The Joy Of Home Cooking

I have to set the record straight.

I’m not, at any point in the near future, replacing my frequent restaurant dining for evenings in the kitchen.

Phew, now we have that cleared up I should advise that what I am doing, is sharing why I enjoy rustling up some delish dishes at home.

I live in a world where grabbing dinner on the way home from work or nipping to a local restaurant to terminate my hanger is normal. I have a busy, city lifestyle and one centred around convenience so home cooking isn’t always a priority, but when I have the time I find it gratifying, restorative and pretty pleasurable (especially when I quickly snap the foodporn on Insta and my friends think I am talented!).

Cooking is love made visible

How often do you open your cupboards and think right, that’s it, I have nothing in, I will just have to order a takeaway?! Busted, I am that person and was this weekend. I was self-justifying the yearning for dim sum arriving by Deliveroo.

Until I remembered I can make this stuff myself! McShane Pork, Chive and Spring Onion Gyozas coming right up.

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I am inspired by programmes such as Masterchef and chefs like James Martin, Jamie Oliver, Ping Coombes and Ken Hom amongst others. I can sit for hours glued to foodie shows and enjoy experimenting, hoping my dishes will be positively influenced. But not only this, having the time to cook at home has many benefits.

IT’S THERAPEUTIC

Concentrating on merging the correct ingredients and at the right time means I am focused on the dish at hand. Trials and tribulations of the day are dissolved and forgotten whilst I am feeling creative. Especially when folding pleats of Gyoza pastry into little works of art.

IT’S REWARDING

When you’re cooking, you’re producing and developing something, often from scratch, either to enjoy alone or to share with others. It’s a pleasing experience. Especially if your kitchen set-up is right, mine consists of a good movie on the iPad (usually Sex and The City) accompanied with a glass of wine (purely for inspiration you understand).

YOU CAN EXPERIMENT

Recipe books are superb accessories to influence your dishes and whilst they provide the basic ingredients, it doesn’t mean that they are set in stone and you can’t experiment or make substitutions. I have experienced many tried and tested recipes and learned what does and doesn’t work (maple syrup isn’t a good substitute for honey by the way!). But home cooking means you can experiment, straying from the recipe is allowed and who knows you may even enhance it! You’re in control, you’re the chef, it’s your kitchen!

YOU KNOW WHAT’S IN THE DISH

Often when you dine out the menu highlights the main ingredients, but what it doesn’t include is how much butter or oil was thrown into the pan, or what other store cupboard ingredients have been used. This is difficult for those on a healthy eating plan and it often prevents some people from eating out at all. But at home, you can control the ingredients and the amounts included.

I enjoyed cooking at home this weekend and have vowed I will get my domestic goddess game on. Move aside Nigella.

Back to the Gyozas…here is the finished article!

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How often do you cook at home?
Do you find it as rewarding as I do?

By Nicci McShane

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