I’ve promised that I will keep a food blog over the Christmas break, to keep track of what I cook and eat, and how I feel about it. So, I’m going to try and keep a bit of a diary about some if the culinary exploits I attempt over the next couple of weeks. Actually, they won’t be very interesting from a creative or skills point of view, as I’ve brought my cooking right back to basics. Lots of stews and casseroles, simple ingredients and nothing that requires thinking about very much.
On Sunday I cooked two dishes that will no doubt last me the week. [I will upload some pictures later]. The first is a pan of minced beef and onions, with some mixed herbs, some red wine thrown in and some peppercorns added. The second is a pan of belly pork, with onions, stock and some added tarragon. I should have added some cider but didn’t have any.
I left both cooking all day when I went for a walk and later to the cinema, so I was out over eight hours. I bought some cast-iron pans after reading Michael Pollan’s book Cooked, that brought to life the joy of cooking stews and using cuts of meat that aren’t the top-of the range and excessively lean. The way that Pollan describes sharing these meals is great. My oven is great, so to get the heat low enough I have to use a couple of cast iron frying pans underneath each of the pots to distribute the heat even more evenly. Lucky I bought some a couple of years ago, and I can regulate the heat in the pan much more effectively.
What I really like about making stews is that you can cook the meat and the broth at the weekend, and add the vegetables as you need them. They last me the entire week, both lunch and dinner. All I have to do is add is some greens, either cabbage or broccoli, or some cauliflower, and I’ve got a quick meal that I don’t have to prep for each night. Forget ready meals, spend an afternoon making some stews and you’ll not need to worry about cooking when you get home from work.
I looked at the mince beef this morning, and there is a rich layer of fat on the top of the meat and sauce. I used to run a mile from fat in my diet, but since giving up carbohydrates I’ve come to learn that the fat is where the flavour is. It also protects the food from going off, and so I’m not paranoid about putting it into the fridge. I’m not sure about this, but I reckon that fridges are containers for bad bacteria, and that we’ve been brainwashed into thinking they are essential. I don’t keep cheese in the fridge any more as it kills the taste so my fridge only has yogurt and uncooked meats in it. I’m thinking of experimenting with salting my meat as a preservative and flavouring so the fridge becomes even more redundant.
I bought some courgettes on Leicester Market earlier, along with some Comte cheese, some eggs and a trout. I’ll let you know how I get on with them. I probably need to buy some more garlic before I head back home as well.
[Update: I’ve just found this site with some fantastic ideas for low-carb Christmas cooking. I’ve got some good stuff to try out now]