This week’s blog post is about families being fuelled well, and cooking together for each other. I wanted to be a chef to be “hospitable” – what that meant to me was being able to cook awesome food for my family. If you have a large extended family like me you’ll know there is enormous “brownie points” for cooking up a storm when the family is together and that’s what I wanted!
I am so honoured and happy to be a new Dad to my lovely wee girl Isla, who arrived on Christmas day happy and healthy. She is feeding from mum (Hailey) and is therefore getting great nutrition from the milk. In addition to changing nappies, I’ve been mum’s personal chef.
Here are a few of the things we have been focusing on to get our strength up and to keep well-nourished in these important early days.
- Organ meat: I made a meatloaf stuffing with one onion, pork mince, garlic, sage and the organs from the turkey (lungs, heart, kidney, liver). Seasoned up and baked in the oven. It was delicious, Hailey loved it and it was so easy to make. I intend to make some pate through the week and serve that with some carrot strips and similar vegetables.
- Eggs: So simple and quick, I like to start us with eggs and bacon with some mushrooms. Hailey loves scrambled egg and my trick is to hammer the butter as this makes it delicious and creamy. I’ve also made frittata with the Christmas leftover vegetables and turkey (why not?). I made some mayonnaise as well as this is a very nutritious sauce that can be paired easily with most things.
- Vegetables and salads: Hailey loves Caprese salad with the summer tomatoes and mozzarella. I make mine up and then cover it and put it out in the direct sunlight until I need it. This makes the mozzarella soft, the tomatoes warm and the dressing is incredible when the juices begin to come from the tomatoes. We also serve just about anything with green beans, pan fried courgette and a liberal amount of crunchy sea salt. I eat a much more vegetarian style diet in summer as I find the produce just so exciting and a joy to cook with.
- Summer fruits: Again, I find the summer produce of fruit to be next level, I really subscribe to the philosophy of the chef taking a back seat when it comes to summer produce and simply letting the ingredients shine brightly. I have a fruit bowl of cherries, strawberries, apricots and peaches in the fridge that Hailey picks from when she feels like it.
When I cook for my family with whole foods that are caringly prepared and made with produce that is bang in season, it puts me directly in touch with the ideas that made me want to be a chef in the first place. Being good in the kitchen and embracing the idea of food being thy medicine (and your therapist!) for me means increasing your ability to give your family some of the good things in life – you also get to get first dibs on what’s coming out of the kitchen, always important if you have a tribe!