Beautiful, charming simplicity. There’s a lot to be said for it.
Some of the worlds greatest and most prolific inventions are also the most simple, like the spectacularly simple paperclip, coat hanger or hula hoop. Apple products are also noted for their simplicity of approach and elegance of operation, hence their incredible commercial success. But behind that simplicity is a lot of careful thought and work, as Albert Einstein said “Any fool can make something more complicated”, however simplicity is where the genius lies.
This is a great concept to carry into the kitchen with you, especially if you’re trying to devise some recipes, so that you err on the side of simplicity. I’ve always had a tendency to add extra flavours to try and resolve the taste of a dish, but that isn’t where the really good home cooking recipes come from, because simple, tasty, balanced dishes will always win. Chefs such as Heston Blumenthal create amazing, detailed, specific, long winded recipes, however I’ll happily leave his complicated gastronomy in his professional kitchens for us to pay for the pleasure of eating and stick with simplicity at home. And that is where this recipe comes in, it’s beauty is found in it’s simplicity.
As honey season bimbled along, I was in the supermarket and like a ravenous Pooh I spotted a jar of very homely looking set honey waiting on the shelves, howling my name like a heartbroken maiden. I don’t buy honey, squeezy runny honey is something I only have in the cupboard because cakes require it occasionally. Why I felt the need to buy this jar and then to start experimenting with it, is anyone’s guess. But it seems that serendipity was in the air, because buying that honey immediately filled my head with the idea of honeyed feta, to make some sweet, tangy, gooey, hot dipping pots full of molten cheese, which then became this recipe and my new favourite thing.
Simple ingredients, simple process, amazing results. I may be a long way from being a genius, but I can guarantee that this recipe is something that I’m going to make again and again. And I think if you give it a chance, you’ll be a convert to the power of simplicity as well.
Baked honey feta dipping pots
By Gavin Wren
Serves 4 as a starter
Uses 4 small ramekins
200g block of feta
1 heaped tablespoon set honey
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed
Serve with either bread, crackers or crudites on the side.
Crumble the entire block of feta into a mixing bowl. Add the honey, oregano and garlic. Mix well and divide into four small ramekins.
At this point in the recipe you can either cover and refrigerate the pots for cooking later, or just cook straight away and dive in.
When ready to cook, place the ramekins in the oven for 12-15 minutes, they should be melted and taking on some colour on top.