This time last week I was writing to you from Venice after eating all the risotto and drinking all of the espressos in Milan. I had exactly eight hours to come home, swap suitcases before heading to Helsinki for a quick work trip. After Italy, Finland seemed so quiet and calm. It's the third time that I've been there for work and each time I go, I love it more. 

Finnish cooking is so informed by their neighbours of Russia and Sweden but it is entirely it's own. From blueberry pie to salmon soup and plenty of smoked fish and cured meat, I ate so well. I've added spending a few hours in a traditional smoke sauna, swimming in the ice-cold sea and then wrapping myself up in cashmere and a coat and walking to a beloved restaurant to my top five feelings list. I was alone most of the time and after a busy month, it was heaven to just have myself for company. Nights in silky hotel sheets watching comfort films like Julie and Julia while eating a mixed bag of Finnish sweets and mornings listening to music and wandering around Helsinki's antique shops really reset my brain. 

November is arriving and with it lots of exciting new things including
 a new job, watching this on repeat and topping up the whiskey on a jar of fruit for my Christmas cake. Something Helsinki-inspired is coming next week so stay tuned for that and some other surprises. Also, my interview with The Spoken Woman Podcast is out now and you can listen to it here. I talk to the lovely Zoe about everything from cooking and ingredient inspiration to writing and this newsletter of course. 

Thank you as always for reading, for writing to me and for sending me photos of the recipes you recreate, I appreciate you all more than you could ever know.


I must make this spaghetti at least once a week. Use any olives you can find, tinned or jarred will both do. Use a bit of the olive oil or brine that they’re packed in to add to the sauce too instead of more salt. Olives and anchovies are the ingredients that make tinned tomatoes sing and so I always make sure to have them in my pantry for nights when I have little effort to be imaginative. 

Olive & Anchovy Spaghetti

  • 1 large tablespoon of butter
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • A big pinch of chilli flakes
  • Roughly half a tin of anchovies
  • A handful of pitted olives (whatever you have but I like either green Sicilian ones or Greek salt-cured black ones).
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A packet of spaghetti
  • As much Parmesan cheese as you desire
  • A bunch of fresh parsley

In a heavy-bottomed pot fry the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat. Add the anchovies and chilli and break them down with the back of a wooden spoon. Once you can smell them all sizzling, add in the tomatoes and olives and turn down to a low simmer. Let it bubble for ten minutes then taste before you season, there's a lot of salt in both the olives and anchovies so will only need a little bit of salt and perhaps a pinch of sugar. Boil your pasta to packet instructions and toss while hot with the spicy salty sauce. Completely cover in parmesan and chopped parsley. Eat immediately.

The benefits of an early morning flight include early morning light and being home for lunch. Yesterday morning I read Paulina Bren's spectacular book, The Barbizon about the hotel in New York that shaped the lives of women I love from Joan Didion to Sylvia Plath and Joan Crawford. There are so many beautiful moments captured in its pages like the restaurant across the road from the hotel that had red and white checked tablecloths and served enormous martinis and an eggplant parmigiana that only cost $1. This truly is the place I would time travel to if I could to see it in all its glory.

I am a hotel obsessive, it is probably the reason I love travel writing so much. My university dissertation was even on the role of hotels in women’s literature in the twentieth century and after spending the last few weeks across four different hotel rooms, this book was exactly what I wanted to devour on an early morning flight.

You can buy the book
here and if you fancy reading more on hotels, check out this feature I wrote called Behind Closed Doors for Riposte a few years ago which includes insight into my teenage drinking in Sydney's harbour-side Marriot lobby.


A week's worth of menu ideas featuring a pasta dish inspired by this beauty I ate in Milan and the pie I made for dinner last night. 
I've been looking for new lunch ideas and this Rachel Ama recipe for West African Peanut Stew looks divine.
Pancakes are perfect in every form. These Pessarattu (Mung Bean Pancakes) are next on my list. 
This Fennel, Apple and Hazelnut Salad is a salad that I would like alongside everything. Apples are good right now so make the most of them.
Craving comfort food, last night I made this Chicken and Wild Mushroom Pie with a side of celeriac mash and very buttery peas.
After my trip to the Löyly Sauna the other day, I sat by the fire and sipped this Finnish Lonkero and it's what I'll be making for the rest of the year. 
If you want something fancy, you can't beat this Tagliolini with Taleggio and Black Truffle. A proper date-night dinner that feels special. 
If you liked this week's newsletter, I'd love you to pass it on to a pal who you think would fancy it too. It arrives in your inbox every Sunday night. It is always full of good things to cook, eat and read. 
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All photography by Bre Graham 

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