Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I used to be a fantastic cook. Then life got in the way...

We had Indian Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice for dinner tonight.

I know, sounds good right? However, I was thinking whilst I stirred the jar of pre-made sauce into the pre-cut chicken pieces and added the pre-cooked-and-dyed-yellow-rice to the microwave, that I can't remember when I last spent the time on making a 'proper' meal.

You see once upon a time, in a land not too far away... I was a bloody good cook. I would do EVERYTHING from scratch.

My dinner back then would have looked like this...

Tonight, it looked like this. (Note the un-wiped edges of the bowl. I know right? MAJOR faux pas!)

I would shop for the ingredients with pleasure, taking the time at the Market to carefully sift through the fresh vegetables to pick the best of the best. The ones that smelt, looked and felt ripe, juicy and mouth watering.

I would take my time at the Butcher choosing the meat. The best cuts, lean with just the right shade of pink.

My spices were bought whole, to be ground by my own hand in my pride and joy. My granite Mortar and Pestle.

My herbs were always fresh, and usually picked from the herb garden in my back yard, that I lovingly tended daily. They smelt WONDERFUL. Every time I stepped out onto my back deck I could smell them, especially the mint. Mmmmm...

I would pour over my cookbooks, looking for the perfect recipe to suit my mood. What did I feel like that day? A typical Aussie meal? Mediterranean? Asian? Comfort food?

(My comfort food is my Mum's pumpkin soup. Yum.)

My favourite food to cook, and eat, is Indian. Preferably North Indian. The vast amount of flavours, colours and textures makes the entire experience an absolute pleasure. If you have never cooked or eaten North Indian,  I beg of you, please do. Take the time to savour this gorgeous culture through it's culinary delights. I promise you will not regret it. There is a lot more to sample than just curries.

I would spend hours preparing the vegetables, meat and seafood. I was meticulous with chopping them the same size so that they would cook evenly and the timing was right. I would make all the accompaniments...

Raita yoghurt dip with red wine vinegar, cucumber and fresh mint.

Sweet Mango Chutney. 

Naan. (Flat bread laced liberally with garlic, and cooked in the back yard on the side of my Tandoori Oven.

I LOVED throwing Dinner Parties. I was fantastic at it too. I would design and send out invitations, proper ones, y'know, on paper even. No emails for THIS little black duck!

It was ALWAYS a themed night, with a decorated table, and place cards and menus to match. I would burn a CD full of atmospheric music to play in the background.

GOD I miss it. I miss the sound, smell, and look of a beautifully assembled meal. A meal cooked with love.

Wow, what great memories this post has brought back!

SOO... Who's coming to my place for dinner?


  1. Super yum... That post definitely made me want to get on a plane and come to your house for dinner.

  2. Yummm! I love Indian food! I, too, wish I had more time to cook a proper meal. I still cook from scratch, but anymore, it's meat, potatoes and a veggie...very quick. No recipes. I don't have time. I miss having time to really enjoy the proces.

  3. Honey, you could plop a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich down in front of me and as long as I didn't make it and I didn't have to clean it up, I'd be sooooo happy.

  4. Ladies, it's a date!

    Mothers Day next year, my place for dinner. Bring the families and the grog and I'll cook!

    Christie - I know EXACTLY what you mean. I promise I'll do a platter of PB&J just for you Babe! Plus I used to Own and Manage a Bar/Cafe, so I make a mean Martini. Well... I make a mean, anything, with alcohol!

  5. Am I too late for this? I can be there in, say, 20 hours?

    I'm just now going through this whole "making stuff from scratch" phase. I love it!

  6. Hey Paige,

    No, never to late Darl. I'm accepting RSVP's up to two weeks before Mothers Day 2011.

    Looking forward to seeing you!

    In defiance of this post, I made Fish and Chips from scratch last night. Fresh Blue Grenadier thinly covered in my super-secret-recipe-light-and-fluffy-batter, medium thickness julienne potato chips cooked until golden with fresh lemon wedges and home-made tartare sauce that I haven't made forever.


    The only bugger was that I took a photo of my botched-up, half-assed Butter Chicken, but forgot to take a photo of my beautiful Fish and Chips! Silly me...


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