Thursday, November 18, 2010

Choices---A Guest Post

 I e-mailed Fiona of How To Be Chic recently to ask her to do a guest post for Food Month.  She and I are similar minded when it comes to indulging in food, even though she lives all the way in New Zealand!  She graciously got this to me quickly, another story of a person learning to cook for pleasure. 

Kalee asked me to write a guest post on eating well and cooking at home for her wonderful food month on Une Vie Chic.  I think what Kalee is doing is really very generous – you can tell she is passionate about helping others live well.  Such wisdom and sincerity at such a youthful age!

Receiving this request made me think back to when I was younger and had just left home at around 19, having never really cooked a dinner.  But I started out with what I liked to eat and discovered how to cook those dishes.

There were some disasters such as serving canned pumpkin soup which I thought I’d make more homemade by adding garlic.  Did I mention it was raw garlic that I stirred through the heated soup?  It did not go down well, literally.  And I can’t believe I used canned pumpkin soup either, with pumpkins being so inexpensive and easy to turn into a delicious soup.

I also made my first (and only so far) batch of scones many years ago which turned out like little rocks.  I threw them on the lawn, but even the birds could not get their beaks through them.  As far as baking goes I’ve stuck with muffins and slices.  Who knows though, maybe I’ll try scones again some day?

So I started out by trial and error, and gradually gained confidence and knowledge in the kitchen.  I’m still not a fancy cook and don’t create loads of dishes, but the ones I do often, I do well.  I’m not a total food purist either.  I use a packet mix here and there to add flavour to a casserole or an instant gravy.  I find people who say they would ‘never eat anything not made from scratch’ quite tiresome and preachy.  But that’s just me.

Having just said that, I have been trialling lately how to add flavour and thickness to a casserole without a packet mix, and making my own gravy from the pan drippings.  I have a notebook where I write my makeshift recipes down.  That way if it’s tasty and receives rave reviews, I can remember what I put in for next time.  It’s just a cardboard cover notebook so I don’t mind scribbling down ideas on the go or getting it too near the food.

If you eat out a lot and want to eat in more, I would suggest you think about the dishes you like to order when you dine out and then try to recreate them at home.  I often think diet makeover programmes fall over in that respect.  They take a family who is used to eating fast food burgers and chips every night and try to force them into stir-fry and miso soup.

If I was the food expert, I would take their favourite meal and show them how to make it at home.  Say if they ate fast-food low-quality fatty burger and greasy high-fat fries every night.

Imagine instead fresh nice bread burger buns, homemade lean mince patties with chopped onion, herbs, seasonings (which can be made ahead of time and maybe frozen, for an instant component of the meal for busy evenings), fresh lettuce pieces and tomato slices, a slice of real cheese, a blob of good quality mayo.

You could serve this with some hot chips made by slicing scrubbed, unpeeled  potatoes into wedges and oven baking them in a smear or spray of oil, along with salt and pepper, seasonings or herbs sprinkled over.

Which meal would you rather have? 

Thank you Fiona for doing this post, that hamburger with homemade fries sounds divine!  And please visit Fiona's blog, as she's currently doing a series for November about 30 Chic Days that I have really enjoyed! 

* And don't forget to go HERE to enter the giveaway for November!  


  1. Always love hearing from Fiona. She does know how to make ones mouth water! Would love to get that pumpkin soup recipe. I'll bet she has it in her archives. Will head over and check.

  2. Thanks very much for the invite Kalee! I am honoured to have been asked.

    Bodeci Debra, Pumpkin Soup: saute onion and garlic in olive oil/butter (or both, delicious), add 1-inch cubes of any kind of peeled and seeded pumpkin and then top up to the level of pumpkin with homemade or bought chicken or vegetable stock. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft. Leave in pot but turn off heat. Either use potato masher in pot for a chunky soup or a stick blender for a smooth soup. This is where you can add seasons, some trim milk, cream or even coconut milk. You can add any types of flavourings along the way i.e. thyme with cream, or Thai herbs and chilli flakes with coconut milk. Bon Appetit.