One good thing that has come from Covid 19 has been the enthusiasm for kitchen activity and new culinary skills developed.
Friends who normally on weekends are out fishing or messing around with computers or power tools are baking bread and making cakes with gusto. Every day many of them are sending updates on social media with their pride in their luscious creations and I salute them all!
Every few days if you can nail one new cooking success it will help you keep motivated and feeling good.
Keep it simple – a new gravy – a new way to serve a vegetable – a new muffin.
After this is over, I know many will be time poor and not able to make that loaf of bread regularly, but you will remember the days spent perfecting an Edmonds classic with your kids and perhaps all sitting down together for a meal – keep things simple and easy.
Here’s just a few points to share:
1. If you want to use lock-down to perfect a complicated dish – go ahead, but I would advise to keep them simple and try to recreate almost the food of your grandparents – not the Croquembouche and spun sugar. Think comfort food – food that reassures, calms you with easy success rather than frustrates you with technical skill. If you ever hear me say “I’m off to make a Croquembouche” please advise the authorities as I’ve gone completely mad! It’s just too hard for most of us – leave it to the experts.
Rather make things that bring back good memories of an earlier time – like a warm banana coconut pudding your grandmother made or a bowl of soup your aunt always served.
2. Don’t be overly critical of yourself or the home baker – there is nothing wrong with a little imperfection. It’s the effort that needs to be acknowledged – seriously the best way to improve your baking and cooking so to keep doing it!
3. Support our local growers - like buying those Beekist tomatoes in store and those Ezipeel mandarins. Our tomato growers have had it tough as so much of their crops are used in fast food operations so these past few weeks there has been plenty in the market – so make that tomato relish or my favourite kasundi on my web site.
4. Keep things simple and especially with budgets an important consideration– don’t waste anything and sharing produce is great – if you have an over-supply of feijoas perhaps your neighbour would appreciate a bag left on the fence post.
5. I’ve searched out on my daily walks some produce e.g– quinces falling off trees on the roadway – and communicating with the owner over the fence and far away they have said “help yourself “ – I’ve been making quince jelly but the poached quinces in the Le Creuset pot with a squeeze of orange juice /water and sugar and cooked (covered) while roasting other ingredients has been a delicious treat – 2 hours at 160degC while a roast is cooking – divine ! Served chilled with yoghurt.
Finally, I keep saying this but food is an expression of you; so all those great home bakers and cooks who make an extra pie or batch of cookies and leave them for the elderly neighbour next door in their letterbox are deeply caring and good people – the joy of home cooked food has never been so powerful!
Stay safe and well and happy and cooking!!