After much procrastination (and I do mean a lot), I decided to commit some of my favourite recipes and food ideas in a form which is not only useful for me to revisit (my ailing memory is not what it used to be), and also to share with old and new friends alike.
I am not a professional cook, nor for that matter profess to being one. I am sure that I do about 99% of things wrong, all techniques up the ying-yang, knife and presentation skills questionable and mediocre at best – ultimately, I do not care. Every day in the kitchen is another day of learning, experimenting, and most of all enjoying playing with food. Food gives me pleasure (not in the pigging out sense, although I could certainly afford to lose the beer jacket), I love taste. I can also very opinionated. And obstinate. And cynical. Negatives aside, my passion is to cook. I like to cook for myself, just as I do in the company of friends and family.
Food is memory. In a similar way that one might remember where they were when JFK was shot or the English Football team actually won anything of merit, taste triggers vivid memories be it pleasant (my first home cooked Boeuf Bourguignon) or not (being given an Oyster in Caen fish market aged 5 – I think it stayed in my mouth for about 1 second).
My fondest memories are as a child, with family in France and being spoilt bloody rotten by by relatives who would ultimately live in their domain – the kitchen and cook spectacular meals for me everyday. Twice a day. By spoiled, please do not think I was born with a silver spoon in the mouth – and being force fed on Fois Gras, Champagne, and truffles on a daily basis – no, I was exposed to some of the best, freshest, and often simplest recipes France had to offer. When it comes to food (like wine for that matter), it doesn’t have to be elaborate, conjured together with ingredients so rare and expensive that a plateful of sophisticated wizardry costs the same as the GDP of third world countries. No. Equally, I like to think my methods are simple. Get the right blend of ingredients together, master the art of timing and voila – something great. I do not need to embark on a degree in physics to distil the essence of mother earth, harmonised by supping through a titanium straw and sucked through the wood shavings of a priceless Stradivarius Viola (ok, I make all of that up) – I think good food is in the reach of everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge amount of respect for the pioneers of taste and discovery out there, and am in awe of their boundless imagination (and one could argue, time and budget are equally plentiful).
Food is pretty much the only way I can be (in my way) creative. A gifted 5 year old has more artistic aptitude than me. Ingredients are my paint, the plate my canvas. For sure, I have had some disasters. Some of my great ideas have turned into culinary nightmares. However, each and every time I screw something up, I have learned from the experience.
My inspiration is…
Anyone who cooks something which puts a smile on my face. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all, just taste great. I have a bit of an obsession – cooking books. I need therapy. In fact, I need to ask Amazon to refuse me as a customer as their recommendations engine knows me far too well. To the NSA: hack Amazon (if you have not done already), they know more about me that I do. Their ability to help me part with my salary is second to none. I see cook books as Food Porn.
I am constantly inspired. I may end up making a tiny percentage of the recipes within, but it gets me thinking, experimenting, and trying something new. That is a given.
My other addiction for which I need to seek council is what a friend of mine coined as Kitchen Porn. Just in case you think I am totally depraved, this relates to the amazing range of kitchen utensils, appliances, cookware, accessories and gadgets which are there to tempt me. Sometimes I can resist, other times not. As Oscar Wilde famously said:
“I can resist anything except temptation”.
I am also not taking claim that everything I shove on this blog is 100% original. I will always do my best to cite where the recipe originated from, and I am never one to pass something off as my own if it is not my own. What I will add is that all recipes featured on this blog have been cooked by me (unless anyone would like to contribute ;o), and all photos are my own (which could explain the sometimes shoddy quality).
Ultimately, if you can get as much pleasure from this as I have putting it together, then you should all be happy bunnies.
If anyone would like to get in touch for any reason, please contact me.
Love the kitchen
Cook. Taste. Devour. Enjoy..