Food and cooking lately

Along with the quiet time I seem to be having recently, if you looked at this space recently, it’ll seem like I haven’t been doing much cooking. I do cook for myself everyday but I haven’t been cooking much new stuff, relying instead on cooking familiar things that I know will work and taste good.

I make a loaf of sourdough at least every other week. Because it’s been warmer, I eat more salad, vegetables and fruit and there is less cooking but Friday Night Pizza is alive and well although sometimes it’s just stuff on bread! I got back into menu planning after my birthday because that’s still the best way for me to eat well and budget.

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The biggest change to my kitchen was the death of my microwave, after near 21 years of service, it burst into flames and had to be scrapped! At the moment, I don’t intend to replace it, I generally only used it for heating up and defrosting things so it’s not the drama that my magimix breaking would be, although I do have to be more aware of making sure that I take things out of the freezer well before I intend to eat them! I’m trying to be more aware of what’s in the freezer and planning at least two dinners a week from what’s in there, I really want to clear it out and defrost it soon too! I’ve also taken to preparing the veg I buy at the beginning of the week, it’s much easier on a weeknight to pull out a bag of already prepped vegetables and stir fry or steam them than it is to prep and then cook them. Anything that doesn’t get used by Friday night, goes into soup so nothing’s wasted either.

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I’ve been growing basil and rosemary and mint this year too. It’s been nice to make use of the fresh herbs in cooking and I want to do a bit more of that too, I’m not sure that the basil will last through the winter but I think the rosemary will.

It's alive..

It’s alive..

Even when I don’t enjoy cooking or it’s hot, I think preparing your own food is a valuable thing to do, it keeps me eating mindfully and ensures that I’m aware of what’s in the fridge so I’m aware of what needs using up and encourages me to be creative about how I cook. In How to Eat, there’s a section on what to eat when you want to lose weight and the bit that always stuck with me was Lawson’s comment that it’s easier to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch and vary it for dinner because then you don’t have to think to hard about it.  I think it applies to more than just when you want to lose weight, my mother ate the same three or so work lunches every day for about 10 years (always involving peppers, tomatoes and oatcakes and varying the protein!) so I come by it honestly, but I’ve noticed that this works when I menu plan, partly because it costs less and partly because I don’t do well with too much choice first thing in the morning!

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So there has been cooking and there has even been some new things, a ‘pesto’ made with roasted peppers, basil and garlic (which I’ve covered a salmon fillet with and baked, used as a dip for vegetables and added to pasta and roasted vegetables), grilled courgettes with lemon, feta and salad leaves, old favourites are the baked falafel which I’ve been having with chopped salad for lunch (they also freeze really well too, which means I can make loads and stash them for when I need them), I’m still eating my weight in poached eggs (mostly on a slice of sourdough for breakfast!).

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The cake of the summer has been this one but I’ve been varying the fruit so whatever fruit has been around I’ve used (berries, rhubarb, apricots, even tinned peaches at one point), it’s always good, really easy to make and works both as small cakes and a large one, it also freezes really well, so if for instance you make a cake for your mother and she gets sick and isn’t around to eat any you can always freeze it for another time instead of throwing it away! My birthday cake this year was the always easy and popular carrot cake and there will be another cake before the end of the summer for Kathy’s birthday but I’m not sure what yet (not carrot or ginger is all I know at the moment!), although I was thinking about this a lot this week because I love the simplicity of it.

The thing I didn’t do this summer was make any jam or cherries, Ma has a lovely jar of brandied cherries, that were a retirement gift from the guys at the OXO Bar (yes I am very jealous!) so I may have to eat some of those when they are ready come November but I wish I’d sorted myself out and got that done.

There are new recipes to try too. I want to have a go at these paleo cookies of Jenny’s, this chicken enchilada soup which strikes me as the perfect thing to eat as the autumn approaches and this before the summer is over. There are about 100 other things too but as ever, my eyes are bigger than my belly and that’s quite a feat!

What are you doing in the kitchen at the moment? Anything foodie that you wish you’d done this summer and didn’t? What are you looking forward to doing over the next couple of months?

About nicdempsey

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