Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Soul Food

I love food.

And I don't mean just a little bit. I probably love it too much sometimes! I have an unhealthy fascination with sweet foods but although these foods make me feel better they are not true soul food.

When F and I first lived together he was a master of frying. He converted me to the deep fat fryer and I converted him to non-chip shop fish. But then it all changed. I gave up smoking. My body gave up being thin (or at least thinnish).

Adjustments were made and as we settled in together we started using the fryer less and cooking more from scratch. The fryer now lies abandoned in a dark corner of the loneliest corner cupboard of our kitchen. It has stood on the brink of disposal many times and is likely to tip over the edge next time...

The true reasons have been lost in time but I found Riverford via the web and started to order a regular veg box from them. This helped with food budgeting and made sure I always had a selection of veg available when I felt the urge to cook more healthily.

It had a profound affect on my cooking. I could cook but having to be creative in order to work out what to do with celeriac or how to make the cabbage delivered for the fifth week in a row taste better taught me more. With help from Riverford's database of recipes on their website, recipes on their newsletters and now their cook book, I have even learnt how to make brussels sprouts taste nice! (roast with honey and onion and add toasted pine nuts)

My knowledge of how and when to use herbs and spices also improved and we just throw things in now. I can cook a stew (not hard I know but it is a different style of cooking than I had previously used) with dumplings of course.

Riverfords influence on our lives spread and we started using their meat to. I find it hard to go back to supermarket meat now. It is a luxury but one we both relish. I have a lovely rolled turkey breast stuffed with bacon and chesnuts and a duck frozen for New Years Day and the knowledge of how good they will be makes me salivate while writing this...

I have found that I have become more and more of a food snob. So has F even though he doesb't perhaps realise it yet because he is less of one than me. The other day he brought home a clipping from the West Briton with an offer for a lovely meal at Rick Stein's and a comment about his birthday... (Bare in mind he only ever used to eat chip shop fish)

So my fridge is now full of lovely cheese and meat and veg, with more veg outside and a box of fruit and nuts, all organic. I have wine for mulling, m & s deserts, organic apple juice and a jar of goose fat... And I can't wait to eat it all...

In all this it just left us with one little choice. Do we have roast chicken with S today? We thought long and hard but realised the answer had to be no. Christmas type meals three days in a row might be too much for him, and for us. So we thought long and hard about what would be a nice meal for us all. For S the perfect meal would be unhealthy and contain lots of meat and no veg (so like his father...). So here we are, the men watch TV and I type, eating snacky party foo to be followed by choclate cheese cake.

I think this meal is to satisfy the non-foodie food loving food part of me. May everyone enjoy their food as much as we are and shall over this Yule time.

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