Tuesday, 30 March 2010

One's not so fun


Paul had to go overseas at short notice, leaving me as a single parent to Urchin. And what we have learned from this is that we don't like cooking for one. Urchin doesn't see why I can't just eat biscuits off the floor the way she does. She thinks that when I get home from work I shouldn't waste time cooking, I should be spending all my time amusing and entertaining a cat who has been by herself all day. And frankly I think that without my chief taster, I'd rather just have gin and icecream for dinner.

Fortunately, I have some sort of spirit of preservation (other than the gin) that has kept me eating some moderately healthy meals for the last couple of weeks. I've found the hardest thing to be vegetables - trying to keep a reasonable variety without them all going off or ending up with pointless wrinkled half-peppers or shopping every day is quite a challenge.

One thing that worked quite well was preparing a big pile of vegetables and then treating them in different ways. I had a cabbage, an onion, a few carrots and an apple. And a parsnip, which I had thought was a carrot but it was just really muddy. I cut it all up as if I were making a chunky coleslaw, then tossed it with the juice of a lemon and a splash of vegetable oil to slow oxidation and packed it into a lunchbox in the fridge. It lasted three meals - braised with white wine and juniper alongside some faggots; stirfried with peanut sauce and tofu; sauteed with butter and garlic with a steak.

I've also been doing some one-pot stuff: spaghetti carbonara, eggs baked with chorizo, that sort of thing. And there has also been gin and icecream.

23 comments:

Suelle said...

Cooking for one over a long period is definitely not fun, but after over 30 years of cooking for at least two, I do like the odd day off!(That's when I have a fried egg sandwich for dinner(blushing))

Congratulations on making such a hotch-potch of vegetables interesting and varied in flavour.

tamarindandthyme said...

That's a good idea with the veg. I too find it hard to cook for one when two's the norm. Shamefully, I tend to resort to late nights at the office and then takeaways.

Foodycat said...

Sue - the odd day off (and fried egg sandwich!) is a great thing. It'll be almost 3 weeks by the time he gets home and that is too long.

Su-lin - I've been really proud of myself, not doing takeaways or ready meals (except for 1 pizza).

kat said...

Matt has to travel to California a couple times a year without me & I too have been trying to find good ways to still eat well for one. I find things like little veggie tarts & casseroles work good for me too.

The Cat's Mother said...

I indulge with the things we don't have because the other party isn't keen on them - like pasta (or zucchini back when "cooking for two" was FC & me).

Foodycat said...

Kat - little veggie tarts sound lovely!

Mother - the problem is that Paul eats everything! So there isn't really anything I miss out on.

Rondell said...

How y'all train this cat to cook? Can it come over and teach the mice running around in my kitchen how to cook? LOL!

mscrankypants said...

Gin comes from juniper berries. Berries are fruit. Fruit has carbohydrates and vitamins. Ice cream has protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. Perfect meal.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

I find it a bit hard to cook just for myself when the opportunity arises too. Good tip about the pile of versatile vegetables, and cute shot of you and urchin!!

Foodycat said...

Rondell - she's naturally talented. But she has better uses for mice than teaching them to cook.

Cranky - and don't forget the lime in the G&T for vitamin C!

Laura - we were having to send Paul lots of pictures, and that was one of the better ones.

Debinhawaii said...

As much as I cook mostly for just me, I am not very good at it--I always make too much of things. It's a good thing I like leftovers. ;-) Smart to use the veggies different ways to keep it varied.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Some good ideas, there, although I'd probably still opt for gin and ice cream myself... ;)

Rachel said...

Paul eats everything? You lucky Foodycat Chef! My crew is so picky that when they are not around I go for the anchovies, olives, capers, and other pickled things so that I overdose on salt and wake up in the middle of the night, sucking down many glasses of water.

Johanna said...

I sued to live on sandwiches, salads and the odd stir fry when I was living alone. And then missed cooking and invited my friends over for dinners! At least you have the gin and ice cream. Always dependable those too :-)

Foodycat said...

Deb - I think it'd be OK if I had to do it all the time. I must have managed when I lived alone before!

Forkful - there is always room for gin and icecream!

Rachel - Yup! He is the best guinea pig a food blogger could ask for.

Johanna - I don't make very good sandwiches! But I have done a couple of big salads that have been good.

Laurie said...

Gin and ice cream made me laugh!

I would feel just like you do. And like Paul, my guy eats anything, so there's no need to indulge with things he doesn't like when he's not around.

Your idea to use the veggies in three different ways is a perfect solution.

Close to three weeks is a LONG time. Love the photo you took of you and Urchin for Paul. So sweet.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

I am so with you with the gin and ice cream. (I would do tequila though!) Since my daughter left for school I've had to learn how to cook for 2 and now that my hubby doesn't come home from work until 10:30 at night, I'm learning how to cook for one. Isn't easy, but I can only imagine what I would look like if I maintained a diet of tequila and ice cream. Big hugs. Have a lovely Easter weekend.

Velva said...

They say that dogs have masters and cats have staff. :-)
Looks like you are quite creative with what is in your pantry-good for you.

Foodycat said...

Laurie - it was a long time! It's nice to have him home.

Teresa - oh yes, I'd be the size of a house if I followed it through!

Velva - she rules us with an iron paw in a velvet glove!

C said...

Sympathies on the cooking for one - I'm trying to get better at it, but there sometimes just isn't the motivation. I do find that I never buy certain veg because I'll never eat it all before it goes off - cabbage and swede spring to mind.

Chef Aimee said...

I giggled at the gin and ice cream line! Cooking for one is a challenge but its also fun. I love eggs for dinner and I can only do that when I cook for me!

Foodycat said...

C - I wouldn't have bought the cabbage either! So difficult to get through by yourself.

Aimee - Eggs for dinner are pretty good!

Barbara said...

I've been cooking for one for quite a while. You have to get really creative, especially with veggies. (meat you can freeze!) And I congratulate you for hanging in there with healthy meals! Often I fuss over one meal and have it for a couple nights.
(Love your cat's name!)

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