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.
The menu was not vegetarian, but I still was involved in a lot of the cooking (just not the meat or fish preparation) and I was certainly full by the end of the meal! I had fennel salad with an orange, tomato and herb salad, asparagus with mashed potato and celeriac, five types of cheese, a poached pear and almond tart, and a variety of breads to go with each course. It was delicious, a lot of fun, and possibly most importantly very informative. I'm much less scared of cooking "complicated" meals now that I've done it a few times and know it isn't scary.
What has all this got to do with anything? Well, aside from the imminent venture into slow-cooking, which will require a lot of bravery both from me trying out new recipes and my family eating them, I just got a great idea for my mum's next birthday/Christmas present. Tonight we're having homemade pizzas, which I've been helping to prepare, and she mentioned that she would love to learn how professional pizza chefs make pizzas.
So I'm on the look-out for a local pizza course. So far I've got a sniff of one, but unfortunately their website is still stuck in the 1990s lack-of-design-or-information style, so I will have to either ring or visit. We're in rural Shropshire so it isn't easy to find this kind of thing!
The Water Challenge is going reasonably well. I decided almost immediately that it was unrealistic to think I could go an entire month without drinking anything except water, so I have allowed myself to have a hot chocolate in the evening with my parents. It's a family ritual that happens almost every night, although I have often decided not to have a drink. I know that if I banned myself from having one, it would take over my entire mind until I snapped. This way, I can have one if I want, but I might easily decide I don't want. Hopefully it will be more effective that way.