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You know, there's an awful lot to be said for good home cooking. ^_^

Today, I felt like using up some cubed lamb that'd been defrosted at an awkward time (not much space in the fridge or freezer, and still half a pizza awaiting its fate), and tossed it into the slow cooker with a package of tomatoes, a tin of chickpeas/garbanzo, a few inches of a Moroccan spice blend, garlic powder, rosemary, lemon thyme, and mushrooms. After a couple hours, I thought I'd tweak it a little with the addition of some sliced up Cumberland sausages, a tin of chana dal (got to love having a good Indian/Caribbean aisle in the supermarket), and a sliced up leek, along with a little cheap cider to help keep everything moist.

When I came back from today's rabbiteering, all it needed was a little piquance and some tomato purée. Rather tasty, along with some brown rice. ^_^

And yes, a proper entry will be along in the next day or two, with any luck.

Which all leads me to wonder: how often do you cook? Do you enjoy it, or is it just a necessity? Are you even, perhaps, quite good at it?
I can't cook. I'm not sure I have the patience to learn. But that just makes me appreciate those who *can* a lot more.

Whenever someone cooks a meal for me I'm all *squeeee* about it. I think it's the nicest thing anyone can do for someone, really.
Is cooking something learned? I suppose, like almost anything, it can be. I just potter around - gods know, there are worlds of cuisine I've barely even heard of.

The roomie seemed contented enough with it. ^_^ I hadn't particularly planned on making this, but as the lamb had been reduced to clear originally, I didn't want to leave it just sitting in the fridge, and a Moroccan/South Asian sort of thing seemed like it might work. *grin*

It could be worth looking into a fun cooking show, like the Hairy Bikers or Two Fat Ladies, and seeing if that provides some inspiration. There's quite a sense of enjoyment that comes from digging into a dinner that's at least as good as something you might buy in a decent restaurant - and it really doesn't have to be difficult! (Right, time to stop before I channel Gusteau =:)
Cooking is all about rules, the problem i have (only cooking for one) is cooking something that can be served up several times looking/tasting like something completely different. Kuma is a veggie and we are only at simultaneous meal times twice a week. So Saturday and sunday lunch is the only ones we share.

I do like 2 fat ladies but more as an entertainment show. The hairy bikers well isn't that a form of porn :)
I'm about as good at cooking as I am at drawing. =:P Lack of patience, I suppose. I live on sandwiches half the time anyway...
Ah, but there's an art to even the humble sandwich! The right meat(s), cheese(s), whether to go with mayonnaise (a topic which seems only slightly less polarising than Android vs iOS =:), mustard, or something else entirely.. =:9

(I do sort of wish Cheddar had slightly less diversity - it's a little odd to me that you can have such radically different natures of cheese, all supposedly the same variety. Still, there are some notables, like the Lake District Cheese Company's extra mature, or indeed, Tesco's finest Canadian vintage, both demonstrating that beautiful pungency, without bitterness, and retaining quite a rich nature nonetheless)
The right bread, for my money, is the most important bit of all! I tend to favour the sort of wholemeal with seeds in, if that's not too vague. These days I find basic sliced plain rather... well... plain.
There is low effort cooking though, for the last 4 weeks i've been roasting chickens one each sunday (i've been doing it for cost/ flavour reasons) wanting some chicken for my weekday salads, and some roast chicken for weekends and a whole chicken is cheaper than 2 breasts and 2 legs. So thats 8 meals worth of meat for 4-6 quid. And not much that more hassle than buying some legs for roasting and some ham for salads!
Rarely cook, hate it, and I'm lousy at it.
Such a pity.. you'd look so cute in a chef's outfit. ^_^
Not a normal fantasy fetish uniform, is it? :)
I would really like to learn how to cook good meals, but I don't have the patience to lose more than 10 minutes at a time to the tyranny of the oven. Hence, eternal pasta. =;)
The oven? What is this "oven" of which you speak? =:) Actually, the majority of the time, I'll just use the frying pan, though usually not adding any oil; if I do, I try to keep it to a minimum, and something worthwhile, like the olive oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes, or even a little butter. There too, there's a surprising variety of flavors - Trader Joe's own brand unsalted is terribly disappointing, whilst Kerrygold's is brimming over with sheer butteriness.. good enough to have just by itself on a nice bit of baguette or ciabatta. =:9

So it'll be a battle between desiring the outcome, and the process of getting there? Now there's a conflict indeed. ^_^; Stir-fries can be very good for quick eating, especially if you use the wok-ready types - rather more expensive, but convenient. Just chop up whatever meat and vegetables, into the pan, and stir away. Quite straightforward, and the basic theme allows for great variety, depending on what sauces/spices you add - oyster sauce is one of my favorites, or there's black bean, red bean, Thai red curry paste, Vietnamese hot & soup soup paste..

Yay macaroni cheese! ^_^ (In my case, with the addition of cooking bacon (which always feels like a broken term to me, as if there were bacon that wasn't, unless you count Serrano ham or suchlike), leek, and broccoli, or some similar variant)
I cook a few times a week, and I really enjoy it. I tend to make curries of one sort or another, but have had moments with Italian, French and Chinese food. My girlfriend thinks I'm fairly good at it, I think, but I think there's room for improvement.
Ahh! I presume you mean curries of the Indian/Pakistani variety, rather than further east? I've not really been that successful with my attempts there, so far - they're perfectly edible, just lacking that wondrous complexity and tender heat. What's your secret? ^_^

My curries, therefore, tend more toward the Thai styles, albeit utterly ersatz - usually I eschew coconut milk, given just how fatty it is, and go with something like a vegetable chowder soup as a base, enlivening it with adequate heat, and seasonings to nudge it in the right direction, like a little oyster sauce. But, having recently discovered some fantastic red curry paste in the supermarket, that's my preferred way now - just puréed chilis, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and all that good stuff, without any bulking agents, so it's not only richly flavored, but dirt cheap; a bearable combination.

French I love eating, but there often seems to be such a degree of complexity involved. Then again, maybe it's simply relative unfamiliarity - certainly, the cassoulet I made a few weeks ago was perfectly easy, even if unlikely to be authentic.

I don't suppose you bake your own bread? I'd love to work out if it's possible to make a real baguette at home. None of the supermarket offerings come close, with the exception of M&S. Oh, the joy of that extraordinary crunchiness, and vanishingly light within.. add some rillettes du porc, a good Camambert, and a some red table wine: instant picnic. =:9
Most of my curries are Indian or Pakistani, but I made a great Cambodian pork curry the other week which was coconut milk based.

As for my secret with curries, I don't know what level of authenticity you go for, but I tend to go from scratch - not only do I make my own curry pastes and spice blends, but I buy as many whole spices as possible and grind them myself.

I don't tend to bake my own bread, although Mary has made naan breads to accompany some of the curries I've made recently.

Gosh, I'm getting hungry now :)
I think of myself as a pretty good cook, but I'm always awed by your efforts. You always seem to have such interesting ingredients on hand, too!

I eat a lot of pasta, stir-fry and curry (using curry paste), as they're things that can be made quickly when I come home from work starving. Guests usually get slightly posher pasta recipes, and are more likely to get meat.

I think I like cooking for others, but in fact I tend to get stressed about how it will work out and if my guests like it. If they don't clean their plates and ask for seconds, I worry.
Hee! Thanks. ^_^; The ingredients I put down, in good part, to the local Tesco's Indian/Asian/Caribbean aisle - great place to pick up interesting sauces at sensible prices. And then there's Gourmet Garden's offerings - there's quite a range, but the ones I particularly go for are the Moroccan blend, and their coriander, as that's a herb I'm quite fond of, but tends to wilt when fresh rather quickly, and the dried stuff's fairly wretched. Their preparations manage to retain that wonderful fresh taste, even after several weeks in the fridge - very convenient!

Mm, that actually sums up a good part of my menu, too. ^_^ And the occasional pizza - usually just whomever's on offer at the supermarkets, with a special mention for Tesco's meatball calzone, which is quite nomworthy. Usually something like £3.50, but I'll occasionally pick one up marked down to £2.50 or so.

Yet, I'll wager you've had no flops. ^_^ Of course, sometimes with a complex dish, true, sometimes it won't come out quite as intended - indeed, I've even had boring pizzas, usually due to me underspicing it, if the original was especially bland, which seems curiously commonplace.
I had one less-than-successful attempt at parmesan and spinach gnocchi, which disintegrated in the pan, but fishing them out of the water became a fun pre-dinner sport and they tasted fine in cheese sauce!

And marked-down pizzas are a welcome treat - though I've stopped buying Pizza Express's cook-at-home ones because they're way too salty.

Edited at 2011-08-04 01:52 pm (UTC)
Having been an a health kick over the last six months i've been more "cooking" or assembling than before. I now eat alot less convenience foods, mainly because i'm looking for low fat, high protein things. So thats a salad for lunch and some pasta dish that i can reheat at work pre-evening gym session.

porsupah is the king of Augmenting dishes he will take something ordinary and a you say with interesting ingredients make it something special.
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Aack! Oh, dear.. no, that wouldn't be much good at all for me either, and not only in the culinary sense. **hug** I'd find all that combined very wearing indeed, as I dare say you do. True, my mother has a tendency toward overcooking, but she's become a little better about that in the last few years. Mercifully, she didn't mind how I organised the fridge, though I did have to point out now and then that slices of bacon, outside any packaging, probably oughtn't be resting on top of some similarly naked cheese. ^_^; (She was merciless on any resealable packaging, greatly preferring the slasher method of entry =:) All in all, it worked out pretty well.

About the closest I've come to your situation was back in the City, a few years ago, where I was sharing the place with a few others, meaning pretty much no fridge space available, and people always around. There, though, I was earning very nice money, so I simply wound up eating out every night, sometimes the Magnolia Cafe, sometimes McDonalds. Yes, I admit it - I have voluntarily patronised their outlets. It's like incredibly fake banana milk - you know it's junk, but it's somehow necessary once in a while. ^_^;

Preprepared pasta can actually be quite handy! I'm quite fond of the macaroni cheese from one of the supermarkets - not really any more expensive than making it from scratch, and surprisingly healthy, too. (I tend to add some cheap "cooking" bacon (ie lots of little minced pieces, ideal for sauces), a sliced leek, and some other vegetable or two, often broccoli)

Mmm, baking! Yep, I remember your fondness for cookies. ^_^ Ah well - here's hoping you're free to enjoy such again before too long. >hug<

BTW, any chance I might be able to bump into you in SL at some point? What av are/were you sporting? Still the Kani here, unsurprisingly - such a good design, even if rather ubiquitous.
I don't so much cook as get rid of whatever is in the fridge. Then things go on sale and I buy them up and fill the fridge again. It's a bit backwards from the way most people do it.

I'm a very plain kind of guy, so usually I'll do something like a tomato sauce of some kind with a bunch of random veggies, or I'll make it into a soup. I don't use meat much, though.

I love to experiment. I seem to have the knack for rebuilding flavours I'm familiar with. The other week, I was trying to eat some strange-tasting shrimp, and there was no seafood sauce in the house. I remembered that it was tomatoey, had bite, and seemed vinegary, so I mixed wasabi, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, and water. It turned out just like the real thing.

I generally don't do spices. There are things like garlic powder and cinnamon that are a bit different, and you can't go wrong with a dash of pepper, but that's about it.
Gosh!!!!!!!!! Are you a woman? You cook so weel ! You always make me soooooo hungry:)
I don't know how you have so much time to write such a looooooooooong detailed jurnal.
I would say that you are a masculin, because you seem very much technical inclined.See you around, sorry I creeped in, but I saw the light on and just opened the door:)