I have been cooking, on an almost daily basis, for five decades. I have eaten the great, the good and things I rather wish I hadn’t. As a cook, and indeed as a cookery writer, I have got things right, wrong and somewhere in between. But what never changes is my curiosity and my appetite. That, and the endless delight I get from giving people, loved ones, friends, complete strangers, something good to eat.
Just as with music or literature, there are the classics of which I never tire, yet the excitement of finding new works never dims. For me, it is the same with food. You know how it is. There are old favourites you make over and over, recipes that become part of the rhythm of your life, and then there is the stuff of fresh thinking, cooking that is spontaneous and spirited. What has always mattered to me is that we enjoy not just the end result, but the hands-on craft along the way, the act of making ourselves and others a meal. Cooking has, for this cook at least, never been purely about the end result. It is the small, joyous details of cooking that have made it a lifelong pleasure.
I enjoy my work more with each passing year. And never more so than when I hear or say the words ‘What shall we have to eat?’ The point in my working day when food is no longer something on the page or the screen, but becomes something on a plate.
Between the pages of this, the third volume of my kitchen diaries, is a collection of good things I have eaten over the last few years. Recipes, moments and ideas I would like to share with you.
Does the world need more recipes? I like to think so. Cooking doesn’t stand still, at least not for anyone with spirit, an appetite and a continuing sense of wonder. No one is exactly re-inventing the wheel in cookery nowadays, no matter what they might think, but there is still much fun to be had.
A cookery book can open a door to a world of delicious possibilities. As I hope this one will. Discovering a new way with a familiar ingredient; a reworking of an old friend; a twist, a turn, a whim or even just a simple reminder. The recipes are here to follow word for word or simply to spark your imagination, as you wish.