Veggie quinoa and cajun spiced haddock - cooked by this very inexperienced cook!
So, I have a confession to make. It's not a major confession, but it's not something that I generally speak about. I don't like cooking.
That's right, no big secret or anything, and I would guess I'm not really alone in this. But being married to someone who loves both food and cooking, I find myself wanting to enjoy it.
And it's not so much that I don't enjoy aspects of it. I love making lunches (salads etc) and I can cook, but mostly I just cook the same old easy dishes all the time. Roasted vegetables are easy to whack in the oven and forget about, as are oven chips...
No, my issue with cooking is two-fold: 1) it takes time and as someone who is constantly trying to do far too many things at once, time is not something I have to "waste" on cooking and 2) I have issues with food.
Okay, so cooking a meal isn't really wasting time, but if I can get away with throwing something in the oven and leaving it, that is preferable to standing around and doing something more complex. And if I enjoyed cooking more this would perhaps not be an issue as I would make time for cooking. I do think my biggest problem with cooking is my issue with food.
As a child I developed Emetophobia (a fear of vomiting). I didn't actually admit this to anyone until I went to uni, by which point I had gone through the worst and had a decent handle on it all (hey, I ate all kinds of foods students eat and spent time in both Germany and Russia eating foods I'd never even heard of before!) But what essentially happened was that my younger mind equated being sick with eating food and so I developed some major anxiety around it all.
To this day, even though I would say that I probably don't even have issues with Emetophobia anymore (my pregnancy left me with a bit of a step backwards on this one but it's not like it used to be) I still have certain negative associations with food and there are some things I just won't touch or get anxious about. I don't like leftovers, I get antsy about "high risk" foods like chicken and rice, and I'm not a huge fan of meat in general.
The reason I say I don't think I have issues anymore is that despite having these negative associations, I will still try these things. But they are not my "go to" staples. And actually, since TJ and I both have issues with reflux and I have IBS, certain foods like red meat are not really our best option these days anyway.
So what has happened is that we find ourselves eating huge amounts of vegetable based dishes, not just because of dietary preferences but also because of the affordability of vegetables compared to meat. And with this in mind (and the fact we often both take tins of soup to work with us for lunch) I decided we should spend some of our Christmas money on getting some good cook books and being more adventurous with our cooking (and make our own soups while we're at it).
I chose the River Cottage Veg Every Day book and the Covent Garden A Soup For Every Day one and have to say I was excited when they arrived. When I went through the first book I was so inspired by it I went and cooked our dinner straight away using the following recipe as inspiration...
Recipe from River Cottage Veg Every Day
I added some frozen peas to the quinoa whilst it cooked and decided to put some haddock in the oven to flake into the finished meal. I lightly oiled the fish using our favourite oil at the moment, and then added some cajun spices. I just made that bit up myself and thoroughly enjoyed the result (image at the top of this post). I was hugely impressed by my own effort and how simple it had been to make the meal. It led me to say to TJ that I honestly believe there is not a single recipe in the book I wouldn't be brave enough to try making myself. And as you'll now know, this is a huge change of heart for me.
And so I've decided that 2014 should be a year of exploring food and cooking a bit more. It's time I got over my reluctance to cook and began experimenting a bit more. If I want Little Man to grow up enjoying food, he needs to see that mummy enjoys it just as much as daddy does. It's a bit scary putting this on my blog as it means I really do have to try and make an effort as everyone knows about it now, but maybe that's the push I need to keep trying.
Wish me luck!