"ideas aren’t worth anything. It is about the execution of those ideas. It is about turning those ideas into reality. " Jake Jorgovan
A long time ago now I was rather taken by a little thing in one of the supermarket magazines which suggested having a small jar in your kitchen into which you put recipes - either just the name or the actual recipe - when you came across them and thought you'd like to make it some time. The idea was, that when you had one of those days when you didn't know what to cook for dinner you picked one out at random and made it.
So I set up this jar in the corner of my kitchen and started to put recipes I fancied in it. As you can see I only did a few (there are actually four) before I ran out of room. And I also haven't made any of them.
When I took them out a short time ago a silverfish ran out of one of them, which tells you how long they have been quietly decaying there.
I also have a stack of those folders with plastic pockets, into which I have also slid recipes that I might make one day. These are all recipes that I have either come across in magazines or found on the net. The cookbook ones, just stay in the cookbooks.
Basically this is just another idea that I have not followed through. Another resolution gone. I know I'm not alone in this. It would probably be a pretty remarkable person who achieves everything they said they would achieve, or at least thought they could achieve. I think my problem is that I easily get bored. I remember when I was very young I was always starting things, but rarely finishing them. Except books. I always finish books. Even those I really am not enjoying. I just can't put them aside somehow - particularly when they are a classic such as The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann or War and Peace. I struggled with both of those but just did not have the confidence to say that they were boring and not finish them. They were masterpieces and so they must be good and if I kept going maybe I would realise this. People I did not. These days I have become much more confident in my own opinions and if I don't like a book, unless it is for a book group, I don't finish it. These days those will end up in our street library.
As I grew older I got a bit better at finishing things, and I have always finished the things I have really had to - like university essays - although they often involved an all-night session of at least getting something down on paper. I'm a bit of a last-minute girl. Ditto for dinner sometimes.
Then I came across the idea of eating an elephant - mouthful by mouthful and somehow I have been able to achieve more. And yet ... I remember several years ago now - maybe a couple of decades ago, I decided I would go through the house room by room and clear out all the rubbish. I would do a room a month. True to form that exercise was often accomplished on the last few days of the month but I truly threw out a lot. It was very satisfying. Then I broke my wrist - just after I had done the kitchen - with half of the house still to go. I lost momentum and have never finished the job, and by now the rubbish is accumulating behind me.
Truth to tell I'm a little bit amazed that I am still writing this blog but I am. It has become a routine - a habit - and I'm very good at maintaining habits, even if I do get a bit bored with them every now and then.
So back to my big - well little really - idea of storing recipes for 'surprise' dinners. Was it really a good idea? "If a project is worth doing, it will still be worth doing three months from now." says one Jake Jorgovan. Well it's much more than three months later so I am going to say it wasn't worth it. He also says : "You will be amazed at how many ideas seem brilliant at the moment, but they completely suck when you read them 30 days later." 'Completely suck' is probably a bit harsh, because it is a good idea, but not one that I could deal with obviously. And I should really go through all those folders too and throw out a whole heap of the recipes therein.
Perhaps if I had immediately followed through it might have worked. I do remember the first recipe I put in there. It is Beef Pepper Fry (Beef Kurumulakittathu) I suspect we had recently been out for an Indian meal and I had had this dish which is one of my favourites. Then I came across it on the NIsh Kitchen website and swore I would make it. But I never did. Why? Well one reason would have been that the recipe used a pressure cooker and I don't have one of those, so I would have had to adjust the timings. Looking at the recipe I now see that I also didn't print out the whole thing. For some reason I stopped halfway through which would have been a bit annoying.
Having now been reminded of this particular recipe though, maybe I should give it a go. But not this week. It will have to be next week and I shall probably be on to something else by then.
"The less you bother, the less you’re capable of bothering." says Rachel Cooke and she is right I think. I should have made it straight away - as now - rather than putting it aside. 'Out of sight, out of mind', certainly in the case of a mind as slippery as mine is today.
So what other tempting things were in that little pot?
Well I've just found out what this one is - Lamb meatballs with raisin pesto from Bon Appétit, but I had to search a bit because I didn't actually have the title or the source on the printout. I'm not quite as convinced by this one now. I think I was seduced by the gorgeous photograph and the interest of raisin pesto. But mostly I'm not that keen on sweet things with meat, and a meatball is sort of a meatball. No that one might just go in the recycle bin. After all Yotam Ottolenghi et al. have dozens of such things.
Number three - Carrot marmalade from Anna Jones a cook I have been warming to over time. She contributes often to The Guardian newsletter, and I have also seem that she has written a couple of cookbooks. I think she began as one of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen apprentices, although I'm not quite sure. It looked great, and I often have a lot of carrots. She says to try it with crumpets and cheese which is interesting. I just bought some more crumpets today. Love them.
Anyway this one is also a bit of a coincidence thing, because I had also earmarked, a recipe from Greg and Lucy Malouf's A New Feast - for Spicy carrot pickle which is actually not at all the same thing. The Malouf's pickle is indeed spicy with quite a list of spices. The marmalade is a citrussy/honey kind of thing. Both pretty worth trying - but when? Next time I have nothing but carrots in the vegetable drawer perhaps. It happens.
I do love making pickles, but not only am I slow at actually making them, I am also slow about actually eating them in spite of the Malouf's saying of theirs that "we've been know to finish a jar in one sitting." Mine tend to lurk in the fridge forever.
Maybe I'll do a post on carrot jam/pickle/chutney some time and maybe that will make me spring into action.
And last of all - actually two recipes from a Coles Magazine - both from Luke Mangan. Marinated chicken with orange and tarragon salsa and BBQ baby broccoli with anchovy and lemon The idea is to serve them together.
Well I was talking about marinades yesterday and here we are with a marinade - and only 2-3 hours recommended marinade time. It's pretty simple though. The salsa is interesting but there are heaps of them out there, so I'm not sure it's worth keeping really. As for the broccoli - well very nice, but there's no way I shall be making this any time soon because of the anchovies. So I think I'll bin that one.
In fact I think I'll bin them all and just make a mental note to find a recipe for beef pepper fry some time. It certainly won't be a tonight meal anyway. That's going to be a fridge raid filo pastry of some kind with a filling of leftover spinach from a Persian chicken dish I made the other day with some marinated feta cheese that should be used. I was going to do a quiche but now think a filo thing would be better.
Oh well - another project discarded. Never mind - it wasn't an important one, and there are always recipes jostling for attention all around me. There will be more from The Guardian tomorrow for example, and I still haven't finished reading through Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible which contains heaps of tempting and doable recipes.
My last quote is from Rachel Cooke and is not entirely relevant. She wrote it during the COVID lockdown but it does channel the mood I sometimes get into. Well we probably all do.
"Goodbye sumac! None of us are in the market right now for recipes that require kaffir lime leaves or a pinch of lovage. Basically, we want to know if there’s any easily achievable dish involving tinned tomatoes that we’ve yet to make." Rachel Cooke - The Guardian
Is there I wonder?