WE all need food to survive, but I like to make cooking and eating as needlessly complicated as possible. Here are my tips, writes foodie Helen Archer.
Deconstruct your meals
Where’s the fun in serving up a regular lasagne? I enjoy turning dinner into a laborious, messy process by putting a bowl of seasoned mince, a jug of tomato sauce and some flaccid pasta sheets on the table and inviting my family to build their own. It’s different, quirky and means I only have to be arsed to make half a meal.
Cook everything very slowly
After a long day at work and school, my family want a quick and tasty early evening dinner. They don’t get it though, because I’ll be making a five-hour braised lamb’s shoulder which won’t be ready until 11pm. Don’t moan, this is what time they eat on the continent, I say as they fall asleep in their kohlrabi and oca slaw.
Make foams and reductions
My kids love nothing better than a big plate of chips with ketchup, but I won’t allow mass-produced poison like that in my house. Instead I’ll buy some heritage tomatoes from my local biodynamic farm and create a gorgeous frothy foam for them to dip their soggy sweet potato chips in, while they mutter angrily about just wanting some sodding Heinz.
Serve it on something totally inappropriate
Serving a meal on a slate is so passé. Having fed my family their dinner on everything from a straw hat to a thimble, I now just serve it directly onto the table. We’ve lost a few peas and runaway gravy has caused burned crotches, but it adds a drama to dinner that I know they really enjoy.
Disguise it as another type of food
The best way to f**k around with food, and other people’s heads, is to disguise one type of food as another. How your children will laugh when you serve what they think is vanilla ice cream but is actually a smoked Brie and haddock mousse. Well, they might laugh. Mine told me to piss off and rang for a takeaway.