Tuesday, 27 September 2011

HEY, give ME a cooking show!


"Dear BBC Executives,
I think you should give me a cooking show. I am somewhat lacking in professional cooking experience or training, but I have come to notice that this isn't necessarily an issue with your commissioning team. I do however have a repertoire which extends beyond covering ice cream with swiss rolls and calling it cooking. You'll be pleased to know I have a passable smile, my skin is fairly clear and I can enunciate to an acceptable level. I know these are all things that are important to you.
Please let me know when you'd like to schedule me in
Your Sincerely,"

The above is a sample of a letter I would debate sending to the BBC after seeing Home Cooking Made Easy. I understand many people have never been educated in cooking, and perhaps need a few pointers along the way, but ice cream covered swiss rolls is hardly the way to go about this. Jamie, for all his sins, seems to have effectively covered the bases when it comes to basic cooking, and he does so very well - the recipes are good and although flavoursome are still easy to make for a novice in the kitchen. As someone who classes themselves as perhaps being above par on the cooking front (not bragging or anything) his shows still hold my interest as the recipes he includes are things I would genuinely want to cook and provide a point of inspiration for other meals I might make.
But this isn't necessarily the foodies cooking show. For me the best cooking show i've seen in a long time was Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets, an exquisite guide to french cooking. Starting with something relatively basic that everyone could make (if you can source/afford the ingredients) but progressing to a masterpiece that simply makes you want to be a better cook so you too can eat like that in your own home. Even if you never have any intention of making some of his classical interpretations, there is an enjoyment in seeing a master at work that you cannot get from someone making a butternut squash soup. This series also taught me Raymond Blanc is a very very funny man.
And from looking at Raymond, you can tell he actually eats his food. and enjoys it.
the proof is always in the pudding, not in the smile that made it.   

Friday, 16 September 2011

September Issues



I am sat in my room, cup of tea in hand and i can see the trees blowing outside, dappled in sunlight and in the process of turning that golden brown colour, all reds and warmth.
Autumn is most definitely here and it is always so beautiful, opaque tights can once again return and layering is essential, which means investing in coats, digging out cable knit sweaters and if there's time getting the knitting needles out to quickly whip up a scarf.
Fashion aside, food takes a turn at the start of september, all the attention that was paid to summer salads and light fresh flavours is replaced by a longing for anything warming, bowls of steaming soup which can still be enjoyed outside so long as you're wrapped up in a scarf, baked dishes and pies all seem like favourites at this time of year.
I am a self confessed soup lover, and this week have been enjoying bowls and bowls of leek and potato soup. This has been for two reasons, whilst is fulfils my longing for something homely, it also fits in to the long running battle between my culinary desires vs my monetary possibilities. If i could it would be likely i'd be making a recipe out of my newly acquire Bocca cook book, however lavish cuts of meat don't exactly fit into my current budget and would also not do wonders for my waist line. So every few weeks I go on something I am ashamed to call the 'pov diet' - cheap food with healthy results. Thus with some stock left over from a roast dinner my flatmate very kindly cooked last sunday, I sweated off some onions and leeks threw in some potatoes and stock and left to simmer away for a while. The £2 that I spent on veg (I have the most amazing + cheap grocery shop at the end of my street) fed 2 hungry and tired workers after dinner AND lunch for the next 3 days.
Now I'm not dietician expert but I don't have leek and potato soup down in my list of foods to eat infrequently. Even with the large amounts of butter I used to cook the leeks in, it was a healthy option and I am trying to fight the hopeless battle against my own body that as the weather gets colder my body must respond by getting bigger.
My bank balance could work the effects out for itself, and responded by buying a new coat. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Dinner at Mine, We're Eating Out


I just read an article in The Sunday Times Style Magazine reporting on the launch of a new site - Housebites, which lets restaurant chefs home deliver their delicacies to your door, apparently the 'etsy of cuisine' and reels off lists of the ivy, fifteen and le caprice as restaurants the chefs you can buy from have previously worked at.
so far so appealing, but locality is always going to be an issue. unlike etsy where one off prints and hand made vases can be delivered all over the country, the internet isn't making this concept any more accessible for those outside the M25 barrier. You would think it is the people who live so far away from these famed restaurants, but still have the money and taste that location cannot take away that would really utilise this service. And for those inside it, whats the appeal?
Attention is drawn in the article to the cheaper prices this home service offers - charging as little as a third of the price of the dine in experience. My first issue with this would be, i wouldn't expect any less. Should i thank you gracefully for charging me less, to eat from my own plates, in my own home, and use my own fairy liquid to clean the stains from my plates?
And secondly, whilst i am obviously not the target audience for such a service (poor, under 25, a good 300 miles north of the culinary haven of london), any one who would use this service i imagine is likely to be able to afford the real deal - if you can afford the real deal, why would you settle for less? because i think under all the ease and comfort of eating haute cuisine from your own home, restaurant quality food is meant to offer an escape, a luxury not obtainable in the confines of your own 4 walls, and an experience that goes beyond the consumed calories.
The food is only one part of a restaurant experience, and whilst i may enjoy some lovely food, the taste might be some what lacking, a little bit of the sweetness taken away in it being a take away.