Saturday, 4 August 2007

Food is Life

Sunday 7pm

So why do we stuff the same overprocessed, prepackaged nonsense into our bodies day after day as quickly as possible without a second thought ? Why do we raise animals in inhumane conditions caring more about money than their and our health ? I am as guilty as the next person here but have just been reading " Cook with jamie " ( by Jamie Oliver of course ) - he says all of the above much more eloquently than me. But I agree with him, cookery should be taught to everybody in schools, I wish it had been to me. My first cooking revelation was lemon meringue pie. I knew how to make it from watching my mum. You just needed the packet of lemon meringue pie mix. Then I looked in a cookery book and this may sound stupid, but you don't need the packet ! All the ingredients are already in the cupboard ! Of course once I discovered that, a new world opened up - not just lemon meringue but grapefruit meringue, lime meringue or even lime meringue on a chocolate biscuit base instead of digestives. If cookery was taught in schools we would all know these things, and if I still want to eat pot noodles or never cook again at least I would be making an informed choice. Knowledge is power and the only protection we have against those that make our choices for us. That is the same people that decided to feed dead sheep back to sheep and dead sheep to cattle resulting in BSE and the killing and burning of whole herds. The same people who invented battery farming and can raise a turkey from egg to behemoth in a matter of weeks. Knowledge is power.

Oh and in case you were wondering, just as everybody can draw, everybody can cook. Read "Appetite" by Nigel Slater and you will see.

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Sunday 4pm

Do you get cravings for different foods ? Flavours like the biting zingy artificiality of salt and vinegar crisps perhaps or the citrus creaminess of a crumbly lancashire cheese. Or different textures perhaps like the velvety smooth richness of pumpkin soup or even the glutinous feel of a cuppa soup that can be made and burning your mouth in the time it takes to boil the kettle at work. And beer - a glassfull of honey coloured Deuchars India Pale Ale, my favourite beer - smoothly creamy and bitter served in a straight glass cold against my fingers and lips and the beer colder as it slides across my tongue. (Founders Tall Blonde is my favourite NZ beer so far) I think it is my body's way of telling me what it needs. As Autumn turns to Winter and the air begins to chill I turn to soups, stews and lots more carbohydrates. As mid winter passes and the days get imperceptibly longer I suddenly need the crunchiness of raw vegetables as well - a crunchy coleslaw of cabbage, carrots and apple. In Spring and Summer things lighten up, salads reign supreme of course dressed lightly with oil and lemon juice. Meat is flashed quickly past the barbecue and served red and bloody, full of vitality and life. But there is so much more. We grow up with food. ( it is difficult not to ) it can evoke feelings and memories just as easily as poetry and music. Soup always comforts me. Fish and Chips as well, bought takeaway on the way home remind me of coming home late from work to just the cat and a cold house, too tired to do anything except get into bed and eat and read a book, sharing with the cat of course ! From the first meal out with Nicola (Indian) to family Christmases (roast beef) to solitary luxuries (risotto), food is life.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Spinach Soup and Tortillas

Sunday 2.10pm

Nothing much in the fridge today, just half a bag of baby spinach past its best, so spinach soup it is. The usual recipe - half an onion and a clove of garlic sweated slowly in some oil and butter. One potato chopped and added for thickening, then a pint and a quarter of stock. Home made chicken stock would be nice here but there is none left in the freezer so half strength Rapunzel's vegetable boullion it is. Twenty minutes or so later once the potato is cooked add the spinach - a couple of big handfulls. Simmer for a minute or so then blend. Back in the washed pan it goes along with Black pepper, a little salt and 'cos it seemed a bit thin - some milk, so cream of spinach soup now. As beautifully green as a stagnant pond in spring time, maybe a little bit stocky tasting but served with some salty feta, absolutely delicious. And tortillas as well ( no bread left either ! ) dead easy to make - just flour salt and water, kneaded into a soft dough, rested for twenty minutes then rolled out thin and cooked in a dry frying pan 'till speckled brown. I love old traditional recipes, they make the most of simple ingredients, appealing I think to my Aberdonian Scottish ancestry from my mums side ! And as the man on the advert says " when disaster strikes will you be ready, will you have a plan " well I am working on it. We may be sitting in rags amid the rubble of our lives but the cats will be dispatched to find fresh meat and if I can find a bag of flour we'll be eating rabbit kebabs skewered on rosemary stems and wrapped in tortillas before you know it.

Just need to train the cats now.
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