A friend of mine, a self-confessed foodie, has visited Mexico on a number of occasions.
During one of those trips, he discovered Oaxaca, a small Spanish colonial town famous for its colourful architecture, lively art scene and amazing food.
He felt frustrated that many of the things he loved about Mexican food were so hard to find outside Mexico, and decided to do something about it. In 2012 he created Gran Luchito, an iconic condiment, made in Mexico, that is spooned over pretty much everything, stirred into sauces, or used as a dip.
With the new found love for Mexican food, Gran Luchito became a big international success, and the demand for new products means regular return trips to Mexico in search of new flavours.
On a recent trip, I was invited to join him. We travelled across the country, from north to south, east to west. We sampled street food, restaurant food, as well as home cooking.
Here is a taste of my Foodie trip to Mexico…
Frida Kahlo’s Blue House in Mexico City
I learned that Mexican food is very regional. While certain specialities such as tacos are found everywhere, the flavours and ingredients used to fill them vary. A steak taco from the Yucatan region is very different to one you’d find in Oaxaca. But there are certain ingredients – such as the piquant tomatillos and chipotle chillies – that are universally loved.
Back in London, I have tried to replicate the dishes I savoured on my road trip –
1. Quesadillas with sweet potatoes, chorizo and sweetcorn 2. Tortilla soup with avocado and tomato 3. Avocado omelette with chilli and coriander 4. Tuna Ceviche with avocado and tomato 5. Serious breakfast – avocado, tomatoes and basil 6. Eggs in beans, tomatoes and chilli
1. Spicy chicken with sweet potatoes, chilli, tomatoes and lemon 2. Guacamole 3. Chicken Quesadillas 4. Margarita cocktail 5. Tuna and scallops Ceviche with asparagus and green beans 6. Guacamole and goat cheese on sourdough
If one thinks of memorable meals, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the food. But for me, the food is only one of the components. It’s about the location, the decor, the company, and the occasion, as well as the food.
Over the years, I have travelled the world and had the privilege to dine in some memorable Michelin starred restaurants. Other memorable meals were quite simple, prepared in family-owned places, using local products cooked in a traditional way.
Here are 13 of my Memorable Meals…
1. Kikuoni, Kyoto, Japan
Yoshihiro Murata, the chef awarded seven Michelin stars across three restaurants, is a “Gendai no Meiko” (Master Craftsman of Kaiseki cuisine).
The Kaiseki cuisine is based on an old Japanese tradition. A multi-course haute cuisine menu defined by its refinement and inspired by the seasons and local produce. It is also characterised by its presentation, each dish coordinated to the plate it is served on, and according to the season. And it is not unusual to see flowers, plants and other decorations added to supplement the taste and the visual appeal. Kaiseki cuisine is about taste, smell and colour.
2. Gora Kadan in Hakone, Japan
Set near the hot springs of Hakone, it used to be the country residence of the Imperial Family and is now a luxury Ryokan.
The nine-course Kaiseki menu served in our suite was pure magic. The food was exquisitely presented, and the taste most delicate. Served by a girl in traditional costume, one was completely immersed in the Japanese art of living. A once in a lifetime experience!
3. Meadowood Napa Valley, California
This place is as memorable for the quality of its food as for its pretentiousness.
One course was served on a page from Proust “À la recherche du temps perdu”. Say no more!
After a superb meal (it didn’t need the theatrical presentation) we were taken to view the kitchen. There, an army of staff were running the most meticulous operation. Pretty impressive.
4. AOC Copenhagen, Denmark
It was an impromptu weekend in Copenhagen, and therefore no chance of getting a table at Noma (6 months waiting list). The alternative was AOC, another two-starred Michelin restaurant. The nine-course Nordic menu was innovative, artistic and definitely delicious.
5. San Gimignano, Tuscany
The most romantic meal I recently had was in a simple place, watching the sunset on the beautiful village of San Gimignano perched on the hills in front of us.
The dinner was delicious. No culinary extravaganza, just plain simple food, the way Italians know how to respect good ingredients and let them taste what they are, without any fuss.
6. Shan, Myanmar (Burma)
The grandest picnic set in a bamboo forest.
Our guide informed us that we were having a picnic, but since the little wooden boat we were travelling in wasn’t carrying any food, I was rather perplexed.
Around mid-day, we disembarked and walked for about 15 minutes into the forest when, suddenly, multicoloured tents appeared. Under one of them, a table was set, and a young man was waiting to greet us. Lunch had been prepared in an improvised kitchen, and what a scrumptious meal it was, the best of Burmese cooking.
The unexpected experience was surreal and totally magical. That’s what dreams are made of.
7. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
My French pallet doesn’t seem to appreciate spicy food. Therefore, it is unfortunate that Indian cuisine is not a particular favourite of mine. But on a recent trip, I was treated to Indian High Tea, and what a treat it was – a combo of Indian and English delicacies served in the most exquisite setting, an ancient royal palace floating in the middle of Lake Pichola. It was magical!
8. L’arbre Tokyo, Japan
My most memorable French meal had been cooked… by a Japanese chef!
He had trained in France with some of the top chefs and just returned to Tokyo to open his first restaurant.
In a very small courtyard, under a tree (L’arbre), only five tables with the guests watching the chef cooking in the middle. The food was totally sublime, the best of French Haute Cuisine.
I returned to Tokyo many years later and looked for the place. It was no longer there. The chef must have certainly moved up the ladder, but since I didn’t know his name…
9. Auberge de la Môle, Var, France
This place has been in the same family for over 50 years. It used to be a caff on the back of a petrol station. Today it’s still a caff, albeit a posher one.
The petrol station is still there, so are the plastic chairs and the grumpy waiters. But the rustic fare is the best of traditional French food. I have been coming back time and time again. It is one of Delia Smith’s favourite restaurants. What better recommendation!
10. Le Pingouin Bleu, Grimaud, Var, France
Next to my house in Provence is a small sandy beach. On it is a family-run restaurant.
One sits under the trees, water lapping over the feet, for either lunch or dinner watching the sunset over St Tropez. The food is very simple. The owner cooks the perfect sardines on a large open barbecue. A glass of local Rosé in hand and the memories linger for months after.
11. OMM Barcelona, Spain
I am not a great one for breakfast, but this was a revelation. It introduced me to the best of Iberian cuisine.
The hotel’s buffet was packed with small delicacies, one more interesting than the other, and each one delicious.
12. From the sublime to… a diner, on the road from Boston to Rhode Island
The small room was packed with the noisiest, largest people I have ever encountered. The waitress was a character out of a road movie. Each portion of food could have fed a family of four. It was gross.
Nevertheless, it was a memorable experience!
13. Chez Moi in Provence
A few years ago, for a special celebration, I invited friends Chez Moi in the South of France.
The event went on the whole weekend and, for the special night, I decided on a White Party. The decor was all white: tables, chairs, flowers… and of course, the guests wore white outfits.
I decided to “push the boat out” and got a specialist company to light up the trees around the pool with multicolour spotlights… pink, lilac and blue. The birthday cake was prepared and served by “Le Meilleur Pâtissier de France” (French Master Pastry Chef) in uniform, with the gold insignia around his neck.
Eight synchronised swimmers performed for us. It was a magical, as well as a memorable evening!
What are your memorable meals?
my store cupboard
My French upbringing taught me economy and practicality. Careful shopping is more rewarding than buying the latest “must have” ingredient.
Time is precious, and a sensibly stocked store cupboard can yield a meal in minutes (a pack of spaghetti, a tin of plum tomatoes, a tin of anchovies, a clove of garlic and a splash of olive oil can make the best pasta dish ever).
Over the years, I have learned to stock only what I really need and regularly use, and eliminate the tempting stuff that will only be used once or twice, and end up in the back of the cupboard.
Here is the content of my store cupboard…
A good quality extra virgin olive oil is useful all round. Rapeseed oil adds a nutty taste drizzled over soups or vegetables or mixed into salad dressing. A few drops of truffle oil can enhance the simplest dish with gutsy, earthy flavour – delicious over risotto, pasta and any mushroom dish. It will add a touch of luxury to basic mashed potato. It’s expensive, but you only need a few drops to elevate a dish.
I use white wine vinegar for everything and also when a recipe requires white wine and I don’t want to open a new bottle, I just add a little sugar and water. Good quality balsamic vinegar like balsamico di modena does impart a spicy yet sweet taste to the cooking.
my own lemon preserve – easy to make and delicious with chicken, fish and pulses
My favourite sea salt “Fleur de Sel de Camargue”.
Whole black peppercorns for grinding.
I use caster sugar for everything.
Preferably from local beekeepers. The supermarket ones, because they are processed to achieve consistency, have less flavour. I also stock a jar of Gran Luchito smoked chilli honey to glaze over chicken, ham, sausages, or make a marinade.
Horseradish is a great accompaniment to cold meat or sausages
Capers and gherkins will always add a zingy taste.
OK, I admit I use pesto in a jar. It’s quite easy to make the real thing but, as they say, life is short!
An assortment of dry spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne, vermicelli cover most of my requirements, and always at hand for a quick supper dish.
Arborio rice is the classic Italian rice used for risotto. Best all round for cooking. Basmati, a long grain rice from India considered the best quality white rice. Red rice from Camargue is also one of my preferred kinds of rice.
But when I wish to make a risotto and I am pressed for time, I use risotto pronto. It’s cooked in 10 minutes and the result is surprisingly good. There are different varieties available in supermarkets, mushrooms, asparagus, 3 cheese, saffron…
Ever so quick and easy, it’s a great accompaniment to chicken, stews or vegetables. It can also be turned into tasty salads.
I keep small packs of black and green olives. They are handy for casseroles, pasta… and of course Salade Nicoise.
Fresh stock is best, failing that, good quality bottled ones are available. I always keep bottles of chicken, beef, and vegetable stock.
Self-raising flour is the only one I use.
I love Bath Oliver biscuits with cheese, but I can also eat them on their own when feeling famished. I also keep a packet of Biscottes or French toasts, for when I run out of bread.
My favourite is Apricot. I only stock marmalade for when I have visitors, but I also have maple syrup for pancakes.
As well as the traditional Dijon and wholegrain mustards, I couldn’t be without savora mustard. It’s cinnamon, cayenne, muscat, cumin, tarragon content add a touch of “Je ne sais quoi” to any salad dressing.
Tuna and mackerel (in olive oil) are great to add to salads, while sardines mixed with crème fraîche and a hint of mustard will top up a toast and make it yummy.
A few chopped anchovies added to a stew will bring out the flavours without making it taste fishy.
I particularly like puy lentils, easy and quick to cook, a perfect accompaniment to meat, but also happy to turn into salads dressed in onions, fresh herbs, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. I recently discovered a cheat way – ready to eat puy lentils. They only need 1 minute in the microwave and are quite delicious.
Tins of good quality Italian plum tomatoes, preferably whole, are the basis of so many recipes, while tomato purée boosts flavour. When making a tomato sauce, I always use half fresh, half tinned tomatoes.
Borlotti, cannellini, or the humble red kidney beans, and my favourite flageolets, the perfect accompaniment to lamb. These can be added to soups or salads. Chickpeas crushed with garlic, olive oil and lemon to make delicious houmous.
I prefer fresh peas but tinned petits pois are almost as good.
A couple of tinned soups are always at the back of my cupboard in case of an emergency when I don’t feel particularly well and don’t wish to go out.
dried mushrooms, always at hand for a soup, pasta or a sauce
dried porcini mushrooms
Soaked for a short time, they are delicious in pasta and sauces.
Maybe it comes from my French culture, but I am not a great fan of spices.
I think if you use good ingredients, fresh herbs are all you need to spice them up. Having said that, I keep in my store cupboard small jars of cumin, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, cardamom, fennel seeds… and my favourite Herbes de Provence, perfect for grilled meat or fish.
Bay leaves are useful for casseroles and soups.
dried nuts, almonds and raisins
They are packed with vitamins and minerals and great to sprinkle over salads and rice and to add a bit of crunch.
Tea, of course, plain “builders’ tea”, earl grey, chamomile, mint.
Did George Clooney have any influence? And… but don’t tell anyone, I also have a jar of instant!
A couple of bars of chocolate never live for very long in my cupboard. I’m addicted. I also like to indulge in chocolate for a hot drink.
Nothing is exotic or difficult to find, but always reliable to turn a simple meal, with minimum time and effort, into maximum reward.
Does Boxing Day come to mind?
Instead of the usual boring sandwich, how a about Pesto Baguette?
Wrap leftovers in chapati or tortilla with iceberg lettuce, add a spoonful of Greek yogourt, and you have a delicious packed lunch.
Add the leftover sprouts and a few more vegetables, and you have a hearty soup.
Pot Pie, Curry, Risotto… are obvious but also try –
Three Rice Salad (see recipe)
Ceasar salad (see recipe)
Normandy Chicken (see recipe)
Hot and crusty Pesto baguette
Smoked mackerel, red onions, olives, vine tomatoes and assorted herbs
Ham, saucisson, spring onions, vine tomatoes, cornichons, parsley and chives
Salade Niçoise left over night in the refrigerator – halve a baguette lengthwise, rub with garlic, dribble with olive oil, spoon over the Salade Niçoise and press down. Wait for all the juices to soak into the bread. You now have “Pan Bagna” the street food of Nice.
Tinned tuna, red onions, olives, vine tomatoes and basil
Orange bread and butter pudding
cocktail parties – the food
People tend to drink less if they are not hungry, and food is cheaper than booze.
A Cocktail Party should be more than just drinks with bowls of peanuts and potato crisps. On offer should be some delectable eats, which might make dinner near redundant.
In the 80s, Lorna Wing started serving mini Fish & Chips in small cornets made from pages of The Financial Times. They were instantly copied by every catering company. Since then, there have been mini burgers, mini Yorkshire puddings, mini…
No need to serve expensive food, but make sure it looks utterly beautiful. Presentation is vital since 90% of the appreciation of food is how it looks. Use your imagination – baskets, terracotta pots, old tiles, can make very attractive and original trays.
Here are some food ideas, super easy to prepare and easy to eat:
Bruschettas, my favourites. The perfect finger food. Just toast the base, pile up the toppings and serve at room temperature.
Pre heat the oven 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
Slice ciabattas or French baguettes into 2cm thick slices, brush each side with a little extra virgin olive oil and lay on roasting tin. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
9 Easy Peasy Tasty Toppings:
1. Mushy peas and feta cheese 2. Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill 3. Camembert and smoked trout 4. Tuna and olives 5. Blue cheese and red onion relish 6. Goats cheese and herbs 7. Chilli Prawns 8. Onion chutney in red wine 9. Pesto and prawns
give it a go, see how easy it is to put together and I promise you there won’t be any leftovers!
I also like to serve mini cups of soup – heart warming in winter, cold and refreshing in summer:
tomato and orange (see recipe)
pea and mint
hot bloody mary (see recipe)
Another simple, and always appreciated eat is Honey and Mustard Mini Sausages (see recipe)
A large plate of assorted charcuterie, or cheeses, can be another option, with an accompaniment of rustic breads, olives and cornichons.
how to marry food and wine
3. Forget what you heard. A powerful red wine will swamp the flavour of some cheeses. Therefore, you should choose the wine according to the strength of the cheese.
Beer can also be appreciated with some cheeses , like Wensleydale for example, and Cider with Pont L’Évêque.
4. Ideally, one should cook with the same wine, but that might be somewhat extravagant!
5. Like clothes, which should not overwhelm the wearer, nor should the food and the wine overwhelm each other.
1. Think about flavours, acidity, saltiness or sweetness in the recipe, and try to find a wine with similar characteristics. Meaty stews are best matched with big Reds.
2. If you use wine in a sauce, it makes sense to serve it with a wine of the same colour – white meat or fish with a delicate flavoured wine like Chardonnay, Chablis or Riesling , red meat and game with a full bodied red wine such as Merlot, Cabernet or Syrah.
6. If you are eating spicy food, bear in mind that a high alcohol wine will make the dish taste even hotter.
7. Guests arrive unexpectedly. No time to bring a bottle of red wine to room temperature. Take off the metal ring around the neck, keep the cork on, and put the bottle in the microwave for 15 seconds. Et Voilà!
8. On the other hand, modern homes are often overheated. In such cases, even red wine would benefit from a brief chilling.
10. I love a very pale coloured Rosé. It reminds me of my beloved Provence. Rosés are light and a good accompaniment to most dishes.
In the past, people returning from Mediterranean holidays with bottles of Rosé used to complain it didn’t travel well. Not true today. The quality has improved and production has increased. You can now find a large selection on the shelves of most of our supermarkets.
9. Contrary to public opinion, Champagne is best served at room temperature rather than chilled but that is a matter of taste.
photo by Grant Sainsbury
For every glass of wine you drink, take one of water. That way you won’t get dehydrated, or headachy the next morning.
dinner parties- the food
keep it simple
Leave the complicated stuff to the professionals. However tempted you are to impress your guests, do not let the food become a showcase for your culinary talent. Save your desire to show off, unless you are a reliable cook. And if you are not the greatest chef, it’s better to serve a simple, delicious dish than a second rate attempt at something elaborate.
Here are my tips to a successful dinner party…
1. Unless you are an expert, never cook anything you haven’t tried before.
Chicken Provençal (see recipe)
3. People, in general are now more health and calories conscious. I usually only serve two courses, cheese and fruits, or desert. Sometimes I might offer more elaborate eats with the pre-dinner drinks and dispense with the first course altogether.
Large plates of Antipasti can be passed around, or substantial canapés. I often serve small cups or bowls of homemade soup, hot or cold, depending on the season.
If you are serving cured meats or charcuterie, I would recommend you ask your friendly butcher to slice them for you. It makes all the difference.
A large block of cheese is more impressive than assorted pieces, and it doesn’t cost more.
5. According to Debrett’s, take away food is now socially acceptable. The guide says there is no shame in ordering in a curry provided you serve it on china plates and don’t pass it off as your own cooking. I do agree, as long as you also serve an interesting salad, with your own slightly unusual dressing, and you show your guests you made an effort in preparing a delicious pudding.
2. Avoid dishes that have to be cooked or assembled at the last minute. Often, during pre-dinner drinks, the host or hostess do a disappearing act, followed by noisy kerfuffle in the kitchen. Remember, last minute preparations makes for anxious hosts and uncomfortable guests.
leg of lamb and flageolets – ever so French!
4. A myriad of dishes can be prepared in advance .and often their taste improves after resting a night in the refrigerator. Stews are the perfect example. Their flavours mature, as do soups. They only demand the addition of a spoonful of cream or chopped herbs before serving. Cold soups, one of my favourite starters in summer, should be made a day earlier and kept to chill in the refrigerator. Fish pies and shepherds pies can also be cooked the night before and just reheated, while pates and terrines can be made several days ahead. Vegetables can also be cooked in advance. You then need to plunge them in ice cold water to keep their colour, drain, and reheat them quickly before serving.
As for deserts, there are many you can prepare ahead of time– compotes, trifles, charlottes… Fruit tarts can be baked earlier and slowly warmed up in the oven covered with foil. And of course, ice creams and sorbets have to be made well ahead of time.
6. Above all, there is no point in devoting time to planning, shopping and cooking, unless it is going to be a pleasurable experience. So, make sure you leave some time to pamper yourself, have a relaxing bath, and perhaps a glass of “Dutch Courage” before the doorbell rings.
1. A few chopped anchovies added to a stew will bring out the flavours without making it taste fishy.
2. Soy sauce splashed over meat and fish before grilling adds extra aroma.
3. Balsamic vinegar will impair a spicy, yet slightly sweet flavour to your cooking. Used sparingly, it can transform a casserole. Sprinkle over cherry tomatoes and strawberries, add some olive oil, and you have the most delicious salad.
ever so yummy!
4. When grilling meat, a couple of slices of bread put at the bottom of the pan, under the rack, will absorb the dripping oil and make the cleaning easier.
5. Always slash poultry flesh before marinating, to make sure the flavours are totally absorbed.
6. Duck’s skin will be crispier if you plunge the bird for a minute in boiling water, before roasting.
7. Casseroles are best cooked in the oven with the lid “ajar”
8. Do not peel carrots since the best part is in the skin. Just scrub and wash them.
9. Do not wash peppers, as this washes the oils and the flavour. Just wipe them with a dry cloth.
10. Skinning tomatoes is easy if you cut them in half and place cut side down on a plate, then “cook” them in the microwave for 5 minutes. Use a fork to slip off the skin- no problem.
11. To remove the skin of grilled peppers, cover them with a tea towel, or pop them into a plastic bag, while still hot. When cool, the skin should slip off easily.
12. Store garlic in the freezer, it will last longer.
13. To ripen avocados, wrap them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana, and leave them to rest at room temperature.
14. To prepare in advance avocado soup, salsa or guacamole, and prevent discolouring, bury the stones in the mixture and cover with cling film. Remove them before serving .
15. For the best tomato sauce, use equal quantities of fresh and tinned tomatoes.
16. When mayonnaise curdles, put a tea spoon of hot water into a bowl and pour the mayonnaise into it, stirring constantly until you achieve the right consistency. Then add another tablespoon of hot water to stabilise the mixture.
17. Clear water jugs look particularly attractive if you add “pretty as a picture” ice cubes. Fill each compartment of your ice box with flowers – rose petals, violets, pansies… or sprigs of herbs – basil, rosemary, mint… before adding water and freezing. Look out for organic farms which sell trays of edible flowers that can also be used to decorate salads (such as maddocksfarmorganics.co.uk).
18. To get more juice out of lemons and oranges, microwave them for a few seconds before squeezing.
20. When a recipe requires white wine and you don’t want to open a new bottle, the alternative is to replace it with white wine vinegar, and add a little water and sugar.
21. Quail’s eggs are synonymous with posh picnics at Ascot and Henley. The easiest way to peel them after they are hard boiled, is to put them in the freezer for 10 minutes before peeling.
19. Truffle oil can enhance the simplest dish with gutsy, earthy flavour. It is delicious over risotto, pasta or any mushroom dishes. I love a few drops in mashed potatoes. Yes it’s expensive, but you only need a few splashes to elevate a dish.
Go for it!
25. There are many tips about preventing tears when peeling onions. I wet them under the tap before peeling. It eases the pain.
22. When roasting meat or fish with herbs, moisten the herbs with water to enhance their flavour.
23. Before boiling milk, rinse out the pan with cold water before pouring milk in. It will stop some of it sticking to the pan.
24. To stop liquid overflowing when boiling, put a wooden spoon across the top of pan. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does.
26. If you serve meat underdone but some of your guests prefer it well done, pour some boiling gravy over the underdone slices, and everybody will be happy.
27. When preparing a potato salad, the dressing should be incorporated while the potatoes are still warm. Add a spoonful of white wine, it will stops the potatoes absorbing too much of the dressing.
28. Grated cheese kept in the freezer is ready to use when you want to sprinkle it over a dish, before putting under the grill or in the oven. Saves time.
29. The skin off a saucisson and salami will come off easily if you wrap them in a wet cloth for about 20 minutes before slicing.
30. When tasting a sauce, if you found it’s too salty, place a sugar cube in a spoon and hold it in the sauce for 20 seconds. The sugar will absorb some of the salt.
31. Don’t bother buying granulated sugar, use caster for everything.
32. Eggs are best kept away from strong smelling food, especially cheese, as their shell is porous. I am told French chefs sometimes store eggs along side vanilla pods, thus giving a vanilla taste to the eggs when used for baking cakes.
33. When baking a cake, to avoid raisins falling to the bottom of the tin, dust them with a little flower before incorporating to the paste. Rinsing glacés cherries under the tap will also stop them falling at the bottom.
34. A cake will not reduce size if you let it cool in the oven.
12 kitchen tips my
Mother taught me (as well as some of my own!)
Once upon a time, there was a housewife. Everyday she went shopping, bought meat from the butcher, vegetables from the greengrocer, and bread from the baker. Today, she probably has a job, but she is still expected to provide daily meals and look after the family. Being French, my mother was very practical and a great cook. What I learned from her can be applied to make today’s jobs easier.
1. Don’t go shopping with a planned menu. Just see what is in season.
2. Make friends with your butcher, not only for the quality of his meat and his cooking recipes, but he will also sharpen your knives.
3. Always put a damp cloth under a bowl or a dish to stop moving when mixing ingredients or carving.
4. If you struggle to unscrew a lid, put on rubber gloves and try again. It works!
5. Soap or candle wax rubbed along the edges of tight fitting kitchen drawers (or any other drawers) will make them run smoothly.
Photo by Grant Sainsbury
6. Store tins upside down, or turn them upside down before opening. The content will then come out easily.
7. To warm plates quickly, sprinkle each one with a few drops of water and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Make sure no plates have metallic decorations.
8. To stop liquid overflowing when boiling, put a wooden spoon across the top of pan. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does.
9. To clean your oven after use, place a bowl of boiling water in it. Once the water has cooled down it will be easy to wipe out the grease marks.
10. If you spill red wine on a table cloth, immediately pour soda water over the stain and it will absorb the marks. Wash normally.
11. For candle wax drippings, gently scrape the hard bits, place some brown paper over the remaining marks and apply a hot iron over the paper until the paper has absorbed the wax.
12. Guests arrive unexpectedly and there is no time to open a bottle of red wine and bring it to room temperature, take off the metal ring around the neck, keep the cork on, and put the bottle in the microwave for 15 seconds. Et Voila!
I can hear the experts screaming in horror!
In my next post I will give you some of Mother’s cooking tips