Today my lovely husband has made me cauliflower cheese with bacon, to make me feel better because I’ve been ill. It had a lovely rich wholegrain mustard sauce and has made me very happy. It’s one of those days where I don’t want to venture outside. Instead I am watching ‘The Social Network’ and reading cookbooks (Feast by Nigella Lawson and The Fabulous Baker Brothers by Henry and Tom Herbert.) The latter book is really a great read, but I sense, whilst I’m loving the recipes, that it’s not aimed at me. There is a strongly male emphasis to this book, which does make a nice change- either from the presumption that bakers are female, or from the suggestion that if men happen to cook it’s unusual. I am all for man-friendly recipes (this is not to say in any way that they are easier, just that if I saw a recipe as particularly ‘male’ it might be meat-heavy or involve some hearty carbs). You have to get into cooking somehow, and whether it’s through your Mum showing you how to make cakes, or through a book which suggests you slather hot soda bread with brown shrimp butter, I agree with the concept. Everyone is, after all, going to like something different and be excited about different things. I got into cooking through making a ‘Farthing Wood’ magazine guacamole recipe. I then made an African stew from Blue Peter with cocoa in it for my (poor) parents. It all lead on from there, but there has to be an initial interest in something!
Oh, and yesterday’s wedding had beautiful food! There was champagne and canapes- mini burgers, little fishcakes with a hot sauce, spoons with a lovely broad bean and asparagus risotto. Then we had a chicken confit salad with very bright flavours- spring onion and ginger specifically. The main was encrusted salmon on a bed of red pepper and baby tomatoes with a pretty little herby mash tower. For pudding, not being a wheat-eater (or a Wheater as one of my friends calls it), I had an artistically arranged plate of fruit. Everyone else had a trio of deserts- a chocolate mousse with a raspberry base, chocolate tart and a lemon tart served in a mini ice-cream cone. There was then cake (fruit cake and sponge with a buttercream middle), cheese (including a smoked cheddar), an amazing range of teas (including Jasmine pearls, which I have mixed feelings about) and a table of pick and mix sweets. Altogether, a beautiful feast- sophisticated and fun, without being overly heavy. A good balance I think!