Q&A Angela Clutton

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Angela Clutton, food writer and food historian

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking

Niki Segnit’s Flavour Thesaurus is one that I pull out more than any other when looking for ideas – or reassurance – on flavour combination possibilities. And I love her writing style, too – full of wit and personality

The food of love: what would you cook to impress a potential date?

I think perhaps I should rephrase this to be ‘to impress my husband’! I am not sure the ‘food of love’ is about impressing. It is about making someone feel good. I’d go for food you have to get stuck into with your hands – pizza, perhaps, or a blade of pork cooked with crackling that you have to pull at with your fingers

The perfect dinner party: which five people (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner and what would you cook for them?

Elizabeth David, Nigella Lawson, David Niven, Queen Victoria, Elvis Presley

Shepherds Pie

Fast food –  your top snack tip

Fried egg on toast, with wine vinegar into the pan the egg cooked in to reduce and then poured over (page 142 of The Vinegar Cupboard, since you ask)

Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly having supper in her hotel bedroom in To Catch a Thief. You don’t actually see the meal – just the trolley being wheeled away – but somehow you just know it was fabulous

Your worst kitchen disaster

Blending soup during a cooking demonstration and forgetting to put the lid on the blender….

The top five vinegars to keep on your kitchen vinegar shelf?

Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar, blackcurrant vinegar, muscatel vinegar, red wine vinegar, light rice vinegar

What would you like your final meal to be?

So long as it finishes with madeleines that are freshly baked and warm from the oven I’ll be fine

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

Not sure I have one, but the one I’d like is origami

What did you eat for breakfast?

Toast and coffee

What’s in your fridge?

Pickled pearl onions, pickled cucumbers, piccalilli…. But away from the pickles: cans of Schweppes tonic, eggs, butter, bacon, several jams and marmalades, lemons, cavolo nero, fennel, loads of herbs

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited [and from whom] and the one you’d like to pass on to your children

I make mince-pies to my mum’s recipe and they are the best. Well, not as good as hers but still good. It’s the shortbread-pastry that does it

I will try to make sure my nephews head into adulthood knowing how to fix a good martini


The Vinegar Cupboard by Angela Clutton is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, £26