Anne & John

Anne & John

Anne and John have been married for 55 years and live in Darlington, Co. Durham where they have lived for their whole lives and raised two sons. Anne is from Darlington originally while John is from Barnard Castle, a small market town in Teeside. I thoroughly enjoyed capturing and finding out all about their Sunday rituals and looking through all the recipes they've collected over the years.

What kind of food do you enjoy cooking?

Anne: I don’t like cooking any more. Sometimes I think, “Oh god, I’ve got to bake today.”

John: We like Indian cuisine and we like Chinese cuisine and we like English cuisine.

Anne: We like that best.

Who does most of the cooking in your household?

Anne: It all depends. We sometimes alternate it. Sometimes John, if he’s doing something special, maybe every other Sunday. One of us will cook and the other will wash up.

What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?

John: At the moment, I think the hand whisks that are out there are very handy.  Especially on any milk mixtures, like béchamel sauce.

What ingredient can’t you do without?

John: Well, you just can’t cook any dish without salt as it’s in everything that you make. And quite often onions. I like to use herbs in my cooking but when I was younger nothing like that was ever used.

What’s your earliest memory of a Sunday Dinner and what did it entail?

Anne: My mum cooking a Sunday roast. Before I was married that was the thing, you had your Sunday dinner and I used to always want it so that I could go and catch the 2 o’clock bus to Barnard Castle from Darlington, to go and meet John. This is when we were courting. I’d have my Sunday Dinner at home, then after dinner I’d rush down on the bus.

John: And the bus journey was an hour

Anne: My mum wouldn’t want me to rush the dinner. Sometimes she’d be a bit awkward. There was one time I was late wasn’t I?  Then John would come back on the bus with me then his dad would pick him up.

John: It’s a bit far back, that.

Anne: My mum used to cook a joint, and we used to have Yorkshire puddings. We’d have the Yorkshire puddings with dinner and we used to have them for a sweet after as pancakes and we used to put syrup on them. We didn’t have all the different types of fillings like we do now for pancakes.  

John: My first Sunday dinner was a school Sunday dinner. We didn’t really have Sunday dinners at home because we were too poor. The only main meat dish that we had was rabbit. We’d go and catch them in the garden.

Anne: I’ll admit, when I first started to cook Sunday dinners, I couldn’t eat them myself.

 John: Because she wasn’t very good at it.

 Anne: He used to eat them under sufferance. I was terrible when we first got married. 

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up on a Sunday and who do you spend your Sunday with?

 Anne: Well we get up and have our dinner, then we wash up and tidy up then Jill and Ken (Anne’s sister and brother in law) come over for coffee. So it’s about the same every Sunday. Then they go home and we have our tea and then we watch the telly.  We watch Country file, Poldark…

John: Antiques road show

Anne: Then it’s about time for bed.

What’s your guilty pleasure on a Sunday?

John: The only guilty pleasure Anne has is that she likes a bit of chocolate on a Sunday.

Anne: I like a chocolate biscuit now and again. Like now I fancy one because I’ve said it. Just with cup of tea.  And I like a cup of coffee after my dinner.

What’s on the menu today?

John: Mary Berry’s honey spiced pork casserole.  And Anne’s done a trifle for dessert.

What’s your inspiration for cooking this meal?

Anne: John looks for recipes from the books. A lot of recipes I’ve got are handed down. I’ve had some from my mum old work colleagues. There are lots of bits of paper, they’re all kept in my recipe drawer. I’ve got a proper recipe book too.

Mary Berry's honey spiced pork casserole with vegetables and Yorkshire puddings


1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.

2. Measure the apricots into a heatproof bowl. Heat the stock until just boiling and pour over the apricots. Set aside for about 30 minutes to plump up.

3. Place the apricots and half the stock (reserve the remainder) in a processor. Add the garlic and whiz until smooth. Tip into a bowl.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the pork. Pour over the honey and fry over a high heat until golden brown all over (you may need to do this in batches). Remove the pork and set aside.

5. Add the remaining oil, the onion, leek and celery and fry for a few minutes over a high heat. Sprinkle in the cumin, mixed spice and ginger and fry again. Add the apricot purée, reserved stock and the nuts. Season with salt and pepper, return the pork to the pan and bring up to the boil.

6. Cover with a lid and transfer to the preheated oven or simmer on the hob for about 1½-2 hours, or until tender.

7. Check the seasoning and garnish with coriander or parsley, if using, and serve immediately with rice or mash and a green vegetable.

8. Bring to the boil on the boiling plate, cover and transfer to the simmering oven for about 2 hours or until tender.

Recipe: Mary Berry, The Mail Online.

Serves 6


100g (4oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots

600ml (1 pint) good chicken or beef stock

2 cloves garlic

3 tbsp oil

750g (1lb 10oz) pork shoulder, cut into 2.5cm (1in) cubes

2 tbsp runny honey

1 large onion, coarsely sliced

1 medium leek, coarsely sliced

2 small sticks celery, coarsely sliced

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp mixed spice

2 tsp ginger powder

50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, shelled

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley (optional)

Who’s cooking the meal?

John: I am.

Where are your ingredients from?

We shop at Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s, mostly Morrison’s because it’s cheaper.  We get our eggs and flour from the farm shop up at Ulnaby

Where are you eating the meal?

Anne: In our dining room





Elias & Sandra (Part 2)

Elias & Sandra (Part 2)