I was an English teacher for 30 years. I loved that! It could be a tad stressful now and then. Lots of paperwork. Marking! Oh my! So I would relax by cooking!
Then along came technology (I do well remember life without the Internet!) and I embraced it with lots of enthusiasm. Lots of concentration and coding. Oh my! So I would relax by cooking!
In retirement, I have combined my enthusiasm for teaching and technology by teaching computers (tablets, smartphones etc.) to seniors. This is more fun than stressful, and relaxation is pretty much my life, but I still love to cook!
I love to cook! And I love to share my passions with others! Thanks to the Morrisburg Leader for giving me the opportunity to blather on.
I am a home cook. I don't claim to be the best in town. I just love to eat and I love to cook. People, kindly, ask for recipes or techniques bytimes, so my intention with this website is to have a place to which I can refer them.
Most of my recipes are gleaned and adapted from reading and googling about. I will try to give credit where credit is due. Screenshots and images will be linked to the referring site.
Thanks for stopping by!
I keep no secrets.
Some folks keep their cooking secrets very close. I believe in sharing. There is no recipe that I won't be tweaking anyway. As I adapt those that I make often, I will try to remember to change them here. In the past few years, I have been given the opportunity to write a column for our local newspaper, the Morrisburg Leader. These blog posts are my newspaper columns. If you have a suggestion for how to improve a recipe or technique, please feel free to send along a comment! I'd love to hear from you!
There was, apparently, a narrowly averted disaster at the high school recently. Seems the Internet was down. Panicked teachers commiserated with each other all over Facebook. Now, I’m certainly all for the marvellous advantages that the internet has brought to education in the years since I was an old bore, but I was a bit shocked at the level of distress. They didn’t seem to have a fall back. I thought, all you really need, when push comes to shove, is chalk, a blackboard and something to say. But they don’t have chalk anymore. Or blackboards. They have smart boards – that need wifi to go. Well then, read something wonderful. Discuss. But they might need iPads to access reading material.
I exaggerate, of course, and do the fabulous, innovative teachers in my wake a disservice, but, noting their distress, I suspect that there is a grain, at least, of truth. We feel it every time the power goes out at home. We suddenly go all turtle on its back and can’t seem to manage even the simplest tasks. We flounder around in search of those fancy candles we bought once for a dinner party that never got off the ground. We stare woefully at our electric toothbrush wondering what’s to do!
We come to terms with the fact that we are dependent on technology at every turn.
Advertising exploits this dependency. Buy this stove and your every culinary effort will be a success! Guaranteed! Buy that pasta pot with the fancy built in strainer holes, and your every Italian style meal will garner raves! If you have to squeeze a lemon without a lemon squeezer, you’re out there, living on the edge, taking chances!
Don’t get me wrong. I cherish my heavy duty kitchen appliances, my gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, but it saddens me to hear, when people see my array of equipment, “I wish I had all this and that so I could cook and bake up a storm!”. Because nice as it all is, almost none of it is necessary.
All you need is a good, sharp knife. You don’t even need a rolling pin, if you have a wine bottle. Some pots and pans, and your hands, and away you go!
Pasta is an egg and 100 grams of all-purpose flour kneaded together. Although I’ll grant you, rolling it very thin with only a rolling pin, or the aforementioned wine bottle is, though doable in a war, rather more than any of us would like to take on, on a whim.
But bread? That’s another matter entirely! We’ve talked about this before.
Grab a container of some sort.
Mix together with a fork until all the flour is mixed in.
Cover (not tightly) and let sit for two hours until it doubles in bulk.
At this point, it has the potential to turn into bread. You can use it straight away, or pop it into the fridge with a loose lid, for days. Up to two weeks actually.
Note, so far, only a container, measuring devices and a fork have come into play. Also note that this took only a couple of minutes of actual heave ho.
To convert it into bread, get a rimmed cookie sheet or some sort of baking pan with edges.
Turn on the oven to 450.
Spray that pan with non-stick spray. Not essential.
Put a good lot of olive oil into the pan.
Plop roughly half of your dough onto the pan and flatten it out a bit.
Press some fresh seedless red grapes into the dough.
Fold the dough over and pinch the seam closed. Flatten it out a bit.
Place thin wedges of Brie cheese down the centre top.
Press some more grapes firmly onto the dough.
Sprinkle over top with coarse sugar or wherever sugar you have. Not essential but adds a level of taste sophistication.
Sprinkle amply with fresh rosemary.
Drizzle with even more olive oil. Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.
Pop into that hot oven for fifteen minutes or so until it is golden. Slide into a cooling rack when it’s done. You can, of course, do the same thing with olives and tomato slices. Perhaps some goat cheese.
Once you get the hang of it, you can dream up endless variations including full-on calzones.
The bottom line, though, is that you can create lovely loaves of fresh, delicious bread with only a few simple tools: a container, a few measuring device, a fork, a baking pan and an oven.
And yes, by the way. This is pizza dough. Press it out on the oily pan, put pizza toppings on it and off you go. Peasant food, rustic and delicious.
So enjoy the fancy appliances, gadgets and gizmos, but don’t lose those basic skills in the fun. A lot can be accomplished in a classroom with chalk, a blackboard and a little imagination. The same simplicity is true in the kitchen. Do you doubt me? Just google it!
The freshest and best of ingredients combined with a willingness to take the time and effort required for a great product are both essential to making good food at home!