How many of us have tried mixing ingredients by tossing the pan like that cheeky chipper chappie Jamie? I must admit to trying it. It works quite well, showcasing your prowess as a young vibrant kitchen artisan. But if you’re in a wheelchair it’s quite hard to pick up bits of squelchy food. I tend to grind it into the floor with my wheels thus leaving a delightful trail all over the flat. So I can happily declare that I am most definitely not a tosser.
Now it seems we can’t move for food related TV. I actually love it. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or slice of cake) but if you have discovered a passion for the creative culinary arts, there’s a lot to learn. I don’t like all the chefs. Ramsey and Rhodes in particular offer little, other than countless pots of turgid monotony as they cream their own egos with their same old tricks.
The bellicose brace of Torode and Wallace can be extremely grating as they scream their sham platitudes at each other.
They’re like those two boys in the class; no teacher would ever allow them to sit together. When dear old Greg is on his own, he continues to grab as much of the limelight as he can with his baying foghorn of a voice. He’s all over the place at the moment; seriously in danger of over exposure and the inevitable ensuing burnout.
John Torode on the other hand, if you can look beyond the bulbous hamster cheeks, comes across as a genuine, almost modest purveyor of gastronomy. His tutelage is simple without being condescending. There’s also a sense of realism concerning techniques and ingredients.
How many clearly middle class and upwards cooks claim that anyone can do it without realising that local delis, artisan bakers, specialist butchers, independent fishmongers and branches of Harrods or Waitrose do not exist on the streets of Motherwell?
In fact they don’t really exist at all to low income (even average income) households struggling to keep up an acceptable standard of living.
“Just get your butcher to do it,” purrs Nigella with a sexy little flick of her hair.
I remember Clarissa Dickson-Wright referring to supermarkets as palaces of hell. Whilst the late great two fat ladies are great entertainment value, they existed in some form of iced tower befitting of their gloriously rich plummy accents. I can forgive them for that however. They were outrageous and marvellous fun with their little eccentricities. I’d have loved to have cooked dinner for them.
I can say the same thing about Nigella Lawson. It’s genuine entertainment and she is excellent at simplifying the complex. But the music? It’s one hundred percent gorgonzola. It’s just too much. One can only take so much of that lounge lizard jazz loved by oily musicians, nodding to each other as the pour out their cheesy lubrication. It’s just too rude to blank out.
Similarly, dear old Nigel Slater imposes a series of instrumental snippets of music he probably thinks is cool.
Well I’m sorry Nige mate but you’re old enough to know better. Besides, do you not realise in your cosy little vegetable patches that “not following recipes to the letter, bucking the trend and being creative by pleasing yourself” only applies to cooks with some level of expertise and experience. What you should say is:
“For those who’ve slavishly followed the hallowed path of Saint Delia, it’s time to throw off the shackles of regimented cooking and try some new ingredients in your stock recipes.”
If you don’t know about basic methods and standards of food hygiene, you “experimental” take on beef carpaccio using chicken will give you a rather unpleasant twenty four hours in A and E, throwing up into those egg box buckets they have in hospitals. Mr Slater also carries a rather aggressive twist to his meanderings inferring that people who do follow recipes are somehow inferior. Oh and the floppy hands don’t help either. Nor does his obsession with trifles. On the other hand he does offer some interesting food combinations so it may be worth watching a few of his programmes just for ideas in creative vegetarian cuisine.
Now to Jamie. If you can get past that laddish bonne homie and slamming of chopping boards, you can find some brilliant tasty simple food. But like his mentors Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, he’s a bit indulgent with the richest of olive oils.
I couldn’t possibly justify spending a fortune on a bottle of first press extra virgin deep peppery stuff. Malt whisky yes but not olive oil.
This bonne homie comes in spades with the heavenly bromance of the hairy bikers. It can be a little nauseating but again, the food is manageable and easy to follow.
Just trying to cover a few TV chefs is a daunting task. How do I include a good cross section? I won’t. I’m just thinking about the ones I’ve seen the most.
Here are some brief summations of a selection of the rest.
Michelle Roux; skilful.
Matthew Tebbet; fat turd.
James Martin; okayish.
Ainsley Harriet; Lenny Henry in disguise.
Delia Smith; Let’s be ‘avin’ you.
Mary Berry; I don’t like the way she says layers.
Paul Hollywood; Pilsbury dough man.
Rick Stein; King of Cornwall.
American TV food shows; the path to obesity, strokes, type two diabetes and cardiac arrest.
Of course, those of us of a certain age have only one food hero and I’m not talking about Fanny with her Johnny; it’s that great mess the Swedish Chef. He spoke more sense than some.
I’ll finish this semi rant with last night’s curry recipe:
750g diced lamb
2 tsp of coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds tsp black and yellow mustard seeds
tsp fenugreek seeds
seeds from 4 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamoms
tsp ground turmeric
half tsp asafoetida
tin of tomatoes
3 tbs tomato puree
chopped large onion
3 cloves garlic
thumb’s worth of ginger
2 bird’s eye chillies
Dry fry the seeds and grind with a pestle and mortar.
Heat the oil and add the black cardamoms until they start sizzling.
Turn the heat down and gently fry onions in oil for 20 minutes. Add a drop of water if they show any signs of burning.
Add the powders and the lamb and colour the meat.
Put in the tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chilli.
Season to taste.
Add more water, stick the lid on and gently braise for 50-60 minutes.
The liquid should have reduced to a luscious masala.
Thank you for reading.