I seem to have a problem. It involves going overboard. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I find it hard to say ‘that will do’. I start with an idea, build it up on good principles, but by the time I’m done with it there’s a whole extra layer of ad-ons that really probably weren’t necessary. This week’s dinner is a prime example. I thought I’d do schnitzels. Simple enough. I thought it would be nice to jazz them up slightly by adding a few things to the crumbs like a bit of parmesan and parsley. Still pretty straight forward. Then I thought of what to have with it – potatoes were a given, but I have been using potatoes a lot lately so thought I’d go really crazy and use sweet potato instead (note to self – no potatoes for a while. There are plenty more exciting ‘fillers’ out there. Quinoa anyone?) I did the potatoes gratin style – chilli and garlic with cream and baked. Good result but my a mandolin would have come in handy.
So then veg – thought some red cabbage would be awesome because I love red cabbage and it reminds me of plenty good Sundays spent at our infamous favourite pub that need not be named. It’s tasty too. While shopping for the cabbage however I spotted some cauliflower and thought ‘ooh cauliflower cheese! That’s always a winner’ so put that in the basket as well. You would think that meat and three veg would suffice, but for some reason I have this thing where if there’s nothing green on your plate then there’s something wrong (the full English fry-up was always something I never seemed to be able to ingest) so then I decided to do green beans as well. And they got done with some pine nuts and garlic. Blimey well you would’ve thought I was cooking a Sunday roast or something. It was lucky my school finished three hours early or I would’ve seriously been breaking more than a sweat.
There were similar lines with dessert. Cheesecake was the order of the day – white chocolate cheesecake to be precise. But instead of just doing basics I added pistachio to the mix and a bit of coconut to the base. Both good additions but again, not crucial. And because I felt a slice of cake on a plate was near to nakedness, I whizzed up some raspberry coulis to accompany. And that believe it or not was the most laborious part of the whole dinner. Who would’ve thought pushing pureed berries through a sieve could take the best part of half an hour...? True story. So my mission for my next dinner is this: keep it simple. Take an idea, but not let myself get carried away with step after step and process after process. I do wonder if perhaps I’m just being slack, and that these things have to be done in order to actually produce good food.... I mean it does take a while to pull all the broad beans out of their pods, or to shell the pistachios one by one. Maybe I’m just making bad choices, picking things that aren’t so quick and easy. OR... maybe we’re all being so infested with these ‘30 minute here’s-a-four-course-meal’ concept that we forget that cooking actually takes time. Who knows. What I do know though is that I personally seem to go a little too far sometimes. I might try and just do ‘pasta’ next. God that just sounds so dull though doesn’t it. Or it could really be that I am just shocking at time management. That’s probably it. Anyway. The food was good I believe. Another round of stuffed stomachs on the premises.
Next week: corn five ways.