Nearly five months now without a kitchen. I’m lucky that I have a one-ring induction hob and a microwave which incorporates a grill and an oven of sorts even though the latter has this infuriating habit of switching itself off half way through the cooking time of a pie or lasagne. Anyway, we haven’t had to rely on microwave meals and because our temporary kitchen is in our utility room, we’ve reacquainted ourselves with the pleasures of washing up.
But I can’t wait to get my recipe books out of storage and into my shiny new kitchen. Most of the appliances are in place (@MsAppliance?) but not connected up yet. I’m hoping that the electricians will come and do that tomorrow but I shan’t quite believe it until it’s done.
I’m not the sort of competitive cook that enjoys the process of cooking, although if you’d seen me frying chestnut blinis and singing along to Jools Holland at the top of my voice on Christmas Day, you wouldn’t have believed that. I don’t rejoice in fiddly things like icing cupcakes or intricate multi-layered gateaux. No, I prefer the end product because I am greedy.
My love affair with the sensual enjoyment of food is one reason why I paradoxically find myself fasting twice a week and going to the gym to keep my weight down to a level where I can indulge my cravings on all of the other days. So I have felt deprived these last few months of not being able to cook what I like.
I have found myself craving:
- Steak and Kidney pudding, the filling made the previous night and left to steep, with a light as air suet crust.
- Cake. Although that miserable radio programme pointed out yesterday that it’s much more expensive to make your own cakes than buy them, I hardly think that they were comparing like with like. In what way is a £2 supermarket Black Forest Gateau comparable to one made at home with high cocoa solid premium chocolates and kirsch and jersey cream?
I adore baking cakes and, especially on a gloomy winter Sunday afternoon, I find it very therapeutic. I don’t do it that often anymore because the rest of the family are out all week and I find myself finishing off my creations before they go stale. A life hack for this would be to invite my friends around for coffee and cake a bit more often.
- Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding light as air and crunchy on the outside. The beef should be pink in the middle. Or lamb studded with slivers of garlic and rosemary that perfume the whole house, accompanied by a glass of good Chateauneuf du Pape.
- Gratin Dauphhinoise, creamy and garlicky, to go with oven baked ratatouille and maybe hot smoked salmon.
- Steamed lemon fish on a bed of braised green lentils. I have no idea why I have craved this for so long but in my book it counts as health food.
- Brownies. Enough said.
- Tarte au citron. Now, this is one thing that my fam generally don’t eat and I end up poaching sliver after illicit sliver from the fridge when I think no-one’s looking. Bad person.
Other things I crave, by the by:
- Boots that actually fit over my well developed calf muscles. Boots that fitted perfectly over my thighs would be an ask too far, I think.
- A personal big band for when I break into song at a moment’s notice.
- Sunshine and warmth.
- Waking up able to breathe and without a burning sore throat.
What do you crave?