Friday, 5 April 2013

Why I Don't Cook

Because it takes so long! Luckily for me Andy does cook and very well too, so I am not forced to rely on toast as I did when I was young. Though I still do rely on it quite a lot.

Because I don't often feel inspired to cook in the same way I do to do other things.

But in the holidays- the longer ones at least, I sometimes do want to cook. Today was one of those days and I have gone a bit mad and made four different things. I love the part of cookery programmes where they sit down and look at cookery books-in fact that is the part I love about Nigella Lawson cookery programmes-and last night I did that.  Monty Don, Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater and Dan Lepard were the books I looked at last night. After a trip to Sainsbury's and then the local grocer's ( I keep hearing about people living without supermarkets and like the idea but have a long way to go!) I was ready to cook!
 Unlike when I am making something- a crocheted, felted, sewn or painted something, where I end up surrounded by a huge jumble of materials, when I cook I am the opposite. I like to get everything out and prepared before I start. Three of the things I made today were sweet things so that involved three sections with various butter, sugar, treacle etc. this left me no work top room so I got out my little blue picnic table for cooling purposes. (Andy is more like I am when doing other creative things-a massive jumble and mess of ingredients, pots and pans. A true artist at work!) I also like to clear up as I go along-thrilling aren't I?!

The first recipe was chocolate chip cookies from Nigella. The recipe made a very thick dough, like the cookie dough you buy. (My only previous experience of cookie dough) I made four to start with and have put the rest of the mixture in the fridge. The reason for the sweet treats is that my Dad is visiting tomorrow so I thought I could cook a few in the morning. They worked well and were nice and soft. (Like the ones you buy!)

The second recipe was flapjacks from Monty Don. Simplicity itself-except if you use a cake tin with removable bottom, in which case halfway through cooking you will have to take it all out of the oven, and use a bunch of wet tea-towels to hastily remove the toffee that is dripping onto the bottom of that oven. Back on a baking tray to catch the drips. Once I got them out I wondered how I would get the sticky stuff off of the baking tray. I poked it with a knife and it came away in lovely winding strings of amber coloured deliciousness. I ate a little bit but threw the rest away as my teeth can only take so much! The flapjacks seem ok. (Just tasted one and they are very toffeeish!)

Third recipe-lemon polenta cake from Nigella again. It has ground almonds and polenta (of which I had to buy a huge amount just to get the 100g I needed so more polenta recipes on the way) instead of flour. It had three eggs but it still seemed too solid so I added another one. Once baked it has lemon sugar syrup drizzled over it. I made some with the 'golden icing sugar' I found in the cupboard. Luckily I tasted it before drizzling as it looked horrible. Tasted horrible too-I think it was the weird sugar. So I started again with another lemon and normal sugar and it was fine. I have not tasted this one yet so can't report on whether it is good or not.

Fourth recipe-shepherd's pie by me. Easy and not as time consuming as all the cakes. It is cooking now ready for our tea!
This is almost live blogging. Have just eaten the pie and it was really tasty. I used lardons as well as beef mince and I think they are what made the difference. About to have lemon polenta cake for pud and then will not be able to move for a while! Cake was yummy!

 Tulips to add to my illusion of playing house and living a different slower kind of life, one where there is time for cooking every week, not just the holiday ones.
 I love these big enamel pans, and so far have managed not to drop one on my foot, something I think about every time I use one. They are great for making this kind of thing due to the hob/oven usability. And they come in pretty colours too!
 The healthy green accompaniment to the pie. 
My attempt at food styling! I love this plate. I think it is from a charity shop in Scotland. The blue is really dark and the print slightly blurred. I like it with the yellow of the cake.
If you read all that then you deserve a piece of cake! 


Janine said...

What a wonderful adventure! Hahaha, thanks for sharing! Everything looks great!

Linda Sue said...

Well , now I weigh an extra stone just reading this post! I think the pattern of blue plate is flo-blue, highly collectible. Flapjacks here are buckwheat pancakes. not so sweet and a bit robust for when you are riding your horse across the plain.That is a most ambitious bunch of cooking, I am sure that your Dad will appreciate it. You are such a good girl...

Rattling On said...

Funnily enough when I cook I'm extremely tidy. I wash up as I go and always wipe down everything. When we used to have big parties I never went to bed without cleaning, washing up and putting any tablecloths into the washer. I can't get up in the morning to work (even if sometimes I only got a few hours' sleep).
I love the things you chose to make, a good mix. I've made the polenta cakes a few times and they're always scrummy.

Sarah said...

I have eaten so much cake today-one piece of it bought in a cafe!

Anairam said...

Oh, man, all that great food - and I thought this was a post about NOT cooking! I am very envious of that polenta cake - and the shepherd's pie too - they both look SO good. As I have just commented on another blog, I am trying (not so very hard, but it is the intention that counts, isn't it?)to lose a little weight, but darn, it is difficult when I am faced with these pictures!!

snoopydog said...

Ha ha! Love it! I am much the same. I buy cookery books and pretty cupcake cases, but rarely have the time to use them. I do, however, enjoy cooking once I get going. Unfortunately, I prefer to cook cakes! I try not to have too much cake laying around in the kitchen, as I am unable to refuse anything that looks or smells like CAKE! Happy hold! x

Tracy said...

VERY, very fun, Sarah! Loved seeing your kitchen play time... and the YUM results! I enjoy cooking, but meals during the week usually must fall into the category of quick, easy and delicious! During the weekends TJ & I both share the kitchen and we take time to make something more, something special, a glass of wine while something simmers. So weekend cooking is the best. :o) So glad you shared this!((HUGS))

Carole said...

You have such a cute kitchen, Sarah!
Cooking is something I'd like to leave to someone else but necessity makes me drop the brush and make something to eat at the last possible moment. xo Carole