What I like to eat and why I like to cook

The kitchen is where I shut out psoriasis. It becomes a psoriasis free zone for a while, whether it be a few minutes making a quick lunch or a few hours preparing a feast. During this time, psoriasis is not on my mind. In fact cooking is more than a hobby for me, it is a passion. When I start to cook or think about food, it is like the world just fades away. 

​Some people need a quiet beach and to listen the waves to relax, I need my knives and fresh ingredients.

Where the passion comes from

Food is a big part of my life and I don’t just mean day-to-day sustenance. I used to eat just to stop being hungry and it is only since I have been married that I really started to explore the culinary world. My wife is a qualified chef who doesn’t cook and never went into the profession after college, however she has an appreciation of fine food and has taken me to the restaurants of the chefs she admires the most. By visiting the finer restaurants I was fascinated at how different food could taste and how many foods I had never tried. My thirst for knowledge kicked in too and I started to talk to the waiters, sommeliers and chefs and their passion for what they do shone through. I was hooked, food and drink were going to become my ‘thing’.

This doesn’t mean I only go to fine dining restaurants; I still enjoy fast food and my local pub does a mean hot dog! I have my favourite meals: steak and chips always being my first choice and of course I do love British food. I think it is hard to beat a good roast dinner or a hearty stew, although if I could only eat one nationality of food, it would probably be Italian as I love the freshness and simplicity of their food. If you do it right, it can be very light and low fat. A simple pasta dish can be lightly fried chopped courgette, add some seasoning and freshly squeezed lemon juice and a ladle of the water used to boil the pasta. Stir in the pasta and take off the heat. Add in a beaten egg yolk and stir the ingredients together. This makes your sauce and keep the dish light.

The food I love

I like to follow the seasons, ignoring the punnets of strawberries on sale all year round. There really is nothing better than a British strawberry in the summer, in my opinion. With summer arriving, my favourite seasonal veg is asparagus and courgettes. I also enjoy discovering new seasonal recipes, for example a summer tart of goats cheese, asparagus and courgettes finished off with rocket is something I cook up every year. New potatoes are in full swing and I have lost count as to how many versions of potato salad I have come up with over the years!

So, as you can see, I don’t just like to eat food, I enjoy cooking too. I prefer to cook from inspiration, browsing through some recipes, closing them before entering the kitchen. The likelihood is I don’t have the exact ingredients and that’s where the fun begins. I have learnt to some degree what flavours go together, so I can replace ingredients with a similar flavour or maybe something completely different. The most enjoyable cooking for me is using up what’s left at the end of the week: this becomes the most inventive time.

I also like to cook and dine al-fresco. There is something about a bright summer’s day that makes food taste even better. Every year I try to come up with something new for the barbecue and quite often this will be in the salads or sides to go with the meat. I learnt to make a simple, but great tomato salad with finely chopped shallots, olive oil, lemon juice and mustard. Four ingredients coming together to create a simple dish packed with fresh flavours.

My latest obsession has been bread. I have a bread maker now and whilst it makes great bread, I still delve into the world of oven baked bread. It’s a much healthier and cheaper option than buying bread and tastes so much better. There is something very satisfying about seeing the dough rise and the smell that fills the house when it’s cooking – it just makes you smile! I am very new to bread so again it’s something to learn, something to occupy my head, rather than think about psoriasis.

I guess that when I started on the psoriasis journey, psoriasis was my obsession, it consumed my mind. I have replaced this obsession with something much more tasty and enjoyable.

UK/IE 2013b/00058a. Date of preparation: May 2015

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