My Inherited Kitchen

Cooking for people who can't cook but now have to

Rustic kitchen table

Month: March 2017

What are my favourite pasta sauces?

Ok, I’ve now learnt that not everyone likes hot curry – so, what are my favourite pasta sauces?

In my last post I compared Madras curry sauce from M&S with the Loyd Grossman Madras. This time I’ve chosen very different favourite pasta sauces from M&S, LG and another company for you to try. (Yes I do like pasta a lot).  As you’ll see a key difference is the percentages of tomatoes in each product.

M&S Arrabbiata pasta sauce

This was one of the first M&S pasta sauces that I tried and it’s still one of my favourite pasta sauces. Lots of tomatoes (86%), carrots and onions but its the red chillies that give it an extra spicy kick. I tend to add a tsp of garlic but you don’t have too. Arrabbiata is featured in the recipe for Pasta and meatballs.

Loyd Grossman tomato & sweet red pepper

Like most LG sauces this one is more chunky than most competitors and most M&S sauces. I don’t know if it’s just psychological but to me chunky sauces seem to give stronger flavours.  The sweet red peppers are 20% of the content which definitely influences the taste and at 54% it contains a third less tomatoes than the M&S Arrabbiata.

Al’Fez Moroccan Meatball sauce

I’ve spotted a lot more Moroccan products in stores lately so I decided to give one a try. I’m pleased that I did. This one is a thick aromatic sauce with only 28% of tomatoes. I think this helps the sauce to bring out what the jar calls authentic Moroccan flavours.  All I can say is that it works me and I’ll be trying some of their other products too.

If you have your own favourite pasta sauces please let me know.


My favourite curry sauces

Did I hear you say what are your favourite curry sauces? I thought so. Well to date most of my ever changing favourites come from either M&S or Loyd Grossman jars at around £2 each. Here are a few curry based examples.

The Madras curry contest – what’s HOT?

Both M&S and LG’s Madras curries state they are three chillies hot but the M&S jar is definately hotter and in my opinion better. On the flip side it does take 90 mins compared to LG’s 15 min.

Something different

In contrast I’ve just tried a one chilli rated Punjabi tomato curry from The Spice Tailor by Anjum Anand. It come in a tall cardboard sleeve with 3 separate small pouches of ingredients (spices, base sauce and main sauce). Different but very good and she tells you what each spice adds.

But the instructions say for 2-3 people

If you are only cooking for one ignore that all three companies state that their jar/packet serves 2-3 people. I just pour on as little or as much as I want of the cooked sauce. It’s usually most of it.

Can you heat dinner plates in a microwave?

Several people have asked how they can heat dinner plates in a microwave as suggest in my recipes. So here is the why and how.

When I started cooking my meals were always a bit cold. This was partially due to my inability to get every component completed at the same time but also because the plates were very cold when taken out of the cupboard.

One day I noticed that underneath my dinner plate it said microwave safe. (I later learnt that this message should perhaps have added “with food or liquid on”).       Anyway, I just heated the plate in the microwave without any food or liquid and it worked. I kept it to 2 minutes on full heat. This makes the plate slightly too hot to hold but not scalding hot which worked for me. I do this for nearly every dinner that I cook. I subsequently discovered that several of my friends also use this technique and so do a couple of restaurants. Apparently this is the only thing that John ever uses his microwave for.  Hmmm…

I also saw that Lakeland sell microwave plate warmers to spread the heat more evenly between several plates which retains heat longer when moved onto a table mat.

What do the experts say?

There are some negative views on Google and from microwave manufacturers that heating a dinner plate without food or liquid in the microwave will shorten the life of the microwave but I couldn’t find any evidence. One suggested compromise was to put a “microwave safe” lidded plastic cup of water on top of the plate in the microwave.  The downside is that the plate will not get as hot and you need to be careful with the resulting boiling hot water. It didn’t seem to be a good option to me.

The inevitable – However

If a plate does not say microwave safe on the bottom you need to be a bit more careful. Any plates with metal decoration, unglazed ceramics or damaged plates must not be used in a microwave. Fortunately the majority of everyday dinner plates that I’ve looked at in stores state that they are microwave safe so I stick with using them and I have never had a problem when I heat dinner plates in a microwave.

Please let me know about your experiences.

Who does the cooking in your house?

Who does the cooking in your house? According to one magazine less than 8% of couples share the cooking task equally. Yes females tend to do more cooking than males. Unless it’s what one friend described as “hero meals” such as barbecues or special occasions.

While working on I’ve asked many people this simple question. Who does the cooking in your house?  It starts some interesting conversations and uncovers the wide range of ways that different households work together. Why not try asking your friends?

My big surprise

One of my big surprises since launching is the number of mothers who told me that they have got their teenage son’s to use the simple recipes on my website to teach themselves to cook.  Of course I was flattered and wanted to find out more.

It seems that in many household mums find it hard to teach their teenage son’s about cooking. Other than natural teenage reticence the problem is that mum’s tend to be very experienced cooks who also have this natural ability to multi task. Not something males are famous for. Perhaps that’s why the cooking website of a novice male cook is needed.

Mums have employed various technics to interest their sons in cooking. The most commonly used is telling them that girls are attracted to boys who can cook. Type “are girls more attracted to boys who can cook?” into Google and you will see 31,900,000 results,  so boys maybe your mum has a good point.   Time to get started.

Rustic kitchen table

My Inherited Kitchen -The blog

My Inherited Kitchen blog is for people who have never cooked before but now find themselves in a position where they have to. For whatever reason. It’s been created to help you escape from supermarket ready meals in easy steps and be able to create simple but great meals for yourself. The connected website has lots of information about cooking, kitchens and recipes to help you survive and succeed. If you have just been thrown in the deep end it’s best for you to start there first.

What will the blog do for me?

The My Inherited Kitchen blog builds on the content on the website with the latest things that I’ve learnt as a newcomer to the world of cooking. The main aim is to cover the things that are too simple for cookery books to cover but which frustrate people like you and I because no one told us about them. For example how to choose a new recipe, does the shiny side of foil go up or down? It you can’t find the answers to questions like this let me know and I’ll try to find the answer for you. I’ll then posts answers as blogs so everyone in the My Inherited Kitchen community can find out too.  Welcome to the community.

You will find the blog on the righthand side of every page under the heading of LATEST NEWS.  


How many kitchen tools do I really need?

When I first inherited my kitchen I counted over 100 kitchen tools (excluding cutlery, crockery, tea towels etc). That’s more tools than I have in my shed!  When I checked with friends many of them had well over 100 kitchen tools and one just gave up counting when they exceeded 200 – and they don’t have a big kitchen.

The big question for novice cooks is how many kitchen tools do you REALLY need? The answer is 20.  Unfortunately it’s not just any 20, that would be far too easy. I set out to create a list that was as short as possible but covered everything you needed to prepare 90% of my recipes for one on the website.  Top of the list are:  oven, hob, saucepans and microwave however there are a few surprises such as a rice steamer.  Check out the other 15 kitchen tools and why I chose them at and see if you agree with me.

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