About – How to cook good food

Hello, I am Laura and I love cooking, I always have. It’s part of who I am and it’s what I do. I was a chef before having children and moving out of London, becoming great friends with someone who shared the same interest in food as me.  She is Japanese and we bonded over our love of cooking.

Laura howtocook Headshot

Then she left. Upped sticks with the husband & kids to move to Sydney, to be nearer her family. My fellow foodie pal had gone. I really missed  my fellow food loving chum. Who else would be interested in hearing about what I had been up to in the kitchen? I needed to find a way of connecting with other like minded food fans and blogging seemed like a perfect way to start.

howtocookgoodfood  is a blog about why it is good to cook, my food memories, some favourite recipes and seasonal food ideas.

I would like it to be my personal relationship with those who read it. I would like it to be the friend in my life, on all things culinary. Essentially I would like it to be a part of who I am, but mainly, I would like it to encourage you to love cooking. 

My inspiration

I love growing things as much as I love cooking, so the seasons play a big part in my life. My allotment also makes me aware of exactly what is coming into season. I love late spring in particular for the elderflowers, rhubarb, rocket, spinach and asparagus, followed by the joy of all the summer stone fruits and berries moving on to pumpkins and squashes in Autumn. I would find it hard to choose one favourite ingredient but it may just have to be some freshly picked raspberries.

Chef/Cook inspiration

Having loved cooking from an early age, my first memories of cooking came from Robert Carrier in the 70s, making his classic vinaigrette to have with avocados and to dip vegetables in was my first lesson in cooking.

Keith Floyd and the Two Fat Ladies I loved and then moved into a period of following all the classic chefs whilst training at Claridges. Anton Mossiman, Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White whilst training to become a chef myself.

Moving into my freelance chef career, I became more interested in some of the leading female chefs  such as Rose Grey & Ruth Rogers of The River Cafe, Sally Clarke of Clarke’s, Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and Stephanie Alexander. They remain some of my favourites to this day.

Then there are some influences from people who I think of as more cooks than chefs. Simon Hopkinson, Nigel Slater, Josceline Dimbleby, Jane Grigson, Deborah Madison and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.

At the moment I love Yotam Ottolenghi and Diana Henry and Amy Chaplin.

I have many food influences and an enormous cook book collection to go with it. I can’t stop collecting. I need help.

Favourite Foods

Anything with seafood in it. Seafood platter, risotto, pasta, salad. If  I see crab, prawn, squid, scallops, mussels, razor clams on the menu, I have to order it. I love chilli. So, to combine the two, my favourite dish in the world would be The River Cafe’s chilli crab linguine.

Favourite Ingredients

Olives, garlic, olive oil, lemon, anchovies, gherkins, capers, Maldon salt and Fish sauce. Not many subtle flavours there, I know. But sweet wise, I love muscovado sugar, maple syrup, Speculoos and expensive chocolate. Anything made by William Curley or Rococo will be gratefully received.

I must also tell you about my  love/addiction to Campari. It is my drink of drinks and  there is nothing that would make me happier than a drink featuring this red bitter syrup. I love to sip it with soda…sometimes with fresh orange but better than that….in a Negroni. I think it sums up all that I love about flavours.  I am a bitter and sour fan, followed by salt then sweet.

Any guilty food pleasures?

Less so than I used to have but yes, I love HP sauce over Ketchup. I also love Sarson’s vinegar on my crinkle cut chips. And pork scratchings, pork crackling, Shake Shack Burger Sauce and Golden Wonder crisps. Basically I am a salt fiend.

What am I up to?

Apart from blogging, I am now a cookery tutor working for various organisations throughout Surrey as well as running pop-up bake clubs at home for both children and adults.  I also host The Epsom Supper Club once a month and I cater for small events as a private chef.

If you would like to find out more about my cookery classes/supper club/hiring me as a chef please do get in touch.

I set up Learn to cook good food in the hope of encouraging and educating children and adults about the benefits of eating home cooked food.  Learning to cook is a vital life skill that can provide you with the knowledge and confidence to become friends with your kitchen. Knowing how to cook for yourself and your family or friends will  change the way you eat for the better. Understanding where food comes from and the advantages that eating a well balanced diet can give you is the driving force behind my lessons. Enjoyment and having fun in the kitchen is how I like to teach. Come along  and see for yourself .

I hope that this blog will be a way of reaching out to people to show them cooking is a rewarding and necessary life skill to have. I don’t want cooking to become a dying art, or just something you watch on tv but never actually do. I shall  share with you some of the dishes, memories and useful tips that will hopefully encourage you to get using your kitchen more.