Saturday, 6 November 2010

Encouraging Home Cooking

Last evening I popped round to see my friend E, and play catch up with her after my recent holiday in Scotland.  We had a lot to catch up on as E had kindly looked after the cats whilst we have been away. She is a lovely bubbly Scottish lady, who has recently come out of a long term abusive relationship and has gone on to find someone who she is truly happy with.  It would appear however that her husband kept her down, so much so she suffers from a lack of self-confidence.  Its not that she can't cook, but she has been rubbished so much that it has affected her confidence.  E is also vegetarian. 

E is currently going through something of a renaissance and is finding her weaknesses and her strengths.  It is a joy to see.  During the week she had had a go at making home made pizza and had enjoyed it, and it hadn't cost her much and her new partner had enjoyed it as well.  We discussed other toppings that she could utilise and  she was surprised at some of my suggestions but During the course of the evening whilst we were nattering E asked if I knew how to make Meringues  - I said yes.  

E said that she had never made them before and did not really know where to start.  There  then commenced an impromptu cooking lesson whereby how I showed E how to make Meringues and she cooked them. She had little by way of cooking equipment but we got by.  Fortunately she had an electric hand mixer and although not a proper mixing bowl had a large casserole dish so we made do.  We used the whites from 2 eggs, and 4oz of sugar.  First I whipped up the egg whites until they were extremely stiff and I turned the bowl upside down and the mixture did not drip but held itself intact.  I then started to slowly add this sugar, this has the effect of making the mixture going shiny and glistening and glossy.  Eve didn't have a piping bag and nozzle, so I utilised a dessertspoon and made oval shapes on the greased baking tin with the mixture. The meringues were then left in  the oven on the lowest setting possible on a gas cooker and cooked for about 2 hours and then left overnight in the oven to dry out.  This simple lesson seems to have inspired her to cook even more.  She has been out today and bought a couple of mixing bowls, a pastry brush, pastry cutters that are dual use and contain both plain and fluted, a couple of mixing jugs a couple of ramekin dishes and various other ingredients.  I left her with instructions how to finish off the cooking and told her that when learning to cook you have to watch what you are doing until you learn your way round the recipe.  

Giving some help to a good friend has made me realise how lucky I am in terms of friendship, but also so lucky that I have been fortunate enough to have been taught so many things, some of which I take for granted. Very humbling in view of how much pleasure it has given to my friend.  I will be seeing her again next week - wonder what we will have to cook then?

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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)