I’ve always loved food! Well, let’s face it, don’t we all? Even though I’m slim, I do enjoy my grub. When Primula Cheese asked me to come up with some adventurous recipes in conjunction with their Little Moments of Adventure campaign, whereby I was lucky enough to be a pillion passenger on a motorbike trip through the Yorkshire Dales, it took me back to the days when I worked on a farm in France when I was twenty. I suddenly realised why the French were famous for saying that they don’t eat to live, they live to eat. When I was living with Pierre and Arlette, every day was a culinary adventure. Lunch and dinner were always a four-course affair; they just had smaller portions, which titillated your taste buds and made eating so much more interesting.
During the week, we often started with something as simple as tomatoes and onions in vinaigrette, followed by, maybe veal with green beans, then there was fruit (peaches, cherries, etc.) and finally a cheese board, full of a variety of regional cheeses, some soft, some hard, some in a round pat, some triangular, some fragrant and some smelling quite pungent. I loved them all. Like the French, I just love cheese, and when I was over in France it was often devoured with a freshly-baked baguette from the local boulangerie. Yummy!
And how could I forget visiting the Italian Lakes with their enormous pizzas served straight from the pizza oven or gorgeous pasta dishes like spaghetti bolognese or lasagne, often followed by three scoops of Italian ice cream or a bit of gorgonzola with a big hunk of fresh bread or some grissini. Bellissimo!
Joy and I holidayed in Crete for years and we couldn’t get enough of the stifado (beef stew), kleftiko (lamb in parchment paper), moussaka and pork souvlaki (kebabs), not to mention the locally caught fish. But my favourite was definitely the Greek mezze with its spinach pies, tzatziki, saganaki (cheese pies), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and meatballs. I just loved soaking up all the different dishes with bread and a Greek salad. Ooh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. And we always washed it down with rose wine in Crete, as it was too hot for red wine and the white was too acidic.
When Rachel and I went travelling around the world a few years ago, we loved sampling the different foods, especially in Asia, where we loved the simplicity of the Thai curries and the spiciness of the food in the Malaysian food halls, such as murtabek (spicy chicken pancakes), naans filled with vegetables, clay pot prawns and steamboats (a bit like hot soup with eggs, jelly fish, cuttle fish, chicken, prawns and/or tofu thrown in).
Travelling around the world is like a culinary extravaganza; every country has its own way of cooking, baking and eating food. In South Africa they are so into their wines that when we visited restaurants along The Garden Route, they often produced a wine menu, and then added food to accompany the wines, almost as a bit of an afterthought. In Mexico, there were lots of chilli dishes, such as fish in salsa verde, chicken fajitas and we loved the freshly-made tacos on every street corner.
And in China, we did an eight-day trip (as we couldn’t speak the lingo and couldn’t read a menu) which was hosted by Andy, a young Chinese guy, who, night after night, filled up the Lazy Susie with a variety of dishes such as sweet and sour pork, spring rolls with chilli dip, grilled prawns and steam buns. (I’m surprised I didn’t come back looking like a house end!)
So, when Primula Cheese asked me to conjure up some adventurous recipes, I went to town! I invited my Mum, Dad, and Joy for lunch and we all got stuck in. Mum made up lots of salad dishes and I created some new recipes: oval wheat crispbreads with primula cheese with chives, prawns, avocado, chilli and dill, and also crispbreads covered in original primula cheese, chorizo, radish and a slice of egg on top. I don’t think anyone spoke for a good five minutes. We were all tucking in!
Life, for me, is all about little moments of adventure, whether that means enjoying the exhilaration of a motorbike trip through the Yorkshire Dales or eating diverse and different foods. Just adding herbs or a new combination of food can make an otherwise mundane dish really come alive. Why on earth would you opt for a boring, lack lustre meal when you can make it come alive with a bit of panache from the new-look Primula cheese range? Check it out at http://www.primula.co.uk/