We take to the aisles with food historian Polly Russell, presenter of the BBC’s Back In Time For... TV series. 

Pickled walnuts

‘These originated in the 18th century, when sharp-tasting condiments like pickles and ketchups were very popular. Today, people have forgotten about them, but they’re great in a casserole – they slightly offset the richness.’

Fever-Tree tonic water

‘You’ve got to have gin and tonics at this time of year. I make mine with Fever-Tree, plus a big piece of orange peel.’


‘When I was filming Back In Time For Tea, we featured pan haggerty, which is a bit like the North’s answer to a tortilla – so delicious! It’s a really easy family dinner, lovely served with lots of crispy bacon.'


‘My favourite summer dessert is rhubarb fool, made using cooked rhubarb and whipped double cream. It’s a proper old-fashioned British treat that I remember my gran making.’


‘It seems very exotic, but saffron has a long tradition in British cooking. I love the unique flavour it brings to rice or chicken – rich but somehow summery.’


‘I can’t live without this. I use it to brown my pies – you thin it with a little hot water, then paint it on your pastry. It creates a gorgeous caramelised, crusty glaze.’

Pearl barley

‘A storecupboard essential. Brilliant in summer salads with lots of fresh herbs, or for bulking out a stew or casserole.’

Salad Cream

‘I’m an ambassador for Heinz Salad Cream. I like to put it in a fish-finger sandwich, mixed with lots of capers – a bit like a cheat’s tartare sauce.’


About the author

Leah Hyslop
Leah is our lovely food director. You'll most likely find her scoffing cake in our test kitchen...