Monday, November 22, 2010

the return of the mojo

The last few months have been a bit of a blur. There’s been lot of comings and goings, short trips to NZ/interstate (the former being like an interstate trip except you have to check in hours earlier and there’s duty-free goodies) and some shuffling around at home.

The Significant Eater is away for large chunks of the time now and though I’ve always been an advocate of the pleasures of cooking for one, my repertoire has been stuck on repeat. My high rotation menu of stir-fries, frittatas, curries, pasta/noodles and variations on vegetables with rice, reminds me of a week I spent in the Daintree with only the resort restaurant to eat at. The limited menu was on a three day cycle, making the second half of the stay very boring.

My mojo’s not been helped by the garden being between seasons. The parsley and coriander are on the way out and there’s just silverbeet for fresh greens, wholesome but not exactly inspiring. I can’t face another leaf of the super bitter radicchio. Waiting to fruit are tomatoes (grosse lisse, tommy toes and sugar lump), strawberries and grapes.

If the locusts don’t get them first.

Previously I’ve relished solo time, giving me the opportunity to beta test weird and wild concoctions (aka “imagination meals”) without having to explain the experiment to someone else. But the problem with loosing your mojo is that there is no desire to go beyond the known. End of the year fatigue has kidnapped my imagination and a whole raft of glossy cookbooks won’t get it back.

Fortunately in the past week the season seems to have begun to shift. The market haul yielded local strawberries, organic mangoes and a half decent avocado. Winters drabness is finally giving way to the stars of the fruit family that excite the senses.

Also on the up are my herbs in pots – Vietnamese mint, regular mint, rosemary tarragon. The latter I’ve had for a couple of years but am always at a loss as to how to use. Aniseed is not my favourite flavour, especially in savoury cooking. It’s refreshing to chew on a leaf but I’m yet to fall in love with the herb. Any tarragon tips?

With the whiff of promise breezing in I’ve finally been inspired to tackle two cooking projects I’ve had earmarked for an age. This weekend saw a second batch of savoury fritters, in an ongoing attempt to tweak Annabel Langbein's soda water batter and while listening to Tony Chiodo being interviewed on Eat It on Sunday I put on a pot of quinoa. I’d intended to make one of his salads but instead found some parsley still suitable for consumption and finally made a quinoa tabbouleh.

Double win!

Where’s your kitchen mojo at this spring/autumn?

Sneak preview - recipes later this week.

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Anonymous lisa said...

My mojo was lacking for the past year... after YEARS of singledom I was just so tired of cooking meals for one. Yawn. But I got my mojo back when I started trying to eat much healthier, and cooking became fun again. Am loving it lots at the moment!

10:07 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I reckon my most productive cooking years were in shared houses. While there were 1 or 2 housemates who could burn water, the majority introduced me to new tastes, techniques and recipes. Having to only cook once or twice a week was a bonus, though the washing up in those big houses...*shudder".

12:48 pm  
Blogger Johanna GGG said...

I try and keep blogging partly to keep feeding my mojo but it still wanes and waxes and is affected by the seasons.

Summer makes me want simple food - rice paper rolls and rice salad are making a few appearances so far this spring. Tonight was just a few falafel and a bowl of vegies because E had leftovers

Eating solo is not always preferable but some days it is nice to not having to defend a whim or experiment.

8:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How I crave the days when I could cook for one and not cater to the whims of a fussy family. I'd love a vego curry right now but unfortunately son won't eat hot foods and husband has a fructose intolerance thingy and 90% of the veg I want to eat are in the forbidden list. OH give me onions. Garlic!

The fritters looks lovely. Can't wait for the recipe (think they would suit my family too).

11:32 am  

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