Monday, June 21, 2010


I love this picture. Yes, that’s Paul McCartney, pre-knighthood, post-MBE, having lunch with my friend Kara Noble (just to the left of the frame). Kara’s parents were very pally with McCartney back in the day and he was a regular visitor to their home on London’s Abbey Road. On this particular occasion, Paul had originally said he couldn’t make the lunch. Then he heard that Jackson Browne was going to be there (sadly, we can only see the back of his head here, but believe me, it’s Jackson). Paul was a big Jackson Browne fan and wanted to meet him. The hand and nose to Kara’s right belong to the man who brought Jackson along, Don Henley of that little combo, The Eagles. Quite the rock-and-roll chick was Kara. Still is.

Call it British reserve, but Kara never mentioned this event to Jackson, or indeed that she had ever met him before when they were sat on the same table at my wedding almost four years ago. But on the subject of saying things to famous people, as well as “I do”, Colin said something else at our wedding he never thought he’d ever utter: “Jackson, this is my dad, Ted.”

I have just finished reading Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert’s follow-up to Eat, Pray, Love. While not as brilliant as her previous book, it’s still worth reading. It’s about the history of marriage and the author, having vowed never again following a hideous and painful divorce, plighting her troth once more .

A therapist friend of Liz’s (her friends call her Liz) says in the book that most of her female clients suffer from a sort of ‘grass is greener’ syndrome, a condition explained thus: all her single patients wish they were married and all her married ones secretly wish they were single. Not me, obviously.

No nuptial is complete without a toast, so here’s the recipe for my favorite cocktail served at our wedding - delicious and so much cheaper than champagne.



Sugar to rim the glass

A wedge of orange (lemon is a tad bitter, but works as a last resort)

Peach juice (Trader Joe’s Dixie Peach is excellent)

Prosecco (Trader Joe’s Zonin is ideal and a very reasonable $5.99 a bottle)

2 fresh raspberries per glass


  1. Wipe the rim of the champagne flute with the orange flesh.
  2. Dip the glass in a saucer of sugar.
  3. Pour an inch of peach juice in the glass.
  4. Top up with prosecco.
  5. Place 2 raspberries in the glass.
  6. Clink glasses with your beloved and say (as Colin and I still do with every alcoholic beverage): “To us.”

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

They wrote the songs...

I hate to name-drop, but pull up a chair: Neil Sedaka, Stephen Bishop, Paul Reiser, Tony Orlando, Julia Fordham. And here are some names you’ve probably never heard of: Charles Fox, Dean Pitchford, Mac Davis and L. Russell Brown, yet they’ve written some of the biggest hit songs and theme tunes ever, like Killing Me Softly, Fame, Footloose, Tie A Yellow Ribbon, In The Ghetto.

They were all on the same bill at LA’s Wadsworth Theater last night for The Songs Of Our Lives, songs performed by the people who wrote them, in aid of, a most worthy charity that helps young people realize their dream of a college education.

I am still on a high from the sheer brilliance of the evening. Tony Orlando, the only non-composer on the bill, paid homage to all songwriters who have touched our hearts and kept him in business for 50 years, especially L. Russell Brown who co-wrote most of his hits.

You might be wondering why actor/comedian Paul Reiser is mentioned in this esteemed songwriting company. Not a lot of people know this, but Paul actually majored in music and has co-written an album of great songs with my brilliant sister, Julia Fordham. The album is currently being mixed, as we say in the biz, and will be available in stores and for download on a website near you in the fall. Paul also hosted the evening and, as if it were possible, is even higher in my estimation for having made a, shall we say, mostly “mature” audience laugh heartily at his hilarious monologue that included the word “cocksucker.”

Here’s a trailer for NBC’s The Paul Reiser Show that will be broadcast early next year. Top telly.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Stand by your meringue

The perfect day, for me, involves good food and conversation with family and friends. Ideally, a game of tennis will be involved but this Memorial Day, once we’d raised a glass to our fallen and serving troops, we played cricket with some English pals in our hosts’ garden under a warm Californian sun.

I tucked my skirt up into my knicker legs and assumed the wicket keeper position for our team. No catches, but I did score a couple of runs before being bowled out.

Julia, Arthur and Marley went to Mexico for the long weekend. “Are they stark raving mad?” asked a fellow cricketer when I told him they’d gone to Rosarita, a resort just over the border. “Three years ago, the chief of police was beheaded there by drug runners,” he said.

Everyone had a Mexico horror story to share so I was relieved when Julia called that night to say they were home safe and sound and had a fantastic time.

My contribution to the Memorial Day feast this side of the border was a traditional English trifle with homemade custard, plus some meringues. I usually make meringues when I make trifle as it’s an ideal way to use up the egg whites left over from the custard. Meringues are gluten free, sublime and simple to make so long as you have parchment or baking paper and an electric whisk.


Six large egg whites

12 ozs of caster sugar (granulated or baking sugar in the US) – 2ozs per egg white for a smaller batch. Six egg whites will make about 20 small like the ones pictured.

1 pint whipped cream


1. Pre-heat an oven to 250.

2. Line a baking tray or two with parchment or baking paper – greaseproof paper won’t do.

3. Whisk the egg whites together in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks.

4. Fold in the sugar or whisk in on low.

5. Take a tablespoonful of the mixture and place onto the tray using another spoon to ease it off. You can make lots of little ones or two giant plate-size ones and sandwich them together with cream and your favorite fruit. Or cover one with whipped cream and fruit for a classic Pavlova. I think making two large ones into a cake looks most spectacular. Just remember to spread both sides with cream.

6. Cook for two hours. Thanks to the parchment paper they’ll come off easily once they’ve cooled for five minutes. Sandwich two together with whipped cream and arrange on your best plate. Stand by to become very popular indeed.

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