Add Some Flair to your Fare –
We’re cooking at home more often and even if we’re fortunate enough to get a take-out from a local restaurant, we are s-t-i-l-l eating it at home – restaurants are closed, there’s no hanging out in public spaces and in fairness its too cold to eat outside on a balcony or in a garden. So, we’re generally eating in the same places everyday, either at the counter or table in the kitchen or on our lap in the sitting room or in the car… and if we’re very lucky breakfast in bed from time to time.
So, Cooking Fatigue is a very real thing and is quite wide spread. For some, cooking has become a chore and meal-time is no longer the celebration it once was. To help you overcome the tedium, we’ve put together a few ideas on how to add some zing to your nosh-up.
Try New Things
Yes, obvious I know, but worth remembering when you’re in a rut. If you have cook books at home take some time to flick through a few pages to be inspired, you never know, something might catch your eye. There’s loads of free recipes online. Check out Bord Bia Recipes for tasty meals using standard ingredients. Great vegetarian options can be found at Café Paradiso Recipes. For more adventurous flavours try Mr Bells Recipes a Cork favourite or Asia Market Recipes in Dublin. And if you’ve room for dessert Butlers Chocolates have something for your sweet tooth.
Seeing as we can’t travel as we used to, I like to take inspiration from different destinations I’d like to be eating in or hope to travel to in the future. Sometimes it’s Milan or La Paz, other times it’s a hideaway guesthouse on the Wild Atlantic Way that I can’t wait to visit again.
Make a Plan
So if a new recipe has caught your eye, plan ahead. You’re probably limiting the amount of times you shop each week. On top of your cupboard staples have your list of new ingredients ready. Before I go shopping I have a general idea of the meals I’m going to have over the week. It’s a bit of a pain, but its easier spending thirty minutes planning food for the week than spending an hour every day wondering what I’m going to eat.
Meal Kits from local producers are another great option. A new trend is multiple small specialist suppliers joining forces to offer an entire meal experience: starters, mains, dessert and drink. You need to order in advance so remember to plan ahead.
Cook Before You’re Hungry
Inspiration never comes when you’ve not eaten for ages and you’re staring blindly into the fridge for the umpteenth time expecting a meal to magically appear before you. Leaving it to the last minute means you end up with mayo on bread for dinner or ordering another take-out.
Cook More & Freeze
If you’ve had a busy day, you’re not going to feel like cooking or you may be too hungry to make a meal from scratch. Cooking a meal in bulk means you can put leftovers in the freezer for another day. When I’ve time I’ll cook multiple easy meals like lasagne, quiche and paella in one day and freeze them all in individual portions, ready for the next time I do a zombie stare into the fridge looking for food. It also means there’s little or no clean up on freezer days.
Upgrade Your Tools
It’s amazing the difference the right tools can make. Having a knife sharpening steel to hand helps avoid blunt blades and speeds up chopping, and investing in a solid wood board is well worth it – easy to maintain they’re more hard wearing and last longer than plastic, they can also double as a platter. It’s no surprise that there’s little magic in cooking every meal, every day, I like to collect unusual and some really beautiful utensils, they add some glamour to the kitchen, capture my imagination and make cooking a little more fun, taking away any mundanity.
Use the ‘Good’ Ware
What are you waiting for? Use the special porcelain and handmade wooden platters, use the traditional blown glass tumblers and enjoy them as they were intended to be used. Make every day important in some small way and make your meals a celebration of all that’s good.
© Origineire 2021