I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I really only found a joy for cooking when Mr and I first moved in together more years ago than I can remember now.
When Bebito was born I began to focus more on making things from scratch. As much as I knew breast feeding would give him the best start I wanted his belly to be full of nutritious, tasty food. And he has rewarded me ten fold with his appreciation of what I set in front of him, his willingness to try new things. I never cook anything I don’t think he will enjoy eating. Little Lion can be hit and miss but I hope one day he too laps up all manner of different flavours. Mr too has an appreciation of good food. In giving my family good food I feel like I am giving them my love and care.
But there’s more to why I spend so much time in the kitchen. I find it meditative. Especially so when I am able to potter on my own. It is a time to think too. To process my feelings, thoughts, dreams and hopes and after an afternoon of cooking I often find myself revived or more at peace. I often think how I am connected to the generations of women before me in my kitchen labours.
Today I’ve baked a bunch of lunchbox items, dinner and some muesli. At the same time I’ve reflected on the news I heard earlier today of Charlotte Dawson. I know little of her, only that she was a woman who struggled with depression and she vigourously defended herself against online bullies. I also thought of the people in Kiev who are fighting – and dying – for what they believe in. For the asylum seekers on Manus Island who are trapped there, fleeing from horror only to be greeted with a different sort of horror – the horror of detention in limbo. And as I think of these people in their struggles I cannot help but wish that people could act with more kindness.
Kindness. It’s such an easy place to start. And yet so many are not kind.
Perhaps if everyone spent some time cooking for the people they care about, an act of service in which they put the needs of others before there own there could be more kindness?
What say you?
Here’s my recipe…
You could buy some pastry – shortcrust or puff, your call entirely but I made my own using Maggie Beer’s rough puff recipe here
I actually used half of the pastry and froze the other half. Our local supermarkets don’t stock decent premade pastry and I make mine in batches, then freeze for another day.
400 grams ricotta
Half cup Parmesan cheese, grated
A cup of baby spinach leaves
A small handful basil leaves, chopped
1 cup cream
Pinch grated nutmeg
4 tomatoes, sliced
Grease a 30cm x 20cm pie or flan dish. Actually, any will do but just make sure you have enough pastry to cover your tin.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Blind bake the pastry first – I did mine 10 minutes lined with baking paper and pastry weights then 10 minutes without. Make sure it’s quite golden as the top won’t get much cooking when you put the filling in … But not too golden. If you’re using puff pastry let it settle a bit and not be so puffed before you put the filling in.
At the same time as your baking the pastry, place your sliced tomatoes on an oven tray and bake with a drizzle of olive oil over the top. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine all the filling ingredients and mix well.
Pour filling ingredients over your pastry and top with the sliced tomatoes.
Bake about 25 minutes, or until golden.
We will be enjoying it with a rocket, nashi pear, walnut and balsamic vinegar salad tonight.
Share with your loved ones for most enjoyment.