Here we are with a New Year. I have got a whole bunch of brilliant cookbooks for Christmas/New Years/my birthday - what I'm most excited about is, of course, the massive Nigella's "Kitchen" book, which for some obscure reason I didn't own already. I also got an exciting book about cream desserts and truffles which looks very promising (and has goooorgeous pictures).
So, here I go with my foodie resolutions for 2012:
1. Eat more healthy stuff
This is a classic. Strangely enough, it has never been in my New Year's resolutions. But I feel I'm getting to the age where I ought to pay attention to what I eat. I'm not really a massive fast-food person (I never ever eat at McDonalds) but I get my fare share of excess chocolate, red meat and dodgy sandwiches at work. So for 2012 I'm thinking of doing at least 1 vegan dinner a week (I'm not vegetarian or vegan in any way, shape or form, but sticking to vegan kinda crosses out all the unhealthy stuff) and make myself nice massive salads to take to work from lunch, along with a couple of crunchy apples and othe rhealthy snacks to munch on instead of chocolate/supersalty peanuts/pork scratchings. I'll let you know how that goes and what vegan/vegetarian recipes I come up with.
2. Take pleasure in cooking when my man is not at home
I don't normally cook fancy, but when I cook dinner for us two (which is most nights) I pride myself in being able to put together something fun, tasty and not too unhealthy. When The Man is out of the house, however, I change routine completely. Healthy protein-vegetable-carbs family dinners turn into bowls of pasta-pesto, frozen pizza and suspicious cheese toasties. Why? I'm lazy, and that's basically all there is to it. Well, this year no more of that. It doesn't take much longer to put together a chicken and leek risotto than it does some shabby pasta with jar-sauce, and it's so much healthier, tastier and more fun. I'm quite looking forward to finding one-person solutions that don't just entail cooking a normal amount and then heating it up for four nights in a row.
3. Plan my meals better
We have a freezer, thank God, but I hardly ever use it aside from storing frozen peas/spinach/pizza and ice cream. Every now and then I fantasise about opening it and finding a neat set of boxes full of frozen healthy meals, home made pasta sauce, pre-made white chocolate chip cookie dough, but that has never been more than a fantasy. Well, I have had it. I always have loads of time to cook when there is nobody to eat what I'm cooking and resort to shabby gross alternatives when I'm going mental with work (see point 2). So there will be cooking at weekends, and filling up the freezer with things. I'm thinking cookie dough (who could live without), stir fry of various denominations, chilli con carne and baby potatoes, home made tomato pasta sauce and, of course, LITRES of chicken soup.
4. Make more soup
The Man doesn't like soup. Most don't. It's not he won't eat it, but I gain a sort of twisted, 1950s housewife like pleasure in serving something he'll REALLY like. So we don't have even nearly as much soup as I would like. Well, that's a shame because I love soup, most of my guests love soup, children love it and it's good for you. So this year (especially this winter) we'll be having a lot of soup. I am looking forward to it already. Vegetable soup (and now my mother isn't the cook of the house any more I get to take out the much hated courgettes and substitute broken spaghetti with the dreadful waterlogged couscous), chicken soup, broth, lentil soup...I'm excited already. I'll be sure to share some recipes with you guys!
5. Cook more crazy stuff
Crazy stuff is fun. I like to serve very boring, traditional family meals but sometimes I really feel there is space to spice up my cooking life. With a brand new set of cookbooks and the internet at my fingertips, I will try. I will fail quite often, but I will try some of those fun dishes nobody makes for everyday eating anymore. Layered souffles, aspics, meringues etc. I might even use this as an excuse to have a few more dinner parties, which I would be happy about (nothing fancy, but having freinds over for dinner instantly makes my week brighter, even if we're just having gnocchi bake with salad). Look out for those in the upcoming months!!
Here they are. Let me know what your thoughts on the matter are, what are your resolutions and how you spent your New Year's Eve!!