Variety is indeed the spice of life. And that’s true of cooking as well. Some of my friends say they find cooking a drudgery. They are right, especially if they are repeatedly cooking the same few dishes, followed by hours of clean up.
Even the most disillusioned cook can be energised to get into the kitchen with the prospect of creating something new. I love to cook because I am forever experimenting and trialling new recipes and ingredients. Repetition is what kills it. I recall one Christmas having to decorate gingerbread at the bakery. I bake gingerbread at home for Christmas every year. But when I had to step in and help decorate 2000 gingerbread a day at the bakery, it felt like drudgery.
Cooking is fun, cleanup is not. Watching my mum in the kitchen, I learnt her thrifty ways. If the food processor was needed, she would line up all the jobs requiring the processor. So chapatti dough would be first, followed by finely chopped onions for cooking, then grated carrots for salad. Nothing was washed up until she had finished and had reused all the cooking apparatus several times. There’s no escaping clean-up, but we can minimise it.
The most fun is cooking for a party. That’s when all the stops are pulled out, and I cook something that is more involved and special. I do admit I combine untried recipes with some tried and tested ones, to reduce the risk of complete failure!
We recently had some friends over for dinner, so this week I am sharing the menu and recipes for that meal. For the friends who came to dinner – if you enjoyed anything you ate that night, you can recreate the same at home! There are two recipes by the chefs behind a favourite restaurant “Honey & Co”. I had never made the butternut dip and the dessert before. The crostini with the fig chutney (handy from Christmas), the padron peppers and the soft rolls were all tried and tested. Risotto is a reliable main, as is the broccoli. I made more romesco sauce than needed to use the leftover to serve with fish or green beans.
I had to roast a big batch of hazelnuts for the dinner party, and no guesses what the leftover nuts were used for – another batch of the dark chocolate & hazelnut spread. You can see we don’t believe in waste. I have also updated the recipe with more photos. Maybe it’s time you give Nutella a run for its money?
This week’s recipes:
I have just borrowed Rick Stein’s “Long Weekends” and am enjoying browsing through it. Haven’t decided if it’s a “must buy” yet!
As always it’s not just the family that counts; Love your friends and cook for them too!