Cooking something good to eat from scratch (almost…) every night makes me happy. It’s a highlight in my day; something I plan and look forward to. I don’t think a ready meal ever has quite the same effect.
For me, the act of cooking, of creating something out of a pile of ingredients, is a fine way to switch off and relax after a busy day.
A home-cooked tea not only tastes better but you know what’s gone in to it – you were there! You get to decide how much fat, salt or sugar and inevitably your shopping habits start to change. The more you think about what you put in your mouth, the more things like seasonality, animal welfare and provenance become important.
For a very small investment of time, you get healthy, better-value food and you’ll cut down on waste too. But best of all, it’s easy – seriously, if you think it’s a chore, I think you’re probably cooking the wrong stuff.
I’m cooking every night anyway, so I thought I’d share my ideas to answer the question I hear or ask every day – what shall we have for tea?
I feel a bit of fraud writing about food – I learned to cook off the telly. Ready Steady Cook launched while I was at uni and something about the way you can throw together something tasty from a few fresh ingredients and a thoughtfully-stocked store cupboard got me hooked. I’ve never trained or set foot in a professional kitchen, I’m just an enthusiastic amateur.
I’ve been very lucky, though. I grew up in a home where an evening meal was cooked from scratch and eaten around a table. I met great friends at uni who shared an interest in eating well and I learned a lot (mostly things to do with mince). I now live with a lovely girl who shares my slightly obsessive love of food and is a mean baker and biscuitmaker. And I’m lucky to live in Wales, home to the most stunning countryside which produces world-class meat, cheeses, seafood, beer and plenty more besides. I’ve even recently got a farmers’ market a two-minute walk away every week. I’m a very lucky boy!
I love a good cook book as a source of inspiration, but I think recipes can be limiting – they give you the basic method and you can then adapt them depending on what you have to hand. What’s in the fridge, what looks good in the shop and what’s in the cupboard or freezer? That’s usually my starting point so I’m not trying to write recipes – just share ideas. I measure in handfulls, dashes and dollops and time things by taste and touch. And if I really bugger things up, at least I’ve learnt something!
I live in Cardiff with my other half Cara and I spend my days running a PR firm. As well as cooking I really love to grow things in the garden (to eat, of course).
I’m starting small and will add ideas as often as I can. I’d love to hear what you think about easyteas.
I work in PR and periodically I represent food and leisure clients. If I ever talk about anything connected to a client I represent I will always flag them as such in the post and will not use this blog to promote any products or services connected with my day job. Also, the views and opinions I express here are my own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of my employer.
I’ve been collecting recipes and ideas for meals for more than 20 years. My memory’s not perfect, but wherever possible I will credit any ideas that I use which had their foundations in something I’ve read, watched or been given to eat. Apologies in advance if I miss anything.
If you’d like to get in touch, leave a comment or contact me @mattappleby on twitter.