Not feeling inspired? I know how you feel
Yesterday was one of the most challenging days I have had in my job, which I started in September.
Anyway, my dad picked me up from work (my car is in at the smash repairer – that’s another story!) – and I spent the whole trip home chatting vigorously to him about the day I had.
Then I got home and Matt had to endure my ear chewing as well.
Granted that after that, I felt a little better. But guess what was the last thing I wanted to do? Cook.
Despite my passion for cooking, even I have days when I just can’t be bothered, when I can’t even get my head around what to cook in the first place, or what I even feel like eating. Normally I’d ponder over it in my head during the afternoon – but due to the crazy day, I hadn’t even considered what the hell I was going to do.
Most people would reach for the phone and the nearest take-away menu and solve their lack of inspiration that way – but following my trip to Darwin and all the eating out we did there, I couldn’t deal with the guilt.
So, I just grabbed the first thing in the freezer – which happened to be pork cutlets. Next, I remember this really nice recipe Nigella did once with pork she crumbed. I recalled it involved bashing the living daylights out of the meat. I thought to myself – yes, this is exactly what I need. She always claims bashing meat is one of the best cures for a stressful day so i thought, why not? It might just work for me.
Crumbed pork cutlets
- Pork or lamb cutlets (enough to feed four people)
- 2 cups of breadcrumbs (don’t be ashamed to use ones out of a packet – you’re exhausted, after all)
- 1/2 a cup of finely grated tasty cheese
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano (or you could used mixed herbs, dried basil or the like)
- salt and pepper
- 1 egg beaten in a largish bowl with a dash of milk
Place dry ingredients on a large plate or platter and mix with your hands.
Mix egg and milk in a large bowl and set aside.
Place cutlets in a bag, one at a time, and bash them with a meat mallet or rolling-pin until they are about 1 to 2 centimetres think.
Once you have bashed the daylights out of them and relieved the day’s stress, coat them in the egg and milk mix and then press them into the breadcrumb mix, making sure they are well coated.
Fill a large frying pan with a good amount of olive oil, so that the cutlets will shallow fry. Cook until they are brown one the outside and cooked through. If you are using lamb, ensure the coating is crispy, but make sure you leave the meat pinky and juicy.
Next I thought – what else does Nigella recommend for stress? Mashed potato. She says it’s the best comfort food in the world and once I had done the peeling, boiling and mashing before adding the truck load of butter, whisking and tasting the buttery, yummy potato – well, I was in heaven.
Mashed Potato (full of butter but totally comforting)
- 4 or 5 large deseree potatoes
- about 4 tablespoons of butter
- about 1/4 of a cup of milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Peel, wash and chop your potatoes. Place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them, along with a few good pinches of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until potatoes are soft.
Drain the water away and using a metal whisk, break up the potatoes. Add the butter and start to mix, using the whisk. It’s a bit of tough work at the start, but once you had the milk, it gets easier and whisking makes the potato light and lump-free. Add milk slowly until you get the consistency of mashed potato. Add your salt and pepper and make sure you taste it at this point. Add more butter, salt, etc, dependent on your tastes, but it should taste buttery and delicious.
So, with a little bashing and mashing, I was both de-stressed and totally comforted all in one meal.
To top it all off, Matt brought us a chocolate cake for dessert.
So despite my lack of inspiration, we managed to make it the perfect end to a not-so-perfect day. Great food, even better people around to share it with. perfect!
So what do you like to cook when you are feeling stressed, or you just can’t be bothered? Do you have a fall-back recipe which you always make when you feel this way, or do you delve into cook books, watch the cooking channel or surf the net for ideas? Share your story in the comments section below and hopefully help the uninspired get inspired 🙂