Sunday, 4 April 2010


For Anita and Dana, who enjoy eating at home together as much as we do.

I realize the other day how big eating good food and home cooking is nowadays. Punctuated with the success of celebrity chefs like Nigella Lawson, whose programmes I have never seen;  Jamie Oliver is adorable and whose recipes are so lovely to cook. He who also bravely tackled obesity problems in the US (sadly with little success) and school meal reforms in the UK. And then there is Gordon Ramsay and his aggressive cooking style, whose programs I don't really watch either. In my opinion he's trying a bit too hard to be cool or maybe he's just that cool, I don't know... But I do enjoy eating his food (not cooking his recipes).

Even in the current season of the Celebrity Apprentice US,  even celebrity chef Curtis Stone (no clue who he is) was chosen to represent his team, RockSolid, as a spokesperson for an advertising campaign -- The team thought people would identify with him more because food is big these days even though the product was to do with internet security. So they chose him instead of Bill Goldberg, a more obvious choice for a "security" product.

Not to forget project Julie & Julia. I have seen the film 3 times and am currently going through the book. Love it to bits! I would like to get hold of MsAoFC! hehe. So yes, food and cooking it is glorious.

Anyway, I was catching up on w/TV on the BBC iplayer when I came across the new culinary programme with Sophie Dahl. I have been a big fan of her column on perfumes in Vogue. What a surprise to watch her in her own culinary show "Delicious Miss Dahl". I didn't know she cooks? Super model and food doesn't really seem like an obvious combination. But Delicious, it was, indeed!

She's not only beautiful to watch but also her cooking is quite exquisite (in my view) and easy to follow. Or is it she who is so exquisite it makes her food appears so? Some may find her programme a bit slow, boring and "unprofessional" but I love the sentimental values she puts into the dish she prepares. I have the same association for my food. Certain dish for me would be certain memories from childhood; the way I cook or even prepare the ingredients would remind me of my mom or my grandmothers. Cooking is full of love and memories for me. It's a wonderful nostalgic thing.

I already love the first two episodes and can't wait for the remaining four. The first called "Selfish" as she cooks a day's worth of meals for one. I loved it. How many people actually cook for themselves these days or EVER? I hear all sorts of excuses for easy-eating-for-one like "it's no fun eating alone", "I can't be bothered cooking for just myself". Ok it is sad to eat alone all the time... But some days it's just bliss to indulge yourself with... food you love. I admire people who can spend quality time with themselves and not get bored. In a way it really shows your true independence and individuality.

Don't get me wrong I love being surrounded by people whose company I adore. But once in a while I just want to cook Vietnamese pancake for one just the way my mom would make it, or steaks with this butter and lemon sauce, serve with a few chunks of homemade chips; side with fried spinach and garlic or with garden salad. And indulge alone. Yum! (You see I don't get to eat chips so much as my other doesn't like potatoes). Soon enough I will be cooking myself omelette Arnold Bennett and chocolate pod with cherries. Thanks Miss D!

Picture credit The Telegraph Online

The second episode "Romance" where Miss Dahl goes through the three stages of love with food was also very girlie and fun. I love the recipes even though they're not all totally authentic. But that's what great about cooking, you try new things... Simply following a recipe from A-Z is boring unless it's following techniques like deboning a duck.

Inspired.  I made a Shepherd's pie with champ last night; with a Dahl twist - by using mince beef instead of lamb. It turned out wonderful; we loved the hint of tobasco and Worcestershire sauce! This is the first time ever I cooked something truly British at home (apart from roasts). I don't care what people say, I love British food and I'm going to start looking for some authentic Brit recipes and cook them.

... my product with candles as ears.

Now Shepherd's Pie is not as sophisticated as scallops or omelette Arnold Bennett, but it is perfect for a stage in romance that Miss Dahl calls sofa-dinners.  This is a phase when two people are so comfortable in their relationship they can eat together sitting in front of the TV; then afterwards rub their tummies and complain how full they are. It reminds me of W & I and the meals we have together when we get a chance to.

However, there are quite a few negative reviews about the show and I wish some of them could sod off! I can't stand most critics... Sometimes I wish they would shut up all the negatives and just enjoy the beautiful of... anything!!! ...Ok Sophie Dahl isn't 100% a professional chef and she doesn't do everything perfectly but neither does the rest of the population. It is not really a show about teaching you to cook --- it's more like, "here's how I like to do things". It also reminds you how great home cooking is and how many beautiful memories eating/cooking together gives. So what if it isn't her kitchen that she's cooking from? It's beautifully white and so well -equipped, many women's dream, including mine. So it's nice to see. I also love her typed-up recipes, which she draws out from her recipe collection box. Very Bree Hodge. But with a hint of vintage. I just started mine last night!

I love cooking but there's hardly that many shows by celebrity chefs that I actually want to watch. I usually look at their book and cook it myself. Watching them is kinda boring ... they don't really converse with you, recite poems, take you out to the markets & talk about which fish or cheese turn them on. This is the only culinary programme I enjoy so far. Brava Delicious Miss Dahl!

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  1. Oh dear, yeah, just forget all about the critics! Reading them really does get on my nerves sometimes.

    Cả 2 tập của cô này em đều xem trên TV luôn. I love the second episode better and can't wait to watch the next one. :)

    To me, her cooking seems so effortless and sophisticated at the same time. I would love to try out the romantic breakfast for two one day. And she is lovely, a very nice woman to watch hehe.

    And although I came for dinner at your place only once, I enjoyed your cooking so much. Everything cooked with love is good to eat, especially if you share it with people who appreciate it.

    And I love British food too. Have not yet the time to venture into cooking many different dishes, but I have a feeling that May will be the month. ;)) I need lots of energy and motivation for exams revision... :P


    P.S. considering taking pics with something different next time for blog chị yêu? :-s

  2. Thx for your comment hon :) love having people over. You should come over more often, we will attempt to do victoria sponge and flapjacks and drink tea!
    Third episode was very British, which I like but I wasn't crazy about it like Selfish or Romance. But she gave me some recipes ideas for English food, which is great.
    Sorry about the photos hehe.. didn't have a camera at hand then.