The charm and satisfaction of cooking
For some, cooking is seen as a mundane chore, while others relish in the thought of creating something delicious and exciting each day and night! I am definitely the latter! I absolutely love picking out fresh fruit and vegetables and pairing them with meats, rice, pasta, quinoa, beans and conjuring up all the things I can make with them...it makes me giddy with glee!
If you're like me, then you'll know that cooking brings a whole world of joy and satisfaction with it. When it comes to food prep and I love to throw things together and gain inspiration from recipes rather than follow them to the letter. I'm not afraid to try combinations, herbs, spices and unusual things to bring about interesting flavours and outcomes. I've created some adventurous dishes by randomly putting things together.
How I set the scene for cooking:
When I cook, I love to put on music - up tempo jazz, Italian, classic crooners or Spanish guitar are all favourites. I wear an apron and make sure I have a good chopping board, sharp knives and the correct utensils ie spatula, large spoon or ladle, wooden spoon etc We have an kitchen island and a good area to work from. We're also fortunate enough to have inherited large sets of pots and pans from a few people, good quality to last a lifetime.
I love good, simple and real food. We don't eat packaged meals and I love making sauces and dressings from scratch. Growing fresh herbs in little pots by the kitchen window is also a happy delight I love and adds so much flavour to dishes.
Some of my favourites to cook or prepare are:
- Meat loaf with rice and steamed veg (beef or beef and pork together)
- Roasted vegetables in olive oil, herbs, lemon pepper and garlic powder
- Salads with my own dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and balsamic
- Mac and cheese with ham, eggs, cream and tomatoes
- Cottage pie with ground beef, veg, corn and diced tomatoes
- Pork chops in a creamy mushroom sauce
- Sundried tomato basil pesto pasta sauce with any meat
- Garlic butter prawns on rice
- Spicy Italian sausage pasta
- Grilled chicken breast with roasted vegetables
- Mashed vegetables (carrots, potato, zucchini, pumpkin, broccoli, yam and sweet potato) with any meat
- Yam, cabbage and beef soup
- Coconut cream chicken curry with rice or quinoa
- Big pots of stews with cubed beef, chicken or pork, beans and veggies
- Pork roast stuffed with garlic
- Ribs with my own BBQ sauce of honey, soy, mustard and ketchup
- Pumpkin soup with garlic, onions and coconut cream
- Cream of leek soup
- Smashed avocado on toast with fresh lemon juice and chili flakes
- Tuna mayo on toast with diced onions
- Grilled salmon with rice and steamed or roasted vegetables
- Scrambled eggs with cheese, salsa, mushrooms and onions (sometimes in a wrap) You can do so much with eggs and we love them!
- Smoothies with Greek yoghurt, spinach, ginger root, lemon, banana, apple, frozen mango and mixed berries.
- Oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar and raisins
- Green salads with spinach, lettuce and shredded cabbage together. Almonds, blue cheese, red onion, garlic, red peppers, broccoli etc and my own dressing as mentioned above.
- Mediterranean inspired plates or platters of olives, sundried tomatoes, pesto, big cloves of roasted garlic to spread, assorted cheeses and fresh basil.
For me food is fuel, so I don't like to prepare heavy greasy stuff. I don't own deep fryers and tons of equipment like some people do. If I'm going to prepare something, it's going to be fresh and simple like The Complete Library of Cooking due to the old-fashioned nature and simplicity of the dishes. If you're only starting out or learning to cook, this 5 Volume Set pretty much covers all the kitchen basics, skills, equipment, cutlery, prep, methods, foods and all there is to know for cooking and preparing food. I love it!
Recipes from around the world is a culinary delight because I draw inspiration from so many different places and interesting dishes! If you've ever wanted to create international dishes from Greece, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, France and Germany to name only a few, then you'll love this massive eBook. Even just preparing an exotic side dish that you've never heard of can be a real joy.
When I traveled all over Europe, England, Scotland and Wales several times with my family, we were all sure to jump in and try as many different dishes as we could but I also cooked in several countries and often stayed at places that had a kitchen. Venturing out to a local grocery store or street market is a treat as everything looks and smells so different. Fresh veg and fruit stalls draw you in as do exotic meats, delis, cheeses, breads and massive quantities of side dishes like olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh sauces and copious amounts of oils, sauces, dried fruits and nuts. A feast for the senses!
I truly enjoyed cooking in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and a few other places where a market was so close by and had fresh offerings of everything! Do you like to cook when you travel or do you simply want a break and eat out all the time? I like a combination of both. The sounds, sights and smells of spices, flowers, fish, fresh bread and assortment of foods you might not see at home is something I really get excited about
When we go camping or stay in a mountain cabin, I make sure to take all the essentials and love cooking in the great outdoors too. If you're organized and prepared, it really is a joy. A good ice box or cooler, a large water container, a solid little gas stove and all the right utensils make for happy camping. Most cabins provide you with all the basic essentials.
At home we love to eat outside around our backyard fire as soon as we can. Living in Alberta, Canada we get snow from October to around March or April, but are out there until the first snow hits and as soon as it melts. Making a big fire and sitting under the trees and stars eating lunch and dinner is truly magical! I love nature, so combining that with my love of cooking and food is just utterly peaceful and enjoyable.
If you don't cook, I hope that you still enjoy creating good food in some way, shape or form and that this post perhaps inspired you to enjoy trying the endless charm of cuisine.
Until next time, I wish you cheers from my kitchen and backyard!