This week’s postcard is from Tonia Todman who has cast her mind – and memory of the fishing nets – back to her childhood on a small island in Papua New Guinea.

(Please note this is a stock photo. A photo from Tonia will be included next week.)

I learned very early on that my Mother loathed the kitchen and did all she could to avoid it. 

I was brought up to consume what was on my plate so my broad pallet developed very early. That said, I grew up on a tiny island in New Guinea where most of what was eaten was of superb quality – the freshest tropical fruit and vegetables, the best fish (caught by father and daughter) and the odd leg of New Zealand lamb ‘found’ on ships travelling through China Straits towards multiple ports, with their final welcome arrival in England – where wartime rationing was still in place. 

However, I developed a real longing for ‘Englishness’ – children’s books, birthday and Christmas cards were always festooned with hollyhocks, holly berries, snow, contented farmyard animals, pretty garden paths and grassy meadows – the complete opposite to my world at that time. How I longed for supper by the fire in a cosy, comfortable sitting room, seated on fat cushions and drinking tea from a pretty cup. Kitchen dinners around a large table in a spacious woody kitchen – this was all the stuff of dreams!

So, sadly there are no family recipes to pass on –  my cooking is instinctively shaped by what is seasonally available and what I would like my family to eat.

Tonia Todman

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