But cooked in Britain

A great way to rediscover my cooking mojo in the kitchen

I like food, I always have.

Like any bloke who likes to cook I have made sure I have the cookbooks, the gadgets, the stainless steel range, the knives. All the toys. You get the picture.

‘All the gear but only some idea!’

I usually really enjoy cooking for friends but somehow recently I had sort of lost the inclination to get started. I used to happily cook pretty much everything from the great British Sunday lunch with all the usual trimmings to three course dinners for friends (not a great pudding guy so typically cheated with cheese for the third course!).

I make no real claims for my prowess but I like to give it a go and learn. Also, I am rather blessed to have some friends who are professional chefs which helps too. They are full of encouragement and tips it was always great to chat food with them.

I always found cooking a real change to the working week, a chance to exercise the other side of the brain, to think about ingredients, a bit of dedicated shopping and spend quiet but satisfying time on prep. A way to shut out the many issues which come with running a business and find some personal time ahead of a social occasion.

So I guess I was sort of surprised I had lost my cooking mojo and had got out of the habit. Having always looked forward to spending time in the kitchen I found I had begun to just pass through rather than getting in there and getting stuck in. The working week has a habit of expanding into the weekend somehow, particularly when you run your own business.

However I am a bit of a task oriented type and tend to overcome any inertia by setting personal goals and challenges and found myself chatting this through with an Indian friend. As we chatted I mentioned all this as well as my really strong preference for indian food and how I would like to understand it better.

Next thing I knew she had very kindly bought me the book, Made in India, cooked in Britain which contains some really interesting and authentic recipes to try out at home. Miles away from the takeaway staples we have all become used to but much closer to the food cooked in Indian homes.

It’s been such great fun this afternoon, dipping into the book, choosing what I wanted to cook and visiting my very handy local Indian supermarket for some ingredients I didn’t have in the cupboard.

I decided to go for the unfamiliar and went for the recipe Chana Dal with golden garlic tarka. I don’t often, if ever, cook with pulses so this felt like a nice little personal challenge.

Lots of fun, lots to think about and do. I was really surprised just how much extra taste the toasted mustard seeds and the second round of garlic gave to the dish when heated in smoking oil and poured over the final dish.

Tempering, the author said. Bloody tasty I say.

I really had a great time again in the kitchen, funny what a little application, a kind and thoughtful gift bought out of friendship and some authentic ingredients can end up achieving. Not quite like the book and it could have been a little hotter with more chilli but a decent first effort I thought.

The mojo must also be back because I’ve already picked out my next two recipes to try. One with eggs as the star and the other with chicken.

However, I couldn’t resist another bit of gear along the way for the kitchen though!

Happy days.

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