Ok so I have never professed to be a good cook.. or even a semi decent one. In the past I have never even really liked cooking… it was just something you did because you needed to eat and it was too expensive to eat out all the time. So my MIL is probably going to have a heart attack when she reads that I am actually cooking… all kinds of stuff.. and… gasp! shock! horror! I think I am enjoying it!
I can’t say I am a foodie.. in fact I have this theory about ‘food snobs’ who have to put fancy stuff in everything they cook. Everything has to have bloody pine nuts or chilli or have some exotic hard to get ingredient that costs a fortune or be a hundred times harder than it has to be just ‘creative cooking’. To me and my simple tastes that is ‘yuppie food’ LOL. Totally no offence to anyone who enjoys cooking or eating this sort of stuff… it is just not me. For a long time I’d look at the various cook books by very well meaning and loving inlaws had given me and think that I’d never even bother to cook that stuff because it just wasn’t me.
Don’t get me wrong I like my fair share of ‘exotic’ and out there food. I love eating out. I love sushi (missing california rolls big time at the moment!) and I love Turkish (mmm samsun pide!), Greek (oickled octopus!), Italian, Vietnamese (rice paper rolls), Mexican food… mmmmmmmmmmm quesedillas! I am just not into fancy restaurants that give you a big plate with a small dollop of food in the middle with splashed of olive oil and balsamic around the edge of the plate (always manage to dip my sleeve in that stuff) not to mention the pine nuts all over the top! Despite the fact that I have learnt as an adult and social grace to eat just about anything I am served… I guess I am a pretty fussy eater when it comes to things I like and dislike.
But even the Baldy Guy has been commenting about my cooking lately… mostly to exclaim that I have in fact been cooking! Humph! Not like I didn’t cook before. In fact I have cooked almost every meal we have ever eaten together! But I do admit in the past my menu was somewhat limited… ok very limited, and a lot of the base for the meals came out of packet.
These days we can’t afford to eat out… it is a rare treat. Take out is not as convenient as it used to be because everything is a long way away, not to mention the cost. Even though we are not that far out of the city there are things that are harder to get up here and things that are more expensive – no pine nuts or churitzo sausage at our local supermarket. We have a very VERY tight food budget so there is no money for extras or fancy things or packets and we try not to waste anything. So the shift to the ‘country’ has meant a big shift in what we eat and how it is cooked, and a bit part of that shift lately has been the food we have had coming out of the garden!
I’ve learnt to make all kinds of things with zucchinis cause we have so many baseball bat sized ones! Zucchini chocolate muffins are pretty bloody good! Same goes for rhubarb, something we have managed to grow year round pretty much since moving.
Last year we had heaps of egg plants, this year it is pumpkins. I am not a fan of either of these things and in the past would just never have cooked them… but we grew them and they can’t go to waste so I have even learnt to cook things that I don’t like… luckily the Baldy Guy and the girls do!
I make cakes and muffins and biscuits now. We were recently given heaps of apples and have been busy peeling, cooking and freezing them, as well as making apple muffins, apple sponge cake, apple shortcake, apple and cinnamon pancakes and apple slice!
We are finally getting hundreds of tomatoes and as well as eating salad for almost every meal, I want to learn how to bottle some to keep through winter…. OMG! Did I just write that? I am so undomestic.. and never thought of myself as a cook at all and here I am talking of preserving things for winter!
We are also eating the best sweet corn I have ever tasted… picked fresh from the garden, you can even eat it raw it is so sweet and juicy! We are planning to leave some cobs on the plants to dry out and hopefully have popping corn too!
I make bread too. Yep! It started out with the Baldy Guy doing all the bread making in the bread machine which is still his domain, but I have discovered a passion for other breads. We got a pizza stone and pizza cook book for Christmas (see my inlaws aren’t all bad!) and I make great pizza, from scratch, even if I do say so myself! This has branched out into foccacias and other ‘flat breads’. I make a mean Turkish bread and use cucumbers and mint from our garden to make yogurt dip to go with it. I even make home made tortillas to go with our ‘cheats chili con carne‘ or tacos made with salad from our garden.
I have discovered the wonders of food blogs and googling for recipes… not sure why I never thought of this before! The net has a plethora (love that word) of recipes out there and loads of them don’t have pine nuts! LOL And food blogs… ace… real people, talking about cooking real food, with failures and all… makes me think I might actually be able to try some of that stuff too!
So ok I am not cooking anything mind boggling…and there are still plenty of nights when it is just sausages and whatever vege is on hand cause I just can’t face it…. but just the simple fact is that I am cooking. We are growing food, I am cooking it, we are eating it… and we are loving it.