Home cooked

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos

There are some things that I’ll never buy again – salad dressing, for example, is ridiculously easy to make yourself. Other things like ready meals I never bought in the first place. I don’t know about you but I find it hard to understand the demand that has given rise to markets for packets of scrambled eggs, ready grated cheese and instant mashed potatoes.

Those who want to do more that make their own pasta and sauce, pesto or jam frequently have an allotment. Land value has risen so much that huge numbers of allotments have vanished across the country but there has been a rising demand for a plot to grow your own food over recent years. Other people are instead now turning a part of their garden over for growing food and with the advent of neighbourhood Crop Swap schemes it seems that the Good Life ethos is making something of a comeback.

However, you don’t need an allotment or garden space in order to grow a few simple things like salad leaves, herbs or even mushrooms, all of which can be cultivated quite easily indoors without the need for much equipment.

Growing the odd thing yourself won’t save you enough money to make you rich but it does mean you know for certain that no nasty chemicals have been involved and you will definitely reduce your food miles and the amount of packaging that you’re forced to accept by the supermarkets.

Be still, my beating heart

For me, the nadir of health and cooking occurred in 2009 when deep fried butter was on the menu at the Texas State Fair. This year, deep frying Guinness (other fried alcohol is available) appears to be a major attraction.

I used to think that the food seen at thisiswhyyourefat.com was a coronary waiting to happen and then the other week I saw this gem from Paula Deen (who apparently is no stranger to deep frying butter): deep fried cheesecake

I’m beginning to think that if you stop moving for too long in the Southern states of the USA that someone will deep fry you.

A day in the Yarra Valley

Yesterday was spent touring around various wineries and sampling their wares. Either side of lunch we clocked up somewhere in the region of seven or eight places, from the large to the small and family-run. The car was clinking with the sound of bottles as we came home loaded with a fair amount wine.

I’m afraid to say that I forgot my notebook and the nature of the day lead to my memory being pretty vague so I can’t really elaborate much on which wines we sampled where. Suffice to say that there were some good ones and some not-so-good ones. Definitely something to add to your list of things to do for the next time you’re in the area.