I feel no fear in the kitchen. I can thank my mother for this – cooking and eating are what I’ve always done, it feels quite natural. I spent my childhood dabbling about in the kitchen, being gently encouraged to creatively use up any offcuts of pastry to make a dead fly pie (just raisins, no flies were harmed!) or some little cut out biscuits, filled with anything and everything you could find in the cupboard. As we grew up, my sister and I invented away in the kitchen, some things more successful than others, our “mum’s cupboard sauce” being one of the more interesting concoctions and indicative of our no holds barred approach to food.
I still cook in the same way. Despite shelves upon shelves of cookbooks, most nights I come home and look what’s in the fridge and pull something together. Years of experimenting seem to have given me an ingrained sense of what will work. Most of the time, anyway.
After work I want something fairly quick. I don’t want to pull out a recipe and pore over lists of ingredients, finding I am perpetually one or two things short. At the weekend it’s a different matter. I am more than happy spending time pottering about the kitchen, working on something more complicated or more time consuming. I am fond of a weekend project.
Maybe it’s my northern upbringing, but I hate food waste. I like to use things up, finish ends of packets, make something with those spare egg whites, that wrinkly old carrot, that handful of beans. Waste not want not, as they say. This can and does lead to some very weird meals, but I mostly avoid this scenario by buying ingredients that will work together in a number of combinations. And having a solid backbone of core ingredients in my larder, a cupboard stocked with the potential to bring anything to life.
I’ve long been meaning to start writing this blog. I think the final straw, so to speak, was talking to one of my friends a little while ago. She was telling me how she had brought a lot of ingredients to cook a couple of recipes from a new book and that one of them needed 25g blue cheese and how it was such a waste to buy a whole packet to just use that bit. It seemed so alien to me that you wouldn’t just invent a couple of other dishes to use the rest of the cheese up, without needing to buy another list of ingredients to satisfy another set of recipes. So eventually, when I get into the swing of writing, I intend for my recipes to form little groups, so when I use half a pepper for one thing, I will use up the rest.
In the meantime, I hope my writing isn’t too haphazard, that I can improve my photography and that I remember to try and weigh things. But I didn’t call this blog dash, drizzle, dollop for nothing.