Introduction to a cookery book I wrote a long, long time ago.
The first vegetarian meal I ever cooked was perhaps ten years ago, and whilst my house mates were all out, I thought I’d surprise them with a curry.
I looked through the kitchen and found a cookbook that had a ‘vegetable curry’ in it. Perfect, I thought. We had most of the ingredients and I only had to buy a couple of things at the local corner shop to make up the rest.
I followed the instructions dutifully and it didn’t look or smell bad when it was all in the pot cooking.
However, upon taste I discovered that it, well, didn’t have any. It just tasted like water, and what’s worse was that the potatoes weren’t cooked. They were, in fact, raw.
At this moment, everyone came home and said things like, ‘Oooh a curry, great! I love curry!’
I admitted there were problems and the girls stood in the kitchen and examined my pot.
‘You didn’t cook the potatoes before putting them in?’ they asked, as if I was the most stupid person on the planet for not knowing that I should do this.
‘The recipe didn’t say I should.’ I defended myself.
And it didn’t. You’re just expected to know about cooking potatoes. Well, rather than putting me off, I redoubled my efforts and over the course of many a year, I’m now not bad in the kitchen. I seldom use recipes - only in the last year or two have I started, and now they go well because I have ‘cooking experience’ which means that I know if I should add more water, turn down the heat, par-boil the spuds, and so on.
Anyway, hopefully these recipes are fairly idiot-proof, but I must confess that I don’t really measure amounts of things as a rule, I do it by look and taste (‘It’s like witchcraft mate!’ Said an Oz friend to me once, watching me cook a curry). So if you follow the amounts to the letter, they should all be fine, but feel free to alter them according to your taste.
Enjoy, and if you have any comments, questions, etc, then do drop me a line.