How is it that the best minds of cookery stay quietly in the wings, while the tawdry collection of “Has Britain got talented chefs” TV programmes clearly demonstrate that it hasn’t? The names of Alistair Little, Simon Hopkinson, Bruce Poole, Anna del Conte, Caroline Conran, the Sam Clarks and the Hendersons and their absence from the above mentioned circus clearly illustrate my point. They are rarely seen but their influence has been beyond measure, as was the influence of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson. The gambolling mummers that are TV personality chefs do the same disservice to cooking as do the ridiculously overpriced and self important institutions like Borough Market. They seem to be on the same self destructive route that the Bordeaux wine producers have taken. The inanity of encouraging the ludicrous price tags on “artisan” products flies in the face of reality. Super markets are stacked to the gunwales with exotic produce which are “must have” purchases for a clientèle, the majority of whom are buying in a purely fashion driven mode, rather than being offered a more limited range of well priced seasonal goods. The enormous selection available is just waiting to become rubbish, but we must keep the punter happy. Why in God’s name does one need a £50 bottle of estate bottled oil, when there is plenty of good quality olive oil available at reasonable prices, and this in a time of extreme financial pressure. If ever a rock star was worth quoting, it must be Bono’s “Have nots and have yachts”. Any rate, it was very hot yesterday, and it’s going to be hotter today which accounts for my already heated mind ranting at anyone and everything. I made a very cooling and delicious Prawn Cocktail from Simon Hopkinson’s “The Prawn Cocktail Years”.The recipe is so straightforward, the ingredients are as basic as you can get (bar the teaspoonful of Cognac) and the result looks and tastes fantastic.