Me, about five
What were you cooking five years ago?
For the first time I was cooking with children in my life. That was challenging. I was teetering on the brink of vegetarianism, having always, always, preferred vegetables to flesh and spent a lot of time reading books by nutritionists (notably Jane Clarke and Annemarie Colbin). Five years ago feels like two minutes ago, so it was, I suppose, very similar food to what you see among these pages.
What were you cooking 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was poring over clippings of Nigel Slater from English Marie Claire magazine. The casual, produce-driven images that accompanied his seductive words were a huge influence on me and remain so, to this day. Cooking? I did a mean pizza, the sauce heady with red wine and oregano, lifted from those very clippings; a blow-your-socks-off-it’s-too-damn-hot-woman green curry (hey, I was a heavy smoker back then and needed strong flavours to taste anything) and huge cauldrons of Moroccan-spiced lamb shanks for gatherings.
Five snacks you enjoy:
- Vegemite and tahini on brown rice cakes
- Crisp apples, when in season
- Dried cherries and unsulphured dried apricots
- Tamari roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds and pine nuts
- Vegan cookies…this one and another I’m yet to share…
Five recipes you know by heart:
- My version of dahl. Perhaps I should write it up?
- Pasta with fennel, currants, saffron, pine nuts and fried wholemeal breadcrumbs
- A really lovely, citrussy, quinoa and millet pilaf
- My grandmother’s Mock Nougat Slice
- Wine glazed lentils
Five culinary luxuries you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:
- A 12 month macrobiotic cooking class in Japan
- My own kitchen (as opposed to the rented one I have become very attached to)
- Antique copper pans – I love old metal
- A large, perfectly planned kitchen garden and all the time in the world to tend it
- An Aga
Five foods you love to cook:
- Braised fennel is the most beautiful thing to eat
- Potatoes, Indian style
- Vegetables I’ve no experience with
- Legumes in their many, many incarnations
- Pilafs - ditto
Five things you cannot/will not eat:
- Chicken – I have never been able to see the point of chicken. Well, a roasted chook I get. But flabby, tasteless chicken breasts?
- Things with preservatives – weird numbers and names that cannot be pronounced. Good wine being, obviously, the hypocritical exception
- Those well-known cola drinks – especially the ‘diet’ varieties
- Anything genetically modified
Five favourite culinary toys:
- My (sorry, ‘our’) Japanese Knife
- Mortar and pestle
- Toaster…hmm…clutching at straws here…but I do love it
- Cookbook holder – it’s so bloody useful (thanks, Noel)
- Wooden fish-shaped vegetable scrubber
Play along if you like.