I admit it, I find it incredibly hard to think what to post. I’d love to be one of those organised bloggers who has a whole lighting set up and props to hand, the ones who take beautiful photographs of immaculately styled food. The truth is most evenings I am so tired by the time I have cooked a quick snap is the best I ever manage. I’m also forgetful. I will think I must blog this dish as it is delicious, then greed takes over and I gobble it down. No one wants to see a half empty plate or a few bits of a curry left in the bottom of the pan. I decided instead to write about my favourite foods, the ones I just could not give up.
My top 10 foods
These are in no particular order
Paneer – I love this tangy cheese, especially when it gets a little crispy crust. My favourite way to have it is in a curry.
Potatoes – Chipped, roasted, baked, mashed, sauted, in a gratin, new potatoes with butter and mint, potato salad, leftovers fried to have with breakfast, I even like plain boiled. Potatoes are so versatile, top a pie, bulk out a stew or a soup. I’ll never be a no or low carb person.
Bread – I love bread and feel so sorry for people who can not eat it or choose not to eat it. I do not have a favourite bread. What I want depends on my mood and what I will be eating with it. I do try and bake bread, but rarely get around to it. We have 2 local bakeries who are very good, so I can usually get what I want from them. Among my favourites are a proper French baguette, the ones that are so crispy you fear you might spike your mouth with a stray crumb. Spelt bread – I like the nutty flavour. A light rye, onion seed buns and a crusty farmhouse white. I include wraps, chapatis, parathas and naans under bread as those have a special place in my heart too.
Pasta – I said I was a carb lover, I could not never have pasta again, it is such a versatile ingredient. From a simple bowl of spaghetti tossed in tomato sauce to a delicate egg yolk ravioli. In winter I crave lasagne, especially the crispy edge bits, in Spring pesto with tagliatelle and in Summer a pasta salad through to Autumn and carbonara is always a treat.
Mushrooms – I adore mushrooms and really wish I had the knowledge to forage as the woods around here are full of things that look like edible species, but without an expert guide I could not risk it. I love a portabello simply cooked on the griddle and popped in a bun, they are so meaty and juicy. Mixed wild and chestnut mushrooms in a stoganoff or a duxelles inside a ravioli. I also can not imagine a full English without a portion of buttery fried mushrooms.
Sweetcorn – I love it when fresh corn arrives, cobs charred on the bbq, fritters, simply boiled, made into a chowder. Corn is a wonderful vegetable. Most of the year we have frozen, but there is something special about fresh corn. Below is corn as part of a hearty salad.
Beef – We are mostly vegetarian, but we do occasionally have meat. When we do it is organic and from a good butcher or direct from the producer. Until someone makes a fake meat that tastes as good as a rare piece of fillet steak or a char grilled burger I can not see myself occasionally indulging in the real thing.
Tomatoes – I’ve loved tomatoes since I was a child. I liked everything about them, the smell of the plants in the greenhouse, the picking of a few and taking them in to be sliced for a sandwich for my tea. The freshness and scent of a perfectly ripe tomato is special. One of my favourite things is simply frying slices in a pan and putting them on a slice of buttered toast. I also love zingy fresh salsas to be scooped on tortilla chips or roasted tomatoes topped with breadcrumbs & Parmesan. When I have a glut I make a basic sauce which is frozen to use as a base for other dishes or simply stirred through a bowl of pasta. I’m happy to use tinned too, especially for sauces. I am not a tomato snob.
Rice- a staple in our house, we eat it at least twice a week, boiled basmati, tomato rice, risotto, egg fried, kedgeree, the amount of dishes you can make with rice and leftover rice is amazing. I like to aim to be a zero waste house, so any ingredient that you usually can get two meals from gets a big thumbs up from me. Plus it is filling, easy to cook, tasty and comforting. There is something about a bowl of risotto that says home. I’m not of Italian heritage and never had risotto until I was an adult, so no idea where this feeling comes from.
A controversial one, Marmite. I love the black stuff. Salty goodness. I like it on toast, or soldiers for dipping in an egg. I even use it to give colour and depth to vegetarian gravy. On a rainy day when I am feeling gloomy a few slices of Marmite on toast sets me right. Or at least fills my belly and gives me a little lift.
This list was so much harder than I thought it would be. A ten foods I hate would have been simple, but to narrow down to just ten was hard, I almost included ice cream and chocolate, but I only eat ice cream about once every couple of months and chocolate maybe twice a week, so I included all my staples, things I eat week in week out and enjoy every time I have them.