I MET MY HERO (AND DID NOT VOMIT ON HER SHOES, THANK GOD)
Hello my dear, darling readers!
I am so sorry for my prolonged absence, which I’m sure at least one of you noticed (looking at you, Grandpa). I got distracted by real life – got myself a full time job, a new house and a driver’s licence to boot! But now my “Become A Grown-up” to-do list is nicely ticked off, I am so ready to throw myself back into cooking and writing as never before!
I am feeling very very inspired because this week I met my idol, my queen, the woman who has influenced so much of my cooking and writing and general attitude to life: Nigella Lawson. She did a talk in conversation with Hugh Mackay entitled “Why Food Matters” – and basically articulated every single view and thought I have about food and then some, with such grace and passion and eloquence that she completely cemented her place as my all-time hero.
Nigella (and Hugh) talked about the fact that food plays such an important role in bringing people together (which you may remember I discussed in this article), and also how cooking for yourself is a really important part of self-care. They talked about how making food for someone is one of the most powerful ways you can show somebody that you care about them, and how cooking can be therapeutic and calming. The hour whizzed by and I truly wish I’d taken notes because I remember thinking to myself so many times “Yes!! I must remember that!” when Nigella said something particularly wise or insightful, but of course I didn’t. Sorry if you were hanging out for some life-changing quotes – guess you’ll have to read her books!
After the talk Nigella did a signing, which means that I have now lived and heard Nigella Lawson speak the words “Hello Gilly, lovely to meet you” directly at my face and miraculously I am still breathing and therefore here to tell the tale. She was so incredibly generous and gracious and took the time to chat with every single one of the 800 or so people in line to get their book signed, and she is just so charismatic and gorgeous… anyway yes, I’m done fangirling now. Also, while I didn’t manage to say anything memorable or funny, I also didn’t say anything idiotic or vomit on her shoes as per a nightmare I had had, so I think we can chalk that one up as a success. Now I just hope that we cross paths again in the future, hopefully as a result of my glowing career? Cross your fingers for me!
So, newly energised as I am, I’ve decided to make a list of FOOD GOALS for 2018. I really like lists, not sure if you’ve noticed. OK, here we go:
- Try a completely new dish at least once a week. Could be cooking it, could be eating it, but just grab those culinary horizons and expand them.
- Become the kind of person who meal preps. I really never thought it would be me, because that kind of organisation and forethought does not come naturally to me, but for the sake of my health and wallet I must give it a try. I can’t uberEats Thai food or $23 quinoa salads for work lunch every day. I just can’t.
- Eat a completely plant-based meal at LEAST three times a week. The more I read, the more I think whole food plant-based eating might be the healthiest and most sustainable way of living. We’ll discuss this more later.
- Throw more dinner parties. I bloody love throwing dinner parties. You get to spend an afternoon meal planning and cooking, choosing wines, then gather a bunch of your favourite people and feed them delicious food. If they’re proper friends, they will do the washing up afterwards. Everybody wins.
- Post on the blog at least once a fortnight! Writing about food makes me realise how passionate I am about it, and acts as further motivation to cook creatively and thoughtfully. If people like yourself enjoy reading it that is a really wonderful added bonus.
I’m going to stop there because any more than five goals will seem unachievable and I don’t want any excuse to give up on these! I hope you all help keep me accountable, and also please share any food goals of your own!!
So… time for a recipe! This one is inspired by numbers 1 and 3 on my list, and was invented the night after seeing Nigella. I wanted to cook something fresh and delicious but also heartwarming and simple, cause it was a work night and I was shattered. My solution:
THAI SATAY VEGGIE STIRFRY
I’ll be honest, calling the sauce in this “satay” is a bit insulting to anyone out there making authentic satay. This is my cheat’s three ingredient version, but if you are in a hurry, it hits the spot. I also cheated with the veggies when I made it, and used a bag of “kale slaw” from my local supermarket. Saved me a lot of chopping but not a lot of money… your call.
3 x tbsp olive oil
3 x tbsp peanut butter (the good stuff if possible, only peanuts, no other crap)
2 x tbsp sweet chilli
2 x tbsp soy sauce
1 x diced large onion
2 x crushed cloves garlic
2 x handfuls finely chopped kale
2 x handfuls chopped red cabbage
1 x finely sliced carrot
1 x bunch chopped broccolini
1 x sliced zucchini
1 x sliced yellow capsicum
1 x large handful roasted cashew nuts
1/2 tin coconut cream
1 x bag of brown rice/quinoa mix, the pre-cooked stuff, yeah this whole recipe is kind of lazy but also super easy so lay off, ok? I’m doing you a solid here.
salt and pepper to taste
hot chilli sauce if that’s yo thang
- Heat the olive oil in a wok. When hot, toss in the onion and garlic. Stir for a couple of minutes.
- Next, throw in the capsicum, carrot and zucchini. Stir for another 3-4 mins.
- Put in all the rest of the veggies. After 2 mins, add the peanut butter, sweet chilli, soy sauce and coconut milk. Stir really well then let bubble away for a few minutes, stirring every minute or so.
- When all the veggies are looking close to cooked, throw in the brown rice/quinoa mix and the cashews. After 2-3 minutes of stirring, you are DONE. Take it off the heat!
- Add salt, pepper, hot chilli sauce if you want and enjoy!! Be proud, feel inspired, and get an early night. Talk very soon!