Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One Pot

Darling Love Chunks has long since realised that he's married an utter dud in the cooking department.

Meteorology and computer programming don't always provide a huge amount of creative freedom, so he finds it instead in cooking. Saturday and Sunday mornings are given to breakfasts that poncy inner-city cafes can only dream of and the coffees he makes from scratch seven days a week are better than anything you'd perch on a teeny tiny metal outdoor table in the freezing sunshine dressed in trendy black designer gear and pay four bucks the privilege for.

Even on a 'slack' weekend brekky day he treats Sapphire and myself to ricotta hotcakes with warm berries or a spinach and fetta tart like this one:

Weeknights too, he's on the ball. Warm chicken salad, home-made pizzas (including the yeast-leavened crusts), curries, roasts, char-grilled vegetables, barbecues, a huge array pastas, stir-fries, Asian meals, casseroles, scones, soups, seafood. He sees it on telly, in a magazine picture or in a restaurant; figures out what it's likely to have in it, how it was made and simply goes for it. I can count on one hand the inedibles he's produced in (cocks head to one side, counting out loud) ........ sixteen years of togetherness. He could, quite literally, work in a restaurant and have patrons clamouring for more.

Therefore, on the roughly two-nights-per-week average that it's sort of/unspoken/assumed to be 'my turn' in the kitchen, you'd think he'd get something special.

Sadly, as you can see from this One Pot Dahl with Added Veges Found In the Crisper, Thrown In and Boiled For Several Hours Because I Forgot About It, he's constantly disappointed. He walks in after a long day at work and a heart-pounding bike ride home only to smell what could conceivably have been excreted by an angry herd of IBS-suffering elephants and says quietly - and not a little nervously, 'So, you've been cooking, have you?'

In fact, 'One Pot' is a name he occasionally calls me. And it's appropriate and deserved. Y'see, I'm all for the 'no dishes, no cleaning, no fuss' method of cooking and thus my nights tend to produce dahl, risotto (but with microwaved rice stirred in whatever sauce I've concocted in the non-stick pan, not me standing there for 20 minutes lovingly and continuously stirring the gloop); tuna mornay (yes, it still exists and I've always got a tin of corn and tuna in the cupboard), soup of any description (some of them defy description to be honest) and a mishmash/tomato-and-onion based pasta sauce that's smeared over whichever pasta is closest to hand.

He doesn't complain about these sub-standard, hastily-cooked, often-with-still-crunchy-onion offerings that are proferred but smiles politely, takes a warming slurp of red wine and bravely plows in. As does Sapphire, but she can be more vocal about what's in the bowl plopped down in front of her.

Crack - Squeak - Crack - Squeak - Crack- Squeak
"Mum what's that gritty stuff in the risotto that feels like glass?"
"Sorry love, I only gave the spinach a quick rinse under the tap but I think it's still got a bit of sand in it. Just close your eyes and pretend it's really crunchy black pepper."

"Muuuuuuum, I have tears ON TOP of my eyelids! How much chilli did you add?"
"Erm, about half a cup of minced stuff, I think. Heh Heh, I mistook it for tomato paste, a common mistake. Want another glass of water?"

Holding up a skin-coloured, droopy, noodle-shaped object on her fork:
"Is this one of those weird looking mushrooms that look like long frog toes?"
(Me, blushing profusely): "Whoops, no - give me that!"
(Sapphire staring at me as I return from the rubbish bin). "What was it?"
"Um, let's just say that Mum found the band-aid she thought had slipped off when she was showering."

So how do you become interested in cooking when, at the moment, it seems about as much fun as doing a fortnight's worth of ironing crinkled linen shirts with tissue stuck on them?

In fact I'd rather clean out Skipper the rabbit's cage (fluoro-yellow wee-soaked straw, billions of bunny beans and shredded newspaper and all), pick up Milly's poos (in nappy bags of course), hoover up the stray bathroom floor pubes and distribute our fortnight's recycling in every bin on our street after 11pm than open the fridge and pretend I'm excited, interested, challenged or intrigued about :
a) what's in there that's not coated in chocolate; and
b) how I'm going to get it from that already-uninspiring state to the dinner plate.

All I can really offer Love Chunks and Sapphire is what occurs after dinner. A hug or two, and....... Chocolate sampling! For work purposes and family harmony only, of course.


Radge said...

I'm all about the ready meals, me!

Anonymous said...

Rob is a one pot/wok wonder too!!

I am so hungry coming back from work, any food is better than NO food!

Prefer cooking to cleaning/ironing any time. Cooking is an art - how to combine all these ingredients into something that is bigger than its sum. Cleaning and ironing is routine, boring, no brainer and no rewards,and you have do the whole thing again soon...

Unknown said...

Ah yes, I have so many many fond memories of all the meals LC so generously included me in - yum yum!
I'm with you - every night coming up with a meal to eat is tedious stuff and tuna mornay gets a good run in our house. Last night it was homemade lasagna pulled from the freezer and I got a "We ALWAYS eat this mum!".

Baino said...

Ah chocolate to take the taste away, a cunning ploy! I love to cook for others but doing it all week . .blah! As for ironing? I'm a do it as I go person and a very adept folder!

Miles McClagan said...

Luckily for me, I can cook out of necessity - although lime spiders are still my speciality!

Kath Lockett said...

Actually I should have pointed out that the photo of Love Chunks is NOT from our kitchen - wood panelling and pink is not our dream decor. It was taken on a houseboat trip we went on last Easter.

Now that I've cleared that up - Radge, I'm not surprised, because beer is as ready is it gets, no?

Dr B - yeah, but cooking's the same too. It's there for but a moment before it's scoffed down and people ask, 'So, what's for dinner?'

Catherine, lasagna is delicious and in Sapphire's case, she'd say, "Oh, tomato pasta again..."

Baino, I can't really iron as I go because we haven't got the space to set up an ironing board and leave it there. When I have a 'session' I'm half-standing outside via the screen door with my arse up against the washing machine. Certainly speeds up the process though.

Miles, someday I'm going to have to try one of your Lime Spiders but only if you try a Farmers Union Iced Coffee and admit the truth - they RULE!

Cinema Minima said...

The first part of this post made me feel really hungry, then the next part made me feel a bit queasy, but then the chocolate finish kind of balanced it out. Ah choccy. The great leveller!

Hungry Hungry Hypocrite said...

According to an independent survey commissioned by Lynx deodorant most women want a man who can fix a drain, not a crepe. You must be either very unlucky or not like Lynx deodorant to have ended up with him for 16 years ;)
I too find cooking therapeutic, shame is, I rarely do it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Love Chunks sounds like he can cook! My old housemate from Sydney was a pretty awesome cook, but me and my partner, and our housemate aren't great.

I'm getting better. I cook a mean Cajun Chicken Pasta. All I can see is, it's nice to see the gender roles messed up a bit. I look good in an apron, dammit!

Kath Lockett said...

MATP - as my gravatar says, Chocolate solves ALL problems.

HHH - he's a handyman as well, so he loves his footy, can cook a mean crepe, look manly in an apron and go gah-gah over a circulon saucepan.

Benjamin, Cajun Chicken Pasta sounds like you can cook. Unless, like an old uni buddy of mine, that's the *only* dish you have? Our old mate used to serve up all his girlfriends Spaghetti carbonara on their first date at his place...and also for the second, third, tenth....

Anonymous said...

Nah, I can cook other things. That and Spag Bol used to be my only dishes for ages.

Now I cook stir frys and my dad's mean curried sausage recipe.

squib said...

That thing you cooked there. It looks...

interesting, Kath


River said...

Well, I can tell right off that particular pot of Dahl hasn't been boiled for several hours, the zucchini chunks are still recognisable instead of turning into slush. LC's idea of cooking sounds like heaven and I was just about to hunt up a suitcase and head on over when I read about your bandaid cookery. (shoved the suitcase back under the bed). How can you possibly mistake minced chilli for tomato paste? They are completely different shades of red. Anyway, at least you give it a try, and Saph and LC eat your offerings. Here's a tip for your Tuna Mornay,ditch the canned corn and use frozen. The taste is so much better. Canned corn just tastes like the can. I'm quite a fan of one pot meals myself, but after a couple of those L starts to carry on about a "proper dinner". With a veg or two and a plateful of red meat. Or preferably a roast dinner that takes hours in the oven. Then of course he has a whinge about the amount of dishes sitting in the sink....

Kath Lockett said...

Benjamin, I'm not sure that Curried Sausages is as big a departure from my One Pot-quality meals that you think....

Squib, it all ends up in the same place - the back of yer poo pipe!

River, well spotted. This was before it had boiled for several hours. You might be pleased to know that tonight is my turn to cook and I've already thawed out some bacon and have some FRESH corn cobs to microwave before de-cobbing them and doing a fried rice concoction. Served in a bowl of course.

delamare said...

Kath, Kath, Kath. I think I have to introduce you to the joys of a slow cooker. I'm embracing this magnificent instrument with gusto this winter - minimal prep, long slow cooking, and you can forget that it's on.

Actually, I really enjoy cooking. I find it relaxing, especially when someone else cleans up afterwards (the rule in our house). My other half is pretty good in the kitchen when it comes to traditional fare, but he also excels at weekend breakfasts too. Should we organise a cookoff?!

(I'm sending you an email tomorrow about our long overdue arvo tea too ...)

Anonymous said...

MATP, you cracked me up!

don't worry Kath, abt mixing the chilli paste with tomato paste.
My sis can't tell sugar from salt!By sight I meant.
Once, she served up some sweet fried rice and salty tea. I am sure somewhere on earth that would be the normal way.

Try the Five Brothers pasta sauce, it is excellent (more expensive than the rest but it is worth it, or stock up when it is on sale, 5 different flavours)!! I bet LC and Sapphire will not know it was made with a twist of the wrist. John is a convert.

Anonymous said...

To confirm your suspicions: I do sometimes complain and definitely criticise. And there's been some kitchen-science-experimentation gone horribly wrong too.

Word ver: tatooddy - a hippy glarbledyke from the planet Tatooine in a galaxy far, far away...

Anonymous said...

Delightful upbeat post - I enjoy following your blog.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Marlene - your blog - Nandu Green is a very professional effort and I hope that my sometimes not-so-green adventures don't offend you too much (but I always recycle...)

River said...

drb:- Five Brothers pasta sauce is now sold under the Bertolli label. It's still the same excellent sauce.

Anonymous said...

After looking at those photos all I can say is:
Since it is legal for men to have more than one wife in the UAE I propose that you all move here and I marry your husband too.

In return for food that resembles these photos I can offer:
an absent wife with a reasonable income, an extra husband (he's good with finances and eletronics. I'm sure you'll find a use for him), two cats (one sick) and an incredibly overpriced one bedroom apartment.
Deal right? I know, how could you resist?