Thursday, 28 April 2011

Rice a la Greque

When my rice cooker arrived, naturally the first thing I wanted to do was play with it! I looked through the recipe book (forty-two recipes, many of them delicious and surprisingly complex) and cooed over how exciting it was. I read the instruction manual from cover to cover. Then I made... plain brown rice.

Well, sometimes the meals have already been planned and you just have to go with it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

In the Spotlight... Spring Green Cabbage

Spring green cabbage is "in season" for at least half the year, but unsurprisingly it's at its best in spring. We've got loads in the garden at the moment, so we're eating cabbage three times a week just now.

Image used under Creative Commons licence

The palate is not logical

The half-drunk bottle of Sprite which started this whole Water Challenge is still in my bedroom, on the bedside table. I've kept it there as a reminder of why I've restricted myself to drinking something I've always disliked, and as a symbol of my willpower.

But today I really wanted some. I really, really wanted some. For over two hours I resisted its siren call, but the memory of that flavour wouldn't get out of my mouth.

I took a sip. One single sip, just enough for the flavour to hit my tongue. It was warm, it was flat, but it was still sweet and delicious. Then I put the lid back on and went downstairs to get a glass of water. I gulped it down in three gulps and realised that it was so much better - cooler, more refreshing and much healthier. When the glass was empty I filled it up again and it's here by my side. I'm taking frequent sips and it's making me feel better.

But I still want to drink that Sprite.

Guess my tastebuds don't care about health, huh?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Cheesy Cabbage Bake

My mum and stepdad have a fairly extensive vegetable garden and orchard, and as a result almost all of our fruit and veg is home-grown. We're almost always eating in season, and it's as fresh as possible - in the summer we walk out of the door with a pair of clean scissors and cut ourselves a salad.

At the moment there's a bumper crop of cabbages, and as I type a full-scale blanching operation is going on in the kitchen in order to store some of it. I never used to think I liked cabbage but that's definitely turned out not to be true and just in the last week I've eaten it three times.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Cookery Classes for the Masses

I don't think I mentioned it here, but while I was in Paris I got the chance to go to a five-hour cookery class which took a small group of us (five, on this occasion) around the market, learning about the different shops and how to spot the freshest and best produce. Then we decided on a four-course menu based on what was in season - including, naturally, a cheese course - and took it all back to the cookery school to cook it.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

One-Month Water Challenge

Image by Rajiv Shah,  used under Creative Commons Licence
I made the long trip back from Paris at the beginning of this week, and on the final train I succumbed to temptation and bought a snack from the trolley. As I was idly perusing the back of my Sprite bottle, I made two discoveries in quick succession.

Monday, 18 April 2011

A New Start

It has been a very long time since I last updated this blog, and lots of things have been happening. The main one is that I am a matter of hours away from moving back to England, so I am currently procrastinating from packing by looking at crockpot recipes on the internet.

Being in France has opened my eyes to a lot of cooking and a lot of new recipes - from watching the housekeeper create amazing food out of vegetables, pasta, olive oil and salt, to taking an incredible cookery lesson which focused on selecting and using fresh local produce, to cooking with a friend who really enjoys it. I've now got five months back with my parents before I move into my own home, and I intend to use that time to teach myself to cook properly!

So, this blog will branch out a bit and no longer be about lunches (which never really interested me very much anyway). Once I've located my camera charger I will start to document my journey towards cuisinary competence, and I hope we'll get there sooner rather than later!

My first step has been to locate a rice cooker/crockpot/steamer/porridge maker which I will buy as soon as I can justify the cost - hopefully that will be soon.