Friday, 24 August 2012

Food, glorious food...

I was just contemplating how, in these lacklustre and often grey days, food has become of real and increasing importance to me. Knowing what I'm going to eat is my whole life – no, not really my whole life, I exagerate, but a chunk of it. I think could understand it better if, as in those days of long-ago, I had to go out to hunt and forage for my sustenance but all I have to do is pop down to the supermarket.

Mind you I manage to turn a supermarket visit into a hunting and foraging adventure, carrying my basket as if it were a collecting sack, keeping my eyes peeled for that elusive prey… a bargain or two. It isn’t the buying of the bargain, the marked-down item, which excites me; it’s the thrill of making something that tastes great from and for almost nothing. It makes me feel good to know that I’ve made something beautifully tasty for pennies – after all it’s what everyone is trying to do these days; just look at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (such a hard name to remember how to spell).

Hugh, I have to admit, is a bit of a hero of mine. I love his approach to food - he cooks it rather than chefs it; making sure that he uses it all, and where he can he grows and kills his food himself. It’s hunting-gathering with organisation and at home. Of course it helps if your home is as beautiful and grand as River Cottage, but I genuinely believe Hugh has it right; which is more than can be said for most of the other TV chefs – Jamie, Raymond, Pierre, that ridiculous and annoying Blumanthal bloke and of course not forgetting the overly-aggressive fcuking idiot that is Gordon Ramsey.

Hugh celebrates thrift, making delicious food from cheaper cuts, using leftovers in delicious ways, encouraging experimentation. Such a shame that he went to Eton.

My God, just listen to me – I should get myself an ‘I love Hugh’ badge!

Of course, I mastered the ‘scrag’ cuts of meat long ago and can make a soup from, well almost just water and some wilting veg. But without Hugh I don’t think I’d have taken the leftover cold stuffed breast of lamb on Tuesday and then slicing it very finely, tossing it with some home-grown baby tomatoes, rocket, finally splashing it with a little rosemary flavoured olive oil. Nor would I have served it with my yard-reared sack-grown crushed and peppered new potatoes. It made a really great lunch from almost, and for almost, nothing.

Last night I cut a long pocket into a piece of belly pork that I bought for two quid and had divided into three meals worth. I stuffed the pork with leek greens, red onion, and sage and onion stuffing (basics stuffing 15p from Sainsburys). Then I sewed the pork back up with string and bunged it in the oven until it was crisp and succulent. I served it with frozen sweet corn and a few tiny, crisp, roast potatoes and onions. Fantastic and all for under a quid for two portions!

You may have noticed that I’m not calorie counting, life’s too short to fixate over ultra-healthy eating and a lettuce leaf is… well, a lettuce leaf – besides the wine will get me before the food ever does.

Mind you, there are a few downsides to my obsession for food bargains. Our freezers are, and keep getting, fuller. Also, I can’t bear to throw anything away; it makes me angry with myself when I let even half a pepper go over.

Oh well, it’ll soon be soup season – and everything goes into my soups. Goulash soup with ribbon noodles anyone?

10 comments:

  1. Lynda Pasquarello Henderson on FB:
    That looks delicious!

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    1. It was - and very inexpensive.

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  2. Lynda Pasquarello Henderson on Facebook:
    I read that! Sounds amazing too. I read your blog to discover the ingredients. I may have to try that one at home! Nice. Although I am not familiar with Hugh???

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    1. Very good English cook - worth looking him up - simple food, well prepared and with real flare. Because of him I don't use recipes much any more.

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  3. Lynda Pasquarello Henderson on facebook:
    i will check him out. thanks Andi.

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    1. You are welcome - he is great though, awesome in US speak.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Replies
    1. Easy, I asked it to say cheese.

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  5. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    harriet and i like Hugh.....Mmmm your dinner sounds good enough to eat!!

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  6. Della Jayne Roberts on FB
    ♥ We watched him last night. His shows are always on Foxtel (like Sky) as well as all the UK Lifestyle/Food progs. X

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