As someone who works in the food industry I more often than not hear people saying that they are too intimidated to cook for me. Seeing as my favourite comfort food is a jacket (baked) potato with Heinz baked beans and grated cheese, I really don’t see what anyone has to fear. Then again, the potato is best as a Maris Piper or Marfona, oiled and salted so that the skin gets nice and crispy but the flesh stays creamy and doesn’t dry out. The beans must be Heinz original and the grated cheddar should be extra sharp and neither rubbery nor dry. Maybe I am a little bit of a fuss-pot after all.
My Mum thinks most of the time I come on here to berate her cooking- which really isn’t entirely true. The problem is that growing up we were a house of fussy eaters, which must have made it incredibly hard to cook anything. My brother avoids cheese and anything remotely foreign. My sister is always on some sort of health kick and dad is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, cooked well-done and minus any fat or dressing. In other words it’s not that he doesn’t have an appetite he just loves bland food. As for me, I only really take issue with onions that aren’t fully softened before adding the remaining ingredients. There’s no halfway house with onions- it’s raw or fully cooked. As for my
interfering offering suggestions in the kitchen- well I just can’t help it, perhaps I should have been a teacher.
Having just spent two weeks at home recovering/giving Don a rest I realised that there’s a lot I could learn from my mother too- especially when it comes to frugality in the kitchen. It’s true my mother (and my aunty Nicky) are both known for their waste-not-want-not approach and a fuzzy carpet of mold on the top of your jam does not mean the whole pot has to be chucked out. Most of these are obvious- but surprisingly enough I don’t always think to do them.
• Butter wrappers are kept in fridge and used to grease tins or place on a chicken before it goes into the oven to roast
• Ziplock bags and tin foil are washed, dried and reused
• Anything leftover from a Chicken carcass is immediately turned into stock
• Leftover ratattouille is added to a spaghetti bolognase
• Pots and jars are all saved for storing homemade jam
• Over-ripening peaches are quickly peeled and braised in orange juice
• Stale bread is turned into breadcrumbs and frozen
• Extra herbs are frozen (although this really only works well for the hard ones like thyme and rosemary.
• Extra berries are best frozen in plastic bags rather than just in their punnets
EXTRAS added my Mum and Aunty Nicky
• Last nights veg makes tomorrows soup
• Turn one “empty” bottle of washing-up liquid upside down to drain into the new one or fill with a small amount of water and shake out any last dregs of soap!