Whilst staying for a few days break in Norfolk we ate lunch at a farm shop and cafe. The food was very good and afterwards I had a hunt round the shop for foodie ideas, but although I find these shops interesting I rarely buy anything except organic vegetables. You could actually spend a fortune on sauces, flavoured oils, unusual foods and artisan products which all sound very appealing but often end up sitting in the back of the cupboard until well passed their sell by date.
In my new book ‘Easy Tasty Healthy’ I have gone back to basics. I first of all went through my cupboards and threw out anything that was rarely used. Then I paired down my herbs and spices to a basic set that could be used in different combinations to produce interesting flavours. I hate it when a recipe calls for something I don’t have in stock, only to buy and use it then never need it again. I’ve also written a shopping list at the front of the book so that once you have this basic set of ingredients you can make any recipe in the book. I wanted this book to be full, not just of recipes that are easy to cook but recipes that are easy to prepare and from ingredients that can easily be found. I want people to be able to shop locally and be encouraged to cook.
I feel the same way about kitchen shops. I find them interesting to look round but rarely buy anything unless a piece of equipment needs replacing. If we are not careful we can fill our cupboards with food and gadgets which never get used when all we need is the basics. I much prefer to keep my cupboards uncluttered so that it’s easy to find whatever I am looking for. I don’t even use a mixing bowl these days. I have a set of serving dishes of varying sizes which fit inside each other and I either use one of these or a pan as a mixing container. It’s not the fancy foods or gadgets we need it’s time in the kitchen with good quality simple food and a recipe that excites us and works.