What got me cooking..? 🔪

posted in: General 0

I’d love to be able to tell you a story of my childhood where I was forced to cook for myself if I was to eat – but that’s simply not the case. Growing up in a solid family environment, I was lucky to have hot meals provided on a daily basis and my mum was just an amazing cook.

The food I grew up on was freshly cooked too – not a ready meal in sight we’d regularly have curries, risottos – and the traditional sunday roast. Shepherds pie, faggots, liver and onions… the list goes on and I have very fond memories of my childhood dining experiences.

By the age of about 14, I was quite often late home for dinner – so started to learn some of the skills required to feed myself – albeit in the early days it was beans on toast (with cheese and loads of cracked black pepper of course!). Over the next few years, I recognised that I loved good food. I can remember the first time I went to an Indian restaurant and being blown away by the depth of flavour.

Over the following years, I continued to eat – and then try to cook as many different types of food as possible…

Fast forward to 2002 – and I married Alison.

Unlike myself (a professional “winger”), Alison likes to be organised and soon was planning our weekly meals – and ordering the necessary ingredients. However Alison gets no pleasure out of cooking – so that job mostly falls to me. Over the past 18 years, Alison and I have been on what can only be described as a culinary adventure – honing our skills – and now eat some really amazing (but easy to prepare) food.

Read about the Pub Experience in Alison’s book…
To throw an extra challenge into the pot, between 2006 and 2009, Alison and I took on the lease of our local pub. With zero experience of running a pub (plenty of experience of being in a pub however!), we learnt on the job – and months into the adventure, ended up sacking the chef for reasons I’ll not bore you with. Rather than taking on a new chef, Alison managed to convince me that I could do it… Jumping from cooking for 2 – to cooking for 40 was quite a leap – but between us, we managed and a lot of new skills were acquired.

So what about the “cooking outdoors” thing..?

Well first off, I’m a bloke – and as we all know, blokes are brilliant with a barbecue. But not being a fan of cheap sausages and burgers, I started trying to cook things that I’d normally cook on the stove or in the oven – over the flames.

There’s something quite magical about creating great food over a fire – with a cold beer / wine / mojito in your hand and then sitting around the embers while you enjoy the fruit of your labour. I love the fact that the fire can be so unpredictable – you just can’t set it to gas mark 4 and leave it – you have to work with it and adjust accordingly. A dish cooked over the fire is so much more satisfying (and tasty) than the same dish cooked in a clinical kitchen.

Add in to the pot that there’s always something new to learn – what is there not to love?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *