Thursday, 21 February 2013

Three Things In My Fridge

I was just reading this post about three things which are always in the author's fridge, and it got me thinking. Now, if I were to answer that question it would be very boring. The three things which are always in my fridge are milk, cheddar and olive oil spread, and sometimes I run out of one of those. I just did a quick count and my fridge currently contains fourteen items: milk, mayonnaise, cheddar, tomatoes, mushrooms, olive oil spread, eggs, mayonnaise, two types of jam, honey, lemon juice, tomato ketchup and some cranberry sauce left over from Christmas. I consider that fairly well-stocked.

Don't forget, I also have a freezer. That's where most of my food is: already cooked and portioned, ready to be defrosted and heated up each evening. Things which don't need to be kept cold live in the kitchen cupboard. I'm not starving to death by any means.

But I do wish I had more food in my fridge, because that would also imply that I had more people eating it, and more time to cook it. I would love to have a fridge bursting with fresh vegetables, left-overs from last night's dinner, snacks and treats and things that will get eaten before they become sentient. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about my short-, mid- and long-term goals and realised that they can all be summed up by the desire for a kitchen. Short-term, a kitchen with fewer than 14 people using it. Mid-term, a kitchen with just me and my family using it. Long-term, the kitchen of my dreams. All my other hopes and ambitions are embodied in those dreams.

The empty fridge, though, is an even more clear image of things I'm looking forward to changing in future. My approach to meals is keeping me healthy and nourished while I'm busy with other things, but I do get a bit tired of the sameness of eating from a necessarily limited selection of meals. There's only so much space in the freezer, and it makes sense to cook large batches of the same thing.

In three weeks, term ends and I will have a little more breathing space. I'm planning on making another lasagne or several, and a couple more pies, because those were delicious. I've got some interesting recipes lined up to try out and a few old favourites will be sticking around (spaghetti with "meat"balls and blue cheese is still one of my favourite meals). I will still not be able to spend an hour cooking each night, preparing vegetables and cooking sides to go with my main course, because at that rate I'd not be eating before 9pm. Student life is a funny old business.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Just a thought...

This whole horsemeat scandal is making me feel incredibly glad to be vegetarian. I mean, I don't have the first clue what's in my Quorn mince, but I don't think it ever trotted round a field.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What's Cooking This Week

My freezer stash, which began the year heaving with lasagna, pie, bolognese and "meat"ball sauce, was starting to look a little sad. I've had a productive work week so far, so I took the evening off to tackle a couple of big cooking projects.

A few days ago I had set my slow cooker to work on a batch of curry, so I was already off to a good start with four portions of Quorn, potato and lentil curry (the ingredients are what I happened to have lying around). At the weekend my mum came to visit and brought with her a packet of meatball pasta bake mix, which I immediately began to crave. As luck would have it, I had both a bag of soya meatballs in the freezer and a box of pre-cooked pasta in the fridge, which I had taken out intending to eat it for lunch and fortunately forgotten.

I also wanted to make another batch of Quorn chasseur, as I had quite a lot of Quorn fillets and two packets of the sauce mix, so I tackled the two at once. It worked surprisingly well - the chasseur takes an hour to cook and the pasta bake only 25 minutes, so I managed to cook, eat, portion out the leftovers and clean up before it was time to get the casseroles out of the oven. People were coming in and out of the room to prepare their own dinner; it's always nice to have the chance to chat to my neighbours as we stir and chop.

Tonight's main topic of conversation was the kitchen food thief, who has been raiding people's cupboards - so far a bag of rice and a jar of pesto have been taken (whoever it is is very brazen - the stolen pesto was discovered, open, in the communal fridge). We aren't sure who it is, but I have suspicions. I'm not quite sure what we can do about it, other than locking our cupboards and hiding everything away. It's very depressing not to be able to trust people.

Anyway, everything went to plan this time (no melted plastic layer on top of the casserole) and I now have another eleven meals frozen away. On Friday my dad and his partner will be visiting and I will be using up the remaining Quorn fillets for fajitas, using the seasoning mix that came free in my Good Food Show goodie bag. On Saturday we're off to a food fair at a local farm, which promises to be delicious - and also provides a goodie bag to take home! I love freebies, they often inspire me to try new recipes and have even introduced me to some new brands once or twice.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Lunch: Still my Downfall

I originally started this blog as a way to motivate myself to eat more interesting lunches, or just more lunches in general. It has spiralled off into being a more general food blog, and I honestly think it has been part of the reason that I have taken far better control over my diet and learnt to cook, meal plan and shop.
But lunch is still my nemesis. Every day, I still sigh and think "what on earth am I going to have for lunch?". There are days, like today, where I have toast because I can't think of anything else, or I don't have any other food.
Once again I'm making an effort to get lunch under the same control as the rest of my life. My approach to dinner has been fairly successful, so I shall employ it again for the middle of the day: cooking ahead, and freezing portions to defrost.
So far my lunch ideas for the freezer include pasta salad, egg mayo rolls, cheese and tomato wraps and potato salad. I'm also thinking about soup in a mug sachets, and tins of soup, and some pita breads to fill with cheese and Marmite - a childhood favourite and fairly simple to make.
Armed with a shopping list, I'm off into town to stock up on lunch foods... again.