But the food was horrible. At the Rada canteen you got a rather grey slice of roast beef with watery cabbage and burnt potatoes. I would dream of Indian food, of cauliflower and potatoes cooked with cumin and asafoetida, but there was nowhere to get it.
The Indian restaurants at the time served a generalised version of Indian food that I didn’t recognise and didn’t like. The one saving grace was fish and chips. I just thought it was the best thing, and much better then than it is now.
I had no idea how to cook – I had failed my domestic science lessons at school. My mother started sending me simple three-line recipes in the post, and I quickly discovered I had quite a good palate. I would cook for friends and my host family in London, and though I made plenty of mistakes, I slowly improved.