It is surprisingly easy to break the habits of a lifetime.
Let me explain.
As the mother of two, I have put in around 26 years service in the capacity of chief cook and bottle washer in the family home.
However, as the nest has been vacated some 18 months ago, I find I have lost the discipline and desire to cook or prepare the obligatory “three square meals a day”.
I am oft here alone when my OH is working in London, and all too often a bowl of cereal or a few slices of toast replaces a decent meal.
Time spent at the stove lessens over time, so cooking a meal for two or more people then becomes an unwelcome chore.
Enter the Pop-Up Restaurant concept.
I marvel at these enterprising souls who create a restaurant in the heart of their homes using all available space and gadgetry to maximise the numbers they can accommodate. Clever stuff I hear you say.
Well, if they can do it, so can I.
To emulate this model of ingenuity, I have garnered the following:
1. An additional medium sized box freezer.
2. A range of bistro style plates with a selection of smaller bowls that will fit on and allow a space for salad garnish or similar.
3. A well stocked larder and fridge, plus existing freezer for raw meat, fish, basic supplies like home-made pastry, home frozen fruit and veg, plus any other not to be missed bargains from the supermarket
4. Ample inspiration and ideas to rustle up meals that can be made ahead in part or in full to be served at a later date.
I then spend quieter time midweek preparing meals in larger than required volume, batch them up in an attractive, ready to serve bowl (oven and microwave proof) and pop them in the freezer until needed.
Then, when I am in that nowhere to run place where I have to put something decent on the table au dernier moment, I dash out to the summer kitchen, have a quick rifle through the freezer, select my dishes and get them heated through.
In the meantime, I prepare some sides, as they are affectionately known as in bistro circles – flat breads. potatoes,vegetables. salad, relishes, pasta, rice or whatever, and then, at the last moment assemble them on the plates to be served to the assembled hoard.
The result is very attractive and tasty food that has been lovingly prepared well before it is required.
Result? Happy eaters, and a less stressed me.
I can thoroughly recommend it as an efficient and work-smart alternative to preparing every morsel of food moments before they are needed at table.