Do Yourself a Favour ~ Learn to Cook!

I've been eating very well recently or, more accurately, I've been eating very well for years and years and years and it’s all thanks to my Mummy!

When I was little I had no interest in food or cooking so never bothered to learn anything from her. Then I got engaged and had real asleep-at-night nightmares of my new husband starving to death as I couldn't feed him. Mummy bought me an "Supercook ~ an Encyclopedia of World Cooking" which was published in 112 parts. I read it on the way to work and very rapidly became hooked. 

Supercook magazine

Once married Ray (that’s his name – we’re divorced but I’m still glad I didn't starve him to death!) and I made a rule that once a week we had a meal entirely made of things or dishes we had never tried before. This was in the 70s and all sorts of interesting ingredients were being “discovered”– aubergines, avocados, chilli peppers and so on – and I loved experimenting. This quickly led to us selling our house and buying a rundown hotel in Cornwall in partnership with my sister.  We opened a restaurant, and then another one and that’s how my cooking career started. Well done Mummy!

So I can cook and it has not only given me a wonderful career all over the world, because it is something you can do anywhere, but it also means that I can cook whatever I fancy, often at the drop of a proverbial hat, out of leftovers.

As an example here are details of my last few meals. I’m not showing off, the point I am trying to make (probably not to readers of this blog though!) is that cooking is easy and can really make life better!

Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Soup

Serves 1

I had an ulterior motive for making this; I have just finished writing the third book in my "Genius Recipes” series, which is Soup: (almost) the Only Recipe You'll Ever Need and it needed a final photo before uploading it to kindle. 

1 small onion – thinly sliced
½ tbsp olive oil
1 medium floury potato – peeled and thinly sliced
about 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 – 3 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tbsp grated Parmesan + a bit for garnishing
30ml double cream

~   Heat the oil, stir in the onions, cover directly with a piece of foil or greaseproof or a butter paper, put the lid on the pan, turn the heat right down and cook gently till utterly tender.
~   Add the potato and just cover with stock, put on the lid and simmer till very tender.
~   Squeeze the soft roasted garlic from its skins into the soup and purée until smooth.
~   Return to the heat and stir in the cream and Parmesan.
~   Bring to
a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning again.
Serve hot with croutons and more Parmesan.


Peppered Steak Salad

We often buy a fillet steak off-cut or two from the bargain bit of Tesco. The piece I used for this and the stir fry below (I divided it in two) cost £2.21 so not very extravagant.  This salad has been a menu favourite of mine for many years and was one of those dishes that, once tasted, regulars would order again even it wasn't on the menu that day! For Peppered Steak Salad recipe see here. 


Beef & Cashew Stir Fry

I marinated the second half of the steak in a mixture of Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce (a store cupboard staple) and Soy Sauce (another one!) and stir fried it together with vegies and cashews.


Mushrooms in Black Garlic Alfredo

Such a gorgeous mix of flavours. I've written about this before, see here.

This time I used 1½ mushrooms (as I only had 3 and this way I can eat this again!) and a splash of Whipped Cream which cost 16p for 300ml because it was at the end of its tether! It is now 6 days out of date and perfectly fine. I suppose this whole meal together with the toasted ciabatta can’t have cost me more than 50p.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I do like to keep either a sweet potato or a butternut squash around the place; they are delicious, versatile and keep very well.  Salmon for dinner last night so I decided to have the leftovers for lunch today and to try, for the first time making sweet potato fries in the oven. Easy peasy as it turns out – also quite fast so I recommend this.

~   Heat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7.
~   Put a baking tray in the oven.
~   Peel a sweet potato per person and cut into chips.
~   Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and some seasoning; salt and pepper plus cayenne if you fancy it.
~   When the oven is hot spread the sweet potato chips on the hot tray with space around each chip. If you need more space heat another tray.
~   Bake for about 20-25 minutes depending on how thick they are. They are ready when golden and crisp and tender.


I wish people would realise that it’s not difficult to eat food you love every day of your life without spending much time or money. What a boon!  

I have cooked professionally for so long and really wish I could pass on what I know which is why the I blog and write cookbooks.  

Incidentally I do feed my real man too but his eating requirements are somewhat different to mine, he eats like this …



The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

I was just wondering what to do with the mushrooms left in the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I think you are absolutely brilliant! And not a show-off at all. I've read every single one of your archived posts (came here via Tasmanian Minimalist), and have implemented many of your tips. As a stay-at-home mum, lunch is my favourite meal as I only have to think about ME and can make all my favourite foods and try new things without having to take anyone else's taste into account. Cheers, Loretta from Australia PS I've visited the beautiful BVI, and Tortola in particular, many years ago; it is lovely to see your photos and I recognise some of the places too!

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Wow thank you Loretta!

We have much in common - lunch and the BVI, I wonder if we met? I first went there in 1993.

Suzy x

KC the Kitchen Chopper said...

Such sage advice and words to live by. Simple, easy, healthful and delish. That's my style of cooking. Thanks for sharing at #theWeekendSocial. Pinned!