Monday, 15 November 2010

Cooking up a storm

As regular readers of my blog will now, I really enjoy cooking. It's one of my relaxations. Amazingly, after a tough day or week at work, I really do find comfort and calm from messing about in my kitchen and rustling up something to eat from whatever I can lay my hands on.

I must confess, however, I had got myself into a bit of a rut. Same old favourite recipes time after time. Last year, partly in celebration at being able to cook pretty much whatever I liked now that I was only catering for one and partly to get myself out of my rut, I started trying out new recipes again. I joined the local library with the express purpose of getting out cookery books and my Mum bought me a subscription to the fabulous Delicious magazine. And since then, I've been cooking up a storm.

There is something wonderful about creating your own food. One of my favourite things (yes, I'm that sad) is to do a whole batch of cooking, eat what I can manage that night and then divide the rest up into portions for the freezer. Sadly, what I'm not so good at doing is labelling what I've made so defrosted meals can sometimes be a bit of a voyage of discovery!

Probably another reason I do so much of my own cooking is that I have a food allergy - I can't tolerate much wheat. And I've found that the safest way to know that your food is allergen free is to choose and combine the ingredients yourself. It's amazing how much stuff wheat gets hidden in and unless you can be bothered to spend time reading ALL the labels, it really is quicker - and more fun - to make it from scratch yourself.

(Incidentally, if you love cooking too and haven't yet watched the film Julie and Julia, it's a must. Even if you don't love cooking, you'll probably love the film. Highly recommended.)

But there is one thing about cooking that I just can't stand - and that's the washing up! Sadly it's always there, waiting, lurking, doing it's best to spoil an otherwise joyful experience. In a kitchen as small as mine, there's no room for a mechanical dishwasher, and try as I might I just haven't managed to secure a replacement human one yet either!!

But still, it's not enough to spoil the Joy of Cooking altogether, and for the timebeing I'm quite happy to take the rough with the smooth and soldier on.

And if you're wondering, the dishes above are (respectively) Tray Baked Asian Crusted Salmon - with fillets bought from our local Farmers Market, yum; Asparagus and Spinach Quiche; and Gourmet Mushroom Pies, complete with homemade Rough Puff (gluten free) pastry.

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