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Monday, 19 August 2013

Cool Summer Cooking

image thanks to BBCGoodfood - my picture was awful, but their recipe was great!

I wish I was something of a great cook who creates hip & cool morsels in my kitchen but I am not. Simply, I am a slightly harassed 40 yr old mother to sons of the age that requires carbohydrate, IV style, about every 2 hours. I love food (& have the thighs to prove it) and feel in my head that I know about food. I am quite a good cook, I grow (well I sow, neglect & gather minute portions of) vegetables, I am bothered about where my food comes from and I know my way around a chickpea. However, the reality of my daily culinary existence is anchored firmly in the realms of pasta, potatoes, couscous & rice. Don't get me wrong, I make a mean fish pie and I reckon Jamie, Nigel and Hugh would love my risotto, but I think my downfall is the atmosphere in which I cook.
Picture the scene....a lovely, light, sunny kitchen diner with a view over the garden down to my office. There is my favourite wisteria hanging, untamed, round the kitchen window and French doors. There are open shelves housing my recipe book collection - even including some Elizabeth David and lots of Nigel. What you will need to add to this image in your head are the added ingredients that reduce a delicious risotto, being made with a glass of wine on the go while listening to some vintage Brucie, to a vat of sloppy carbs, made far too fast........
Firstly an extremely small window of opportunity to create the meal of your dreams. I work for myself, so am always halfway through another email at the bottom of the garden, when I realise with horror that the magic 5 has come & gone. There is a boy marching purposefully down the garden with a familiar face. It is a little pale, cross & determined. "Mum...when is tea ready? I'm hungry....". B**ger....
Secondly, another boys lopes (older) down the garden and says "Mum, football practice is on tonight. We need to be there by 6". Rats....
Thirdly comes the most sole destroying bit. Despite every effort, I am not one of those parents that plans a weekly menu. I have a vague idea of things I might cook in a week. Unfortunately this list is usually created in my woolly head and is mainly based on what I made last week. Dullness ensues as I look bleakly into my fridge and try to remember those days when I had time to plan a meal remembered from an article I read in the weekend papers (ha!) Dullness is followed quickly by a surge in heart rate...panic descends as I start to shout randomly about getting changed, finding football boots and goalie gloves.
Finally I start chopping onions in the hope that inspiration will follow, which it doesn't and I make risotto again.
So...the reason for the title - Cool Summer Cooking?? Well today I had time and today I rediscovered some previously lost foody mojo and created pea & mint soup, chickpea & spinach curry. Tomorrow I plan courgette & feta patties & a cake! Saturday was home made "in front of the telly" nibbles of lemon thyme Italian cured sausage, olives, home made falafels with minty yoghurt dip, pittas and houmous...delish...
Thank you summer for finding me just a little time for some cool cooking....

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