Showing posts from April, 2020

A Time to Reflect

This time of quarantine has put paid to entertaining, hospitality and social dining for now, so I've been looking back over my archive of menus and the letters I've written over the years about food. It's been a time to remember influential friends and family and to consider how my culinary heroes have changed me. I gave my first formal dinner in the last few weeks of my university career, in a flat overlooking the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. I might cringe a little now at the menu (fish terrine, coq au vin, lime sorbet), but it was rather sophisticated for your average student! The sorbet recipe came from a book I’m still using to this day. A Taste of Excellence (E Lambert Ortiz, 1988) introduced a new wave of young British cooks (including Raymond Blanc) who were just starting to move on from the constraints of Nouvelle Cuisine. (By the way, let nobody mock Nouvelle Cuisine: it taught Brits that food should look good!) When I started work, it was at a large r

Staying positive

In these days of social distancing, widespread home-working and self-isolation, there is a real danger that loneliness or boredom will affect us more deeply than we're ready for. We can't always manage our feelings, but what we can do is manage our activities to ensure they affect us as positively as possible. Any number of people are posting some brilliant suggestions to help us. Here are a few from me. Structure your day Drifting through an unstructured day is a recipe for boredom and procrastination. So set your alarm clock and get up at a regular time. Establish a few little rituals to mark the passing of the day: a morning walk, time to work, an online chat & coffee with a friend, early evening music. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, give yourself bursts of that at the same time every day. Eat well Start the day with a good breakfast and space your meals out as part of your daily rituals. You will need some treats to keep you going, as well as the hea