And so, for those of you who have been following along, my Project Food Blog
odyssey has come to an end. The world, it seems, was not ready for boiled boxty
. That, in my humble opinion, is their loss. Now, though, it’s high time I returned you to your regularly scheduled Spud programming where, this week, Spud goes Indian…
People who follow the recipe to the last word are the most boring people. Use your instincts. Chefs may have created combinations which (they think) are fantastic but you, you create your own fantastic.
I scribbled furiously. Those words just uttered by Atul Kochhar were words to cook by.
I had been waiting a long time for my date with the Michelin-starred Indian chef, but last weekend’s one day course with Atul at the Dublin Cookery School was worth every minute of that wait.
In truth, the menu for the day, which included naan bread, pulao rice, dal, lamb rogan josh, homestyle chicken curry and mango chutney, sounded like bog-standard Indian restaurant fare. And that may have seemed, to some at least, to be at odds with the chef’s Michelin stardom. But to think that was to miss the point. Absorb what the man had to say about spices and oils, about onions, garlic, ginger and lentils, and you could begin to make that Indian menu your own.
Clockwise from top left:
assorted spices; homestyle chicken curry; bombay aloo; fresh mango chutney;
Centre: the chef himself
It’s a conspiracy. No doubt about it. A conspiracy I tell you.
The fact of the matter is that London-based Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar is being thwarted in all of his attempts to meet me.
First, it was the January snow that scuppered travel from the UK and resulted in the cancellation of Atul’s one day course at the Dublin Cookery School, which I was due to attend. Then it was the preponderance of volcanic ash in the airspace hereabouts that meant he was unable to travel for the rescheduled date this weekend.
Much admired for his masterful use of spices, I had really hoped, by now, to be in a position to reveal Atul’s thoughts on the subject of spices for spuds, but there are forces at work that have determined otherwise. Perhaps it is the case that Atul is simply not ready to meet me yet – it’s a naturally big step in any chef’s career – but I rather fancy he can handle it.
And so, while I wait to hear of a new date for my tuition in the ways of Indian spicing, I content myself with using Atul’s rather wonderful book, Indian Essence, as my spicy guide. These potatoes with cashew nuts are a great example of where that can lead. Continue reading
I will never get to try all of the recipes in my cookbooks.
Ok, so maybe I don’t even want to try all of them, but clearly there are plenty that I would like to try. In practice, though, I will only ever attempt to recreate a small fraction of the dishes that lie between the bookcovers, and not for want of trying. Yes, technically, I could probably survive quite well on a much smaller cookbook allowance. What am I saying, I could (as it were) go cold turkey on my cookbooks as long as I had access to the ever-growing wealth of food writing and recipes available on the internet and the necessary patience to filter through it all. That, however, is really not the point. As recently observed over at the Constables’ Larder: “Cookbooks are a purchase of desire, not necessity.” How true that is.