EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK
"OK, you’ve now got a kitchen - but what can you do with it? You could prepare
endless rounds of beans on toast. Or you could try something equally easy but far
more interesting. This little book will try and help steer you towards the latter.
This is not a cookery book in the traditional sense. It doesn’t present you with
hundreds of expensive, complicate recipes to impress your friends. It doesn’t describe
hundreds of supposedly-easy dishes containing ingredients which you can’t find. It
doesn’t describe simple dishes in pages of florid prose which make the instructions
impossible to follow. Conversely, it doesn’t assume you are have had such a sheltered
upbringing that you need telling that ovens are hot and fridges are cold.
Think of this book as a set of assembly instructions, that will show you how to take
ordinary, readily-available, groceries, a very basic set of tools and equipment, and
construct varied and interesting everyday meals quickly and easily. The origins of this
book lie in a succession of student, and then rented, flats in the early 1970s. These
were the meals that comprised at least three-quarters of our diet for five years, and I
was asked to write them down as we went our separate ways. But they have lived on,
and even now, some 35 years later, they still form a large part of our family’s (and
many other families’) everyday menu.
The aim of this book is to present information, not be a work of literature. which is
why the style will often appear repetitive. Ingredients are listed in the order in which
they are needed. The recipe steps are all simple instructions, and are in the order they
have to be carried out. (Question: what is the worst phrase frequently found in a
cookery book? It is "having previously...", as in "grill the meat, having previously
marinated it in wine for two days"!) Every main course dish describes a complete
meal, either by listing what to accompany it with, or because it is complete in itself.
(So there is no wondering "is this a side-dish, the meat part, or the whole thing?")
Every recipe has a little key showing what sort of equipment it typically needs to
prepare it, plus warnings for dishes which are hot (spicy hot, that is), or which are best
cooked when somebody else is on washing-up duty! And because these dishes
represent a more-or-less complete lifestyle, there are just a few "special" dishes, too,
for those odd occasions when you want to have friends round for dinner, or want to
impress that special person in your life. Also, in recognition of the needs of a busy
and thrifty household, there is an extensive cross-reference listing of ingredients-torecipes
to answer that common question "what can we cook to use up the... [insert
impulse bulk-purchased ingredient here]?"