Having good ingredients in the house
Over the last few weeks I feel like I’ve got my cooking mojo back. For a while it had disappeared. Meals seemed difficult and I couldn’t decide what to cook. My usual ability to make a meal from the cupboards just wasn’t working and I was finding it hard to get enthusiastic about cooking.
This happens to me occasionally. While I usually spend a lot of time thinking about food, planning what we’re going to eat and cooking. Just sometimes the urge and interest deserts me.
As my enthusiasm has returned, I’ve been reminded of one of the fundamental principles of eating well – the importance of having good ingredients in the house.
Usually we get a vegetable box each week. However, for various reasons I’d recently dropped the subscription. A combination of being away from home, forgetting to re-subscribe and foolishly thinking we didn’t need it, meant we went about six weeks without our regular vegetable box.
The return of my mojo has exactly coincided with the renewal of my vegie box subscription. Which has been a good reminder of how much this helps me to eat well. Like Cindy from Where’s the Beef, we usually get a vegetable box each week and it’s the foundation of our meals. Having the vegetables in the house means having really good ingredients to play with and be inspired by. It also motivates me to cook, as I hate the thought of wasting the produce.
As my enthusiasm has returned I’ve been cooking up a storm. A dangerously sagging bunch of silverbeet was used in this dairy free Spinach Pie; a hunk of pumpkin was roasted and combined with chickpeas in this soup; and I made Have Cake Will Travel’s Caraway Seed Bread. I re-made a couple of old-old favourites, including Martha Rose Shulman’s Lettuce and Potato Soup and Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Baked Beetroot with Balsamic. I’ve also been loving Alice Hart’s Vegetarian book (so much so that I’ll be posting a review on my Everyday Kitchen blog at Reader’s Digest later in the week) and have made her Spiced Roasted Chickpeas and roasted Tahini Seeds.
I haven’t just been following recipes either, I’ve also cooked some delicious meals, making it up as I go along – my normal way of cooking. We’ve been particularly enjoying a combination of thinly sliced and panfried eggplant cooked with chilli, kaffir lime, fresh lime, red lentils with just a few tablespoons of coconut cream to thicken the mixture.
It’s been a good reminder of something I know, but sometimes forget or disregard. Good ingredients and having a fridge full of food actually motivates me to cook and eat well. By taking away a lot of decisions, a vegie box simplifies our weekly meals and makes good food easier and less bothersome.