Welcome to learning to cook and Dominic’s 40th birthday.
First of all I wanted to wish a big Happy Birthday to the other person that runs RecipeThis.com. That is my husband Dominic. We have run blogs and websites together from our home office for 8 years now and we make this fantastic partnership that most people will never have. That ability to be able to work together, live together and raise our children together.
But of course you probably don’t see much of Dominic around as far as RecipeThis.com is concerned. I do the majority of the writing because I am a big chatterbox and love to write, but it doesn’t mean Dominic isn’t involved because he is.
It is down to Dominic that we have a fast site that works perfectly on mobiles, that all the blog posts get loaded up, that the images all work with the site, that recipes get tested from a professional chef, that he teaches me new skills in the kitchen so that recipes can be made and so much more.
I suppose you could say that I am front of house and Dominic does all the behind the scenes work. A bit like if we ran a restaurant together I would serve the customers and keep them happy while Dominic would cook away in the kitchen making stunning dishes.
So Happy Birthday Dominic xxxx
But what I wanted to do today was to share with you more about the inspiration behind RecipeThis.com and how Dominic has helped me learn to cook. He actually refuses to take any credit for it all and said that I am a great cook anyway and would have learnt it eventually. But I doubt that. He is clearly being modest.
As a child I was in the kitchen with my mum but she was always showing me after working or when she was tired, or when she was flustered or just generally in a rush. Therefore she had very little patience with me. I would get lectures for peeling off most of the potatoes and how I will never be able to cook.
In the end I think she told me I better marry a chef as I had no hope of ever learning to cook on my own. Well I took her advice and married a chef!!!
When we moved in together all I could cook was a lasagne, a cheese sauce, macaroni cheese and bake a few things. That was about the lot and it was really pathetic really. I remember for our first Christmas together I cooked the turkey upside down, my signature lasagne was set on fire and I would often serve hard potatoes at meals.
But Dominic also knew I was trying my best and that one day that 18 year old would be able to cook. The more I messed up, the more he inspired me to cook and create something new. He inspired me to understand flavours, to take the onions off the heat if I was going on a toilet break and most importantly that it was the making the effort that counted not whether my potatoes were perfect or not.
I even burnt at least 30 pans in the process and there was certainly no such thing as “non stick” when I was about. But it was all part of the learning curve.
In between this I watched cookery shows and I mean I watched a lot. I could get through six hours of cookery TV per week if not more. I would be engrossed in flavours and with what went together. I watched over Dominic’s shoulder whenever he did the cooking and loved everything he ever cooked for me.
Fast forward 16 years and here I am as a food blogger and I love cooking and get moody whenever I go a day without cooking. It relaxes me and it is a vice like somebody else that drinks or smokes.
If you had told that 18 year old that 16 years down the line we would be living in a different country and that we would be full time food bloggers I would have laughed at them. Yet here we are doing exactly that.
So to celebrate my 16 years in cooking and what an amazing teacher Dominic has been these are the dishes that sum up our joint love for cooking.
#LearningToCook & Dominic’s 40th Birthday via recipe_thisClick To Tweet
Top 5 Recipes That Helped Me Learn To Cook
This is the first thing I ever cooked for Dominic when he said it was stunning. Nobody had ever told me my cooking was stunned and I felt thrilled that a chef had said this to me. I have perfected it a lot since, but this was my first moment that I felt I had developed a signature dish.
This is the pulled pork that is always referred to in our house as the “favourite” if I make another type its always when can we have the Indian one again? It is not really that spicy it is just that it is marinated for the longest and has the most amazing flavour. It was also the first time we probably messed around with spice blends.
We all have to have that signature dish. You know that one that we consider to be our best recipe that we have cooked thousands of times over the years. Well in my world it has to be my lasagne. It is full of delicious flavours and it is also rather easy to make.
Even though I used to set the kitchen on fire in my teens I have improved over the years and also make my own tomato sauce and my own cheese sauce when cooking it.
It is also made in the slow cooker for a great modern twist on the classic dish.
So when I mentioned to Dominic that my lasagne was my signature dish he disagreed with me. He said he absolutely loved my lasagne BUT he loved my Thai curry more.
It is something that I have made many times over the years and that I love to cook. It is simple, it is flavourful and best of all I can have a big batch of it either in the slow cooker or in the soup maker in no time.
Though, I must have turned Dominic into an Asian food addict because when we met he wouldn’t even entertain Chinese food, yet I have him eating Thai dishes!
I often think that watching lots of cookery shows can do you more harm than good. It is a bit like women’s magazines with celebrity pictures when you want to lose weight. Its really not good for your self esteem and you think that you will never be able to do that.
Of course you can watch Jamie Oliver or Come Dine With Me and be able to achieve everything. But watching Masterchef or Gordon Ramsay is a different story and rather intimidating.
Making pasta is one of those dishes. They make it look like it is something amazing that only the professionals can do. But I did it and I made pasta this year. And it was really easy and quite surprised me. So this was another of the things ticked off the list that I can now make.
Even though I have been in the kitchen cooking for 16 years doesn’t mean I am perfect. I am far from being perfect. I still take an eternity to prepare my vegetables and I hate chopping up chickens. But Dominic is by my side and there is no one quicker at chopping up vegetables than a chef! It just means that we make the perfect team in the kitchen and I can’t wait for many more years of cooking together.