I started to learn to cook and brew when I thought about emigrating….I realised there were a few things that I would miss and decided to learn how to do them for myself.
The first subject was one that I have yet to crack thoroughly..the Onion Bhaji ….much loved UK Indian restaurant starter, derided and misunderstood in India but essential to the British curry-lover!
I never did emigrate, but I did learn to cook some nice nosh and brew decent beer so it’s not all bad……..what I’ve tried to show here is that you can make ‘restaurant style’ food at home…the sort of food you might eat when you go out for a special occasion…you really can do it at home…or things which are crazy expensive to buy in the shops…like stuffed potato skins for example, are really very easy when you know how..those potato skins, for example, are just jacket potatoes, cream cheese and bacon bits!
Cheeseburger, onion rings and a stack of crunchy house fries
I actually cooked professionally for a few years, running or working in staff restaurants for several Sainsbury stores, the Post Office and even a night working for the busiest Domino’s Pizza in the UK to see how they did it….( Turns out they did it with polenta…the crispy ‘grits’ on the base of their pizza is like ball bearings and lets you stretch that dough on the worktop…yes, they really are hand-stretched!)
I worked at the Hogsback Brewery and copied the equipment in miniature at home. I took malted barley as my wages……….
I hung around Indian restaurants and picked up a few tips…I even sacrificed my arm hair to make a naan bread in a tandoori oven once…….speed is of the essence!
I built my own hot smoker and experimented with real American barbeque and I worked as a butcher on an organic farm and ran a meat and fish counter for Sainsbury where I learned to sharpen a knife and more importantly how to clean one. It’s always when cleaning a knife the accidents happen………
Here’s a great UK site for BBQ recipes and techniques:
To use the Search facility on the site just go to the magnifying glass sign top right or at the very bottom of the page……left-click on it and a window will open up. Enter your search word and then press the Enter button far bottom right on your keyboard. This may give you several abbreviated results within your search parameter…scroll down to the one you want and left-click on the title to open the full entry.