Unless otherwise stated, all recipes on Phil’s Home Kitchen (incorporating Baking Fanatic) are my own creations.
A warm welcome to my kitchen: a space in which the challenges of the outside world and any feelings of food guilt are left firmly at the kitchen door!
Please dip in and out as casually as you want and whether you are starting out on your food adventures or are well seasoned, I hope you will get plenty of ideas and discover a few interesting dishes along the way.
The idea of my own website had been bouncing around in my head for ages after a chance conversation with a friend during Afternoon Tea – and I often have meaningful conversations over Afternoon Tea!
She suggested that as I have so many recipes jotted down on bits of paper and tucked away in the back of cookery books, was it not a good idea to organise them in some way?
So one day I had a few hours to kill and thought “Why not give it a go?”……..and the beginnings of this website was born! I started out as Baking Fanatic, as baking is still at the heart of my cooking, but I have included other types of cooking that I love, with some of my favourite sweet and savoury dishes.
An unapologetic bias towards baking
I love to cook anything and baking features heavily in my repertoire as this was the area of cooking that first captured my attention as a boy.
On so many occasions when I have needed an escape, baking has never failed to make me happy and evoke so many happy memories of decades gone by, not least cooking with my mum and my gran.
But whatever I cook, as soon as I step into the kitchen, I get this wonderful feeling of everything being well with the world.
The recipes on my website
Unless otherwise stated, the recipes are my own – apart from the classic base recipes for the standard pastries, cakes and sauces, for example. But once you feel confident with these, many exciting dishes can be created.
I have started to include dairy-free alternatives to many of my dishes, as this is an area of cooking that has become of particular interest and importance to me.
My key rule with cooking is that having dairy-free versions, and indeed adaptations for other dietary needs, of any of my dishes has got to stand up well to their originals. Granted, this will be a challenge with croissants and the like, but a challenge is right up my street!
Whenever I give cookery demos or talk about food on the radio, people often chat about difficulties when it comes to making cakes, pastry or bread.
I have given step-by-step instructions, top tips and recipe ideas for making these, along with croissants and macarons (two of the more challenging areas of cooking).
My links for these can be found at the top of this page or you can find them here.
My random recipe ideas
I often wake up in the night with an idea (often a mad idea, sometimes a more plausible idea) and I then scribble down some thoughts onto paper: I always have a pad by my bed for this very reason!
Simplicity often rules
There is always the thrill in cooking of just what can be achieved with relatively few ingredients and achieved quite simply.
Cooking does not need to be complicated or hugely time-consuming; it can be, of course, and the more challenging dishes that take more time and focus are sometimes just what is need to unwind.
Often, just grazing on a few simple things that are easy to throw together can be just as satisfying as a more full-on meal!
Some of my greatest loves in cooking
Of all the things I cook, breads and pastries are among my greatest loves. These, for me, are the ultimate comfort foods. And not forgetting the joys that should be had with a slice of home-made bread, toasted and buttered: a very satisfying thing to eat!
With all my cooking, I love the fact that you can make great dishes often with just what is lying around the fridge and the cupboards. Opening the fridge to decide what to cook is always an exciting feeling for me: even though I normally know what is in the fridge, it is nonetheless like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures just begging to be used. Left-overs? Always a great opportunity……
For decades I have been fascinated by laminated doughs: freshly baked croissants that shatter as you bite into them, giving way to a buttery honeycomb interior form my ideal breakfast – especially when eaten with home-made strawberry jam and freshly ground coffee.
I adore Afternoon Tea; a food event in its own right, there is nothing like an Afternoon Tea to create a real sense of occasion and give a warm satisfaction as you tuck into the treasure trove of goodies – both sweet and savoury – on offer. My post about Afternoon Tea, which has menu ideas and recipe links is here: Afternoon Tea
Although savoury food is my preference when it comes to eating (with the possible exception of anything chocolatey!), I love making and decorating cakes: the cutting of a cake to be shared with others is a terrific social joy.
While the simplicity and taste of a Victoria Sandwich, for example, is hard to beat, I aim for my more elaborate cake attempts to scream “eat me”, but my primary goal is for the flavour to shine.
I am a firm believer in using good quality, seasonal produce – which is often more cost-effective, not to mention being far tastier. But I am a huge fan of home-made preserves: for me, they are a great reminder of the growing season as well as a taste of what is to come the following year. And who doesn’t love a chutney or spicy pickle bread with a simple dish of good bread and cheese? Not to mention being terrific ingredients in their own right for all manner of dishes.
Whatever your cooking interests are, enjoy the making, the eating, the experimenting and the sharing.