A recent major project was translating a recipe book by Lella Antinozzi, called Just Like Mama Used to Make: Recipes and Traditions from an Italian Kitchen, published by Cassell Illustrated in September 2005 (ISBN: 1844034038), and adapting it for the English-speaking reader. The recipes come from a farming family just north of Naples and the book is full of interesting anecdotes and glimpses of rural life. I am particularly interested in Italian country cooking and I'm a member of Slow Food International.

I lived in Italy for about five years in the early 1980s. As well as studying at university, I enjoyed exploring Italian rural life, chatting with elderly farmers about times past and risking life and limb riding pillion on my Italian boyfriend's 50cc moped. His mother was a wonderful cook who bought boxes of plum tomatoes to make her own passata each summer and made vast quantities of pasta by hand to feed her large family on Sundays, with fresh vegetables from the family's allotment, followed by a big box of cakes which somebody or other always brought from the local pasticceria.

These days I live in Bristol, where I enjoy gardening, visits to the theatre and t'ai chi. My two cats, Tigger and Rita, help me by purring on the sofa while I'm checking a print-out of my work.

Here are the recipes my grandmother gave my mother for Welsh cakes and a fruit cake, as well as a tasty way of cooking Swiss chard I learnt in Italy.