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My cooking is a mess – and tastes better for it

There’s a place for artful food presentation – it’s just not usually on my plate

Recently I made a dreadful mess in the kitchen. It was delicious. I was looking for something to kick off a dinner party, something around which conversation could gather, and was musing on the Jewish Ashkenazi staple of egg and onion: crushed up cooled boiled eggs with slow-cooked, then cooled fried onions. It’s a soothing trip to the nursery or better still, the small child’s overheated sick bed.

I wanted to make a grown-up version. Instead of onions I used finely sliced spring onions. I added chopped salted anchovies. I dressed it with a serious vinaigrette, made with spoonfuls of nose-tickling Dijon mustard and mayonnaise and glugs of peppery olive oil. I can’t pretend. It looked terrible. It looked like it had been pre-consumed, rejected by the body as not fit for purpose and returned to the bowl from the wrong direction. I hesitated. Could I really serve this?

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