this is not a competition

We are often warned not to take social media too seriously. People often selectively share life events on the good to amazing scale, and leave out the mundane to disastrous. Looking at the social media of one’s friends might lead one to believe that everyone has the cutest, most well-behaved kids; or that they are always getting flowers and presents from people; or that they frequently go to the beach, where they enjoy picnics with elaborate charcuterie platters.

I’m sure this is all very obvious to my readership and to most of my friends, and there’s no need to warn any of you about this; but while I thought I was also above this petty social media envy, I realised the other day that I am, quite possibly, not totally immune.

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cooking clean

I’d intended to do a lot of cleaning and tidying today, but ended up doing more cooking instead. I do like to cook, but I just don’t get the chance to cook often enough, since a certain member of the family tends to take care of that. Yes, I’m part of that generation that’s getting a reputation for never wanting to move out because of various reasons – not least of which are financial. But I digress…

I’ve learnt a lot of my cooking knowledge from my mum, but a lot of it also comes from TV cooking shows, such as ‘Ready Steady Cook’, which is always full of tips and easy recipes. Of course, ‘MasterChef’ is another favourite of mine in this category, and their “master classes” are always interesting (particularly Matt Preston’s cheat recipes), but I find ‘MasterChef’ is more useful for learning about flavour combinations and cooking terminology than for general know-how and recipes. Again, I digress – sorry.

I reckon that, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to cook certain dishes because I know the mess that it will create and/or I think about all the washing up I’ll have to do afterwards. (Yes, it seems that, as a general rule, the onus to wash up is never on the cook, but I sometimes feel obliged to clean anyway.) But I don’t mind doing the dishes so much any more. It’s never going to be my most favourite chore, but at least I dislike it less now. And so now I can cook a bit more freely.

Something else that I’ve learnt from ‘MasterChef’ is the importance of working cleanly and being organised in the kitchen. Watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 and 30 minute meals shows has also reinforced this. I’ve also noticed that Mum tends to clean as she cooks. I’ve been working on this, and it’s actually really good because there’s less cleaning at the end of it, which is great because that’s when I just want to sit down and eat. Plus, it feels like there’s less washing overall.

So today I cooked fish (not exactly sure which species – my dad bought it and left it in the fridge for me to find) with lime and cracked pepper. It was really tender – I’m surprised it turned out so well. I did think about following this up with some cupcakes or something, since it was early afternoon and, for some reason, baking is kind of an early arvo thing for me. But I’m not much into making sweets and desserts (love eating them, though!). Instead, I cooked up some thyme & oregano potato cubes.

I’ve only recently discovered how much I like oregano. It’s not that I’ve never eaten it before, but I’d never been able to pinpoint the taste because it’s always been with a number of other herbs and fragrances. I do like the smell too. Coriander is probably still my most favourite herb, but it’s got some stiff competition.

And the last dish today was a kind of stew that my sister and I created using pork and the classic mirepoix (a term I’m pretty sure I learnt from ‘MasterChef’). The aim of making this was basically to clear out the fridge a bit more, so we threw in some tomatoes and mushrooms as well. Of course, plenty of thyme, oregano and basil went in too.

Cooking probably isn’t something that I could do as a career, but I did speculate that if certain friends of mine follow through with their dream of opening up a cafe/bistro, I’d totally work for them every week-end (not going to give up Pharmacy, of course).