KJ's Kitchen

Cook from scratch at home

It is a satisfying past-time, if you have the time, to cook from scratch at home. There is nothing like a home cooked meal. A meal that is made from scratch without all the preservatives, sugar and salt additives. You may have read my recent post when I wrote about looking for a frozen meal option for my 92-year-old mother. I put my One&Only (O&O) in the position of a “taste tester” as we tried a few at home (a meal to share at lunch) to see if any were suitable. Apart from one Indian Butter Chicken the meals were not tempting. Then we were not sure of the nutritional value. Soon after my mother and I agreed the frozen meals are a very last resort and she went back to preparing her own meals. As I am a two-hour drive away from my mother’s place it is not so easy to call by with a few healthy meals for her to put in her freezer.

I have always liked to cook. I may not be the best cook in the world, but I like to know what I am eating – what is in the food I eat! What is hidden in those shop bought rissoles or that stuffing in the chicken? I never eat the stuffing if I buy a cooked chicken. On the occasions I have bought one it seems to have this unusual flavour – I think it comes from the basting ingredients. I decided enough was enough and last week I made my stuffing for our roast chicken dinner cooked in the Weber Q. It was delicious. Bacon, onion, garlic, herbs and panko crumbs – what a great combination. Cooked in oil and butter to a nice consistency. Add roast vegetables and green beans to the roast chicken for a healthy and tasty meal.

Home made stuffing from scratch
Greens beans blanched and ready to freeze. Always great with a roast chicken or meat dinner.

It does not take a long time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. But then you might say you are too busy to cook from scratch. Like me the other day when I was enticed by the Gnocchi stuffed with gorgonzola. I am not sure how healthy it was however it tasted good and came all the way from Italy to a deli near me! All I had to do was make a tomato sauce to go with the Gnocchi. But then my O&O’s usual comment – does it have meat? Oh dear – a meatless meal!

There are plenty of recipes online to inspire all of us to cook from scratch. If time is an issue you may want to try some of the recipes from Kim McCosker, not always from scratch, but close. Only four ingredients, uncomplicated preparation and tasty meals.

If you, like me, are looking for more inspiration head straight to “Genius Kitchen”

Or what about Jamie Oliver’s website. You will find that most of these take only around 30 minutes. There are so many of his recipes that I must try!

In the meantime, I would like to share a couple of recipes we enjoy. One of these is homemade lamb meatballs (lamb mince with grated garlic, fresh herbs from the garden, a princess egg, and breadcrumbs). Cover the meatballs in a tomato sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cook in the oven (around 20-25 minutes). If I had home-made passata I would use that. If not, a tin of tomatoes pureed and add this to onions, garlic and herbs cooked in olive oil – perfecto!

Lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

Another great recipe we have had lately is pork fillet with a honey garlic, Dijon mustard marinade. I use half of the recommended amounts for the honey, Dijon mustard and soy sauce. Put aside half of the marinade for serving later, once heated, over the meat. Marinade the pork fillet for at least 8 hours. If you can manage using plastic, a clip lock bag is an easy way to marinade the meat. I like to cook the pork fillet in a pan on the cooktop as I can use a basting brush. It gives the meat a lovely caramelised crust – OMG! Add a glass of wine and bellissimo!

Pork fillet with a caramelised crust.

Cooking at home has its simple pleasures – mostly found in the eating. It keeps my happiness thermostat buoyant. Do you find you are happy at home when cooking from scratch?


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