There are numerous reasons for me to dislike Rachel Roddy.

Hmmm.  That’s not quite right.  There are numerous reasons to envy Rachel Roddy.  Better.

In growing order of potency let me list them:

  • She’s a successful blogger (minor envy) who can muster 20 followers for every one of mine –
  • She married an Italian (still pretty minor – that was always just a fantasy and don’t mention it to my fiancé)
  • She’s a talented cook  (envy levels rising now) which half a lifetime ago I might have aspired to
  • She speaks Italian (I tell myself there’s still time, but I’ve been at that game for a few years now)
  • She lives in Italy (Rome to be precise, though I’d settle for anywhere in Campania.  Or Tuscany.  Or the Veneto…)
  • She’s a great writer whose work has been published by The Telegraph, The Spectator, The FT and currently the Guardian.  (Yes she publishes recipes but imbues them with life from the stories which precede them)
  • She’s even a tremendous photographer, whose natural light imagery graces her book Five Quarters and makes every dish, every utensil, every ingredient inspirational

There are seven reasons to envy Rachel Roddy.

And despite this I am powerless to resist the idyllic descriptions of people, places and plates, so much so that on seeing a bag of beautiful cherries (not glistening in a Testaccio market, but spotlit on shelf in Marks & Spencer) I knew immediately what I must do._PW_3551_3_2

Which is why I stood hunched over my sink having washed the fruit, stabbing each individual sphere with a chopstick over a bottle neck to remove the stones, cherry after cherry after cherry, until my shoulders ached (need a higher work surface) and my hands were as purpled as MacBeth’s.  The green glass ran with the blood of my victims as their inner organs piled up within.

It’s why I buried the fruits in sugar, lemon and vanilla (my variation on the recipe) and chilled them while I set to work on the pastry, pastry so short that it was beyond my abilities to handle it on a hot July evening.  How can you possibly make this in the heat of Rome?  Heat that was compounded when it was time to make a jam of those sugar-coated gems.

It’s why I kept returning to a simmering pan that steadfastly refused to thicken into something jam-like.

It’s why despite having the dexterity of a jellyfish I laid strips of the fragile pastry across the top of the now cooled liquid.

It’s why despite feeling like nothing but a cold shower and a colder beer would do, I cranked up the oven for an hour to try to transform this into something edible.
I could have just eaten the cherries  from the bag and saved myself the effort.

No wonder I don’t like Rachel Roddy.

The end result wasn’t pretty…_PW_3624IMG_2540


…but it was delicious!


Have I mentioned that I love Rachel Roddy? (Best not mention that to my girlfriend either!



8 thoughts on “Seduced

  1. Very entertaining food blog, and your photos will get you hired by the Cherry Council for their next ad campaign. And worth the effort, the cherry tart looks delicious! Disemboweling fruit seems to have been a great way to work out a few resentments, the Macbeth imagery was a tad worrisome, but preferable to Titus Andronicus when getting into this pie-making phase.

    1. Yes I did think about the Roman play as I was working – I remember a televised acting class by Brian Cox many years ago with dripping blood – or was that my imagination?

      1. Well you have a new concept for a cookbooks –acting out various plays, depending on the dish. “Hamlet” is pretty obvious, “The Cherry Orchard” likewise, “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Arsenic & Old Lace,” hmmm, endlessly “Waiting for Godot” when you’re defrosting a chicken, “Equus” for tough steaks, “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern” sounds perfect for pastrami, “The Iceman Cometh” for dessert. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” something akin to your British “toad in the hole,” “A Man for All Seasonings” etc.

      2. Haha – that made me laugh; especially Godot (which I was lucky enough to see with McKellen and Stewart some years back)

  2. Dear Robert
    We will not tell your girl friend, big fairy promise!
    Isn’t it great being seduced? And, oh dear, not getting jealous, please, but we are seduced by Rachel Roddy now as well. We love such cakes.
    With lots of love and wishing you a great pre-Christmas time
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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