Now that I’ve finished bingeing on Hot Cross buns and Cherry Ripes until next Easter, and Clint Lindt retains his secure position as a long-term, non-rent-paying resident in my fridge, please sit down; prepare yourself. The shock you receive from what I’m about to confess might knock the wind out of you. Perhaps have a bottle of brandy nearby.
There is no escape. I’ve nowhere in which to hide. The time has arrived... I must come clean.
No! I’m not about to have a shower...that will happen later after I’ve laid everything bare. Uh-oh! I’m digging myself a deep ditch here. It seems I can’t help myself whatever I say; whichever way I say it! Perhaps I’d best grab myself a pair of gumboots to enable me to plough forth through the mire before I get bogged. A shower will definitely be on the cards after I lift the lid on the truth; after I finish flinging the dirt.
Don’t jump to unfounded conclusions – presumptions I’m about to dish the dirt on someone. I am not. This is all about me. As self-centred and egocentric it may sound, I have to spill the beans. The reality will be revealed. I can’t go on living under this cloak of falsehood. Guilt is eating away at me – eroding my being. It’s nagging me at every turn, refusing to halt the torment.
You may be living under fallacious assumptions about me. If I’ve misled you; if you feel I’ve been duplicitous, dishonourable; of unsound mind – the latter could be true – it wasn’t my intention...I cross my heart.
With heart crossed, in complete sincerity, wholeheartedly, I apologise. Now that’s done and dusted, it sure is a load off! I know it’s taken a while, but finally, the air has been cleared. I can breathe easily once more.
Oh! The realisation has hit me...I’ve not given you the reason for my profound, earnest, complex, lengthy apology. Sorry...I got carried away, and ventured off track. It’s something that happens as one grows older if you believe what those “in the know” tell us. Repeating one’s self is another affliction to which I’ve succumbed.
Here I go! Onward and upward! No more procrastination...bite the bullet, Lee. I’ll try to prepare for the consequences ahead....
I confessed my sins to a lovely gentleman – a complete stranger – while he and I stood pondering in an IGA supermarket aisle the other day. We both were ruminating over gravy mixes. If I had the guts to tell the courteous stranger, it is time you knew the truth, too.
The recipes herein are not my creations. There! I’ve said it!
Also, I rarely prepare them for myself – or anyone else, for that matter.
With head lowered, I humbly accept the castigations you deem applicable. I won't even duck for cover.
In past years, too many to count – I’d run out of fingers and toes - I cooked for the masses in various commercial venues throughout this state of ours, and received payment for doing so. Also, through the years I hosted myriad private dinner and luncheon feasts, playing hostess to personal guests...friends. Enough cooking to fill two, perhaps, three lifetimes!
Being in confession mode, I don’t do much cooking at all nowadays. Have I become lazy in that department? I guess, in truth, the answer is “Yes”!
“Easy and fast” is my motto. “Simple, quick, no-fuss” is another.
If you’ve been living under the false impression every day I’m cooking up a storm, please erase the thought from your mind. That does not happen.
The truth is, most days I’m on a “raw diet”. Frequently, my regular daily fare consists of fresh fruit along with raw mixed nuts, with a few or more dried cranberries; a choice I thoroughly enjoy.
One or two days a week I prepare a cooked lunch for myself. Doing so is solely dependent upon my mood on the day. Lunch is my main meal - whatever is the makeup of that meal may be. I’ve not prepared a meal at night for quite a number of years now. The status quo shall continue....
The good old standbys....toasted or grilled cheese sandwiches are on my list of “Easy and fast”/“Simple, quick, no-fuss”, too.
They were my late night snack choices after I arrived home at the end of long days and nights cooking in restaurants. I still regularly lean towards them to satisfy my lunch needs. They can be dressed up, or dressed down...not dissimilar to me, I suppose.
I’m busted! The truth has set me free, or has it? Will I be arrested for fraud - led away in handcuffs?
One good way of looking at it...I’ll get free board and meals, if that were to be my fate.
I won’t be putting my hand up, volunteering to work in the prison kitchen, though.
Eggplant-Bean Casserole: Chop 1 eggplant into ¼-inch cubes. Sauté in pan over med-heat with a little olive oil a few mins until it starts to turn golden. Add 1 can cannelini beans and 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1tsp chilli powder and 1-1/2tsp smoked paprika; mix to coat. Add 1tbs tomato paste, 2 cans chopped tomatoes and 1tbs tahina; simmer 5-7mins until completely heated through; season to taste. Serve with rice or baked potatoes.
Kidney Bean Soup: Heat 2tsp olive oil in pot. Sauté 1 chopped onion over med-heat, about 5mins, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add 2 grated garlic cloves, 1 chopped carrot, 2tbs tomato paste, or 1/2c tomato puree; sauté 1min.. Add 2c chick/vegie stock, 2 cooked kidney beans, 1tsp cumin, 2tsp chilli powder, 1tsp oregano; bring to boil; reduce heat to med-low; simmer uncovered 15-20mins, or until vegetables are tender. Add 2tsp lime juice; season to taste. Carefully blend hot soup.
Blue Cheese-Avocado Grilled Sandwiches: Preheat oven 204C. Grease baking tray; add 1c halved grape/cherry tomatoes. Toss with tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast 25-30mins; remove from oven; set aside. Turn oven to grill. Lightly mash 1 avocado with salt and pepper. Spread one side of 4 thick slices of seedy bread with butter. On the unbuttered sides evenly spread the avocado among insides of all 4 slices of bread. Add crumbled blue cheese right on top of avocado. Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet; grill 30secs to 1min until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven; heat pan over med-heat. Divide 1c rocket in two; place on top of melted cheese; add a handful of roasted toms. Place other bread slice on top. Place sandwiches in pan. Cook until cheese is melted and both sides are golden, about 3mins per side.
Fruit & Nut Salad: Combine 1 peeled, seeded, cubed rockmelon (cantaloupe), 450g halved strawberries, 1 peeled, cubed pineapple, 2 cubed Granny Smith apples, 2c seedless red or green grapes, 1/2c dried cranberries and 1c raw nuts of choice. Whisk 3/4c orange juice, 1/3c lemon juice, 2tbs minced fresh mint and 1tsp cinnamon. Drizzle over fruit; toss lightly to coat. If desired, top with shredded coconut before serving.