I’d never been much of a cook nor had thought about cooking in a serious way until I had to cook for the kids after my separation. This process seems to have unlocked the inner chef in me…

Now some eight years on, and after seeing Zach and Sam through their teen years with solid home cooked meals in their bellies I’ve come to love the art of cooking.

It all started off innocently enough with me buying my first real cookbook – How to cook everything. πŸ™‚

Actually, its been an awesome guide and I still often use it for some of the kids favourites – Crab Cakes is a particular favourite!

One of the promises I made to myself when my marriage ended was that I was going to be the parent I’d always wanted to be…present, and engaged.

This meant that I was going to ensure that I learned to cook meals that the kids would love and prefer over getting takeout or going out for dinner, to me home cooked meals are essential for robust dining room discussions.

I would have to say proudly that I feel like I’ve not only accomplished this, but that I’ve fallen in love with the art of cooking along the way. Who knew?

It’s been a dramatic transformation (aren’t they all), to actually enjoy the process of finding new recipes, sourcing organic (if at all possible) ingredients and then bringing the recipe to life.

As all good cooks would agree seeing the enjoyment on the faces of those that I cook for is almost as satisfying as the food itself… πŸ™‚

I also didn’t realize how much love goes into cooking.

It’s not just food on a plate, it’s love…pure and simple!

The more I cooked, the more I loved it. It also showed up in the taste and consistency of my cooking.

Fortunately for me, Sam loves to bake so over the years we’ve complimented each others talents in the kitchen.

In more recent times I’ve delved into a little baking with the help of a great ANZAC biscuit recipe (I always add two tablespoons of Golden Syrup).

That being said I always leave the cheesecakes, scones and assorted desserts to Sam as she has a real flair for it.

I’m only too happy to let her take over the kitchen for the afternoon and bake up a storm. After all Zach and I are the lucky recipients! πŸ™‚

Then, come supper time its over to me to begin the conjuring and alchemy in the kitchen.

As an example last night I decided to look in one of my Thai cookbooks. For best effect over a glass of wine (an absolute must for great cooking)

I found a fabulous Pineapple and Seafood fried rice recipe and after quickly checking realised that I had all of the requisite ingredients including the wild sea scallops and prawns that I’d brought earlier in the day.

Interestingly, I hadn’t planned on a specific recipe when shopping, but it all seemed to turn out okay.

Awesome how serendipity plays a part in cooking!

As well, as my confidence has grown and my breadth of cooking skills has advanced.

I’ve also found it interesting how I’m now able to add spices to enhance the taste or bring out the layers in a recipe, even though at times they may not have been called for.

If you polled Zach and Sam I think they would both agree that my homemade Pesto pasta is their favourite.

So simple – 20 minutes and heaven on a plate!

Every spring I buy a large Basil plant for my back deck. As I always want to ensure I have for an impromptu pesto pasta.

Now to bookend this delicious meal you can’t have a pesto without fresh bread. Okay, this is seriously my achilles heal!

I’m fortunate to have a patisserie a block from home. I often pick up a french loaf for dipping with oil and vinegar or to have with our pasta – so delicious!

Not only has my breadth of recipes grown, but also my cookbook collection.

Okay, I may have a cookbook addiction…yep, calling it out now! πŸ™‚

Irrespective of where I go, locally or overseas I’m always on the lookout for a new cookbook. Again, who knew that cooking could be so addictive!

This has also seen a significant shift in me wanting to go out to a restaurant, which at the moment with our current pandemic is just fine.

However, when life stabilises and we figure out how to live with it more effectively, I’m afraid I’ll still prefer to cook rather than go out.

Just putting it out there. πŸ™‚

If you’d like a few of my favourite recipes, let me know and I’ll be happy to share them with you.

Until next week!

Ciao