Recipe lab

When I serve up some food at home, I'll often irritatingly ask people for detailed feedback on what they didn't like about the meal. People feel awkward giving specifics, but I like having the opportunity to vary the recipe for the next time. In the hope of being scientific, and sharing my progress with friends who can come up with yet more ideas, I present my cookery logbook.

If you're reading this, you probably know me well, so feel free to email me contributions to add here from your own cooking experiments.


The most recent updates follow in reverse chronological order. Older updates are archived for the year 2019.

❎ Unsuccessful.

I made the onions but this time with red onions, no vinegar or sugar, but two Cox apples chopped finely, 100g of raisins and 2 tsp of cinnamon, all added at the start. I stirred it a few times as it cooked. Cooking, the smell caused my nephew to gag at breakfast, but I quite liked it. Coming out, it looked like something from Gode Cookery.

The onions tasted a bit bitter. The raisins had long overcooked, the apples had been pulp for hours by this point, and the cinnamon flavour was absent. Next time I'll try adding the extras much later, e.g. at the 18-hour point, and adding some different spices (e.g. coriander) to make it a bit more multi-dimensional. I'd also go back to using brown onions next time. I think red onions are best used fresh.

In another experiment, I think I'll reduce the cooking time to half, just to see if I prefer them a bit less caramelised.

I went up to Yorkshire to visit my goddaughter and her dads. I've recently switched to a vegan diet, and they were all very supportive of that decision by cooking me amazing food all weekend. The dal with curried cauliflower was my favourite, but the mushroom risotto was also great.

Vegetarian hot pot and dumplings with butternut squash, spinach and root vegetables. Ralf appeared to like this. We found it needed a bit more stock, and the dumplings got better the more we left them in there. We extended the cooking time so that the dumplings would have an hour in the hot pot and we thought they were better for it.