15 March 2010

I have an uncontrollable urge

...to cook! Not like me at all. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to give my family dinners that are tasty, nutritious and look nice on the plate, and of course cheap.  But let's face it, cooking dinner for the same people whose tastes rarely change is just plain boring.

If Wayne and the boys had their way it would be steak or sausages and mashed potato every night. Hannah loves salads and pasta. I like variety and as I am the mother, cook and the cleaner I get to choose what we eat. Hopefully it's at the very least nutritious.

I've just made toasted sandwiches for AJ's lunch (he has late Uni today) and really there's not much you can do to a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich to glam it up. But that gorgeous boy (who is really at 19 a man already, where did my baby go?) just told me I am a great cook. Over toasted sandwiches. I almost burst into tears.

When I think of the disasters that he and the others have had to eat (a particularly distasteful salmon and rice dish springs to mind) with barely a complaint it makes me want to lift my game even more and produce even better meals for them. Within budget of course.

What caused this urge? I can't be certain but it could be the lovely Donna Hay recipe book I was given, or watching Julie and Julia on DVD or even finding the Martha Stewart show on TV each weekday afternoon.  It could even have been finding my mother's Commonsense Cookery book when I was tidying the kitchen cupboards a few weeks ago. Perhaps it's my goal to make our meals healthier than they have been.Or any combination of these things.

It kind of goes hand in hand with my cooking from scratch ethos.  I don't have many recipe books that use packet mixes or convenience foods (the only one that springs to mind is my Edmonds Cookery Book and that's only because it recommends Edmonds brand products).

All my cooking hasn't cost very much. Keeping a stocked pantry and freezer help. And of course choosing the recipes to suit the ingredients in the house. Last Tuesday's effort was a delicious vegetable moussaka, made with onions, celery, tomatoes, eggplant and capsicum from the garden and topped with a deceptively simply béchamel  sauce. It was so good and there was leftovers. They disappeared at lunchtime the next day.

Saturday night I tried a new taco filling, using refried beans and only 250g mince. It was so yummy, no leftovers at all and marked a winner by everyone.

I haven't decided what new recipe I'll try this week, but I am having lots of fun looking through the recipe books.

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