If you want a good life recipe, start out with this basic idea. The skill in cooking is partly down to choosing the right ingredients, but it’s equally important to know how to combine and use them. So it is in life.

Looking at the cookery section in the Sunday supplements you could get the impression that cooking these days consist of:

a) Combining unlikely ingredients that wouldn’t normally share the same plate
b) Scorching a few vegetables and slinging some chunks of exotic cheese on top.

As life often imitates art it got me thinking about how one could apply the same principles to life.

If you want a safe life recipe, start with the right ingredients and mess around with them as little as possible. All you need to do is coax the flavour out.

What you choose to put into your life will determine the end result. If you use rubbish ingredients for your life recipe, don’t be surprised if what your life dishes up is rubbish too. This is a matter of taste and choice.

Years ago I tried an experiment when we held a large garden party party. Not on the table, but in the guest-list. I brought together people who I thought wouldn’t ever normally mix or speak together. It was a huge success, in that I was proved right! My guests didn’t mix (one little group actually hid in a corner of the garden), and most only spoke to the people they already knew.

As to warming things up in life by scorching them, I’m not sure that that is advisable either, I’ll just take the cheese.

Speaking personally, and having been brought up by two talented cooks, I’ve always thought that good cooking means interfering with the ingredients as little as possible. The flavour is already there, it just needs coaxing out. But first you must bring together the right ingredients. Whether you realise it or not, you control your life recipe. The ingredients are the choices you make

Not a bad recipe for life.