I imagine when creating a cookery programme the producer, director and the talent themselves discuss or, at least, think about the overall tone of the show. Do they aim their programme at novices or those who entertain regularly for their family/friends? Should all the ingredients be available cheaply from a high street supermarket or is it OK for the wallet-busting wild garlic or truffle oil to be purchased at Borough Market?
We all know what happens when one assumes and overall I think people get it right for their audience – you know what you’re getting with Nigella Lawson or Delia Smith. Expensive or decedant things can be made at home for a treat now and again.
I also wonder if the programme makers try to gauge our cooking knowledge or ability. I am guilty of inwardly tutting when Gordon Ramsay extolls the vitues of resting your meat or James Martin tells me that adding oil to the pan stops the butter from melting. I know these things – tell me things I don’t know! Heston recently showed an excellent experiment where he cooked two pieces of meat, one rested one not, placed a sheet of glass on top of them and got a big chap to stand on it. The rested meat didn’t release much liquid at all but the non-rested piece oozed out lots of juices. I knew that rested meat was better but not really why. Now I understand completely, thank you Heston!
- When zesting a lemon only use the skin don’t use the pith – it’s very bitter.
- After you’ve used a pan to cook your meat you can use stock or wine to deglaze the pan – it lifts all the caramelised bits off the bottom (and, more importantly, helps with the washing up).
- Making a risotto is much easier than you think – just add the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly.
These are some of the tips that are offered on a near daily basis in the world of cookery shows. Maybe I think there are an infinite number of handy tricks and pointers. Maybe this is all there is to know and this is the realisation I need to get off my butt and put all this into action. Right, were’d I put that lemon?