Cheddar cheese souffle (Living and Eating, see Books)

recipes that work

Asked whether I ever tire of cooking or run out of ideas, the answer is 'no'. There is always something around the corner that I am longing to cook and discover for the first time, something that I am longing to perfect. It could be a chocolate chip cookie or the best way to slow-roast belly of pork, I love nothing more than setting out on that journey.

ReliabilityCentral to this is a belief in the art or craft of a carefully devised recipe. Now this may make me old-fashioned, but strip away the celebrity from the cook, the charm, the wit, the fun; these may make good viewing and good reading, and it would be a duller world without them, but alone in the kitchen with a few bagfuls of ingredients, it is the reliability of the written word in front of you that matters.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (Gorgeous Desserts, see Books)

I always think of recipes as being a little like map reading. We have all had experience such as going to a wedding in a village church and finding ourselves down a cul-de-sac two junctions of the motorway further on, arriving late, flustered and barely on speaking terms with the driver. Well making a chicken and leek pie isn't so hugely different – the ideal is clear, concise instructions that are reliably accurate and will take us from a bag of flour, pat of butter and packet of chicken wings to a gorgeously golden crusty pie emerging steaming and fragrant from the oven.

I wouldn't be so rash as to make a claim that you will never go wrong with one of my recipes, there are too many variables involved in cooking. But, I can hand on heart say that a huge amount of effort, testing and retesting goes into getting the recipes right - a little like applying polish to wood, you will only ever get that sheen if you keep on buffing. It is the single most important aspect of what I do. The recipes are designed to work.

© Annie Bell 2010. All rights reserved.