Cooking Free Zone


(Sarah Hague) #1

This month of August sees me in a most unusual frame of mind. Usually you can rely on me to eat properly, have stuff in the house to knock up something tasty, and not stoop to industrial muck under any circumstances (except nuclear war).

This month though, the boys are with their dad and I've totally lost interest in preparing anything at all. And I mean anything. If I can't open a packet and it eat - if it needs something else doing to it - I'm not interested. Bizarre.

So I've been eating organic rice or corn cakes (open packet, eat), with cheese (open packet, eat), plus a tomato or two that's braved the odds to grow in my garden, or roll mops (open jar, eat), jambon sec (open packet, eat), smoked trout (organic natch, open packet, eat), or chevre Boursin (open pot, eat). Sometimes I get as far as cutting up plums into natural yoghurt (open pot, eat), and then spoil it all by stuffing crisps. Actually, crisps are the only thing I eat with any joy at the moment (apart from someone else's cooking). With some nicely chilled rosé - yum. I have to limit myself severely or they are all I'd eat! And all in front of the tele which is mine all mine while the boys are away!


I suppose when the boys come back I'll have to buck my ideas up and get into sensible eating habits again, but I've taken the month off from cooking. Only two exceptions have got me to turn on the cooker - my TWDB's return from 3 weeks trail biking in the US, and a supper with his sister. I had to make a huge effort in each case to drag myself out of my lethargy.

I'm perfectly happy to eat other people's cooking or go out for dinner, but put hand to pan I will not. Yet.

So it was with only vague interest that I read an old article in The Telegraph today about Italian chefs telling the world how to make a correct spag bol. There are many abominations out there apparently such as using turkey mince or meatballs and the chefs had had enough.

As I make a mean spag bol I thought I'd just check how authentic mine is, you know, by way of research. Happily, it stands up to scrutiny pretty well. I didn't know you should use 6 rashers of bacon or pancetta to 1kg of mince, so I'll have to try that. It also has a stick of celery but the boys flatly refuse to eat celery or anything that's been within 100yds of it, so that's out. As I can never afford the best mince I tend to chuck in an organic beef cube, but that's the only sacrilege.

Authentic spag bol should be served with tagliatelli according to the purists, but that's just a pasta detail. I'm not yet inspired to rustle up a batch, but I'll bear all this in mind when I should next be grabbed by the urge.

I'm no longer on holiday, but I'm on a cooking holiday, c'est à dire, a no-cooking holiday, a 'show me a pan and I'll puke' holiday. And it's bloody marvellous, I can tell you!


(John Alcock) #2

Cant agree on any of this i love cooking and will cook when i am on my own, my wife is going back to see her mother in September, no i shall resist a little cheer just waggle my toes instead, she wanted to cook me ready made meals so that i just put them in the oven to warm/cook. no chance i shall be cooking for myself, my mother taught me to cook plus i was a single parent for quite some time so both my kids can cook , cant wait for the winter to arrive so i can fire up the Esse wood burner.cooker that cooks anything brilliantly


(Catharine Higginson) #3

@ Carol - just sent you a friend request with the ‘how to change your photo’ link - let me know if any problems? Re the Indian - we are REALLY lucky - there is a good one in Dax - under ten mins away and they will make it properly hot now they know we are English. This is the first time in nearly 9 years in France that we have been close to one so we really appreciate it!


(Sarah Hague) #4

A woman after my own heart Suzie. lol What flavour crisps?


(Suzie Coney) #5

Well, I’ve been having a “holiday” as well this week. My children have been away , so what have I had for lunch all week? Crisp sandwiches.


(Carol Huskinson) #6

Catharine, Where do you manage to get indian takeaway? Or was it smuggled over from UK? The only takeaway we can get here is Pizza or stuff from the Golden Arches chain. A decent takeaway is about the only thing I miss here, especially when I am feeling lazy.


(Sarah Hague) #7

Sounds very tasty, Jane. Could you send some over? Ta. :slight_smile:


(Jane Williamson) #8

The one thing I dislike I had to do today. That is come back from doing the shoppping, deal with all the meat, veg etc. whilst cooking lunch. Today we had sauteed potatoes, filet mignon in a tomato, creme fraiche and olive sauce and green beans. Bought tartlettes from ATAC.


(Sarah Hague) #9

S&V crisps? Heaven! I bought the Carrouf version today in a sad, desperate act. They aren’t the same as real ones though.

Actually, what I need is a live-in chef because I’m fed up with being the only provider of food. So far this is a long way from being a reality, similar in distance from the earth to the sun in fact. One lives in hope, but it’s difficult to keep the faith…


(Catharine Higginson) #10

I’m sooooo with you on this.
Ours are all away too and not having to put food on the table on a regular basis is BLISS. Plus, I had a delivery of salt and vinegar crisps in August so that along with Hula Hoop sarnies (for when you feel you need a proper meal) has been staple fare chez nous for some time now. Indian takeaway tonight!