Monday, 31 July 2017

Enjoy a Food Based Euphemism On Me...

Aubergine curry 
recipe here
replaced yoghurt 
with coconut milk.
A few hours 
pottering. Front 
left is this dip.
 Last week my brother-in-law cooked, among other things, vegetarian koftas and I can't stop thinking about them. 

This is the problem when you love food. You taste something utterly delicious but then can't concentrate on the slightest thing until you've eaten it again. 

After a lovely evening with my bro-in-law, his variety of dishes and a selection of siblings, I spent the following afternoon searching the Internet for aubergine curry recipes. Then, once I'd found one that sounded vaguely similar to the previous evening's meal, with ingredients that didn't take much hunting down and was sort of healthy, I spent the rest of the day making it. I do get carried away.*

Hot and Sour Soup.
More filling than the
take-away version.
Prawn toast but a 
gazillion times tastier 
and healthier than 
the usual.
In contrast to my teen years, this is a whole new world. I grew up in a household fuelled by mince and pasta. Oh, and don't forget rice. My mum made the same meal repeatedly but had the nous to call it a variety of names - risotto, kedgeree, rice with bits... there was no end to her creativity in making affordable bulk-bought ingredients seem more than they were. I was once with a friend who had a similar mince-based childhood, chatting to another woman we hadn't known back then. This woman agreed that she too had experienced a basic diet growing up, consisting of simple things like pasta and pesto. Pesto! My friend and I turned to each other, full of the knowledge that this woman was clearly posh and had no idea of our small town mince struggles. (I appreciate I am lucky. I am not cooking for fussy eaters, there's only one or two people at most, and I have the time and means to indulgently shop in four or five stores to secure the weekly ingredients I need. I could not have endured feeding multiple children in a pre-Nigella era.)

Nigella's Moonblush
. I don't
even like tomatoes
but I love these.
John Whaite's
and potato
When I left for Uni in 1996, I didn't even like pasta. (I'd spent the childhood Mince and Pasta Years huffing, 'I'll get my own' and usually resorting to cheesy mashed potato.) As a new student I mostly relied on cheese and baked bean toasted sandwiches. This was handy as sharing a kitchen with nine other women didn't allow a lot of time for culinary exploration. But fast forward to now and I'm like a pig in shit when I spend a day pottering with ingredients. I attribute this to the rise of TV chefs just as I started cooking for myself. Nigel Slater taught me how to make mouth-watering comfort food. Jamie Oliver taught me how to make proper food for everyday meals. Nigella Lawson taught me how to do wow stuff for when people are over. And the repertoire is never complete. Most recently, John Whaite's book, Perfect Plates in Five Ingredients made me revisit lots of recipes and flavours that I thought I had a handle on, and opened them all up once more.

This is a much-tinkered
version of this original
burger recipe.  
Nigella's chilli is
always my go-to
recipe before
I start changing
Food changes over time. That's what makes it so interesting as a hobby. (It's why I view Fanny Cradock Cooks for Christmas as a rich historical source rather than a comically dated TV programme.) I have a few staple recipes that get trotted out every so often (chilli, burgers and casserole, thanks for asking) but most days I'm bored if I haven't cooked something new. And there's no end to foodie-inspiration now Pinterest exists. Tonight I'm doing a sort of Morocoon cous cous thing. Tomorrow is the aubergine curry I made after the evening at my sister's. The day after that, it'll be something else. The world really is all of our oysters. (Except oysters are one thing I can't stomach.) There are so many tastes, flavours and delicacies yet to discover. Now all I need to do is stop thinking about my brother-in-law's koftas.

Have a lovely week, folks.

*This is nothing like the meal my BIL made. I need to make that clear. His was fit. Mine conforms to Weight Watchers exacting standards. For those who give a shite about that kind of thing, half the amount pictured comes in at seven smart points. Balancing fit as frig food with low-fat good health is a science. A science, I tell you! *shakes fist madly in air before lying on the settee eating crisps*


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