'Food has always played a big part in my life. I spent my adolescent holidays with French and Swiss families and marvelled at their wonderful, delicious family lunches and dinners. Back in England my written French was execrable, but my ability to order off the most complicated a la carte menus was second to none.
But I'd always been a spectator in the preparation of these culinary marathons, never a participant. Until one birthday, not that long ago, when my partner, Denise Kingsmill, declaring that in the spirit of true partnership we should share the domestic tasks more equally, presented me with Elizabeth David's masterpiece French Provincial Cooking.
This book can be read as literature, as a reference work and as a splendid collection of recipes. I started cooking immediately. Tentatively at first, but, inspired by David's evocative work, I set about reproducing for myself and my family some of the wonderful food that I had learnt to appreciate in France. For me, cooking has now become hobby, therapy and a means of pleasing friends and family.'