Treat yourself to a night in
As George Osborne begins slashing the budget this month, so the rest of us will have to cut our costs. Indeed, at the end of last year, 40% of people were reportedly already cutting back on eating out...
BUT any cook will tell you that enjoying great food is not simply about spending money. There are plenty of ways to create a restaurant-style experience in your own home. According to chef and author of How To Eat In, Adam Byatt, all amateur chefs need to do is a little bit of planning.
“People are far more afraid to prepare things in advance than they should be,” he says.
“At my restaurant, we’ll make all of our food during the day. Because when customers come in and they order lamb, we can’t start taking it off the bone!
“We act like the host of a dinner party - someone who should be ready to serve the guest when they arrive.”
Wise words. But does Adam follow his own advice?
“If ever I have a dinner party, I will do everything and more to make sure I can just produce the food when my guests arrive,” he states firmly.
“Even with a Sunday lunch I do everything to a point where I can make it happen in 10 minutes.”
The secret to happy cooking, explains Adam, is enjoying the cooking, and enjoying the eating.
“People flap around, they’re in a mess and suddenly the guests are dinging on the door.
“When I turn up to a house like that,” he adds, “all I want to do is help them - but obviously that’s the last thing they want!”
And when it comes to choosing what he cooks, Adam says his guests tend to get informal fare.
“I’ll go for a roast chicken, or a barbecue,” he says, pointing out that simple food, cooked well, is often the quickest route to success.
“For example, having a pot au feu for lunch - which is simply meat and vegetables - is easy, but it’s the way you cook, look after and care for it that makes it wonderful.
“Likewise, there’s been a real upsurge in general appreciation of British food, and I’m very comfortable serving them in my restaurant,” he adds.
“The cottage pie in the book has been on my restaurant’s menu for three years, and we don’t take it off because people just go mad for it.”
Adam suggests that, if you’re making something simple, you use top quality ingredients.
“If I make shepherds pie, I might use shoulder of lamb or a different cut of beef. That will make a normal dish into something that’s stunning.”
Here is one of Adam’s favourite recipes to try...