With the average youth barely able to rehydrate a Pot Noodle, things look bleak for cooking’s lost generation. Enter a chef and cookery teacher who’s determined to turn things around…
Alan’s top tips to get you started
1. Put together a good storecupboard: salt and black pepper; tinned tomatoes; veggie stock cubes; gravy granules; Thai or Indian curry paste; coconut milk; soy sauce; a few spices such as ground coriander and cumin, and chilli flakes; tomato purée; pasta; brown rice; couscous; and vegetable or olive oil. You can knock up all kinds of things with these staples as the base.
2. Try to use one pan and no more! If you can’t stick to that, try not to use more than two – life’s too short for lots of washing-up.
3. Use fresh herbs wherever possible. Buy them in pots, keep them on the windowsill, water regularly, and they’ll last for weeks. Add soft herbs such as basil, chives and parsley at the last minute. However, rosemary and thyme (the woody herbs) sometimes need to be added earlier to allow their flavours to infuse the dish.
4. Always use the least processed food you can find – brown rice, wholemeal pasta or granary bread. These are rich in fibre, so they’re better for you and they also keep you feeling fuller for longer, so they’re more economical.
5. Include lots of fresh veg. Root vegetables are widely available, they keep well in the fridge and they’re cheap. Buy British where you can.
6. King Edward potatoes are the only variety you’ll need. They do everything from chips to mash, and they’re easy to find in the shops.