Well, guys, I might be making some progress. As some of you will know, one of my 50 things to do before I turn 50 challenges on my bucket list is to cook every day this month. Yes, I’m sure that plenty of others may say ‘But I do that everyday’ so I’ll let you know about my starting point back on 1 October.
Until then, my idea of throwing a meal together would be, on the most adventurous day, to boil some pasta and smother it in a ready-made pasta sauce. On a not-so-adventurous day, it might be eating cold rice pudding directly from the tin or throwing a ready meal into the microwave. Even popping a jacket potato in the oven seemed like an awful lot of fuss! So, as you can see, my starting point was very low indeed! What was behind it? A large dose of not feeling bothered, a fear of getting it all wrong and probably taking my hubby for granted way too much when he cooks every day. However, day by day, I’m getting there….and I can say that I’m liking it! Feels more weird 🙂
I found a recipe online for a sausage casserole which seemed fairly straightforward and involved various vegetables and even a bay leaf! Fancy, eh?! We were given a fabulous Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish when we got married 22 years ago but have barely used it. However, it proved to be ideal for cooking this and after about 20 minutes of preparation, I could just leave it cooking whilst doing other things.
Yesterday, I unearthed the slow cooker from the depths of the kitchen corner cupboard where it’s been sitting for about 2 years. I don’t know how many people can relate to this but it was ever so shiny when I first bought it! It looked really great on our worktop! But I should have known that the moment it was put in the corner cupboard, it was very much a case of out of sight, out of mind. But I was actually a bit proud of myself yesterday as I had dinner in the slow cooker that hubby could help himself to as I’d already gone out for the evening to my voluntary work. The photo below is taken from the moment I switched on the slow cooker so it may not look very appetising! However, it’s beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, Worcester sauce, paprika, etc., etc.,
Even tonight getting myself a sandwich, I didn’t just throw a bit of ham between two slices of bread. Smoked salmon, fresh dill, cream cheese and lemon juice made for a lovely filling and I’ve got plenty left for tomorrow too. I was going to make a smoked salmon and potato frittata tonight for my parents who were going to visit but instead we went out of lunch to Sheffield Park Gardens, a beautiful National Trust site that’s amazingly popular and beautiful in the autumn.
So, I have been cooking something from scratch but I also like some cheats that are great to have in the fridge or kitchen cupboard. We are huge fans of the Very Lazy range and often use the garlic one in dishes like spaghetti bolognaise. I’ll be using the chopped red chillies one tomorrow in a dish along with macaroni, baby spinach and chorizo. There are even slow cooking paste pots and I’ll be cooking up some smoky paprika potatoes.
As well as having a really good sort out of our fridge and 2 freezers, I’ve spent time in supermarkets and really noticing what’s there! Too often, I’ll whizz down to get the same old ingredients but there’s just so much to explore! I think, for me, it’s a question of getting interested in the ingredients and finding recipes that whet my appetite.
At the end of the month, I’ll do something with a pumpkin! I’ve never eaten pumpkin let alone carve one or cook anything but I bought one nearly a fortnight ago when I went to Slindon Pumpkins in West Sussex near Chichester. What a fabulous place to visit. I might sound a bit naive here but I thought pumpkins were just orange and big. It turns out that they come in all different colours and shapes including ones that look like stones and ones that appear as if they are wearing skirts! There was even a mural made of pumpkins and squashes!
So, yes, I’m actually get a bit interested in cooking and have already vowed to continue cooking after this challenge ends as it gives hubby a break. Not as scary as I thought it would be. I don’t sense a career change coming but at least I’m feeling a wee bit more like an adult right now!
Take care everyone