4 4 22 SEPTEMBER 2022 Weekending ORLANDO MURRIN S C A N T HI S CODE F OR MOR E R E CI P E S A couple of months ago, my quietWest Country existence was interrupted by amajor event. I can truthfully say that I don’t go out much, and a trip to London is a big deal. On this occasion, I was there to give a lifetime achievement award to the country’s most revered cook at a glitzy ceremony, attended by hundreds of other food writers. I’ve talked before inmy column about the Guild of FoodWriters, which is the country’s association for everyone professionally involved in writing or broadcasting about food. We’re a friendly bunch – excellent company – and I have the honour of being its current president. So it was that we found ourselves gathered at the Royal Institution, o Piccadilly – with Delia Smith in our midst. Delia has a long and warm relationship withWaitrose – youmay recall those TV commercials from 10 years ago – and it’s a daunting task trying to sumup her achievements. This award, however, was specifically for her food writing. Not for teaching the nation to cook, or for sellingmore books than anyone else, or saving factories from closure by recommending their frying pans. Or even appearing in the dictionary (twice – once as a noun, once as an adjective). Likemost people, I’ve cooked hundreds of Delia’s recipes over the years, and I continue to do so. She has a unique ‘voice’ – a reassuring simplicity. You feel she’s in the kitchen beside you, explaining as you go along. “What you do next…”, she says, with a graceful, considerate pause. If a cakemixture looks curdled, she warns you before you tip it in the bin. She was the first cook to write like this, without lecturing or condescending, or throwing bits of French at you. Nothing is left to chance, and as far as Delia is concerned, each recipe she produces is her last word on the subject. That’s not to say she isn’t human. She enjoys describing how a very polite woman wrote in to ask howmany chocolate chips to put in her chocolate chip cookie recipe. “How silly,” remarked Delia to her assistant. “Tell her to put in the amount it says.” On checking, chocolate chips weremissing from ingredients. “Someone – could have beenme – failed to notice,” wrote Delia in the later, corrected, version. Over the years – she’s been writing about food for more than 50 – we’ve come to know other sides of her, too. She and her husband are as crazy about football as ever, although she probably won’t be seizing themicrophone again at half-time to rant at Norwich City football fans. A famously devout Catholic, earlier this year she published a book about humanism, YouMatter. As for that lifetime achievement award, in the end, I didn’t give it to her. At the last minute, Jamie Oliver – a lifelong Delia fan – popped up frombackstage to surprise everyone and hand her the trophy. A night to remember, for all the best reasons. Orlando’s Two’s Company: The Best of Cooking for Couples, Friends &Roommates (Ryland Peters & Small) is out now. He hosts a Facebook group of the same name. orlandomurrin.com How I was pipped at the post on a night to remember Nothing warms us up like a bowl of noodle soup. Quick to make using storecupboard staples, plus fresh ginger, mushrooms, courgettes and eggs, the slurpable treat is one of several Super Saver recipes that can be made for less than £2 per portion using Essential Waitrose products. The thrifty dishes, which also include sausage and bean hotpot, creamy penne with broccoli and bacon, and cottage pie with cauli ower cheese topping, are perfect for when we’re watching the pennies, but unwilling to compromise on taste and ingredients. When rst launched on waitrose.com this month, Super Saver recipes received 40,000 clicks in 24 hours. New£2 recipes are a hit with home cooks TALKING STOCK Making veg stock is a great way to extract maximum value from your food and is a good use of leftovers destined for the bin (carrot peelings, celery roots, the brous ends of fennel). Save o cuts in a tub in the freezer until you have enough to use. Sweat your veg in a little oil, then cover with three times the volume of water, add aromatics (woody herbs, parsley stalks, fennel seeds), bring to the boil, and simmer for at least 20 minutes – although 40 minutes’ cooking should soften your veg enough to allow you to squeeze out excess juice once cooled. Strain and refrigerate for three days, and freeze thereafter.