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Recipes True To Home Cooking

March 26
Recipes True To Home Cooking | DonalSkehan.com

My mum’s kitchen was where my love of cooking began. The spice cupboard beside the white 1980s cooker smelled dark and musty, and was filled equally with freshly bought spice jars and recycled ones with fading labels and grubby finger marks from dark, bubbling casseroles gone by. Bags of dried oregano, carefully carried home from summer holidays in Greece and Turkey, sat alongside the jar of birthday candles that came out twice a year, and the plastic bags of spices from the Asian market, tightly rolled up and sealed with a plastic clip.

In her attempt to hide sweets from my brother and I my mum also chose to hide bags of marshmallows at the very top of this press, which meant by time we got to eat them they had absorbed the pungency of the neighbouring jars. This was not helped by the fact that we used to open the bag and sneak one or two out, leaving the remaining ones to dry out. A game of cat and mouse that no one really won.

The next press down was the nerve centre for our family life and home to a cheat sheet of handwritten recipes and clippings stuck to the inside of the door, designed for quick reference. Jam for toasted brown bread, our breakfast before school, the never-ending supply of tinned tomatoes for a quick-fix Bolognese ragu to feed the house and a sticky bottle of ketchup, the secret ingredient for getting my brother to eat just about anything.

While I was experimenting with a new cake recipe, or generally making a mess in the kitchen, I don’t think I appreciated that without these staple ingredients that just seemed to eternally exist, our family meals would not have been.

It’s why I never regret sounding like a broken record in my cookbooks and online when I repeat the adage that good cooking starts with a well-stocked kitchen. I have loved sharing my recipes with you over the past year and half, and this week I share two recipes that are true to my love of home cooking, fuss free and genuinely useful. A sticky marinade for chicken that uses ingredients you are bound to have in the store cupboard and cheap and cheerful Moroccan meatballs that will give you the ideal excuse to raid those spice jars.

Follow these links for the recipes in the photos:

Sweet & Sticky Balsamic Chicken with Saffron Rice

Pork & Fennel Ragu

Morrocan Spiced Meatballs with Harissa Cous Cous