A new year, time for new year resolutions. Of course. I’ve never been a big one for restrictive resolutions such as “I will eat less”, for obvious reasons, and feel a positive approach is more productive, setting myself goals and challenges and new things to do this year. On this basis I would like to set myself a few challenges in the kitchen. Whilst I’m always keen to try new recipes I tend to stay fairly close to my comfort zone with foods I know I can cook, just about, or that won’t be too terrible if they go wrong. But it seems rather foolish to be afraid of my kitchen, especially since I assert my dominance over it so firmly to the rest of the household. Following on from the semi-success of preparing live shellfish last year – I mean I’m still not a complete mussel convert but at least I know how to deal with them, I’ve come up with five challenges to tackle this year, in both the baking and cooking arenas. Some are skills I really feel I should know by now and others are foods I’ve not eaten for 6 years or more and miss dearly. So without further ado, my 2011 cooking resolutions.
1. Make doughnuts. Deep frying is a big fear of mine. It’s just so, well, hot, and scary as it sputters and crackles, and messy, and did anyone else see the Spooks episode with the deep fat fryer? I’m sure there are many tools in my kitchen which could, in the hands of a criminal mastermind, lead to a sticky end, but I’ve not been comfortable with a large pan full of hot fat since. Or in fact ever. And hot fat plus yeasted dough? Eh, it all sounds far too hard.
2. And Profiteroles. Possibly my favouritest food ever. How hard can this gluten-free choux pastry malarkey be? Plus I’ll have to get an icing bag and tips. But again, can’t be too hard to use surely??
3. Cook a whole fish. Gulp. That’s pretty much my only response to that. I feel it is a necessary life skill. Fish come cleaned and scaled from the fishmonger (don’t they? please tell me they do) so all you have to do is er stuff it with something tasty and, like, cook it.
4. Cook duck. Not *a* duck, that’s just silly, but duck in some form. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked game before and it’s time that was put right. I think this might be the easiest of all my resolutions, though I am fully prepared to be proven wrong.
5. Make sourdough. Ah, gluten-free sourdough, possibly the holy grail of gf breadmaking. All sounds a bit complicated and you have to keep a sourdough pet in your fridge and feed it and clean it and then, once you have bonded with it, you eat it. Well some of it. (Question, do vegans eat yeast? This question has always bothered me, it’s alive and probably on the animal side of the plant/animal divide so if they’re serious I don’t think they should. Er, I digress.) Anyway, I feel fairly sure that gf sourdough will be awesome, so I’ll make some and find out.
Writing these is bringing more to mind but I think I will stick to these five, so I can be sure to tackle them all and give them the attention they deserve. In addition this year I’m pursuing that vague aim of generally “improving” my skills in the kitchen, cooking bigger and bolder, and not being afraid of recipes that take more than 4 hours (actually I did make some 6-hour slow-cooked ribs in 2010, but I don’t think it counts if you just put them in the oven and forget about them). And with all this food and cooking I suppose I should really resolve to eat less too.