Thursday, 24 November 2011


When I was not too well, cooking fell by the wayside. For a while, someone else did it. Then I did it, but the simplest of things - no recipes, just veg and something from the shop. Oh the joy of cooking again! It means so much to me: health, happiness, sustaining myself and my family. Above is cannelloni. Yum.
And you wouldn't believe the joy to be found in the folding of egg whites. Just look at them! Admittedly, a poor picture, but it was like folding clouds into honey. Though what it really was was American pancakes. With maple syrup or sweetcorn. Lapped up by the brood of boys.
A cake! Yes an actual cake. Big, big joy, though it was a small, small cake. A little Victoria sponge. But it was yum scrum and may as well have been decorated with the words 'You're back!' By the way, that's my new Polish pottery butter dish in the back. Thank you mum.
Now we start getting a little show-offy... meringues. The best I had ever made. Unrefined caster sugar for the caramel, nutty chewiness it provides. The perfect cracks a-top. And, for once, no sticking to the the baking paper! Do you like my jug in the background too? I have something veering on a jug obsession.
Last but by no means least, chicken stock for the soul. You know you're kitchen is powered up and singing again when the chicken carcasses make their ritual movements from meat-picking to freezer, then into pan, cooked down into stock, into the fridge (satisfying layer of fat; glutinous demi-jelly wobble if you're lucky), into containers and back into the freezer again before becoming soup, risotto, or something equally satisfying. The picture above (yet again, with cheap Ikea bowl - oh for a lovely ceramic one) shows it glistening with tinkling rolls of steam as it cools, surface rippling like gelatine. Chicken stock may be thrifty and basic, but it feeds the soul as well as the stomach. Joy.

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