Sunday, 18 April 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Jan Mazzoni


On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

🍴I am so pleased to welcome Jan Mazzoni to Sunday Brunch🍴

🍴Welcome to Sunday Brunch, Jan. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I’m vegan, and a few years ago this would have meant toast, margarine, black coffee. But the range of foods available these days is amazing. I don’t usually eat much in the morning, so OK if we keep it simple? Like, a fresh fruit salad – something exotic such as mango with raspberries and blueberries served with cinnamon crΓ¨me fraiche (vegan). Or for something savoury, a chickpea pancake topped with avocado slices and tomatoes. We must have croissants of course, warm from the oven and spread with creamy butter (vegan). Or would you prefer Banana Muesli Muffins? Let’s have both. Plus plenty of strong coffee made with barista oat milk.

Jan has very kindly given us a delicious recipe


 Set your oven too 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.. Either line 12 muffin tins with paper cases, or oil them well.

Mix together 100g muesli and 50g light brown sugar. Add 160g plain flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking powder.

In a separate bowl combine 1 mashed ripe banana with 2 tablespoons light vegetable oil. Then stir in 3 tablespoons of nut butter – your choice, whatever you have in the cupboard.

Combine the dry ingredients and wet and stir briefly – don’t overmix them.

Drop spoonsful of the mixture into the tins. Top the muffins with a sprinkling of brown sugar and of your favourite nuts, coarsely chopped (I like walnuts best).

 Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Test with a sharp knife to make sure the inside is cooked. Delicious eaten warm.

 Note: you could use apple puree or even freshly grated raw apple instead of the banana. 

🍴Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?

I always prefer to be outdoors. So can we sit out on the patio, with a wisteria draped trellis overhead so we’re in dappled shade? (Love the word dappled, don’t you?) No music, just the natural twitters and rustles you get when surrounded by an untamed garden. Oh and every now and again, could we have a fly past of screaming wheeling swifts? Nothing says hot summer days like swifts.


🍴Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday brunch?

Dylan Thomas. Lionel Shriver. Ray Bradbury. Paula McLain. Ragnar Jonasson (Icelandic writer of the most chilling scandi-noir). Jodi Picoult. All very different, but I admire the way every one of them writes and would give anything to be able to pick their brains! Gently, of course.

🍴Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday brunch?

With you and the cats, and all these writers to chat to, how could I even think about bringing a book with me?

🍴When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure?

Absolutely. Don’t usually indulge during the day (except for research), but I’ve started taking a quick dip into a book at lunchtime, usually non fiction. Right now I’m reading Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin which is very beautiful and thought-provoking, but wouldn’t be right at night. I read escapist novels in bed. If they’re really gripping I’ll carry on reading way into the early hours. I’m going to have to ban Louise Candlish books from the house - her plots are so convoluted with twists and shocks on every few pages they’re impossible to put down. The bags under my eyes are entirely her fault!

Hamish Hamiliton

🍴What’s the oldest book on your bookshelf?

Many years back I had an obsession with Colette. I have a number of her books still, yellowed and dusty. Haven’t read one for ages. Would I still enjoy them as much as I did, I wonder?

🍴Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

Everywhere. I make notes: overheard conversations, stories in the news, radio programmes on obscure topics, photos and videos I come across online. Being half Italian (my dad came from Avellino) it’s probably not surprising that I’ve used Italy as a backdrop for two of my books (and am working on another which takes place there for at least part of the action.) And what better excuse to keep popping over there than looking for ideas or checking details? Sadly, of course, going anywhere at all seems to be off the menu for a while.

🍴Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or in summer?

Recently we’ve had a tiny summerhouse erected up in the woods at the top of our garden. It’s very basic, but easy to keep warm in winter, and the doors concertina back so it’s nice and airy in summer. I also do a bit of wildlife rescue so sometimes have to share it with some orphaned hedgehogs, or maybe an injured bird. And our Romanian rescue dogs like to pop up and check what I’m doing, though they rarely stay long. They prefer to be close to the kitchen, for some reason. Or the fire.

🍴When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus to your writing?

I like writing to a deadline. I like the discipline. I create my own if there isn’t one. Probably goes back to when I was an advertising copywriter and we always had to get our campaigns done by yesterday.

🍴Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?

A willing Other Half (to walk the dogs, cook dinner, make phone calls on your behalf).

A big desk – the more space the better.

A yoga routine (to unkink the kinks after a day at the desk).


🍴What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?

I’ve just revised and relaunched my novel, The Snow Fox Diaries, which – I now discover – fits perfectly into the recently created genre of ecofiction. It tells the story of Katie who has reluctantly moved into a dilapidated house on Exmoor to – as husband Ben puts it – find herself. So far she’s only learnt things she’d sooner not know. But then one misty morning she comes across a rare, precious and very vulnerable albino fox. From that moment her life changes completely, the fate of her faltering marriage becoming entwined with that of the fox as both struggle to survive. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves wildlife.

Other projects I’m working on are a podcast of a radio drama, a book of short stories, and another novel which follows three young friends whose lives take them far away from each other, but can never break the bonds.


When I was hardly more than a toddler I knew I wanted to write, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. And that’s a long while! I started out as a journalist then went on to writing adverting copy in agencies in London and New York. Next I turned my hand to cookery books – over 20 of them, all vegetarian or vegan. Short stories for women’s magazines were something completely different, and I’ve always loved a challenge. My stories appeared in UK magazines for a number of years. And of course, writing a novel was the obvious next step.

Though I started my life in London and have travelled widely, I’ve finally settled down. My home is a little house hidden in a large, rambling garden on the edge of Exmoor which I share with my husband George, four Romanian rescue dogs, and assorted wildlife.

Jan, where can we follow you on social media?

Facebook: Jan Mazzoni/writer

Books by Jan Mazzoni

Stones of the Madonna


The Snow Fox Diaries

All available as paperbacks and on kindle from Amazon

Thank you for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.

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  1. Great interview Jan, it was lovely to find out a it more about you. Not enough chocolate in that muffin recipe for me!!!!!

    1. Glad you enjoyed reading Jan's interview. I'm quite partial to chocolate muffins too !


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