I’ve always made an effort when it came to cooking – even when I was just cooking for myself. I can never understand people who say they are lazy and couldn’t bother making something nice or extra special if it was just going to be dinner for one. If you’re going to try to impress people, why not start with yourself.
Even when I lived in digs, and was short of time, I would still take the time to prepare a meal as if I wasn’t just for me, even down to the garnishing and table setting.
So last night, when the other half was out having a pint with his best mate, I whipped up a lamb curry to go with the left over basmati rice from the night before (when he cooked a meal of baked salmon with onion, red peppers and mushrooms). It took about 40 minutes to cook until it was softly tender, but it was definitely worth every second. Juicy, aromatic (thanks to mum’s garam marsala!), succulent and with just enough chillies to tickle my chilli sense, it reminded me of home.
Ethical and organic food shopping can really drain a purse. It’s a real shame that eating well and properly in London – mainly being able to find and buy the best looking and tasting produce – does not come without great effort and added expense. But I value quality and when possible try to buy the best – but unfortunately that can’t be every day of the month.
I often wish I could grow my own food here in the city. Growing up in South Africa we had a wonderful garden and my mum would grow all kinds of herbs, regular and unusual veggies and fruit – from snake gourd, the juiciest cherry tomatoes, water melon and calabash, to baby aubergines, devil chillies, sugar cane, masses of mint and a wide variety of beans. We also had mango trees, banana trees, granadilla bushes, avocado trees, curry leaf, lychees, clementines and a coffee tree which never really bore much.
I’d like to think we had a balanced diet of organic free range chicken, duck, turkey and geese which we grew, and fresh fish which my dad caught (he’s crazy about fishing), and just loads of seafood in general. I’d like to think our omega-3 rich diet is responsible for the Naidoo brain power!
Anyway, we had a delicious free-range organic chicken roast today, excellently paired with a plump, juicy Rioja. It makes heaps of difference to a roast when you buy a good quality bird as opposed the the basic small/medium/large chicken from Tesco or Sainsbury. There’s more flavour that really tastes like chicken the way it did when we reared our own poultry when I was growing up. The flesh is meaty – proper muscle meaty, and the flavours more earthy and robust.
Nibbling on my favourite parts – the drumsticks and wings, and crunching the skin that’s all crispy and gold, I have to say roast chicken is one of my favourite things in the whole world.
I keep thinking that my life will change the day I buy a food blender – glass jug, more than one speed, ice-crushing function. I imagine all the things I could make and all the smoothies I can have for breakfast. Better yet, a food processor as well. I’d be making red pepper hummous, fresh basil pesto, thai fish cakes, fresh breadcrumbs… Right now, I’m in transit, along with my husband – rented flat, limited time in London (or so we have been saying for a while now) not much ‘stuff’, the kind of stuff grown ups have in their grown up homes that they own, or designed, or just bought and co-own it with the bank. We don’t have much of that kind of stuff yet and talk about having it one day, but I’m 32 and I love to cook kitchens are havens, and ours is so small there is not place for the kids of gadets I’d like to have in my grown up kitchen.
They were giving them away in our staff canteen – freshly squeezed organic fruit juices and smoothies in a host of flavours. I managed to walk-away with three… Picked grapefruit for it’s mythical fat-busting abilities; blueberries for it’s anti-oxidant fame and mango, because I love the flavour.
Was in Mexico a week ago and was agog with the feast of fruit colour and the variety of tropical fruit. Plump, succulent mangoes, large blushing paw paws, giant pineapples straining at the seams, sweet finger bananas, prickly pears, thick cactus leaves, green coconuts, watermelon, oranges…
There is an abundance of oranges wherever you look – juice is often freshly squeezed in most restaurants and cafes, and limes, of course. There’s lime in almost everything. Lime flavoured peanuts (cacahuetes), lime-flavoured crips, lime tea, lime soup, key lime pie (however this is probably more Miami than Mexico)…