Monday, 19 March 2012 13:48

Ready, Steady, Cook.

Written by Jacqueline Dawes

I used to watch this program in Britain called “Ready, Steady, Cook,” which was such fun. The idea was that each contestant would bring 5 ingredients and the chefs would use those, plus what they had in the fridge and the larder, to produce a 2 or 3-course meal. I loved this program.

Having been single for some years, acquiring a good circle of support friends and making new ones is very important. I love to cook, because cooking is about loving. It is really difficult to cook for somebody you do not like, but for those you feel good about nothing is too much trouble.

In thinking how to help make friends along the way, I soon learned if you stay isolated, you would be isolated. Isolation is the best, but toxic, friend of depression; so it is much better to keep the two separated. I met people in different places, but going the next step in relationships would inspire the deepest of fears, as rejection is not my best friend. Rejection has actually been a source of depression. One perceived rejection can bring on a panic attack in women, along with all the second-guessing and swirling, leaving you feeling like an emotional amputee.

One way to get people along side you is to invite a few folks over to play “Ready, Steady, Cook” on Sunday afternoon. Each person or family you invite should bring over five ingredients and together you will build a meal.

Do not be surprised if not everybody plays nicely, some don't. I invited one person who I was not sure if they would be my cup of tea. When they arrived, their five ingredients were five cans of Heinz tomato soup. I realized immediately that my gut had been right and I was indeed connecting to a narcissist. So full of their own self-love, there is no room for others. To make the best of this, which could have been very demotivating, we concocted Gazpacho, meatballs in tomato soupy sauce with spaghetti, followed by tomato soup ice cream. There is no curing a narcissist, as they are devoid of mood or feeling for anybody but themself. I so hope they loved everything tomato. This was a relationship not to pursue. Just not worth the stress.

My next visitors were a wonderful inspiration arriving with salmon, lemons, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, and fat juicy blackberries. The blackberries took me back to being a girl and looking through the hedgerows for the prize of blackberries, then eating them until I had a totally purple tongue. Taking enough home for mum to make an apple and blackberry crumble. That happy nostalgia was such a great mood uplift as I couldn't help but feel happy to see these little seen friends.

These were the perfect ingredients to make grilled salmon, a blackberry and asparagus salad with roasted fingerling potatoes, and lemon sorbet. I had never thought of putting blackberries and asparagus together until that day. They just looked so good together; I thought they would taste good together too. Sometimes the odd matches make the greatest matches. This salad is very easy to make.

Grilled salmon, blackberry and asparagus salad
with roasted potatoes and lemon sorbet

A recipe from Jacqueline Dawes

Take two bunches of asparagus, wash, trim, place in boiling water on the stove for 3-5 minutes depending on thickness of stems, drain from water, and run asparagus under cold water immediately to stop them losing their bright green color. Always remember, cooking continues all the while something is hot even if it is drained so to stop the cooking you have to cool it.

Wash the blackberries (1 medium punnet) and place them in a bowl. In the larder I had this wonderful Black Currant finishing sauce I had bought from Williams-Sonoma. I mixed a couple of tablespoons of that with the blackberries.

Lay the asparagus long ways on a family style serving dish and pour all the blackberries down the length of the middle of them. Voila.

It's true; people that eat together stay together. I believe that people who prepare and eat together, stay together longer. If you want to check out somebody’s emotional threshold, ask them to plan and prepare a meal with you, much may be revealed.

For those who may be unfamiliar with a few terms I used:

  • A larder is a place, such as a pantry or cellar, where food is stored.
  • A punnet is a term used in Britain, Australia and New Zealand for a basket used for displaying and collecting fruits or flowers. Farmers' markets sometimes sell fruits and berries in plastic punnets. Decorative punnets are often made of felt and seen in flower and craft arrangements.
Last modified on Wednesday, 21 March 2012 19:21
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