I often think we cook with love and eat with gratitude.
Or sometimes we just cook two minute noodles and throw some cheese on top (which may not be quite caring enough to qualify as love). It’s hard to be overly grateful for two minute noodles with cheese (although my kids actually love them).
I eat with gratitude when someone has cooked a nice meal for me, whether Mr Yang, other family members or friends or at a restaurant (which is rare, I’m usually grateful just to get out). I like to eat.
I appreciate the effort that goes into a nice meal, and even the effort behind relatively basic meals Mr Yang whips up weeknights that saves me having to do it. I really appreciate that.
But what I’m really grateful for (well not so much on busy week nights) is the chance to cook.
Cooking puts me ‘in the flow’ – a creative process that is such an ordinary thing to do, but somehow so special. Love really is the magic ingredient.
When I’m feeling unappreciated, or unworthy, cooking a nice meal makes me feel appreciated, worthy.
Cooking restores my belief that life is about enjoying, and being grateful for, the simple things – that in eating and sharing meals we connect with each other and with what it means to be human.
There are times when cooking truly restores my soul. Like today (going to experiment with some new dumplings).
I thought I’d share some of my favourite meals and a couple of recipes.
This is always well received. You cook up the curry sauce and spoon over the salmon, then bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how you like your salmon).
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 dessert spoon green curry paste, 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauces, 4-5 Kaffir lime leaves (finely sliced), 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, 1/2 small red onion (diced), one small can coconut milk, good squeeze of lime, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to sauté ginger, onion and garlic and brown shredded coconut. Top with coarsely chopped coriander leaves.
To me gratitude (and comfort) also tastes like Chicken Congee…it’s a heart-warmer.
Sunday breakfasts, brunches and lunches are a specialty for me when it comes to cooking with gratitude.
This is my pear and fennel open tart with prosciutto. You sauté finely diced fennel (1/2 to whole fennel depending on size) and finely diced pear (2-3 pears) in butter (60g) and olive oil with garlic, a couple of pinches of cinnamon and a dash of balsamic vinegar until well cooked. Then puree the mix using a stick mixer. Partially cook puff pastry base. Remove from heat and allow to cool before spreading mixture over pastry, topping with slices of prosciutto and think slices of pear. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until pastry is cooked and prosciutto is brown and slightly crunchy.
And one from Mr Yang, who really can cook (for which I am most grateful).
To me tasting gratitude is what it is like to savour love. Warm, hearty or fresh and fragrant, saucy and spicy, rich and rare, succulent and sweet. However it tastes for you, Bon Appetit!
Now roll with the compliments this Friday as I hook up with Grace for FYBF.