I completely forgot in my last post to mention the delicious strawberry pavlova I made for a friends BBQ on Bank Holiday Monday. It was so good, the meringue was crunchy on the outside and gooey and chewy in the middle, which in my eyes is perfection for meringue. I would like to point out that I’m definitely not sitting here bigging myself up for such wonderful cooking skills, I literally follow the recipe and the end result is 10% down to me and 90% down to the writer of the recipe. Given free reign in the kitchen I come up with disasters, and while there are several things I can cook by heart, without my beloved cookbooks I would be limited to about 5 dishes! The pavlova recipe came from Supper Club by Kerstin Rodgers, which I believe I’ve already told you is a beautiful book with some great food photography (way better than my poor efforts!). The only criticism, and it’s a small one, is that as advised by the book I made a salted caramel to drizzle over the pavlova which could barely be tasted amongst the cream, strawberries and meringues. Pavlova just doesn’t need any fancy drizzles or garnishes, it’s perfect in its purest form, salted caramel needs to find another dish to play with.
Now onto the pretentiousness. I’ve been watching Great British Menu on BBC One, and while I love it, I have to say that the BBC really should hire me as a fourth judge to give the show some perspective. Some dishes would make me want to throw my plate at the wall and scream “enough of this pretentious shit, bring me some real food in a decent sized portion”. I’d love to see the look on Oliver, Prue and Matthews faces, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be invited back. I’ve nothing at all against fancy Michelin starred food, some of the dishes look amazing and very very tasty. However, I do have a problem with cooking purely to show off, being groundbreaking at the expense of the food, and pointless spherical shapes. I mean, the other week some guy plated up a dish with globules that were bright green, looked like peas, and according to him tasted just like peas as he really wanted to get the essence of peas in to the dish. Call me old fashioned, but may I suggest using actual peas? Instead of going to a huge amount of effort, using chemicals and fancy equipment, just get the best tasting peas you can find. Sure, there’s not a lot of skill in that, but surely the best meals are ones that reflect simple, good ingredients, cooked with passion? Save the skilled work for cooking meat perfectly or making amazing pastry desserts, not making a fake pea. It’s pretentious. And while I’m on the subject, don’t be so stingy with portion size. If I was an Olympic athlete and the BBC were throwing a banquet for me, I’d want to forget the exercise and diet regimen for one day and eat well and plenty. Just a thought. Saying all this, most of the dishes look awesome, and if any of the chefs on Great British Menu are reading, (very unlikely i know) I am more than happy to try your dishes and judge them accordingly!