Have I Become a Master Chef?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

I love it when we have major shifts in consciousness.

I had one recently, after spending almost a decade whinging about having to cook dinner (read this).

But recently, I've changed my tune. It's been a combination of things - a couple of new cookbooks, the example set by other mums and bloggists, the realisation that cooking can be a wonderful experience, and yes - even Masterchef.

So, in the past few months, things have improved in the culinary section of our household, for sure. The changes seem to have come suddenly because I implemented an attitude that allowed me to cook whinge-free. And as each new stage of my culinary journey unfolded, it paved the way for more... for more inspiration, more joy, more desire to cook.

Then, about a month ago, I got chatting to one of my oldest and dearest friends about what was on for dinner. And since then, we haven't shut up. Culinary Goddess and health professional, Mary, has always been a lover of good food, and we've always talked about food, but somehow - for the first time - things just affected me more. Now, I could just listen to her all day.

Here are some of her recent samples:

"...Tonight, I opted for the easy soup dinner, but it was so good. My favorite (well, this month) - Zucchini cream with Moroccan spices. Now I can have it for lunch tomorrow with open toasted chicken, avocado and basil pesto, melts. I love the soup as it is, but next time am tempted to add a big chunk of blue vein cheese or gorgonzola..."

"...This morning we had scrambled, cheesy eggs on pesto covered toast, which was heavenly..."

"...Make a salad everyone loves - base of baby spinach, chopped herbs, sun dried tomatoes, olives, cucumber (anything) then put the herby veges on this straight out of the oven and mix up with a dressing of olive oil, bit of balsamic, fresh crushed garlic, spoon of chutney. Maybe add crumbled feta or grilled haloumi. Served this on Mother’s Day with a plate of marinated, grilled tuna..."

"...I chop sweet potato, pumpkin, potato and capsicum into bite sized pieces, toss in oil, spices and bake. Made fragrant fresh pesto (could live on it) and covered the veges with this green powerhouse of flavor. Often will cover with hard Italian cheese and dukkah..."

If this hasn't inspired you to start chopping up a storm, I'll eat a frozen TV dinner (never!!).

In the meantime, I have come up with some inspiring ways to get YOU to start whipping up a culinary show in the kitchen (yes, on a nightly basis, peoples).

I hope the following inspires you and please please leave a comment or drop me a line and share your tips on what inspires you to cook.

  • Fill your house with ingredients – if you don’t have inspiring ingreds on hand, you won’t make the effort
  • Update your knives, your crusty old food processor and buy the equipment you need – a sushi mat for Japanese, a clay pot for Vietnamese, a bamboo steamer for Chinese
  • Buy fresh and frequently and IN SEASON
  • Try not to walk around and just throw ingreds mindlessly into the trolley; slow down, look, touch, smell, feel inspired, think up recipes as you touch and sense the abundant produce around you
  • On that note, shop somewhere that provides fresh and beautiful food, preferably organic, which is becoming much more affordable
  • Swap recipes with friends
  • Talk with people who are food-lovers and share mouthwatering stories
  • Join foodie websites for inspiration
  • Get your cookbooks off the shelf and actually OPEN them
  • Sit down with the fam on a Sunday night and go through your fave recipe book – everyone gets to choose 5 recipes they would like; mark them with post it notes and shop for the ingredients; make it your mission to cook them all that week
  • Consider ingredient-specific shopping – ie: plan your entire week’s menu and shop for it all at once; no more cringing at the thought of dinner – having it all there ready to go will get you excited and more inclined to cook something beautiful
  • See cooking as a means to a glorious end rather than a chore - view it as a way to nourish and excite your family, and foster a love of nutritional variety that will instil a lifelong and true joy in healthy eating
  • Be brave and cook in varying international cuisines - your family's tastebuds will be travel on the party of a lifetime
Watch out for more on my discussions with Mary about food... coming soon!


Meghan said...

Recipes sound devine! Thank you for inspiring me to cook up a storm this evening! Keep 'em coming!!

Anonymous said...

all fabulous ideas . . . but what about the house with picky eaters (hee hee) TB

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