There are no two ways about it: food can definitely lift your spirits and put you in a good mood. I first realised this as a young boy watching and helping my mum cook for family and friends. She was a wonderful home cook, and I could see the love she put into her food and the way it would bring a smile to people’s faces.
The kitchen was always a busy place, full of laughter and music. That’s when my love of cooking started.
The recipes here are a selection of my favourite dishes: food that I loved as a child, dishes that remind me of home, some that I’ve enjoyed making for and with my kids over the years (even now they’re older, cooking for them brings me so much joy, and we often get together for a home-made pizza or curry night), and a few from my travels.
To make things easier on a busy weeknight don’t worry about cheating a little – use pre-cooked rice or grains and easy shop-bought items.
I’m well aware that peeling and chopping an onion takes much longer than we think it will, especially when you have kids or pets interrupting you. If you don’t feel like mincing or grating garlic, buy a garlic press – they’re so easy to use (although not quite so easy to clean). If there’s a lot of chopping involved, use a food processor.
And choose a one-pot or tray bake. Quick and easy one-pot dishes using simple ingredients are a foolproof and fuss-free way of feeding the family with little waste. You also save a lot of washing-up, which is never a bad thing!
A fantastic Friday night meal (although great on any night!) for family and friends – quick and easy to cook, fun to share and eat.