It’s all Greek….


As a teenager, still at boarding school, we boys were granted the occasional opportunity to experience or, more precisely, to observe, the seedier side of the fleshpots of London. This was not the intention of our educators but occurred as a by product of organised visits to the National Gallery, or some other educational treasure trove, from which we were able to skive off and wander the streets, for a hour or two, unsupervised. Having very little money and very little intimate knowledge of the vast city in which I was temporarily liberated, it was of great importance to associate myself with a boy who did have or, professed to have, such knowledge. Soho, home to all temptation and offering a far greater number of sins than the biblical seven, was and is situated directly behind the National Gallery so it was to that land of promise that we debutants were drawn as bees to honey. In those times, before computers and mobile phones, the red London telephone kiosk served a multitude of purposes aside from making a telephone call.They provided shelter from the rain, served as public pissoires and, above all, functioned as advertising hoardings offering  impossibly varied  and, to my naive mind, inexplicable services that were very definitely of a sexual nature yet so obtuse as to be beyond my true understanding. The services were displayed on individual visiting cards that sported a glamorous picture of a semi naked lady, her phone number and a précis of what one would expect to be doing with her should a call to her be made. A well endowed lady called Gloria was offering trips around the world, one of her colleagues was looking for people who were interested in water sports and yet another was offering Greek tuition. I knew that even Phineas Fogg would be pushed to get around the world in the time we had, I hadn’t brought my swimming trunks so water sports were out of the question and, however sensual the teacher, the thought of Greek lessons was not arousing.


Using the telephone kiosk as a symbolic Tardis, the years have fallen away and I find myself older and wiser. The exotic euphemisms of ” water sports” and “travelling around the world”  were long ago resolved without the aid of Gloria and her cohorts. I did not, however, escape totally unscathed from this traumatic experience for which, in the current litigious climate, I should be suing the pants off British Telecom. Since that fateful day I associate Greek with salad, yoghurt and anal sex. In old Sparta they would have enjoyed all three on a daily basis, a habit that may well be current in gymnasiums all over the world to this very day.


There is always Greek yoghurt in our fridge and, at this time of year, there is also soft fruit. Nigel Slater’s “Fruit Brulee” is a wonderfully quick, simple and delicious dessert which also looks very sexy. I don’t have the text to hand so I can’t be sure if his original version has Greek yoghurt as the base, but this version does. The way to great pleasure begins by spooning dollops of creamy yoghurt into a white bowl. Into this wet pillow, stir a handful of sweet deep purple blueberries and some sheaths of sharp fruity raspberries letting the swirling streaks of juice commingle lusciously. Fill some ramekins to just below the brim and dust them with a thick layer of brown demerara sugar. Adding a frisson of pain to the pleasure, torch the sugar until it melts into unruly molten gobs of mirror……and enjoy.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, blueberries, Childhood memories, Cookery Writers, desserts, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Fruit, Humour, Nigel Slater, Photography, photography course, raspberries, Recipes, Sex, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to It’s all Greek….

  1. Darya says:

    How decadent. I’d love that for my breakfast.

  2. “a frisson of pain to the pleasure,” wonderful stuff!

  3. I’m just keen on that Greek lifestyle… Or possibly not!
    Another cracker, my friend 🙂

  4. Mad Dog says:

    Soho has changed considerably – there are a lot more lessons in Greek these days!
    I think I’ll stick to yoghurt, which looks fantastic brûlée 😉

  5. lulu says:

    Oh my, when I have my Greek yogurt for breakfast this morning, I’m going to have some unusual images, some I never thought of!

  6. I can only imagine the potential trouble you avoided in Soho as a teen; as it is now in 2014, I enjoy walking around the area….probably because I generally don’t have to avoid offers for water sports or things along those lines.

  7. After two weeks of cooking for myself, I am glad to be going back to Charleston for the weekend. MTM can cook for me, and I can give a big hug to Kate Shrewsday, who will be visiting with her family. I’ve had plenty of Greek yogurt whilst here, but of course, I’m too lazy to transform it as you have.

  8. This looks and sounds fantastic -may have to acquire a torch!

  9. Chaya says:

    Lovely pictures and writing. I’m tempted to make this myself now!

  10. Oh boy, those phone boxes. I remember having to use one the first time when I moved to London. I wasn’t sheltered or overly naive but holy moly that was eye opening! 🙂

  11. Eha says:

    Oh my – where memories DO travel! Have been in some of those boxes thru’ sheer necessity – well, I guess I looked and smiled and did not quite get an e. . . . Are you on a ‘witch-hunt’ as to what we saw and did remember, grinning like a Cheshire cat 🙂 ?

  12. I’m afraid the youth of today are not always blessed with the same naivete as those from previous generations…but this little number – I can see myself raiding the fridge and throwing it together on a whim or maybe when someone unexpected stops by. Thanks for posting!

  13. Wow, I’ve never thought of yogurt brulee! Does it really exist? It’s good news for me since I only have yogurt in my fridge all the time.

  14. Oh god this made me snort with laughter – brilliant Roger and it bought back memories for me too of sneaking off on school trips to see if a pub would sell us a vodka and orange (believing that no one would smell it on our breath)! I remember those cards in phone kiosks too and asking my mum about “flute lessons”!

  15. Haha what memories! I have Greek yogurt almost daily (ditto for Greek salad, probably once a week) but without any such strong associations:)

  16. Amanda says:

    This is so beautiful. I love greek yogurt and really enjoyed your narrative!

  17. Karen says:

    Oh my gosh, I have tears in my eyes because I have laughed so hard. Certainly not about your delicious dessert made from Greek yogurt but from your remembrance of the English telephone booths. You are a master of words besides being a great cook. I’m sure Jenny loves spending every day of her life with you, it must be a real joy. 🙂

  18. thomas peck says:

    The ladies calling cards are still in the booths in Soho. The telephones are not, thx to the ubiquity of mobiles, but never mind. And a bit of advertising is very necessary for all fledgling businesses!

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