09 November 2006

And now for something completely different

For those who know me well, they will readily agree that I am not the world’s best cook. To be more exact, I’m lacking in the creativity department when it comes to food. I don’t mind being in the kitchen, but I never seem to have enough time to whip up something new. Meat, potatoes, veggies, casseroles, I have a tendancy to lean towards to the eating habits of my grandparents - the basics. I always have well balanced meals, but they are severely lacking in…tastiness. When I want to go bold and daring, I buy asparagus!
Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, sometimes I’ll branch out and cook up a pork loin or homemade spaghetti…but that is the extent of my Martha persona.

I’m not quite sure where I adopted this cooking apathy. I’m usually not a lazy person and I adore baking! For some strange reason, putting together a creative meal just isn’t my forte. I always clip recipes with good intentions, but I never seem to get around to trying them out. Here’s the funny part – I love different food! I’m not the least bit picky and I tend to lean towards something “different” when eating out. At home, however, I usually fall back into that old familiar tedious menu.

Daniel and I both work long hours on weekdays, and often participate in extracurricular activities in the evenings. I suppose this is the root of my problem. Very often we are snatching food, or shoving it down our gullets as we fly out the door. Grocery shopping is always done in haste (due to my own impatience), so we always tend to grab the old reliable staples. Each time we leave the store, I chastise myself for not spending a little more time in the spice aisle.

This past week, I finally managed to break away from my bland food slump! I have quickly discovered that it is better to do groceries on a full stomach, this way I am more prone to browse the aisles rather than rampaging through the store with only one thing on my mind…”Must get home! Must eat!” I am far more tolerable after I have been fed…quite similar to my guinea pig actually….

Daniel and love treating ourselves to a meal out every few weeks, and perhaps this is what inspired us. As strange as it sounds, our local pub has a wonderful curry that we are both addicted too. Every time we eat there, one of us exclaims, “Boy, we should make this ourselves sometime;” usually the other nods in agreement, and the impetus ends there. Luckily, our post-restaurant visit to the grocery store seemed to motivate us this time!

Like thirsty nomads heading towards an oasis, Daniel and I both beelined for our world cuisine aisle…our salvation at last! Curry, black bean, coriander, noodles…all of a sudden we entered a whole new world of potential tastiness! Who knew that this little gem existed right within our own grocery store?

After careful deliberation, we walked away with some basmati rice, naan bread, black bean paste, tika malasa and butter chicken sauce. Nothing too crazy, but it was a wonderful baby step.
I am proud to say that the butter chicken sauce has already been put to good use. It was ridiculously easy to make, and tasted wonderful. Seeing as this was my first attempt at a curry, I decided to play around by adding in some matchstick carrots, garlic and finely chopped green pepper. And for my final burst of creativity, I sliced apples as a side dish (along with the naan and basmati). Surprisingly, the pairing worked out really well. Daniel and I loved it! I have been eating leftovers for the past few days now and still have not tired of it.

Hopefully, this is a first step in inspiring me to cook more original meals. I am having my parents over for supper on Sunday and plan to prepare a different curry from scratch this time. I may be extra ambitious and try making my own naan bread too. Yes…it does seem like a lot of curry for one week, but I want to surprise them with something new. Hopefully all will go down well, as my father detests the smell of curry – I hoping that the taste will change his opinion.

By the end of my curry-overkill weekend, some good ‘oul meat and potatoes may actually be in order. At least now I know that there are easy and tastier options out there. Work nights may never be same…

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