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Does anyone want to join me in regaining their cooking mojo?

(40 Posts)
toomuchlikemyusername Sat 31-Aug-19 07:47:49

Hello all

I'm feeling pretty jaded as far as cooking is concerned at the moment, partly due to a real dislike for going food shopping.

I've got a heap of mostly unused cookery books, which I look at from time to time, feel a little inspired which is then quickly dampened when I realise I have very few necessary ingredients, which would therefore need a trip to the supermarket...

I have just returned from a holiday where the food has been so fresh and flavourful and I'm determined to try to not slip back into winging our meal times based on the random stuff I pick up when I do go to the shops.

Does anyone want to join me in getting out a few recipe books and injecting a bit of oomph into their mealtimes?

I'm currently sat in bed with my Jamie Oliver 15 minute meal book and think that the Koh Samui Salad might be tonight's dinner although maybe with prawns instead of tofu (must try to overcome fear of tofu!).

I also need to get my head around online shopping to remove the need for so many supermarket visits, which also means getting my head around meal planning which also means choosing meals that reflect increasing evening commitments of the DCs as well as preparing food that is largely non meat based. This is the point where I feel like my head might explode! Pot noodle anyone? smile

Would love to have some company along the way and to hear what recipes you are going to try.

OP’s posts: |
bwydda Sat 31-Aug-19 14:47:42

I'm on board- any excuse to use my cookbooks more grin. And after the summer holiday I think my whole family are fed up of the bolognese/ pizza/ soup rotation I've been leaning on.

15 minute meals is one that I have and have barely used, I've only made the Catalan carbonara (which was lovely to be fair)

toomuchlikemyusername Sat 31-Aug-19 16:08:24

Hello bwydda. Welcome!

The Catalan pasta looks good. I'll add the ingredients to my shopping list.

I think I've only cooked a couple of things from the 15 minutes book. Same with the 30 mins one and the 5 ingredients.

I'm enjoying looking back through Nigella Express too and have plenty more on the shelf! I think I need to do a bit of a freezer overhaul too to use up some of the stuff that's been lingering in there over the summer.

OP’s posts: |
User1053051066 Mon 02-Sep-19 23:23:22

Hi, I'd like to join in! I started full time work in January, the first time since having kids who are now 14, 11 and 6. DHS is away 5 days out of 7 so I've been winging it a lot too and really really want to meal plan and be organised.
I'll be back tomorrow!

Bronnie2018 Tue 03-Sep-19 06:48:05

@toomuchlikemyusername yes please! Feel like I'm making the same things for dinner and lunch...would love to hear other ideas for quick healthy meals...

toomuchlikemyusername Tue 03-Sep-19 19:47:50

Hello and welcome! The more the merrier!

My Jamie Oliver noodles were a success and enjoyed by all. It made plenty so not only did for dinner but the leftovers gave us lunch too so that was a bonus. I'll certainly do them again. Really quick all things considered especially using the food processor for the slicing.

Tonight's dinner was made utilising some beef shin from the depths of the freezer and cooked in the slow cooker with some balsamic vinegar, chopped tomatoes and a few Italian herbs. It's a recipe I've used before but rather than having it as a chunky casserole, I served some of it as a sort of 'pulled beef' ragu with some slightly posh pasta that's been lurking for a bit too long in the cupboard. Again, went down very well with the meat eating DC. I've got loads left over so will portion this up for some similar dinners over the autumn months.

I've just sat and watched Jamie Oliver's veg programme. Some tasty looking stuff but I must resist buying yet another cook book!

Tomorrow's dinner will be a Thai chicken curry. I haven't dug out a recipe yet, but the meat is out of the freezer and I'm feeling organised knowing that I have half a clue as to what we'll be eating tomorrow!

Would love to know what everyone else is cooking or planning to cook.

On my list of things I'd like to try are Nadia's baked bean falefel so I must add the ingredients to my shopping list.

OP’s posts: |
bwydda Tue 03-Sep-19 20:00:57

I got hfw light and easy out and made a chicken lentil affair for a cold rainy day. It was beautiful, the lentils especially were delicious- even the dc loved them it's online here if anyone wants to try it

toomuchlikemyusername Wed 04-Sep-19 07:10:54

That recipe looks just the job for the autumn. I've got some chicken thighs in the freezer and was pondering what to do with them, so I think you've just resolved that for me especially as I know there are some lentils lurking in a cupboard somewhere.

I will try to post some links or some pics going forward of the stuff I make.

OP’s posts: |
Howmanysleepsnow Wed 04-Sep-19 07:53:50

Ooh, I need this thread. Will try to find something to add later.

bwydda Wed 04-Sep-19 19:33:29

I used another of my cookbooks- Sabrina Ghayours feast- found the recipe online here

If anyone has the book- it's worth trying, unusual for us , but delicious

toomuchlikemyusername Wed 04-Sep-19 22:38:13

That looks tasty. I do like cauliflower based dishes, so would give something like this a try. Is the photo what you actually made? It looks fab, very professional indeed. Love the plate with its colourful flowers in the corners.
Did you use the preserved lemons as a garnish or omit that bit? And did you have this as a side or a main?

My Thai chicken curry morphed into more of marinated, grilled Thai chicken with stir fried veg and rice. It went down a storm but as I made it up on the hoof, I don't have a recipe as such to share although it was as simple as chucking a couple of chopped up chicken breasts into a dish with some Thai green curry paste for a few hours and then grilling it. I added some peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce to the stir fry veg to give it a bit of a hint of satay which everyone seemed to like.

The fridge is starting to look a bit bare and a shopping trip beckons. I'm going to make a concerted effort to select a couple of new recipes for next week and make sure the ingredients are on my list so will hopefully have some pics and links to share following this.

OP’s posts: |
bwydda Thu 05-Sep-19 10:50:21

Thanks- it's what I made and a plate that I got from the charity shop. I had it for lunch, (scaled down the recipe to serve two) with the preserves lemon. It was good.

I'll be making a hairy biker recipe tonight that I've been meaning to try for , oh. 4-5 years blush

RickOShay Thu 05-Sep-19 10:53:45

I am steeling myself to cook some beetroot from a friends allotment grin
This thread is exactly what I need!!
Will report back

toomuchlikemyusername Fri 06-Sep-19 07:22:21

I love fresh beetroot although generally don't get more adventurous than roasting it. How did you get on?

bwydda I'm really impressed with how you're getting on. I've watched a couple of Hairy Biker TV programmes lately on catch up but don't think I've ever got as far as cooking anything of their's. Will look forward to hearing how the 4-years-in-the-planning recipe went smile.
I will confess that there are many recipes that I see in my books where, each time I see it I say 'yes, I really must make that...' and yet it never happens. Kudos to you for getting round to it!

OP’s posts: |
bwydda Fri 06-Sep-19 17:32:18

Well. It was awful. A low cal lasagne made with leeks for lasagne sheets. Stringy and weird

smileannie Fri 06-Sep-19 22:41:04

I feel the same as you, really enthused and then the reality sets in, eg having to go and get specialised ingredients that you may not use for ages again if the meal isn’t successful and also I never find that 15 minute/30 minutes actually take that time. It’s usually double that at least for me.
And then of course there is the lack of appreciation and thoughtlessness ie forgetting to mention they won’t be in for dinner or working late etc,

I then give up and revert to my usual packet casserole mixes, pasta and shop bought sauces etc.

RickOShay Sat 07-Sep-19 07:27:56

Well it was ok. I boiled them and then grated them and a couple of carrots and added roasted pumpkin seeds as a kind of salad.
I have loads, think they have a glut grin, will try roasting some, do you
chop them up?
Going to try and make Thai green curry at some point. Ds1 and I are trying to cut down on meat so I have some dreaded tofu, which is scaring me more than the beetroot grin
Best foot forward and all that!

Notthebradybunch Sat 07-Sep-19 07:58:28

Me too!! Definitely some inspiration needed, I enjoy cooking but absolutely hate food shopping, I have loads of cook books, Nigella, Mary Berry etc so I just need to go through them and find something exciting to make for a change!And my freezer needs a good clearing too.

toomuchlikemyusername Sat 07-Sep-19 08:19:36

bwydda Sorry to hear it wasn't too great. At least you can now happily skip that page in the recipe book without beating yourself up about not having got round to making it yet.

RickOShay to roast, I cut into chunks, add some olive oil and cook in the oven until softer. Not very scientific I'm afraid. More reliable methods may be available elsewhere grin. Often as not I'll just chuck it in with a tray of other mixed veg. I like it cold and will add it into salads for taking to work as it helps to bulk them out. Good with quinoa type salads too.

Last night I made a recipe for white fish with a lemon and garlic crumb. Chosen on the basis that I had some fish in the freezer, plenty of garlic and a lemon lurking in the fridge which was on its last legs.
Very quick and easy, made a few hours ahead and then just pulled out of the fridge for 40 mins in the oven.
Really good flavours and even the teens said it was delicious. Will add it to the list for a repeat go. I used frozen fish from the supermarket so it was pretty cheap to make too.

OP’s posts: |
toomuchlikemyusername Sat 07-Sep-19 08:35:58

Notthebradybunch Welcome, good to have you here.

smileannie Indeed. That's just how I feel. I've started off with some little steps. Choosing recipes that don't require a mass of new things, maybe just one or two to avoid massively increasing the shopping bill.
The timings I'd agree with. I'd love to live in TV land where all of the ingredients are already measured into matching glass bowls on the work surface and you don't have to battle through a gazillion non matching plastic containers to get the food processor out of the cupboard, whilst trying to work out what you can substitute for the ingredient that you could have sworn you had tons of last time you looked in the cupboard!

I'm trying to do one,maybe two new things a week. For the rest of the time, they can have old faithful stuff which is quick and easy (and potentially less stress for me). However, as part of this is about me regaining my interest in cooking, I am trying to look at the research, shopping, preparation and actual cooking as something I am doing for me. The family get to eat the product but the rest of gone process is about me.
I don't really enjoy supermarket shopping at all, but this past week, because I've been going in with a better focus, I've found I've been enjoying looking at specific different products rather than wandering the aisles aimlessly. As a result I've come out feeling like my visit was successful as I've achieved what I went in for. I still wouldn't say I'm loving it, but it's a slightly improved experience! (Sorry,I think I've gone off on a tangent there!)

I hope you give something a go and enjoy the process. And if you cook something delicious and you get the 'oh I won't be back for dinner' call, you can eat it all and let them sort themselves out when they get in grin

OP’s posts: |
BrassicaBabe Sat 07-Sep-19 10:06:21

Oh god this is me!

I've been low carbing for 2 years but that has contributed to my loss of love for cooking. Dull dull dull. I need a kick up the backside!

RickOShay Sat 07-Sep-19 17:33:56

Thanks for beetroot top tips. Any ideas on tofu? Probably out of date by now anyway grin
Fish sounds good. Would you mind sharing the recipe?

clearsommespace Sat 07-Sep-19 17:49:00

Hello. Can I join in?
I did a new recipe this week 'pasta e ceci' after seeing it on the chickpea thread. The recipe I used had too high a proportion of chickpeas in relation to pasta for DD but otherwise was accepted. (She is not very adventurous).

I peel beetroot and grate it raw in the food processor. I mix it with grated carrots and a honey vinaigrette.

Borscht (beetroot soup) is nice too!

clearsommespace Sat 07-Sep-19 17:51:42

My discovery of last weekend was 'brining' chicken breasts before oven baking. I don't eat meat but the omnivores said it is definitely worth doing again.

MrsWilkinsonAthome Sun 08-Sep-19 12:59:44

Would love to join you all.

I have been trying to teach my son how to cook some dishes before he heads off to Uni.

I also need to shake up a bit my cooking and get us out of a rut of old favorites.
I have been meal planning for several years and have noticed food shopping is less stressful and boring and I save a lot of money.

I made this recipe week and ds is going to make it today (as his latest lesson) for people who are coming to supper tonight!

We are leaving out the olives and using chicken breast instead but it is really easy and tastes great.

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