JANE GRIGSON was a self-taught cook – as, doubtless, are most of her readers – she learnt how to prepare food from consulting books or from friends and from her family. Jane was principally interested in domestic food and home cooking and when describing how she cooks she is a comforting presence in one’s kitchen. She is always cheerful and you can almost hear her peals of laughter at the numerous idiocies of modern life.
Compared with recipes written by a chef, Jane is especially alert to the unexpected or puzzling elements sometimes encountered when cooking from a published recipe. “If the filling rises alarmingly, do not worry. It will fall when you take it out of the oven” is a reassuring footnote to a recipe for Old-fashioned Apricot Tart. And how endearing of an author to confess that she always offers up a silent prayer when baking a souffle. In the course of writing her seven principal works Jane researched and tested thousands of recipes. Here, we have chosen some of our favourites.
Oeufs a la Niege
Chosen by Clarissa Hyman
From Food with the Famous, originally published in 2018.
It's hard to have a favourite Jane Grigson book, but 'Food with the Famous' is one that I've dipped in and out of for so many years my old Penguin copy has completely fallen apart. But I still love the blend of acute culinary observation, gentle wit, literary context and ongoing relevance of the recipes she includes.
8 large eggs
400 ml (14 fl oz) milk
200 ml (6 fl oz) cream
half a vanilla pod