Hi! My name’s Mark, & a lot of the food I cook seems to contain one or both of lemon & cumin…..
I’ve always loved food, both the cooking & the eating. In my 20’s, I tended to concentrate on trying to perfect the traditional British flavours of my upbringing (I’m from London originally, but now call Glasgow my home) with a dash of broad Mediterranean thrown in, as long as I could get the ingredients from my local supermarket. Other than that – yes, I enjoyed eating foods from South & SE Asia, but had no clue how to go about making it myself – the ingredients & processes seemed alien.
Two things changed for me – Travel & the Internet. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to places such as Turkey & Lebanon, & the food there blew me away – the combination of freshness & spicing was unlike other cuisines I had tried. It also seemed accessible to me as a cook – different but somehow similar to other European food I’d cooked before.
The Internet allowed me to search out these dishes & understand how to make them, comparing peoples recipes & understanding the common ingredient themes. Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in the Guardian was also a huge influence – once you got over the lengthy list of ingredients & processes, the food that came out the other end was stunning.
Finally – city living has helped, or at least living in an area of the city with a sizeable South Asian population – regardless of the ingredient a recipe called for, I could get hold of it easily & cheaply.
Over the past few years, I’ve had great fun & satisfaction trying to recreate memorable holiday dishes & discovering new ones – sometimes successfully, sometimes not! I’d like to share some of my more successful creations with you, & hope you get bitten by the bug too.