Summer. A time of eating great produce. We're not serious growers but we enjoy eating what's come out of our small if chaotic veggie plots. It's simple food that makes me smile, made from simple home ingredients. Over Christmas I took time to consult the various food magazines that promote baking extravaganzas that are as easy as following the 127 simple steps. Or worse, following the simple 5 steps and wondering why it didn't turn out because they failed to mention the other 122. I've had baking mishaps that can be described as monumental of late. Pastry that would only come together if I pulled out a glue gun and stick it to the bench, moussaka making that took an entire day to produce something that looked like a major tidal tsunami of ingredients moving in slow motion across the plate, and scones that could withstand participation in a game of backyard cricket. And I blame the writers. I've come across recipes that listed ingredients that failed to make the final cut in the method section. Where did they go? Did someone just take them off the team? Then I've had items not listed in the ingredients but making a starring appearance in the mixing. Is nobody proof reading recipes anymore? Aside from the odd typographical error, and I'm guilty of many myself, the list of ingredients in today's latest mags are definitely getting longer and more complex. The ingredients often require a google search because the local store would just look at you a bit strange, and when you do find them listed under rare or indigenous species you are left wondering if parsley would suffice. Simple is being replaced with complex guilt. No longer can we be proud of a home made left over ham and pickle roll, we have to have made the bloody roll ourselves. The ham must be a specific rare breed and from single origin (or is that coffee?) and the pickles must contain at least one item only found in the jungles of Borneo. Dessert ingredients, the origins of left over grown fruits and ice cream are now replaced with dessert trolley masterpieces with sprinkles of goji berry dust or some such time consuming piffle. Restaurants yes. Home kitchens, no. No time and no team of workers dedicated to grinding berries. I feel ill at the thought of the money I have spent on ingredients for recipe disasters. I've kept economies strong and kept my local supermarket executives in bonus town for many years. I've paid high prices for punnets, bunches and bags of premium produce only to result in being hurled into the bin (some are so bad I'm ashamed to give them to the goats). I'm not a clueless cook and neither are you. We've been persuaded to purchase more than we need by fancy photographs of equally fancy food that took at team to prepare and a stylist to print. So in future, my simple is the new black. And my berries are not for grinding.