I am trying to start cooking again and it occurred to me that the only way I was going to do it is if I menu planned as if I were cooking again because if the fresh ingredients weren’t in the house in the first place, then obviously I wasn’t going to do any cooking. But it’s hard, like pretty much everyone else I guess, I do one big weekly shop and a handful of top shops for bread, milk and packed lunch stuff (we’re always running out of packed lunch stuff). I do my big weekly shop online, usually ordering it a day or two before it arrives, so therefore I’m sitting down and trying to imagine what we’re going to eat for up to nine days in the future and I’m afraid my crystal ball of prediction ain’t that good. The big problem with menu planning is that I am the only cook, Mr. Lacer would, to be honest rather not eat if it meant he had to cook something (although he does cook for himself occasionally, although it’s stuff out of the freezer, although he does make a mean sandwich, although I think I might be thinking his sandwiches taste better than my sandwiches because I’m not the one who had to go and make them, either that or it’s the liberal amounts of butter he puts on his sandwiches and I don’t). So if I’ve online shopped all this food and something happens, like I’m unexpectedly busy, too knackered (because one always follows the other) or ill, then all that fresh food goes to waste and I hate that when that happens. So I play it safe and just don’t order (that much) fresh food, living out of the freezer like everyone else.
Although I do get why Mr. Lacer doesn’t cook (sort of), he was just never taught and although I personally am a self taught cook (thank you Jamie from afar), I know not everyone is going to want to become a self taught cook (although I do occasionally point out that even Mr. Lacer’s hero, Chris Moyles, can cook now – also thanks to (what must be the patron saint of self taught cooks) Jamie Oliver). Also Mr. Lacer uses the kitchen as a massive excuse not to and it is on the small side.
So that’s why I haven’t been cooking, there have been weeks where I have known in advance that I wouldn’t have time to cook much and for the rest of them, I’ve just played it safe and stuck to Mr. Birdseye just in case those weeks turned out busy to. But hey, it’s the summer holidays, so if I don’t have time to cook now, when will I cook? So when I did a food shop this week, I did menu plan, using the Innocent Hungry? book as their recipes are quite simple, so it should ease me back into it. So for lunch today I made quesadillas, which is one of those things we makes me wonder why on earth do I have to deliberately plan to have tortillas in the house for? Everyone loves quesadillas and they’re not exactly hard to make, I should always have tortillas in the house (not just for quesadillas, they’re great for wraps to and we eat so much bread in this house we might as well have some variety). My favourite luxurious quesadilla is parma ham, cheese, basil and chilli sauce (from an old cookbook called The Best Of, which was from a now defunct TV series back from when I was still a bit of a cooking newbie, I don’t have the cookbook any more (otherwise I’d credit the actual chef) as it was one of my cookbooks lost in the great boiler flood of ’05 but that recipe is ingrained on me now0, I know it sounds a little odd but try it, it’s delicious. But my standard quesadilla is just cheese and ham, specially if I’m making them for the kids. So today I pushed the boat out, ever such a tiny little bit and following the Innocent recipe for quesadillas, made cheese, courgette (from the allotment), spring onion and chilli ones (I skipped the chilli for the kids) and it was delicious. That may just be my courgettes if I do say so myself 😉 but it just was really nice. My courgette plants have been really bountiful so courgette (mainly grated) has been making its way into some of my normal repertoire of dishes I can do with my eyes shut (my still favourite pasta with pancetta, rosemary and garlic takes on a lovely more savoury flavour if your add grated courgette and fry it with the pancetta as well). So like in the pasta, the courgette in the quesadilla did give it more of a savoury vibe. The recipe book says you can also do it with carrot, I will have to try that.