So you wanna cook

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You can't learn from me, I am very bad at it. I am a FANTASTIC recipe-finder though. Every household needs one of those, and one cook. I can't do everything myself.

One reason I put a stop to my half-hearted efforts to contribute to the cooking is that, because I lack the flair and basic knowledge that allows a home cook to tweak and perfect a recipe, no matter if you're missing chipotle paste, I have to rely on the recipe entirely. I can't make anything unless I have each component carefully weighed and lined up in front of me and the exact timings counted out backwards. And don't rush me! Don't check up on me. And don't try and help me either. Cooking makes me tenser than approaching a roundabout. As you can imagine, this leads to a wonderfully fraught and emotional dinnertime atmosphere.

So my role is the traditional gathering one. We have recipe books from all the usual celebrity chefs, and a couple (signed!) from Chef Alfredo Russo, who gave me my first taste of Michelin star cookery. Online, I either search by ingredient on my phone in the supermarket - I'm a bit of a Mystery Box shopper - which generally brings up some spectacular blogs from around the world - and on Instagram I follow some inspiring cooks like Belly Rumbles and Journey Kitchen (they inspire me to print their recipes, but you might be inspired to make their dishes).

My go-to online recipe resource is because the recipes are divided up just as you might want them, that is, every possible way: by cuisine, by meal, dish, event, personal taste, even whether the food can be cooked in one pot to save on washing up. How to use leftovers; what to conjure up for afternoon tea; dairy free. What to make for an Oscar Party when all the guests are gluten-free offal-aficionados and you only have a fiver. It's brilliant, but the one thing no recipe resource can offer us in Muscat is a category called A Dish You Can Actually Get All The Ingredients For. 

Sour cream, mace, JUST ONE RIPE AVOCADO, white wine vinegar. Macadamia nuts, dry sherry. Pecorino, mascarpone. Wild rice. I could create haunting haikus out of the ingredients whose elusiveness in local supermarkets have ruined potentially delicious home-made meals. 

But I might have found a new supplier of recipe ideas. There's a new food blogger in Muscat who's putting Jamie Oliver's Ministry Of Food challenge into practice; each week, there'll be a different recipe up on, with the author not only cooking it but spreading the love of food (often but not exclusively expressed by the preparation of it) by teaching it to two other people, a la Oliver's ideals. Maurizio and I were privileged to be the debut students and had a masterclass in chicken fajitas. It's hard to learn anything when seated next to an enormous pile of freshly-grated mature cheddar, but I think I got the idea. There are two more good-looking recipes already up on Carla's blog - all Yes You Can Get All The Ingredients certified.

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1 comment:

  1. This is really a kind of inspiration for every chef. I think that any of us has an individual approach to the cooking. We should share our special secrets.