• 01Jan

    This is my new Food, Drink and Cooking blog – as some of you know it’s been along time in the coming and I just have too much stuff to o on our personal blog.  I thought I’d start off by saying what cooking is to me:


    For me learning to cook was just a natural extension of my scientific and artistic nature.  It is the perfect combinationof the two disaplines, you mix inredints, you experiment with flavours and textures.  Both happy accidents and meticulous planning yield amazing results and then you get to creat an assthesically pleasing master piece with the results!

    Grandmothers with bakestones cooking traditional farye, arty aunts entertianing and of course Dads fanatastic radish salads had me mixing and sorting ingredients from the time I could first hold a spoon.  However, the most valuable lessons were learned when me and my brother were simply ‘let loose’ in the kitchen.

    One of my fondest memories of childhood is Dad’s fantastic radishes. This, of course, was all a ruse to get my brother to eat salad! We would start off by selecting leaves from an Oak Leaf lettuce. Then we’d rinse and spin them, spread them out on a large plate per person, cut two or three slices of cucumber per plate, and lay them carefully in the middle. The roundest radishes we could find, topped and tailed, were then cut in half with a zig-zagged line (using a sharp knife with a good point!), and one half was sat on top of each slice of cucumber.

    These, we told David, were the water lily flowers upon the lily pads. Salad cream or thousand island dressing, drizzled around the edge, would mark the edge of the pond; and croutons scattered about the lily pads would be the fish in the pond.

    This ruse, along with a few others, managed to convince a fussy child to get some fruit and vegetables into him.  And so improvisation in cooking was a theme ever since I was young.

    When we moved to the countryside and I was on crutches, I hobbled along our driveway collecting such oddities as wild garlic and hawthorn leaves for a more exotic salad, while my husband experimented with balsamic vinegar to create a herby dressing. More of a challenge was cooking for a bunch of fussy teenagers, including one strict vegan and one who refused to eat anything that wasn’t dripping with lard; by the end of the week, I had him eating my “hippie food”, as he termed it.

    And so cooking, to me, is a form of self expression. Recipe books are more a source of inspiration than a dogmatic rulebook; improvising with what I have available, building up experience to improve my judgement of tastes and avert such disasters as the experimental “handful of dried chillies curry”, is much more fun!

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