Carling Don’t do Yorkshire Puddings, But if They Did…

A modest helping of roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, veg and red wine gravy.

Writing a blog requires a certain amount of discipline. Here I am on a Sunday – wishing no more than to splat on the sofa watching catch up TV (current favourite: Celebrity Masterchef) – but no, any guide to blog writing talks about the importance of regularity*, so I racked my brain for a suitable subject…

… and ended up with food once more! To tie the subject in with my alleged blog main theme (weddings, those of you have kindly signed up to follow me regularly – and I do think you are the most wonderful specimens of humanity – may note that this blog uses the theme of ‘wedding’ very loosely) I thought I’d blog this time about cooking for your intended.

Now, I adore food – to eat, to read about, to watch on TV. But I am the world’s most boring eater. I tend to eat the same thing day in, day out. If you are what you eat, I am a mixture of houmous, prawns, salad, bananas and cheese. Ooh, and er… red wine and a wee bit of chocolate.

I read recipes, I explore cookery websites, I flick through cook books in WH Smith as I while away time in train stations, imaging how I would improve dishes etc etc. And all of this activity is wasted on moi – as I am le mangeur ennuyeux** and too terrified to venture outside of my eating comfort zones. Happily though, my fiance loves being experimented on so I get to explore my creative side without having to throw out loads of food.

Pastry? He’s as happy as Larry to try. New curry recipes via the slow cooker? Contented man. Lorraine Pascale’s lasagne – thinks it’s super-duper. Home-made pizza – just make sure you roll the base thin enough. Fudge chocolate cake pudding – he’s demanding a second helping, albeit with feedback on the cooking time. [Maybe three minutes less next time.] White chocolate cheesecake – not as good as your mum’s… (HUH!)

So, on Saturday evening, in deeply traditional fashion, I thought I’d cook up a proper roast dinner. Namely, the roast beef of old Scotland.*** Meat in a hot oven! Potatoes in goose fat! Yorkshire pudding! Proper gravy!

The results of these endeavours have been posted  in pictorial form above (I can’t tell you how proud of I am of those Yorkshires, thank you Barney Desmazery). And, um, there was a wee bit of bossiness on my part while undertaking this operation and appointing my fiance as sous chef – “baste that beef”; “move that oven shelf down”; “heat the dish for the Yorkshire puddings”. [Pour me wine!]

All of these cookery tricks did demand certain skills from me – timing mainly. The potatoes were done long before the meat so they lost their initial crunchiness. And I overcooked pudding, woe. I can’t tell you how this tasted either, as I’m one of those wishy-washy types who refuses to eat meat, but suffers no qualms when it comes to fish. (Sentimental and egotistical human attachment to mammals possibly?)

But blimey, the house smelled amazing for hours afterwards, even if the oven most definitely now needs thorough cleaning. (Not my job, ha!)


*I apologise for the word ‘regularity’; it sounds unfortunately too close to what people use as descriptions for their bowel habits.

**Literal translation – ‘boring eater’. Not entirely sure if it should be masculine or feminine.

***Delia Smith refers to it as the roast beef of old England; our beef was definitely Celtic.



Eat Out; Be Happy Together

On the Twitter-sphere a few months ago was a post about the five things you need to say to maintain a happy relationship – Can I Help You? I Love You. I’m Sorry. You Look Great and Let’s Eat Out*.

Simple but true? You must explore it all for yourself and work it out, but commenting on the last one – why definitely! As one half of a couple and so speaking for myself, I LOVE food. For example:

  • I plan meals and menus all the time
  • I find cooking incredibly soothing and relaxing
  • I get a kick out of writing the weekly shopping list (no, really)
  • our TV finds itself tuned into Channel 260 a LOT (the Good Food Channel through Virgin Media)
  • I buy food magazines a lot
  • I read cookery books in bed.

As a two-some, eating out is a big part of our life. I find myself pitying celebrities – so many of them are on such restrictive diets that the joy of regular eating out is a no-no. I’d say 75% of our relationship is made up of food – the talking about, the sharing, the cooking for each other and the eating out.

And we eat in a lot too – yes, I know well of course we eat in regularly really, but it’s such a joy to make it a special occasion. You plan a special meal, buy the ingredients (even if it involves trekking out the way of your usual food shop of choice) get dressed up and light candles. I’m also my mother’s daughter – she had a horror of TV dinners and I too would rather eat at a table (though we switch on the TV to watch in the background, sorry mum!).

I’ve been lucky enough to eat out a lot in the four years I’ve been with my partner. It’s not a luxury available to all so I so know how fortunate I am. We’ve had some brilliant experiences (Charcoals, New Lanark Mill Hotel, Fifteen Cornwall, the Ashoka Ashton Lane, Tulloch Castle… I could go on) and some not so brilliant – I won’t list them here, as it’s better karma to write nice, not nasty things. I always feel very cheated though, if I order food that I could have made myself in a much better way.

Yup, the way to a man’s heart – sticky toffee pudding and red wine…

And when eating in, some of my cooking experiments have worked incredibly well (Good Housekeeping, BBC Good Food and Delicious magazines all do fab, almost fool-proof recipes, as does darling Delia Smith). Some though – and they tended to be the ones where I thought, “only one tsp that’s a bit mean” and started wandering off ingredient-list – weren’t so great. But y’know tomorrow is another recipe!