Saturday, 12 January 2013

For the love of food

I love food.  Only before the age of six when I was ill and doctors prescribed a medicine to encourage my appetite did food not really play a major role in my life.  I now often joke that - as in "Asterix & Obelix" where Obelix fell into the magic potion - I probably fell into the medicine and haven't stopped thinking about food ever since.  I remember events by the food we ate.  My husband will say "Do you remember when we did this or that?" and I will usually answer something along the lines of "Yes, it was a Sunday and you had the pork and I had chicken supreme and sorbet for dessert.".

But not only do I love to eat food, I also love creating it.  And I am beginning to realise that good food doesn't have to be complicated with a long list of ingredients that no one can pronounce. Good food can be simple!  And as long as you have a good recipe to follow, cooking doesn't have to be scary either.  I am still learning and have not even scratched the surface of the cooking techniques out there but somehow that doesn't matter because the food I cook makes us feel happy and satisfied - can there a better reason for cooking?


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Crumbs...what do I do with that leftover bread?

There it is - a chunk of leftover, slightly stale bread that we somehow never got round to eating whilst still fresh and lovely.  So, what to do with it other than stuffing for roast chicken? I began to look in cook books and on the internet and found exactly what I'd hoped - a cake!  Someone had posted a recipe for their German grandmother's cherry & vanilla breadcrumb cake - I am assuming that this recipe came into being during the years of rationing either during or after the war when food waste was not an issue (I will touch on this again in a little while).

Anyway, I took my sad looking chunk of bread, chucked it into the food processor to make rough crumbs and then put those into the oven to dry for a little before returning them to the food processor for another whiz.  The result was a fine, almost flour-like consistency...Now, you see where I am going with this, don't you?  The breadcrumbs are used to replace some of the flour in the recipe! 
I was still a bit skeptical but must admit that I am very pleased with the fluffy & moist result that you can see in the picture below.  The translated version of the recipe will soon appear under the recipes tab but for the German-speaking readers amongst you, please click here for a link to the original.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Souper Trouper

I found a few mushrooms and a rather sad looking bunch of celery at the back of the fridge and what better thing to do than to turn these into some soup for lunch? Just a handful of ingredients made a really satisfying meal.
Mushroom soup - a warm hug in a bowl

Food waste is a big problem and by whizzing up some soup, you can breath new life into those leftover bits of veg that could otherwise so easily end up being thrown away. Definitely a feel-good meal on many levels!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A good start to the day

There are many people who quite happily skip breakfast, going about their business on an empty stomach. I'm definitely not one of them!  I love porridge, breadrolls with cheese or jam or the latest favourite: homemade granola! For some reason I always thought that something this tasty must inevitably be very difficult to make...wrong! This version is easy to make and once you've tried it, breakfast will be firmly on the menu!

Oats ready for toasting in the oven
Seeds & fruit mix for granola
I usually replace the vanilla extract with cinnamon and leave out the oil - the nice thing is that you can play with it and make it exactly how you like by adding different types of dried fruit, nuts & seeds etc.  It is lovely eaten with just milk (of any type - nut or soya milk would definitely also work instead of cow's milk) or topped with fresh fruit and yogurt.  Yummy - here is to a good start to the day!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Comfort food...

Pork casserole
I guess everyone has a dish or two that they can rely on to lift the spirit - proper comfort food that warms body and soul.  Well, the dish that comes to mind for me is a homemade casserole!  Already when bubbling away on the stove or in the oven, the aroma filling the house makes me smile.  Even Keith, the dog gets excited (although he also does when I empty the kitchen bin, so we won't take his opinion too seriously).

What I love about this particular meal is that it is easy and requires minimum input - just a bit of chopping, some quick frying and then some time in the oven.  You can use pretty much anything you have in the fridge and larder and it's perfect for using up leftover veg.  We had a pork one with peppers, onions, garlic, tomato and a hint of chilli as well as seasoning.  You could use chicken instead of the pork or make a vegetarian option by adding mushrooms, baby corn, etc.  Served on rice (as we did), mashed potato or in a baked spud - really versatile, really easy, really tasty! :-)  What is your ultimate comfort food?