Friday, May 16, 2008

Different Perspectives

It was said in the article that nowadays cooking has sunk so low that all we can be bothered to do is pour a can of cook-in-sauce over a chicken and shove it in the oven. And here I say (up to a point), what is wrong with that? Does she think we should copy many of the French women who buy their chickens still alive, take them home to kill, pluck and gut them ready for the pot that evening, not to mention making the perfect wine sauce to go with it?

Yesterday for example, Beloved ate a lamb shank with 'new' potatoes and peas for his supper, with the addition of mint sauce and redcurrant jelly. Plus a bottle of vino. To one person that would count as 'home-cooking', after all the meat was in the oven for one hour, the potatoes cooked on the hob, and the peas cooked in the microwave. But someone else might see it in a different light, for the meat came from a frozen (pre-cooked in gravy) pack, the potatoes were not home-grown thus bought (sold not as 'new' but packed as 'small') and the peas were frozen. True the r.c.jelly and mint sauce were home-made, and the gravy-that-came-with-the-meat had water added before cooking, and then finally rapidly boiled down to make a rich jus, so perhaps it could be called a half-way-house special. For your benefit I even took a photo Beloved eating it (shown tomorrow). Now, although we should all do as much home-cooking as possible, this doesn't mean we need to do it all ourselves. This being a cost-cutting site, it obviously makes sense to suggest we make and cook as much as possible ourselves, because it is always the cheapest way to get food on the table. On the other hand have recently proved there is still much on sale that is very cheap and could be put to good use, so why not move with the times?

With so many different ways of looking at cooking, we often feel everything we do could be wrong. There is the health issue, marg is better than butter, now butter is better than marg. We should be eating five a day (fruit and veg) but often we include potatoes and they don't count. Have to say with me I have given up counting and for the moment am taking a multi-vitamin a day instead. Meat is good for us, meat is bad for us, we should eat more fish, but fish is now dearer than meat. No more than three eggs a week, or then someone comes up with one a day is fine, sometimes two. Semi-skimmed milk is better for us than full-cream (less fat) but then we should eat plenty of cheese (fatty) as it is good for our bones. And so it goes on. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if food had to be rationed as in war-time. It may well come to that. Half of me wishes it would, for then we would all need to start thinking a lot more about making a little go a long way and home-cooking would be back on the agenda.

Today am finishing with a recipe that is really simple (at least I have adapted it to be simpler than it originally was). One worth serving on hot summer days.
Spicy Stuffed Eggs: serves 4
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
1 rounded tablespoon cream or curd cheese
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon melted butter
good pinch turmeric
good pinch chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch salt
thumb length piece of cucumber
4 tablespoons natural yogurt
chopped parsley or chives
lettuce leaves
Cut the eggs in half lengthways. Mash the yolks with the cheese and lemon juice. Mix together the butter and spices and mash into the cheese mixture with a pinch of salt.
Dice the peeled and de-seeded cucumber, mix this into the cheese mixture and pile into the egg whites that have been placed, round side down, on a bed of lettuce leave. Spoon over the yogurt and garnish with herbs. Chill then serve.