- February 16, 2016
It’s almost a year since I made the last episode of Cook It! It was such fun to make and I hope those of you that have seen it enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed making it. Judging by the responses I have had from both friends and strangers it went down well, and thank you to all of you who come up to me and say hello, it really does make it all worthwhile.
Cook it! came about because of a conversation that I had with Nick Beddows who co-produced it with me. We had never met before but we bonded over a loaf of his excellent fennel seed sourdough and a mutual belief that too much TV cooking was too complex, even intimidating.
I love all that stuff but I hardly think that some of it will inspire people to get back into the kitchen, discover the joy of cooking and make healthier and often more economical food for themselves, their friends and their families.
We filmed Cook It! series one in two educational training kitchens and we were very grateful for their kindness and help. We also had lots of professional chefs along as guests and they too added to the whole, even when I mocked them for being too “cheffy”.
It’s now time for me to make a new series, another 13 programmes that I hope will inspire people to get back in their own kitchens and cook with confidence. Much as I loved the first series I did always feel that the pro kitchen was a daunting environment and not an inspiration. I feel the same about the guests too, the chefs were good but maybe this time I should take a different route.
The result is a new project, Cook It 2! Let’s Party. This time I will be cooking in a domestic kitchen using domestic appliances and creating a series of 13 menus for parties of all sizes, from simple mid-week suppers for small groups to a party for twenty with delicious finger food.
And along the way I will be joined by some of my foodie friends, home cooks mainly and a few talented chefs who understand what I am trying to achieve.
We will be creating menus for games evenings, movie nights, casual suppers and smart but easily created dinner parties. And I will be using basic equipment that most of us will have to hand.
Oh and yes, I too thought that the cooking with kids items were amongst the best we did so do not worry, I will be doing a few programmes with youngsters, inviting some of the best from series one back to cook again and working them hard in the kitchen to create their own party food.
You may also remember Indian chef Kanthi Thamma from the award winning Curry Leaf Cafe. Kanthi will be back too, taking time out of his own kitchens in Ship Street, The Temple bar and his newest venture, a take-away outlet that is already proving to be very popular at Brighton Station, serving food and drink all through the day. I gave it a go yesterday and had a very good breakfast on the train up to London. Yes Indian breakfast is a delicious way to start the day as I found when I spent a month in Goa many years ago. Whilst most of the European guests made a beeline for the western food station by the pool, I headed straight to the display of iddly, uppuma and freshly made to order massala omelettes. I reckon that you should eat what the locals eat if you want to avoid tummy upsets and it worked for me. Who wants dodgy bacon in soaring heat anyway?
Kanthi will be joining me to create an exotic menu of delicious Indian finger foods that will, I have no doubt, by tasty and simple to make.
My friend, the lovely Laura Lockington will be back too. Laura is a seriously good cook but one who champions the great dishes of British home cooking, shepherds pie, fish pie and of course a proper roast with the appropriate accompaniments. Together we will show you how to put together the very best Sunday roast, with the minimum fuss and the maximum impact. We recently got together over a delicious mezze at Makara in Hove and discussed how we are always amazed at the fuss people make over preparing a roast. We reckon it to be one of the easiest meals to create and a perfect way to occupy your hands whilst listening to The Archers Omnibus of a Sunday Morning.
I hope all this has whetted your appetite, it has mine and I must pop into the kitchen to see what I can rustle up from a few leftovers. I would say bon appetit, but I’m all about taking the mystery out of all this, so good eating!