Sunday 23 October 2011

Brilliant basmati to take on the takeaway

Lamb dopiaza with basmati rice
As my own kitchen skills have gradually improved, I’ve noticed a correlating change in my attitude towards eating out. In the past, I was renowned amongst friends as the “voucher queen”, always able to sniff out a bargain meal that we’d all accept as a satisfactory supper. But now (if my purse allowed…!) I’d far prefer to shun the high-street chains in favour of spending a bit more money on a high-end dining experience. As much as I adore Italian cuisine, I can’t bring myself to cough up for an overpriced bowl of pasta and sauce – especially when I know I can rustle up a pretty mean risotto in the comfort of my own home using just the bare essentials.

Friday 14 October 2011

A roasted piece of meat to last all week

Gammon cooked in coke with a sweet mustard glaze
In the past, I never understood the appeal of the quintessentially English roast dinner. It seemed to me that people spent a disproportionate amount of their designated Day of Rest slaving over a hot stove, considering how bland and limp the resulting "meat and three veg" often tasted. My favourite part of a roast dinner was previously the Yorkshire pudding, so given the option I would generally have preferred to just eat the batter alongside a couple of decent meaty sausages as Toad in the Hole.

In my eyes it was particularly incomprehensible why anyone would want to spend every Sunday cooking a roast. There’s such a plethora of delicious dishes available from such a vast array of different cuisines - spicy Mexican stews, tender Moroccan tagines, fresh Italian pastas with silky sauces - why would you choose to restrict your weekend dining to a lump of dry meat and a plate of soggy vegetables?