Back to Basics... do you remember?

I once got given, a recipe book by my mum, put together by her church crowd. I looked at it with pessimistic eyes, skimmed through it and thought "yes might come in handy one day.” I am a classic hoarder….
Today doing the drop off at pre-school, they were giving out cookbooks, with recipes from the finger tips of parents, so to say; a recipe that they could always rely on, didn’t have to look up, always had the ingredients for, could handle a great deal of 'ad -lib' that didn’t upset the outcome, always reliable, consistent and all the ingredients would magically jump in the bowl and mix for themselves.
That’s how it was wasn’t it?

Do you remember watching your mum or nana cook and they would just ‘throw it all together’ and the result would be amazing? I do…so much that I requested my nanas special cookbook after she passed and to find that there was very little information in it at all! Just the basic ingredients, a little info on the oven temperature, and how long it should take.
It comes down to this; the best recipes are the ones we already know, produce in an instant, whilst dong a multitude of other things, like un packing school bags, answering phones, folding the washing that’s been on the line for days. They are so reliable that it’s not difficult to ‘jazz up an old favourite’ because you have baked it enough times to realise what works and what doesn’t. The best recipe is the one we re-invent and can remember how to do it.

Yes, I can hear you all saying how boring this idea can get, and that’s why Jamie, Maggie, Donna make so many great recipe books, it’s to enlightenment us to how easy the old fashioned recipes were. It’s not that I don’t have time to read 3 page, 10 point Master chef directions, or that I don’t have time to find celeriac, rose water or pearl cous cous, occasionally I do and the result is wonderful, exciting and refreshing, but in all reality you just can’t keep that sort of thing up every day after work and get everyone fed and bathed in time for some sort of sit down later..or time to do the HUGE stack of pots and pans that these great recipes create…celebrity chefs have a team of helpers you know….

So I love my collection of Delicious, Donna Hay and Maggie Beer with a few Jamie’s thrown in the middle, amid a “do I have time” collection of Asian books, curries from scratch and Middle Eastern styles. It’s all so very yum and rewarding…..when I have time. So for now, I’m content with my tried and true banana cake, muesli slice, meat and 3 veg recipes, I love my zucchini & corn fritters and my beef strog with extra red wine for extra long days…But I do it with the knowledge that I have the skill to take something basic… and turn it into something wonderful, so now it’s time for basics; to sit and digest the day with my husband on the couch…