Years of Practice



Big family, small budget

This blog has been taking shape in my mind 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

Chickpea & tomato soup

Here is another recipe originally from Sophie Grigson’s Food for Friends. I’ve had to play around with it from the start because the officially published version has no tomatoes in it (in spite of the title) and, in any case, it lends itself to multiple variations. All sorts of tinned pulses will work just asContinue reading “Chickpea & tomato soup”

Oven-baked mushroom risotto

The traditional method of making risotto involves the slow addition of warm stock and a lot of stirring over a hot stove to produce a creamy mass of al dente rice. This alternative approach, devised by Delia Smith, saves all that bother and leaves the cook free for other worthwhile activities (like polishing off theContinue reading “Oven-baked mushroom risotto”


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