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

Beef & almond curry

Madhur Jaffrey (yes, her again) traces the ancestry of this dish to the Persian shahi korma, lamb cubes smothered in a rich almond and cream sauce. We enjoy Jaffrey’s version with beef, although you can use lamb if you prefer – but you have a lamb dhansak recipe already in the archive. This can beContinue reading “Beef & almond curry”

Pancakes galore

Children’s birthdays chez Collier are celebrated with pancakes for breakfast. We owe this idiosyncratic tradition to the cycle of the moon, its influence upon the religious calendar, and the births of Louis and Rosa just two days (and three years) apart in mid-February: Shrove Tuesday regularly coincides with one of these birthdays. To deflect accusationsContinue reading “Pancakes galore”


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