Apologies to anyone who saw a grumpy man in black flustering in Marple on Saturday afternoon. That was me. I had a panic attack in Iceland. I don't even know why I went there. I think it was in the misguided belief that I could get a few tins of tomatoes and a tin of sweetcorn to go with the fresh meat I'd just picked up from Whites Butchers. Call it a Jamie Oliver moment, but the jars of salty sugary sauce, the freezers full of frozen sweepings from the meat factory floor made me angry. I'm not generally snobbish about food, but there has to be a better way to feed a family than this, and it doesn't have to come down to money either.
I love trying new food and dabbling with ingredients. And in Marple and Romiley there are some terrific butchers and grocers who share that passion for trying new ways to feed a brood like ours.
My extended family have been very supportive of my efforts in this regard - I buy a few cows with my Dad who knows a thing or two about rearing cattle; he's been doing it for 30 years. We've also received a few gorgeous recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Rachel's mum has given us an incredible marinade for sticky ribs, while I have tried, but come up short, on my Mum's incredible braised steak.
From the papers I have been most impressed with Yotam Ottolenghi, who's recipes I've been saving for a while now, even though some of the ingredients have been hard to come by, especially in Marple. Tonight's dinner was a treat inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - a chunk of beef, rubbed in spices and cooked in a pot with carrots, onions and swede.
As for recipes from the large volume of cook books we have, by far the best book of the lot is the Good Housekeeping guide. It has 900 recipes and never fails to inspire.