Years of Practice



Big family, small budget

This blog has been percolating for many years but I’ve struggled to find the right angle. Should I be positioning myself as a frugal cook, a fusion cook, a busy working mother or a scavenger trying to balance time, health and money? Eventually I homed in on what defines my adult identity: I am a wife, a mother of four and a teacher. The title ‘Years of Practice’ has been my typical response when asked by one of you ‘How do you know how to…?’

So here is a distillation of years of practice in the kitchen, drawing together what I want to pass on to my sons and daughters about the stories and methods behind the food you have eaten as you have grown up. You are all adept cooks yourselves who already have many of these recipes in your repertoire, and you haven’t relished everything I’ve served up to you. Some of my more unpalatable offerings have been banished to the dustbin of family legend, never to be repeated (whisky risotto, the ‘lean’ venison that turned out to be lamb’s liver, caramel salmon). The guiding principle behind my selection has been to record meals which have been enjoyed more than twice by at least two members of our family of six.

I’ll be sharing 100+ recipes, posting weekly over the next two years.

January 2020

Wiener schnitzel

Since you can all make it on autopilot, you don’t really need a recipe for Wiener schnitzel, so my introduction today is going off-piste into linguistic territory. A schnitzel is a thin, breaded, fried cutlet traditionally made from veal; the ‘Wiener’ part means ‘from Vienna’. In Hungary they call the dish Bécsi szelet, Bécs beingContinue reading “Wiener schnitzel”

Lemon pasta

After the excesses and complexities of Easter, here is something very straightforward. Spaghetti al limone is another deliciously simple recipe from the first River Café Cookbook (see slow-cooked lamb shanks), easy to rustle up from limited ingredients. It makes a great starter for an Italian meal or a quick supper dish, served with a tomatoContinue reading “Lemon pasta”


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