Meet me in the Kitchen?
The two things I enjoy doing most are cooking and writing. In third place is eating, and in fourth is lecturing people about food. By now my friends and family have probably had their fill, so I am unleashing the overspill onto the internet: this site will neatly bring together all of these pursuits.
Other things I love to do: walk around charity shops finding things for my kitchen; watch TV while thinking about all the books I should be reading, and making mental lists of books to definitely read. I do most of my TV-watching on the iPad in the kitchen. Regrettably, it's much easier to watch Netflix while making a cake than to read a book while chopping vegetables.
I used to go out to eat all the time - it was my main hobby. I pretentiously collected Michelin starred meals, and went to as many restaurants as I could, to the detriment of mine, my friends' and my successive boyfriends' bank balances. But it was worth it, and I think we all benefitted. It's wonderful to discover and experience new food. Olive oil boiled in liquid nitrogen, leather macerated strawberries, charcoal flavoured oil, goat's cheese and lavender cheesecake - I don't care if it was pretentious, I loved it all.
However, I have had to adapt my diet and lifestyle dramatically over the last couple of years for health reasons. Since I discovered that I suffer from an autoimmune condition, I don't eat in the same way. I always used to think I was generally healthy because I was a vegetarian, I ate lots of fruit and vegetables and a wide variety of foods. But I always ate too much, and consumed vast quantities of sugar which, in retrospect, I find alarming to think about.
I fretted about my weight but never about what my boundless appetite was doing to my health more generally. When I discovered this year that I have Multiple Sclerosis, like many of us do, I consumed literature surrounding symptom management and possible cures. I read that MS is widely thought to be a disease of excess - poor diet and little exercise, combined with high stress and sleep deprivation: these are all thought to contribute.
People say you shouldn't blame yourself, and I don't blame myself for being quite so ill-informed and oblivious, but I do for the excess I was aware of and failed to control. What I feed myself is very much within my control, and this is what I can do to try and stop the illness progressing.
In almost every book and blog I have read about nutrition and health I have found this quote from Hippocrates: "All disease starts in the gut." I believe it. I haven't found any one particular formula for diet that I believe in whole-heartedly, but I am certain that thinking more about what I am putting into my body to fuel it and to heal it, and being more aware of the properties of different foods, is not only to my advantage, but critical to my health.
I was always an active and enthusiatic cook, and especially baker. I really enjoy decorating cakes for occasions (thank you YouTube for all the tutorials!) and will seize any opportunity to make a cake. That is still the case! Better to eat a slice of cake you made at home every now and then than to regularly eat junk food packed with chemicals and dubious ingredients.
I hope you will find recipes you can use and enjoy here. I have no self-imposed remit, I just want to share ideas and advice for people who are keen to cook, as well as some nuggets of wisdom I have collected.
I think with a good recipe and a few key tools anyone can make anything. Some things require a little more practice of course… But with the abundance and variety of ingredients and resources available to us, it is such a pity to not be adventurous in the kitchen.
Most recipes are adapted from elsewhere - friends, family, famous chefs, other blogs. Credit will always be given. Please, go forth and cook!