Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Down Side of Healthy Eating

We're getting healthy, or at least, that is the theory. We have been living on cook-in sauces for way too long and frankly, I'm bored of the four or five flavours we actually buy. So, we hatched a deal: I sort out interesting recipes and buy the ingredients; Nick cooks. Sounds like a plan? Well...

Firstly, it takes forever to actually find a dozen recipes that are not too complicated, with regular ingredients I can recognize and that don't take hours to cook. I spent a couple of hours on Sunday leafing through cook books, wondering who on Earth would bother making little filo pastry cases or wrapping vine leaves round something.

I wrote out the page numbers and listed the ingredients. There were strange and wonderful items like 'green split peas', 'chopped almonds' and 'ground cumin'. All very scary to someone who avoids cooking at all costs.

Tonight, I stopped at the supermarket on the way home. I pushed the trolley up and down the aisles looking for the weird and elusive ingredients. I did find most of them, though notably not the green split peas - I had to opt for yellow ones. I wonder if it makes a difference? It took me about two hours to find everything on the list, because I didn't know where Tesco hides the mozzarella or balsamic vinegar or any of the pots of aromatic herbs I was supposed to return with.

Eventually, I got home, late and hungry. I had been staring at the list for sometime now, and I was starting to crave the Spicy Baked Potatoes option. I handed Nick the recipe book, open on the right page and pointed to the picture of yellow turmeric flavoured potatoes, with natural yoghurt dripping off them.

Then, I foolishly went upstairs, and left him to it. I tried to ignore the burning smells emanating from the kitchen.

Three quarters of an hour later, Nick announces that dinner is served, but that he didn't have any ramekins so the Yorkshire pudding mix had slopped everywhere.

Ramekins? Yorkshire pudding?

Oh, yes, there on my plate was a tump of mashed potato with bits of batter embedded in it. It was garnished with cremated sunflower seeds, only identifiable by their size and shape, certainly not by colour, texture or taste.

It turns out the recipe book had magically turned the pages to the section on "weird things to do with potatoes" and Nick had followed the instructions to the letter (minus over enthusiastic cooking of seeds and a lack of small pots to cook batter in).

Disappointed? Well, it wasn't quite what I'd been expecting. Nick helpfully pointed out that he had thought it was weird, but if that was what I wanted... Eventually, we compromised and Nick added some rapidly cooked frozen peas to the plate.

I've saved the small, black sunflower bullets for sometime in the future when I'm starving. Dwarf bread has nothing on this!

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