Having discovered that winter has really gone, spring sprang in and out again quickly, and now summer has definitely come and we are already being bombarded with suggestions for the Christmas festivities. Even more annoying was seeing a delivery made to a famous high street toiletries store – it included chocolate fondant eggs for their storage rooms! I know now that’s what all stores do when they want to discount them just before the season actually begins. Bring out old stock. Never mind, we won’t even think about that in the winter when the fire is wafting heat and joy through the flames. We will have forgotten about he searing heat and humidity. We might just remember this summer though, it has been filled so far with much football – world cup year. Wonder if we’ll still be cheering a victory in November, when it’s dank, cold and miserable every morning?
We’re thrilled about that summer has arrived – in fact, we are a little bored of summer now. It’s been blisteringly hot for over two weeks and there appears to be no let up. How we wish for those thunder storms and that down pouring of rain! The climate has definitely changed year on year and we are now living in the once projected and feared world that has globall warmed. One of the things that we must try to do more often is clean our homes and particularly the kitchen and food storage, preparation and serving areas. We can start with more careful selection of shopping and the handling of our produce. There seems to be no end to the number of different bugs that can be caught in a kitchen. Thoroughly cleaning the food prep areas is a must and swapping from dish cloth to sponge that can be microwaved for a couple of minutes after each use.
I have begun using one of those new fangled food delivery services – a young lass came to the door, very cheerful and confident – she more or less bulldozed her way in to my kitchen and wouldn’t take my lame excuses for not being a customer. Every time I put forward a reason, she would counter it with the opposite. That is exactly my tactic when faced with someone who is unduly negative or difficult to get on with. So of course, after half an hour of this door step challenge, I finally caved in and let her demonstrate how easy it is to get logged on with an account and choose three boxed meals. This young lady was an excellent example of how a really good business promoter can get interest in his subject without really making it obvious. She was so happy for a start and utterly confident in the product she was marketing. Win win.
When you book into any kind of lesson, there has to be some level of expectation on the part of the buying student and the tutor – it’s no good them coming to a cookery course for example, assuming that the student has even the first idea about the subject. Presenting the lesson in a format that will please all the candidates is often a chancy thing, some prefer to be led by the hand, item by item and then be astounded by the brilliance of the finished product. Other folk like to have a hint, just the mearest nodding in the right direction, and then be left to fathom out some of the later parts themselves. The results are not always the principle object here – simply the enjoyment of finding out their strengths, weaknesses and fundamentally, their limitations! Cookery workshops are a great way to meet like minded folk too.
When the winter finally leaves us and we start to seriously contemplate basking in the sunlight to come, does our mind turn to the pleasures of the flesh – steady on, not that kind. I’m thinking of the flesh of tomatoes and other luscious salad and vegetable matter that can be grown in the few weeks before winter races back again! Mind you, there are some other things that can be put in place to really enjoy the summer months to the max. Taking a cookery course may seem rather an odd suggestion but there are many out there that offer a truly insightful way of changing the manner in which we cater for family and friends. How to make the ery most of the abundance of british fruit, salad and vegetables – trying to cut our personal footprint and that of the delivery drivers. Grasp those lessons for life now and make your bit of difference.
I love going round kitchen and cookery workshop suppliers – there used to be a truly fantastic emporuium in my local town. It was filled from floor to ceiling with rack after rack of the most divine culinary objects – many of which it would be almost impossible to hazard a guess its purpose. This small independent family owned retail outlet was really well known in the wider area, mainly because they were prepared to get into stock jut about anything innovatie and useful. They also souced the unusual item for the serious chef or cook. Fish kettles in 10 sizes, minute single sauce pans, utensils in every shape, size, metal, colour. They would display everything in mini kitchen displays so there would be for example, a huge expensive mixers/food processors with every conceivable attachment would take centre stage, then the rest of the company’s kitchenalia list would be spread around it. Absolute culinary heaven!
I had the chance to enrol with chums at a chocolate making workshop the other summer. It was actually part of a a whole host of hen party activities and we all had to select from a choice of 8 things, which ones we wanted to attend (and pay for). No one will be at all surprised that a full house wanted the chocolate based activity! As it happened, for all the expense, we didn’t make the chocolate – that was already made and we just made different choccy sweets, adding flavoured fillings and all sorts. This was a bit disappointing, although I guess 20 giggly women with expensive ingredients could make an awful mess! It did inspire me though to look at the more serious side of the venue’s menu of courses and bought into the fish buying and preparation and how to cook sensibly and economically for one. A good outcome from a sticky beginnings.
I had the opportunity to join a pal on a rather high end shopping trip recently. This was a reward voucher she’d had for some spectacular achievement at work. I know not what the value of the gift was, but it involved a very nice department store in the new shopping mall that has opened not a million miles away. I drove us both on the day so chummy could concentrate on getting dressed in sensible, easy to remove and replace clothes. Well, this was such a laugh as the shopping/floor walker made us both feel really welcome and then set us at ease with small one liner quips. There was firstly a colour consultation to see how our choice of clothing could affect how certain outfits look on us. This was ideal for when we wish to browse our favourite sites too.
I have promised to provide two items of Christmas festival food for my hostess – she is already providing enough food for the entire wetern world, but there will inevitably be folk at the table who do not like conventional christmas pud or cake. So I said I’d make alternatives. This offer was made in a moment of feeling very confident and still flushed with the success of having provided a really good emergency standby meal for the same parties. Having not had much notice, I was able to cobble together a really healthy and surprisingly tasty all in one oven bake. That’s something I have not done for some years since family life was reduced to solo living!
I realise I haven’t made anything much lately and lack the confidence I used to show whenever family gatherings arose. Hmmm maybe a cookery workshop would be a welcome present – note to Santa coming up!
At this time of year, i.e. autumn , there are fewer programmes showing the light salad sort of meals that I content myself with most of the time. Being on my own, I tend to take the easier course through the intricasies of healthy eating. I do avoid over processed meals – mainly because they do seem to contain a frightening amount of sugar, salt and other sins. I just do a mix of veg or salad and add a meat, fish or egg item to that. Culinary masterpieces they are not, but quick, nutricious and damned cheap they are! However, there have been times when I fancied attending a proper fish cooking course, or more useful still, a course in how to deal properly with beef. I adore beef and I very rarely cook it myself now, for fear of ruining it. Online cookery workshops will be the next browsing subject for this baby!