This is a food blog that’s 80% good to eat : 20% a bit of a treat. I’ll rate my own cooking. I’ll suggest what to listen to while you cook. And what to watch while you eat. There’ll be some rough calorie and cost info where I can supply it.
Cooking for me is about trial and error. It’s about taking cues from other people’s recipes and making it into something I’d like to eat. I was watching Saturday Kitchen yesterday and a guest chef said “I don’t like recipes, I’m an instinctive cook”, and that would sum up my approach. I usually find that if I follow a recipe to the letter, it’s a giant let down. So I would take anything published here as a cue to make things that suit your tastes rather than following a recipe to the letter.
I plan to document the failures as well as the successes, and lessons learned. The first time I made potato dauphinoise, I wasn’t aware of the power of those innocent looking little cloves of garlic, and I used an entire head. My mum, who was visiting that weekend, gently suggested that perhaps there was a tad too much in there, as I looked around the table at my friends, their eyes filling with tears as they fumbled for their water glasses, gasping like fish out of water. And only this morning, as I thought to myself “I could totally write a food blog!” the smoke alarm went off, my poached eggs came out with the yolks done but the whites not (how?) and the pepper grinder cracked mid-grind, dumping the entire pepper pot over my half-cooked, soggy eggy breakfast.
But when something works out – when you keep trying until you finally get it the way you really want it and you serve up something amazing, it makes it worth the effort.
There will probably be mention of my family – my sister Jan runs a Deli in Yorkshire. Growing up our mum was always an adventurous cook and introduced us to so many new and interesting foods – all home made. No doubt inspired by the then ubiquitous Robert Carrier, she delivered many treats that were fairly new in the UK in the ‘70s and ‘80s such as pavlova, curry, lasagne, chicken kiev, mousaka, CHEESECAKE… And you will no doubt hear of foodie friends and my lovely colleagues Jenny and Louise who have been so excited and supportive of this little blog.
The other person you will probably hear about in this blog is Shaun – the person I’ve probably cooked most for over the years – also a food lover and always super appreciative of any food being put before him. The “mm mm mm” noise (or lack of) he makes as he starts to eat something is a solid indication of the success of any dish. As such, each new thing I try will be given a Shaun “mm” rating.
There are no banned foods but most of the time I do try to avoid adding salt and sugar. But I’ll always mention them if relevant so you can add if you want to.
The “mm” ratings explained
“mm mm mm” = a resounding success
“mm mm” = an ‘I like it a lot but it probably wouldn’t be my last supper’
“mm” = a quizzical, not too sure about that one mm
Cost – this is an approximation based on Ocado prices, and assuming that you have the basics like olive oil and spices (not fresh herbs) in your cupboard already.
Calories – an approximation based on the measurements I have used in the recipe, not a scientifically accurate number.
What to listen to and watch
I’ll make a suggestion of what to listen to while pottering around in the kitchen, and a suggestion of what to watch on TV when it’s time to eat.
What to drink
I am a white wine drinker and I pretty much never stray from that except for the odd shandy during the summer. If you have any suggestions of what wines would go with the recipes, please leave them in the comments section – I’d love to hear them.