One of the things that has kept me going through the dullness of exams (especially now that the garden outside my window is full of people who have finished and are sunbathing, picnicking, reading and laughing in the sunshine) is the thought of a full six weeks of freedom before I start my next degree. My main plan for that freedom? Cooking.
Today I bought myself a copy of Laurel’s Kitchen. My mum certainly has a copy already, and I think there’s one lurking on the shelves of my dad and Gill’s house, so I have flicked through it in the past. The recipes I’ve seen are somewhat alien to me, but that’s part of the point. I want to try out new things, to discover what works and what doesn’t, and to have the wonderful introduction to that book as an inspiration and a reminder.
I’ve also discovered a wholefood shop nearish to my new flat which delivers small organic fruit and veg boxes for a very reasonable price. This is something I’ve wanted to sign up to for a while, but the way my meals work at the moment it hasn’t been feasible – when you cook once every two months, it’s hard to use up an entire box of vegetables before they go off. But from August, I will be living a much more cooking-friendly life, even once my course starts, especially as I won’t be taking on a mountain of evening commitments.
I’m really looking forward to trying out making my own bread, and to having all my food, utensils, implements and crockery in the same room. If I forget to get something out of the fridge, I won’t have to traipse back along the corridor through three heavy, hard-to-open doors and across my room to fetch it, and then back again through three even-harder-to-open-with-your-hands-full doors. The fridge will be right there. When I’m meal planning, my food will be in a cupboard in the same room as me – I won’t have to try and remember what I’ve got, or trek to the kitchen to check. It’s not exactly far, but it’s a hassle. It will be nice to have that convenience.
I head off to collect the keys to the flat tomorrow, and I’ll be there for a few days. My original meal plan spiralled off a little this week as I had a fairly unpleasant IBS flareup which drove me to a not particularly sympathetic GP who gave me a prescription for co-codamol and told me to suck it up, the NHS can’t help. So the planned curry was scrapped as being too risky, and the spaghetti bolognese was kicked to the curb when I realised I didn’t have any tomatoes. Instead I had reheated pie – once with vegetables, once straight out of the microwavable tub. There is still a lot of pie in my freezer.
The plan for the weekend, however, remains the same: mushroom risotto tomorrow (I bought a 1kg vaccuum pack bag of risotto rice, I’m not quite sure how to open it without causing a volcanic explosion of rice) and pasta bake on Sunday, or possibly the other way round depending whether or not I can face going out to buy a saucepan and some mushrooms after a three hour exam followed by a three hour train journey. Monday will almost certainly be take-away pizza, because a) it’s easy and b) it’s tasty and c) I couldn’t think of any other meal ideas that wouldn’t require me to buy more food than I can use up on this trip.