Sometimes people ask me “how do you figure out what you want to cook?” or when I throw together a meal using a mixture of memory, guesswork and risk, people ask “how do you know what to put with what?”
To the first question, I say: I have moments of inspiration when, for some reason that I can not explain, a food item or craving just pops into my head. It’s actually a fun game to play: when you’re sitting on the bus in traffic, ask yourself what would the perfect snack right now, if you could magic it into existence simply by the power of your imagination. Like the time I wanted a snack to go with my film so I made popcorn and covered it in the usual – butter – but went a step further and decided to pour maple syrup in there too. It was messy. It was unhealthy. But it was gooood.
To the second question: I know what to put with what usually because I’ve done it before, most likely with an already existing recipe. Then sometimes I just wing it and say “I want to make a stirfry” which is Asian, so I bung all my “Asian ingredients” into a bowl and marinade my chicken or whatever in that (soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, etc etc). Sometimes it works. Very often it doesn’t, which is why I’m glad I cook for myself 0n a regular basis. My apologies again to Big Sister for guilting her into eating some awful meat crap with cinnamon in it (Cinnamon is a wonderful ingredient in this red wine and tomato ragu I make with minced pork, giant pasta tubes and ricotta infused with marjoram).
At the moment, the food stuffs inspiring me are the leftover things I have in my kitchen from previous baking efforts:
A helluva lot of wholemeal flour
More brussels sprouts than there are people in Brussels
I also want to make my delicious carrot cake with crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting. It has always been my intention to make Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Beetroot Brownies. And damnit, I will! And, since overcoming my fear of goat’s cheese, I would like to recreate the Caramelized Onion and Herbed Goat’s Cheese Tartlets that I used to steal from the fridge at my previous place of work, Restaurant Nora in Washington, DC. And finally, I bought yeast with the express purpose of making fresh cinnamon rolls for my family for Sunday breakfast. If there is a more wonderful smell to wake up to, I’d like to smell it.