It took less than 24 hours for my bubble to be burst

Last night I wrote the second of my ‘Essentials’ blogs. Today, I find no less than Marco Pierre White puts me right: When cooking I don’t always season with salt, especially when it comes to meat. Instead, I like to season using chicken stock cubes (Knorr is my preference). I add a pinch or two when cooking all meat sauces and gravies and also when making vegetable soups. Firstly, this is more forgiving than salt and, secondly, when finishing sauces you don’t have to reduce them so much to reach their desired flavour… Marco Pierre White in Hell’s Kitchen, page...

Essentials No 2 – Marigold Vegetable Bouillon

Along with Dry White Vermouth and Ruby Port, my other essential standby for sauces and gravies is Marigold Vegetable Bouillon. Added as vegetable stock (made with hot water) or as a pinch or two stirred into lower volumes, it somehow brings flavours together. Aside from its inherent saltiness, there’s little to criticise. Nothing unpleasant like most stock cubes, and because it’s vegetable in origin, it works happily with meat and fish dishes, too. There are two types available, an Organic variation as well as the ordinary one. Strangely enough, the two recipes are very different. My choice? Difficult one this....

Essentials 1 – vermouth and port

So many recipes call for red or white wine, but opening a whole bottle for a gravy or sauce is madness as you may not want to finish the rest of the bottle. Since I cooked a Jamie Oliver recipe for baked fennel that suggested dry white vermouth as an alternative to white wine, I’ve kept a bottle for when I need only a small amount of white wine. It’s a great alternative that works in just about any recipe that doesn’t rely on the wine as the primary flavour. I also keep a bottle of ruby port open for...