As you would know from my previous post about being a feeder, I love cooking. Sometimes I love it more in theory than in practice, as by the end of a long working week my head might be saying a homemade scallop and roasted pumpkin risotto would be lovely but my fingers will be dialling up for takeaway Thai, seemingly of their own volition.
I read somewhere recently that cooking shows, recipe books and food-related websites are the new porn. We ooh and aah over beautifully-plated dishes which feature ingredients we don’t even know how to pronounce properly, and techniques we have no hope of ever replicating. So, pretty much exactly like porn. There is also the massive trend on social media to take photos of the food you have created or been served, and post them online for all your friends to admire – kind of like the equivalent of the readers’ wives section of dodgy men’s magazines. Some food, like amazing cakes and pastries, is very photogenic indeed, but other things – well they are best left unphotographed.
I am a sucker for a beautiful recipe book, I will often stop in a bookstore and leaf through, salivating at the gorgeous photos and imagining myself serving up these amazing dishes to my appropriately enthused family. Then the reality of having a five year old with very limited tastes, a husband with coeliac disease and me with my own food allergy sets in, and I put the book back on the shelf. I do allow myself to trawl through recipe websites on a regular basis, as the gratification is instant and free. And there’s that porn reference again.
Talking about recipes and food and cooking is also something that gives me great pleasure; the giving and receiving of little tidbits of advice creates an reinforces a sense of shared identity with friends and workmates. In the staffroom at my place of employment, lunchtime chatter often turns to food and recipes and new types of ingredients, and in my mind it is the modern-day version of chatting at the market or over the back fence.
With this notion of sharing in mind, I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and recipes here, in the hope that you might respond with some of your favourites.
Leftover Roast Meat Pie
I discovered this Perfect Meat Pie recipe recently, when I was searching for something to do with a big chunk of leftover roast beef. In our family we have a roast pretty much every Sunday night for dinner, but then the uneaten meat tends to sit sadly in the fridge until at the end of the week I feed it to the dogs. So I gave this recipe a try, and it was absolutely delicious – it was also easy and relatively quick to make, I managed it after work one evening. I used a gluten free frozen puff pastry that I found at Woolies, and it has been a revelation – tastes almost as good as the normal stuff and very easy to work with.
Indian Street Kitchen Curries
I’m not normally a fan of sauces and meal bases that come out of a packet or jar, as they tend to be full of artificial stuff and taste like crap. But sometimes it is really handy to have something in the pantry that you can just chuck in a pan with some diced meat and veges and have on the table quickly, so I am always on the lookout for decent pre-made stuff. Over the last few weeks I’ve tried two different curry bases from the Indian Street Kitchen range, and they have been absolutely delicious. Each pack contains a sachet of marinade, a sachet of spices to get the curry started, and a sachet of paste to finish off. The ingredients are all natural, exactly the same stuff I would use if I was taking the time to make the curry from scratch, so I feel vastly superior to anyone serving up Chicken Tonight. And for we mothers, it’s all about being able to feel superior. We had the Bengali Beef last night and it was really tasty. Two thumbs up.
So, tell me what’s your best recipe? Or your favourite supermarket cheat for those nights when a packet of unlabelled meat from the back of the freezer and some flaccid carrots are the only other alternative?