Welcome to BigFoodMonster.com
How many times have you thumbed to a recipe only to slam the book shut in seconds? That's the fear, that is. The recipe takes up a whole page and looks really scary because you don't understand the jargon, method or ingredients.But really, you shouldn't tremble. The Big Food Monster is here to hold your hand.
I don't claim to be an expert on everything, but i have twenty-odd years experience of working in some pretty decent hotels, restaurants and bars behind me, so i know a bit about food. I know that, like scientists, chefs slip into jargon mode - talking about sabayon, nage and sous-vide - without thinking about it because it is the language that they speak. I promise i will try not to. I also know that any recipe, no matter how large or complicated, can be broken down into several easier to follow steps and some of them prepared way in advance, and the dish will be no worse for it. But lets forget the recipes for now and mention the basic principles that you really should absorb. Make them your religion. Your four commandments...
1. Keep it fresh. Fresh is always best. Period. Well, almost always. There are some things that arrive in tins or packets that are real life savers, the things that are a bit of a nightmare to make yourself. Tomato puree is one example. Pasta is another. Sure you can make pasta, your pasta may even be as good as shop-bought pasta. But if your pasta is only as good as shop-bought pasta why bother making it at all?
2. Buy the best. Or at least buy the very best you can afford. We've all been hypnotized by the local supermarket's "five items for £5" adverts but why are we suprised when our special offer rump steak eats like a smelly old boot? It is as simple as this... You get what you pay for.
3. Keep it safe. Have a stroll around your kitchen before you start cooking your next meal. Are your benches hygienically clean? Is your fridge working? Has the food you're going to be working with been wrapped and stored correctly? Have you washed your hands?
Any pro- kitchen worth its salt has a food management system tied up tighter than a frogs nad-sack. We have to, any decent chef wants to and you expect it. You think restaurant bacteria is different to yours? You can grab a roll of cling film, a fridge thermometer, some anti-bac spray and handwash for less than 10 of your earth pounds and they will last for ages. Go get some!
4. Keep it simple. If you have followed the three previous rules why would you want to spoil the flavour of your fresh, safe, high quality food by confusing it with an orgy of unnecessary guff? The hanging gardens of Babylon should stay in Babylon and not make it onto your plate.
Recipes for avoiding disaster