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Nothing to look forward to so thank heavens for cooking

Sun, 24 January, 2021

It’s a drudge, isn’t it? For nearly a year now we have been living without benchmarks, without things to look forward to and without recent reminisce. I hardly know what day of the week it is, let alone what date. If I didn’t read the news, like those guileless people in Hampshire, I might not know what month it is. After all, it always looks like October when you look out of the window in England.

But one thing is a variable and it’s cooking. Far from falling into drudgery about it, I’m discovering new dishes, new combinations and new flavours. I never knew how many variations of fried rice you could create! Or how wonderful caramelised fennel is, with anything. And I didn’t eat roast potatoes quite so often before, made more and more perfect every time. With a few random vegetables thrown in halfway through the roasting time, it’s now one of our favourite dinners: vegetarian and cheap as chips (or roasted potatoes).

Potatoes seem to feature a lot, perhaps because they are such comfort food. Try my potato and cabbage gratin, or potato and fennel. Or try vegetable of your choice combined with spuds and creamy, cheesy environment. Perhaps aubergine or maybe mushrooms?

I’m not letting breakfast grow stale either: it’s not just oats for porridge you know. Try semolina or millet, or combine the oats with coconut milk for a change. Remember: any variety will make you day feel less humdrum.

And there’s always new cake or biscuits to make. Like the apricot crumble loaf cake, made, seasonally, with dried apricots; or sable biscuits with cocoa nibs. And if you’re all breaded out after the spring lockdown sessions, but still appreciate a homemade loaf, try porridge bread.

Keep well, keep safe and keep cooking: there’s always something new to discover.