bakkavor lunch pasta

Nigel Slater is a master of his craft. He’s on the mild side, but where Keith Floyd bubbled over with ebullience and excitement, Slater is all touch, thought and care. He’s every bit as passionate about food as Floyd was, just in a very modest and understated way. If Slater asked you to wait while he took a large slurp he’d be perfect. 

As it is, he’s pretty much perfect. The secret to his appeal is laid bare whenever he talks about food, through his books or on his TV shows; he loves it and he really wants you to love it too. And he’s curious, never shy of letting us know that he’s learning new tricks too.

In Eating Together (BBC1, 7.30pm, 1 June) Slater set out to explore how immigration has offered “modern Britain” a wealth of global influences on the food we cook.

Episode one focused on the versatility of the humble dumpling (“bite-sized gems”), starting with classic British “flour and fat” dumplings floating atop a bubbling beef stew, before moving on to light Indian pea kachori and punchy lamb samosas, then focusing on Polish pierogi stuffed with sauerkraut.

Throughout, the camera hovered unrushed, each example of dumpling offering up a simple cookery lesson for those that wanted it, before finishing up in loving close-up on a mouthwatering bowl of traditional Italian ravioli.

“Little pillows of joy,” murmured Slater, lost in thought as he tucked in. “This is how I want my ravioli to be.”

“Well you know what to do now,” replied his teacher, Luton-Italian Liz, who moved to the UK in 1965. And so do we.