly Surprising: Spanish Omelette in Louis MacNeice’s “Autumn Journal” (1939)

To read the poetry of Louis MacNeice is an endlessly rewarding activity. It can be intricately beautiful and philosophically insightful, but politically and culturally astute at the same time. Every time I come to write about MacNeice (which I have done often over the previous eight years), I am surprised again at the deft placement of a word, the freshness of an image, or his … Continue reading Endlessly Surprising: Spanish Omelette in Louis MacNeice’s “Autumn Journal” (1939)

Winter Enchantments: Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

Are you looking to win over a long-lost love? Or do you just need something to surprise your friends with at the regular pot luck after the winter break? Or maybe it is simply that all your New Year resolutions not to eat any sweets in 2015 have (already) vanished… With the December festivities just behind us, the Literary Kitchen wants to cheer up those … Continue reading Winter Enchantments: Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)