This time last year (well, this time six months ago to be honest!) I would have laughed if someone asked me to write a post about cooking and my confidence in my style of cooking. I could barely cook fish fingers! Roll onto now, very different circumstances and a very different kitchen and I think I’m now quite a confident cook.
I’m not a fantastic cook, far from it. Sometimes things really don’t go to plan, like my attempt at a chickpea and potato curry. It looked alright, but it tasted really dry and bland, and I just couldn’t work out how to rescue it. It was edible and we ate it, but it wasn’t great. Still, I had attempted to cook something that was way, way out of my comfort zone. I had never even bought a can of chickpeas, let alone cooked them before then. I haven’t thrown the leftovers away – I’ve bunged them in the freezer and at some point will find a way of turning it into something delicious. I’m thinking of adding some chorizo or something like that in to give it some more flavour and a different texture, or even turning it into some sort of fritter or something like that. Before, I would have chucked it away and never gone near chickpeas again!
Graham and I tend to share cooking duty between us. He cooks the roast dinners and the ‘boring’ meals – sausage and mash, things like that, whilst I am the one trying out the more adventurous things – various casseroles and stews, curries, that sort of stuff. Most of my cooking up to now has been done in a slow cooker – living in rented houses we’ve always had whatever cooker was in there, and they were always pretty rubbish. A few weeks ago, our lovely landlord had a new delivered to us, and I’m now cooking more and more on that. It’s far from my dream cooker – that would be one of these Belling kitchen range cookers. But, for a rented house, I’m pretty pleased and it does the job effectively. Since we’ve had it, I’ve discovered a love for baking.
Baking was something I always hated. I didn’t have the patience for the measuring, the mixing and everything else that baking requires you to do. Now, I bake at least at least a couple of times a week and make a few different things at a time. Our favourites are banana bread, chocolate chip loaves and lemon drizzle cake! I also discovered I make a pretty good Bakewell tart – you can find the recipe here. I’m becoming more adventurous, trying different combinations of flavours and ingredients. This week, I made up a batch of white chocolate and blueberry muffins which we all really enjoyed, and this week I am making a sort of sticky toffee pudding cakey thing.
So, what’s my style of cooking? Well, it’s a sort of ‘bung it all in and hope for the best’ style. I don’t really follow recipes – I look at what I have and make something from that, whether it is baking or for a meal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Half the meals I make I probably could never recreate exactly because I have no idea what is in there, let alone the quantities of ingredients! My aim for this year is to bake something really spectacular. Watch this space!