this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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Food Culture and Crispy Goodness

Hasselback Potatoes

I’ve always enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen, but lacked confidence to share it with others. My style is not sophisticated, neither is it unique. I just love feeding people and having them gather around my table. The culture of eating together, was something I was brought up with. Whenever I have lived with at least one other person, I have rarely eaten alone of an evening. And when I lived alone, I was always gathering friends round to share one pot wonders with. My food tends to be low-key and as low-fuss as possible. I have always cooked creatively but frugally. People will compliment me on my cooking from time to time, but more often than not they simply emit polite murmurs of appreciation as they tuck in. My food does not become the specific subject of conversation at the table, although we are a greedy lot – future meals or interesting ingredients are often discussed whilst we eat! For me, a shared meal is about providing nourishment for the body but more importantly, it is about togetherness and conversation – food for the soul.

I have a confession. I rarely follow recipes. I get that from my mum. She is the ultimate in hosting random people who show up on the doorstep and accidentally stay on for dinner. Whatever is in the fridge, freezer or cupboard will be thrown together to create a hearty meal. So, I’ve also had some fun writing my own recipes in 2012, working out what quantities I used on a particular occasion, knowing that it will probably never happen in the same way again! (That is with the exception of baking, almost. I still can’t help throwing in some randoms just because I feel like it – a bit risky, seeing as baking can be a little like Chemistry lessons sometimes. Although I must admit, happy accidents do often occur.)

I often eat late now, I cook and then wait for my munching partner. And by the time we eat, the food has been kept warm to death. I am ravenous and food is food. A dinner is polished off in much less time than it took to prepare and cook it. However, as I blogged over the past year, I came to realise how much I enjoy cooking and eating my own food. I have my trusted favourites, my store cupboard staples, my preferences and routines, but discovering and exchanging lots of ideas with other bloggers has given me the impetus to explore further.

What a wonderful invention is the oven. And what a wonderful climate we have in the UK to use it. In recent years, I have not even broken sweat when using the oven in summer. One of my favourite things to do is to roast a chicken, together with potatoes and root veg. I marinade the chicken, or simply rub it in olive oil, salt and pepper. I then cube potatoes and root veg in similar sizes and toss those in the same. I’ll time it so that the veg gets about 45-60 minutes in the oven, so if the chicken needs longer, I will add the veg into the roasting tin later.

Even though I generally consider myself a healthy eater, I do have an addiction a soft spot for crisps. I’ll eat my potatoes made any way, but I love them fried or even double and triple fried (by a restaurant – I hate deep fat frying at home). So imagine my excitement when Pinterest kept throwing up these little beauties… a concertina of crispiness called  Hasselback Potatoes. I just had to experiment with them myself. They are baked, and the only difference I could tell between making these and my roasted easies was that you sliced them through (almost) whole first, before baking. Oh, and it’s best not to put them in with the chicken I imagine. The yummy chicken juices soaking into the potatoes will not be conducive to crispiness-making.

Well.. unusually, there are no photos with this post even though I took some. I just felt like having another go at drawing again. But I did stumble across a cute little article complete with videos, if you want to amuse yourself taking photos of food in a restaurant.

What are your cultural habits when it comes to food? Do you enjoy cooking and eating your own food? And, most quite importantly, do you like crisps/potato chips? :)


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All patriotic about food: fish & chips

Fish & Chips

Food is a powerful thing. It is so much more than just a combination of ingredients, flavours, aromas, calories and techniques. The food we eat is literally an inseparable part of us. Food is so important to who we are, our culture, and is integral to our concept of home. It can give us a sense of belonging or adventure, it can even be iconic.

The latter can definitely be said of one of my all time favourite things to eat, fish and chips. A much-loved British tradition for Friday nights which I try not to succumb to too regularly. According to a couple of my favourite TV foodies, the Hairy Bikers, an early English cookbook seems to suggest that my favourite deep fried goodness has early influences from the Jewish community of Whitechapel in East London. Lovely stuff.

A delectable feast from my local chippy never fails to cheer me up. The one near me serves generous pieces of fish in a delightfully light and crisp batter. Finding a good local fish and chip shop is a real exercise in trial and error, but once you have one, it’s like a good doctor – you want it to stay in very good health. When I lived in Hamburg, one of my favourite treats was a North German version from Daniel Wischer consisting of fish goujons served with a lovely dollop of Remoulade sauce. A taste of home, with a delicious twist I’d say. Eaten under familiarly grey skies, it went a long way to easing any homesickness.

Fish & ChipsThese days, I’ve taken to eating fish and chips with English mustard alongside some good old malt vinegar. I’m addicted to the bright yellow stuff. I must have good chunky chips, nice and soft on the inside but crispy-ish on the outside. And, why not throw in a battered sausage from time to time too…

A note for any visitors to our shores wanting to sample this wonderful meal, beware, a higher priced fish and chips does not indicate superior quality!

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