As you may or may not be aware I am a keen baker. Although my repertoire is fairly limited I’m not afraid to try new things or work out how to perfect them and I’m never happier than when making cakes and biscuits for other people. Even better when they enjoy them and tell me so (although in truth I am useless at taking compliments). But while I consider myself to be a pretty good baker I’m only a passable cook. I’m not like one of those lunatics on Masterchef that go on and on about how passionate they are about food. To them I have been known (on more than one occasion per episode) to shout very loudly at the screen “IT’S JUST COOKING!” Well, it is.
I have a pretty good selection of cook books, several liberated from my very keen cook of a mother, but I don’t know what it is, I just don’t fancy doing a lot of the recipes. They always start out simply until you get to a point where suddenly you require capers (dubbed by Mrs Binners as the devil’s bum nuggets), celeriac or fennel. I’m sorry, but I just don’t like these things. I don’t like asparagus either and, even worse, I mostly shop at ASBO or Tesco (I can hear the collective sharp intake of middle class breath from here!). Ocado’s great and all that but ASBO is cheaper and while I may be doing them a disservice I don’t remember ever seeing fennel in their produce section. Not that I was looking for it.
The trouble with me is that I’m just not a natural cook. I wouldn’t know where to start with the “marriage of flavours” Nige Annoying Slater’s always going on about (my mother WORSHIPS him). I know the traditional ones, of course, lamb, garlic and rosemary’s always a winner and, er, some other ones. Chicken and chorizo, that’s good. Pie and chips. Things of that nature. I just have very few ideas of my own. That said I rarely use a recipe book for making dinner and devised my own chicken/ham/cheese/leek pie that Adam is very keen on but it’s hardly a revelation, I’m pretty sure millions of people make similar ones. But all I make is comfort food, spag bol, lasagne, toad in the hole, bangers and mash, sausage casserole, dumplings, pies….oh gawd it all sounds so boring and so….pedestrian!
I don’t want to be one of those “passionate” numpties from Masterchef who blub at the drop of a hat because their chocolate fondant wasn’t runny inside (they never turn out right, everyone knows that), or a Come Dine With Me contestant that thinks they’re it because they once had snail porridge a la Heston Weirdo Blumenthal (bleurgh) but I would like to be better. I love food (but I’m not passionate, it keeps me alive and I like things that taste nice), I just want to be a bit more adventurous. In fact I want to be like the lovely Kate Anwyll, her dindinses (that is a word)(it IS!) always sound divine and I swear what sounds like a whole day’s kitchen slaving for me is done with little stress for her. Not that I’d have had the idea in the first place. In fact my friend Karin is a similar cook and it all seems so effortless. It’s NOT FAIR and I am EXTREMELY JEALOUS!
Perhaps I just need pointing in the right direction…SEND HELP! If not for me for my poor family that are suffering for having the same old dinners.