When we started this food blog in June 2020, we could not imagine that less than a year later we would be looking at the panicked eyes and forced cheerfulness of the lady in this 1940s propaganda poster and feeling such total empathy. We love food, and want to prepare healthy and enjoyable meals for our families. But planning, shopping, and making meals was always a daily grind, and the Covid-19 epidemic has suddenly made those tasks significantly harder. It is no longer possible to simply ‘pop to the shops’ for a forgotten ingredient or to restock on milk or bread. Every trip to a supermarket brings with it the risk of taking home a deadly disease, and there is no guarantee the ingredient you want will even be there. We are writing this post to acknowledge this new reality, and reflect on some of the things we feel we need to do to get through the next unspecified number of weeks. Our hope is to continue to deliver posts and recipes that will be useful to the home cook. We welcome contributions and comments, so please let us know what you are making now and how you are coping.Continue reading
I am no stranger to adjusting my cooking to avoid certain allergens. Milk protein, chickpeas, sesame, peas and nuts can all cause problems for various members of my family, potentially turning a nice meal into a panicked whirlwind of swelling, hives, wheezing and syringes of anti-histamine. However, when I needed to cook a meal suitable for someone with sulphite intolerance, I found I was completely unprepared. It seems there are sulphites in practically everything!Continue reading
It’s hard to read all the reports about greenhouse gases and the cow industry and not feel a pang of guilt every time you sit down to eat a burger. Beef stew had been in regular rotation in our house because it was so easy and cheap. Usually I would use a tough cut, like a shin, and stick that in the slow cooker all day, or put it on at midday on high when I was working from home. I would cook it until the meat would fall apart and the disc of bone would be left nestling somewhere in the centre of the stew, bare and pale.
My meticulous and academically-approved approach to research – looking on Wikipedia – led me to learn that the first documented recipe for Bolognese sauce was in 1891, in an Italian cookbook by Pellegrino Artusi. Though not uncommon at that time, I think it is notable that Pellegrino Artusi had twelve siblings. If there is one thing that Bolognese is excellent for, it is serving lots of people. And not just any people. A lot of households find that it is something all ages enjoy, even the notoriously fickle and hard to please under-fives. If all you need to do is serve the dish in such a way that sauce and pasta never touch, you are still winning my friend.Continue reading
One of the first cooking ‘techniques’ I was introduced to as a student was making cheese and beans on toast using a toastie-maker. At first, I was apprehensive. I couldn’t believe that the beans would get hot enough in the machine to cook through. However, as anyone who has used one of these machines will attest, I needn’t have worried. A toastie-maker heats the filling with all the subtlety of nuclear fusion. Bite too quickly into your toasted creation, and your hunger will dissolve, along with the lining of your mouth.
Sloppy Joe associations: I once went to a Sloppy Joe themed party. The desperation intrinsic to such an event led to some really poor decision making on my part. Never again. For one thing, Sloppy Joe’s are kind of an awful party food. You can’t eat them while you’re standing around. You can’t hold a pint in one hand and a Sloppy Joe in the other without becoming totally coated in damp clumps of protein. You’d have to have them deconstructed in little cups with tiny spoons, or maybe dolloped onto a blini, or ladled into a bag of tortilla chips. I mean, seriously why not just eat the whole mess out of a bag of tortilla chips like a scout at a jamboree? Hindsight, 20:20. Continue reading
I can’t remember my first encounter with this combination, but it was probably at an old-school ice cream parlour in my hometown. When I was little, the crispy, oily sandwich dunked into the rich soup conveyed an almost unbearable feeling of coziness. The cheese was always ‘American’ – processed singles, radioactive orange, savouring of plastic. The soup was without fail Campbell’s Cream of Tomato. I became obsessed with it, and that hasn’t really changed. Grilled cheese and tomato soup are what you eat on a cold rainy day when your heart is a little heavy and the thought of cooking ‘real food’ doesn’t appeal. It isn’t really grown-up food – there’s a reason children love it. It does make a quick and satisfying dinner. Continue reading