‘A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness’ – Elsa Schiaparelli
I’m a foodie … somewhat lapsed, although I still hold a fascination for all things food. In a former life, I entertained constantly, threw dinner parties for 50 people on many occasions and would travel miles for special ingredients. I made Chocolate Mousse cakes that took three days to complete, glorious roulades that didn’t split and a six tier ‘Maltesers cake’, which my children and their friends still talk about!
Cookery books, I devoured them and would spend hours reading them and looking at the evocative photography. The wonderful shop, Books for Cooks (in Notting Hill) was a constant source of many memorable moments, none more so than when I discovered The Silver Palate Cookbook series, which are still amongst my most favourite books, although I’m not too sure they are still in print.
And so I cooked, and cooked, and cooked, mostly it was a solitary indulgence of my passion for food, but at times I would join forces with one of my best friends, Eleanor Angel, and together we would create food that wouldn’t be out of place on Masterchef! To this day we reminisce on the heady days when we were at our peak in the kitchen. Ahead of the zeitgeist, we would jump and down when supermarket chains began introducing the food we had been making for years and I will never forget crashing my trolley in M&S when they first introduced Tiramisu.
And now; well obviously my life has changed dramatically and over the past ten years, VH has become my new zeitgeist. I had a vision from inception of how I wanted VH to be and it is only now that we are beginning to implement that vision. It doesn’t happen overnight and the very first thing we needed to do was to gain your trust and support, which is no small thing.
The first thing I need to say here is that this is a new editorial feature, which hopefully we can grow together. Your participation is key to its success, and so I invite you to send in your favourite recipes for sharing. Where it goes, I have absolutely no idea, but it will be fun to be on the journey and we could even crown a VH Chef of the Year – anything goes and an anecdotal story alongside a recipe would be good too.
Given that we are all about health and wellbeing, you would naturally assume that I would fill this section with healthy food and cabbage leaves, but I’m not going down that road. Instead I want to create a glorious celebration of food and I want to share my passion with each of you and for you to share your passion with the world – well the VH world!
To kick things off, I am including the recipes that were posted on Facebook and subsequently I spent hours going through some of my all-time favourite recipes, which have been tried and tested over many years. So you will find the easiest ice cream recipe ever, which does not require the use of an ice-cream maker or hours of stirring from the freezer; a bread and butter pudding to literally die for; a basic soup recipe that never fails and Eleanor’s amazing muesli recipe, stolen from a Swiss hotel!
With all the best will in the world, I would love to re-create these recipes and photograph them, but a girl needs her sleep and I just don’t have the time at the moment to do this, so please forgive me, but I’m heavily into launching a whole new series of initiatives on our site. Something has to give and although I drive myself into perfectionist madness, I don’t think my life will crash and burn because I failed to bake a lemon tart.
One of my greatest joys is that I am surrounded by people who share the food passion, including Jo Fairley who founded Green & Blacks. I will be on her back to share some recipes from Green & Blacks and who knows, I may even get her to write about the history of the brand (she will probably kill me, but hey!).
All things in moderation, we enter another dimension on VH, I will be sending a small gift to each participant, with love and gratitude from me to you because it’s good to share.
So as they say in Masterchef – ‘Let’s Cook’!