My father, who died when I was 16, thought pancakes were the perfect way to turn one egg into a nutritious breakfast for five children. And so my dear mother was chained to the stove just about every morning when we were kids. We’d sit at the table and wait, one by one, to get the pancakes, which were made to the Breton recipe with buckwheat flour, eating them with lemon and sugar.
I was born in Tehran then lived in Brunei, Addis Ababa and Kuwait, plus London for a bit in between.
My father was a doctor of tropical medicine, and there weren’t many jobs in England. He and my mother were huge foodies, having grown up during the war and become young adults in the time of Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and Claudia Roden.
The travelling was an enormous influence. Everywhere they lived they would eat the local dishes and learn how to cook them. It was completely normal to me but I remember when I was at school in London, aged seven, one of my friends came round for supper and we had beef stewed in wine, a sort of boeuf bourguignon. She had never seen anything like it!
My mother is still a fantastic cook and makes bread and three courses every time people come over. My children and I make Breton pancakes with her, and eat them with cheese and mango chutney.