I love cooking, for me food is a whole sensory experience, the smells, tastes, textures and creating it is just so rewarding. I learnt to cook from my mom. We had a big kitchen with a table we could sit around and chat to whoever was in the kitchen cooking and get involved in the whole process. It was the centre of the home in so many ways. I remember being frustrated in the beginning when I was learning to cook, and I wanted to know exactly how much of certain ingredients to use and my mom just seemed to make it up as she went along. Needless to say this is a skill I picked with practice and one that my younger sister Sarah has perfected. She throws in and combines the most unusual thing that just makes the whole dish awesome.
I remember as a kid my friend Heather and I would often bake together.Chocolate cakes were a favourite but the one baking adventure that sticks in my mind was when we make this cake that was supposed to have an orange sugar glaze over it. The recipe said that you had to melt the sugar and the butter and orange juice and stir until it thickened and pour over the cake. Well we stirred and stirred and stirred, but the damn stuff never thicken, so the consensus was, sod it we would just pour it over and hope it did what it was supposed to, which was to make a thin layer of glaze on the top, and not just soak in as we feared as it was still runny. Well it did make a layer on the top just not one that you could actually get your teeth through, all our boiling had turned the mixed into toffee which dried into a hard layer that you needed a chisel to remove from the top of the cake – so not all our attempts were successful but they sure were fun.
A few things recently have reminded me how much I love cooking
1)This week Yme’s mom was not well so I offer to make food for her and his brothers one night. I was standing in the kitchen thinking how much I actually enjoy cooking and feeding people. The kids are just old enough now that they can entertain themselves for long enough for me to again start making meals with some imagination and that require more than 5 minutes. Having small kids with fussy tastebuds does limit ones culinary creativity somewhat. It is nice to start adding more exciting things slowly to the repertoire again. I managed to feed his family (I am not sure if Yme prompted them behind the scenes, as he knew I was a little nervous cooking for them the first time) and they all seemed to like the lasagne and the home made bread. I always feel bad that home made bread makes such an impression while being very little effort. In fact I can’t claim any of the credit, the bread maker literally does it all for you.
2) We bought an oven yesterday. Having been without an oven since we moved in I literally cannot wait for it to be delivered tomorrow, and we WILL be baking celebratory cup cakes! For those who are not familiar with the quirks of renting in Cape Town, you might not realize that unless you move into a newish place with an inbuilt oven and stove the chances are that the place you rent will come sans (without) oven are great. “Outrageous” I hear you cry, why even the landlord sharks in London give you a basic stove and oven! Well not in the republic of Cape Town.
3) We were in a bookshop on Saturday and looking at all the lovely cook books was such a great reminder of how wonderful it is to make amazing food.
I am learning to cook Afrikaans, well to add sugar to vegetables that is 😉 Yme thinks that it is hilarious that the kids now love gem squash when it has butter and sugar in it, where as it was not something they really liked before. I on the other hand am quite fond of my veg not tasting like pudding, I guess 3 to 1 means I am slightly over ruled. BUT this little English chick did manage to teach the Afrikaans braai master the trick of cleaning the braai grid with half a onion, and I only gloated a tiny bit when I heard him telling his brother the trick today.
Do you like cooking? and what is your favourite kitchen appliance?
I have many; my Kenwood mixer is right up there for baking, but there is this little Braun hand held thingy that has a blending attachment, great for the times gravy goes lumpy and for blending soup. It has a whisk attachment too, but the greatest is that you can attach it to this pot with a cutting blade so teary eyed onion chopping is a thing of the past and making bread crumbs is easy, chopping herbs, etc etc. I love it and use it almost every time I cook. And of course the beloved bread maker, which reminds me I need to go and put it on so we have fresh bread ready and waiting in the morning.