Saturday, September 11, 2010
It Aint Cooking If You Don't Use Golden Syrup
Cooking has become an integral part of my life.
When I was a kid, I was pretty lucky and managed to escape most of my childhood without having to cook a meal for anyone. My mother was always a great cook, but this never seemed to transfer into my own skills base.
At university I survived on a diet consisting mostly of mince, pasta and sauce. The juniors at McDonalds knew me by name, and once (embarrassingly enough) a Donut King attendant once commented on how 'my kids would love these donuts' - surely because one single female could never possibly consume all of those donuts on her own... mmmm donuts!
When I scored my first real teaching post, I had a flat mate who was a spectacular cook, and I managed to pick up a few handy tips from her on healthy eating and quick, easy meals that were also fairly impressive to look at. This was around the same time I met my hubby. It is little wonder he was blown away by my fantastic culinary skills. I was still learning, and there were many years that lay ahead of me before I would grow tired of exploring these new kitchen talents.
Three children later, I consider myself something of a cook. I have a whole cupboard full of cooks books that I like to experiment with, but the reality is that most of the time I rely on a few favourites that I can do blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. Every now and then I try something new and exciting. But in all honesty, hubby is a back to basics man. If it doesn't have meat in it, it's not a real meal. Most of the meals I cook are either a mix of carbs and veges, or carbs and meat. Or a combination of the above.
I've never felt like an authentic farmers wife. I have never been much of a baker as such. I don't regularly have 'smoko' ready on the table for when hubby walks in, hungry. I try. Really I do.
And then a few months ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to "The Country Table". This cook book is the mother of all country cook books. It's the back-to-basics, cook your way into hubby's heart cook book, and it has done amazing things for my hubby's renewed faith in my cooking abilities! And the comfort food has not gone unnoticed on my waist either let me tell you! But let me also add, that every bite, every taste, every mouthful, was worth it!
This cook book taught me that if you don't use golden syrup, then you aren't really baking! (Well not really, but it seems that anything truly delicious seems to include lashings of golden syrup!) It also taught me that we are all capable of unleashing our inner Martha Stewart!
One of my favourite 'special treat' recipes (not in the cook book mentioned above) is the well known American Red Velvet Cake. And this picture does it no justice! This cake is so good you can only eat it on very special occasions. You just know something this good has GOT to be bad for you. Bad, but delicious!
The other thing about honing my skills as a domestic goddess, is that I am becoming more adept at 'knowing my meats'. And by meat, I mean beef and lamb. At the moment we have 3 inside freezers switched on. We also have a cold room out in the shed. Our freezers are currently brimful of every cut of beef or lamb you can imagine. I consider myself extremely lucky. The cost of meat these days at a supermarket is enough to scare the socks off any self-respecting carnivore! So don't think I don't feel guilty when hubby and I have a conversation like this...
Me: "CP, what do you want for dinner?"
CP: "I don't know... what do we have?"
Me: (Staring into all 3 freezers) "Ummmm... nothing."
CP: "Nothing? I thought we had some roasts?"
Me: "I'm sick of roast!"
And yes... I feel guilty.
We eat so much roast that I can honestly admit that it's starting to affect my culinary skills. And my waist line. I am, of course, completely grateful for the fact that we eat lots of red meat and we eat well. But it certainly explains my excitement at our recent acquisition of 10 chickens...