Are you someone who is often daunted by trying a new recipe? Is it an unfamiliar ingredient, or a beautiful photo that looks like the dish has been served in a fine dining restaurant? Perhaps it’s the fact you’re a creature of habit and stick with what you know, and cook what is guaranteed to be eaten by those you are cooking for, out of fear of food wastage and watching your well spent grocery bill going down the gurgler. If you’ve answered yes to any or all of the above, I’m with you.
But what are the things that sway you to give it a go? The chef, brand or organisation behind the development of it? The hero of the dish singing off the page as you flick through a magazine or off the screen as you scroll through a flurry of online images? A picture says a million words they say, and there could be something about a recipe shot that draws you in, having you salivating and committing to cooking it on the spot.
Or is it simply you or the family are getting a bit bored with the same old, calling for a shake-up of your household dinner meal repertoire. This is me on a good week, committing to try at least one new recipe each week, keeping my fingers crossed the kids will demolish it (by that I mean get most of it in their mouth and not on the table and floor) – if they do, I know I’m on to a winner. My kids aren’t used to a lot of change, so I’ve started to give them a heads up on the new dish to come, providing the reassurance there are familiar ingredients, better yet, getting them to help prepare it helps to get them enthusiastic about what is going to be served up.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve chosen a new recipe, enjoyed making it, only to have the little people in my home disapprove. It knocks you down a few pegs, but I persevere as it provides a learning opportunity for us all, and makes me realise I do enjoy cooking for others no matter how much discouragement my kids give me sometimes.
So this week, my newbie go-to recipe was inspired from the cover of the winter issue of mEAT magazine. As the recipe is one developed and tested by chef and foodwriter, Kathy Paterson, I knew, having tried many of her dishes, the wholesome dish would be uncomplicated but pack a punch of flavour. I showed the kids the magazine – look what we’re having for dinner…. A side way glance from one son, a “what about pizza?” from the other.
The dish of the hour….Mediterranean Beef with Gremolata - note to self, they’re going to ask “what’s that mean?” So I prepare, and quickly pull together some thoughts on a story I can tell them about that area of the world to really talk it up. Their dad has been to Greece, so he can tell them about his experience – cue to dad to jog his memory as it was over 20 years ago…..
The verdict – my partner had a late lunch so wasn’t too hungry, grrrrrr, but enjoyed the small amount he had and will be having some for lunch tomorrow. The kids – beef and couscous gobbled up by Mr 5, and Mr 7 said he likes the other type of meat… How could they resist the plump sweet apricots and prunes that had be soaking up the beautiful juices in the crockpot all afternoon? You win some, you lose some, and that’s why I’ll go out on a limb to keep taking a risk with a new recipe whenever possible, and tweak along the way.