The stronghold of British fare in Paris is Marks & Spencer. English women living here, me among them, make straight for the sausage and bacon counter, relieved that it's easy to buy such a familiar dinner. And it means that next weekend's guests will not be asked to include country pork pies in their luggage; not that these guests would wish to eat them - a number of anguished visitors have reluctantly swallowed pork pie and coleslaw with us, clearly yearning for a French plat du jour.

The occasional M&S Indian dinner makes most expats feel very nostalgic for all those possibilities of take-away curries. Drinks party snacks, such as dips and crisps, are popular with the English in France, too. Whipping and double cream cater for truly English recipes. Tea becomes properly English with Fruited Shortcake Slices, scones and Chocolate Mini Rolls.

More than anything, though, it's the puddings that draw the English resident. Fruit crumble at 17F is excellent value compared to a pattissier's exquisite but tiny cake. Most of all, you are tempted by oozing jam roly-polys - although deliveries of these are erratic. On one occasion, I missed the last roly-poly on the shelf, my precious find secreted into someone else's basket. I expressed some surprise that such an elegantly dressed lady should have such a sweet tooth. She denied this staunchly but the haste with which she fled, leaving her change behind, suggested that she was not entirely speaking the truth.

Isabella Palmer

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