Phase one in which Doris learns to cook

  1. Mushroom ragu

Ragu. It’s got that coquettish culinary ring to it. Mmm, yes ragu, darling. Warm stoves, roaring fires and expensive textured rugs. Deep herbal aromas permeating the room and pungent red wine (spilled across said expensive rugs). Please pass me my mink shrug would you honey, I’ll just get this ragu reducing.

Then I read its basically like bolognese sauce and my illusions of grandeur were shattered: much the way most things go when I step into the kitchen.

I diced my vegetables awkwardly in a process that seemed a lot more labour intensive than it looks on My Kitchen Rules. I sauteed with more caution than reasonably necessary upon reflection. I threw in herbs and a smattering of tomato. Eventually I carved, no roughed, up the mushrooms and dumped them in too, hoping the rest of the ingredients would not notice I had skimped on purchasing the requested amount.

I poured in the cream and a bit of water and apparently what you are meant to be looking at by this stage is called “mushroom ragu”. All I could really see was bits of carrot that were too big.

The whole process took about 45 minutes from beginning to end and while it wasn’t wholly unenjoyable it also wasn’t at all remarkable. I tried to enjoy the glass of wine I’d poured but even that didn’t seem to perk up the situation.

The ragu sat forlornly on the stove as Cal walked in the door. I’d already decided I wasn’t really hungry having devoured a bowl of pesto pasta (my standard repertoire) for ‘afternoon tea’.

“I made ragu.”

“Oh, that’s good.”

Clearly not suitably impressed with my foray into the kitchen arena, I sat sulking at the kitchen table pretending to be busy while he produced a bag of fish heads and started irritatingly employing his vast knowledge and culinary finesse.

So now there’s stock in the fridge and a bowl of fresh fish flesh for tonight’s intrepid unsupervised venture into the world of fish cakes.

If you cook and no one is around to either heap praise on you or take a photo of it, did you even cook?

Mushroom ragu

4/10. Would not do again. Not entirely Alice Water’s fault, I am willing to accept partial blame. Would use more cream (more dairy fixes most issues I have experienced, including emotions). Would use less carrots. Would splash out for the required amount of mushrooms next time. Plenty in the fridge if anyone wants some.

Not an expert