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Have you ever stood in the Supermarket, stared down into your basket of ingredients, and realised you’re preparing to cook the same old dishes for the billionth time? I do this pretty much every week.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with my old favourite dishes: a rich lasagne with a creamy béchamel, juicy roast chicken with a crispy skin, roast potatoes with golden skins and white, frothy innards .. these recipes come from  my parents’ kitchen, and boy, they’re lovely. They must be, or I wouldn’t insist on making them to death, right? But it’s turned into one hell of a food rut. One great big Groundhog Day of dinners.

There’s no real reason for it.  I have so many cookbooks that if I stacked them all up they’d be taller than me many times over, and I haven’t stopped buying them yet. (Two new ones arrived this week – do I need to see somebody?) The kind I like the best contain all the weirdo ingredients that I have exactly zero clue on how to use: rose water, semolina, saffron, black treacle, artichoke hearts ..



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