Part of the plan for this year was to try a bit harder with the cooking. One of the things that helped me was a humble recipe magazine found at the checkout in local supermarkets called Recipe+. There were a few issues during the summer months that were especially helpful in overcoming the cooking inertia.
So helpful that in an idle moment just after school had gone back for the year but before my year got too busy, I banged out an email (not even a letter!) to the editor about how helpful those summer editions had been and happened to mentioned (because I am such a clever cook) that the Thai style pork balls were equally delicious when made with chicken mince if pork mince was nowhere to be found and hey presto!- I notched up my next minute in the series of fifteen minutes of fame. My email was published in the May edition.
And for my humble efforts I won a prize, which arrived in the mail today.
There is an apple peeler (which peels, cores and slices), a lemon squeezer, those scissors (five blade scissors for chopping herbs), a cut and carve board (with an angled surface to collect crumbs and liquids) and a garlic zoom (which is a bit like my beloved happy chopper but garlic clove sized).
Apart from my happy chopper, I'm not that much of a gadget person so I'm not sure what I am going to do with all of these things...but it was fun to win a prize and receive a parcel in the mail!
I think I must be doing OK on the cooking front because in my mother's day card back in May, one of my boys wrote a spontaneous acrostic poem using the letters of my name and for the "D" said "Does good cooking." And everyone is certainly getting very good at trying new things for dinner in this household.
Have yet to make one of these, as per one of my aims for the year.
But there is still time.
And I have recently discovered that this recipe for cheat's minestrone soup is even nicer without the pasta. It takes things even further away from minestrone authenticity...but given it was already straying from the authentic whose to be worried?
And use as much fresh basil as bravery will allow. The more the better. Dried basil not so good.