“I cook for my own pleasure and for those I cherish.”
Food is, and always has been, the glue that holds families together. The joy that can be derived from good food, good wine and lively conversation with people you care for cannot be surpassed. It is one of life’s greatest and simplest pleasures.
My earliest memories of cooking date back to the 1950s, when my Auntie Eva returned home from America. She would regale us with stories about fruits and vegetables from ‘over there’ that were yet to make an appearance in post-war Britain. They were the stuff of movies, as exotic as Carmen Miranda’s headdresses and unlike anything to be found in any British greengrocer. It was at her elbow that I first started to cook. Nothing elaborate of course, but that didn’t matter. I was hooked.
My antecedents were Mittel- European Jews. Chicken fat, potatoes, pot roasts and gefilte fish are the foundations of my culinary heritage. My mother, ahead of her time in concerns about food additives, was very health-conscious for her day. She, Auntie Eva, and the generations that preceded them have left a two-fold legacy in my own cooking: a love of good ingredients and a wicked delight in indulgence.
I may be a foodie, but I’m no fan of fads and try not to be too precious about ingredients. I cook for my own pleasure and for those I cherish. My wife, Helen, tells me (regularly) that I’m not the tidiest of cooks; I am often accused of dirtying every pan in the kitchen. She is, however, an excellent cook and much tidier than me. After 45 years of marriage, these recipes are as much hers as they are mine, and her versions are unassailably wonderful.
Together we’ve travelled, we’ve eaten and enjoyed foods from many lands, always returning with the inspiration and the ingredients to rustle up something new. Although I continue to discover different culinary delights, I never forget favourites from the past. The dishes our parents and grandparents loved are buried deep in our collective psyche; we lose them at our peril.
Friends and family often request recipes for dishes I’ve served, and it was from these hastily typed emails that this collection began. Those I’ve included are close to my heart; dishes that we make and eat regularly at home. Some are family treasures wrapped in nostalgia; some have been borrowed from friends and restaurants near and far. Hopefully they will continue to stand the test of time and, one day, you too might pass them on to those you love.
I have to admit to sometimes straying from the path of strict kosher rules but where I have, I’ve suggested alternatives. What I can guarantee is that while all of the recipes are delicious; some of them are ‘just not kosher’.
— Steven Morris