An afternoon of blending butter, flour and eggs had its ups and downs. The ups coincided with the opening of the oven door to remove a piping hot dish surmounted by a crisp golden crown of egg washed shortcrust pastry, whilst the downs did not. I take a certain comfort from the amateurism of my efforts in the pastry arena and still treat the magical transition of a ball of dough into something delicious to eat, flawed as it may be, as a triumph. Cooking is like photography, is like swimming, is like loving, is like anything that takes time, commitment and continual practice to perfect or even to make reasonable, perfection being that state which continually moves closer to the horizon in direct relation to our awareness that such a state might exist. That’s why those of us humans who really feel the need to cook, snap, doggypaddle or love are separated by a mile from those who don’t.