I’ve gone and done it again: I bought the quick fix and the damn thing didn’t work. It didn’t do what it said on the blurb – or at least what I thought it said on the blurb.
Cooking in our house had gone shaky. There was more scrambled egg than roasts and even the roasts were becoming formulaic and greeted by groans from all around. I decided that I needed to address the problem and so I did what every busy person would do: I went and bought Jamie’s Fifteen Minute Meals.
I leafed through it, hoping to see, “Take one packet of savoury rice, add two teaspoons of flour and some milk and mix together in a bowl.” Sadly I saw page after page of recipes that included ingredients such as squid and medallions of pork.
Of course, what I really wanted wasn’t a recipe that I could cook within fifteen minutes, I ideally wanted Jamie to do it for me too. I also felt it fair enough that he not only cook it, but bought the ingredients and manage to find a space in my cupboard rammed full of pasta shells to stack them all in.
All that Jamie has done, bless him, has reminded me that there are no quick fixes for anything. He started cooking in his parents’ pub kitchen aged eight – I spent most of my eighth year trying to pull wheelies on a scooter that my dad had run over. That’s why Jamie’s a great cook and I can pull great wheelies (but only on a scooter that has crossed-over handlebars). Sadly, great wheelies don’t make people inhale and say “oooh, lovely!” when they enter my kitchen. Mainly they say, “Can I smell rotting veg?” to which I reply, “Probably: I was going to roast it, but I didn’t get round to it – too busy making a ramp out of two planks and some wire netting for my scooter…”
When I slapped my cash down on WHSmith’s counter, I of course should have also bought a pen and paper to make a shopping list on, then stopped by at a massive supermarket and bought some ingredients, then thrown out lots of pasta shells (or at least put them in the garage in case I regress at a later date), heated my pan and gotten on with it.
Instead I grumbled a bit about the lack of squid in our local post office stores and decided that I’d write a blog about it instead. Surely that would equal the same effort? Perhaps the rules of fairness would mean that Jamie – or at least one of his little friends - would pop by and just point me in the right direction?
Of course, the irony of moaning about doing things other than cooking when I need to do some cooking has not been lost. I have just returned, refreshed, from the kitchen. I did consult Jamie, but really didn’t have enough ingredients, so I compromised by making some flapjacks whilst the savoury rice was cooking. I also threw a few peas and a teaspoon of fenugreek or something into the rice, so that I can technically say that I’ve cooked from scratch. Jamie has pointed out the bleeding obvious and is now mocking me from the front of his cover: could this be the start of something tasty? Or will this be another cookery book gathering dust on my shelf whilst my harrissa paste goes slowly out of date?
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