An Alternative Sunday Lunch

This year I’ve truly gone outside of my comfort zone with the food I cook at home and I’m really quite proud of myself. I’ve managed to perfect some meals I never really gave a chance before and experience completely new ways of cooking.

To an extent I honestly thought that it was impossible to cook high quality meals from scratch and that in order to experience the finer foods I would need to eat out and spend a lot of money but, oh how wrong was I.

I came to this assumption because I considered myself to be a humble little home cook, creating what I realise now to be unambitious meals for me and my partner. You know the sort of meals I mean… spag bol, stir fries and boring unidentifiable curries to name a few.

Last November though, whilst staying in the Cotswolds me and partner decided to challenge ourselves by choosing menu items we’d never dared to try before. Since this experience I’ve kept that ball rolling and, in August I began ordering from Gousto.

I’ve never really looked back since.

Never missed my old meals and I never intend to revert back to previous bad habits.

Now, lets talk about the gooooood stuff…

Sunday lunch!!

I always thought that a roast dinner had to be one thing. I thought it had to be chicken or beef, had to come absolutely covered in gravy with packet mix stuffing and frozen yorkshire puddings. You had to have roast potatoes (seasoned with rosemary – I thank my mum for that little tip) and if you were lucky you might get a roast parsnip or two.

I loved the roast dinners I used to cook, slow cooking beef for hours and filling up my flat with the delicious scent of red wine and garlic religiously every Sunday.

BUT, I was stressed. Prepping veg in advance and panicking about timing was enough to make me never want to make another roast ever again.

I seriously have no idea how my mum mastered the art of making sure every item was ready at the same time. It’s a real talent!

Anyway, it’s safe to say my viewpoint has changed and the stress is gone all because of Gousto I might add.

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I’ve realised now that I/everyone I know has been doing Sunday lunch wrong I’m sorry to say.

A good Sunday lunch should appear simple but every ingredient should compliment one another and comfort you.

Exactly my experience with this festive pork recipe.

  • Roast pork belly with crackling
  • Sprout mash
  • Red cabbage
  • Parsnips
  • Plum gravy

How wholesome yet, vibrant.

Packed full of veg with sweet and savory notes to compliment one another and paired perfectly with succulent pork belly. A dish I never thought I’d be able to create in my own kitchen.

If I’ve learnt anything this year it’s that simplicity is everything when cooking.

Recipes shouldn’t be overcomplicated and cooking shouldn’t be a daunting task.

I’ll certainly be cooking this time and time again.

Most of all, I should also add that, I’ve never cooked pork belly at home before and it turned out so well! I didn’t burn my flat down or set my smoke alarm off (my biggest kitchen fear) and I didn’t over or under cook it.

I can’t wait to continue growing my love of food in the NY and sharing the journey with all my lovely followers.

This post is one of two before Christmas, so please stay posted for my next update where I cook another exciting dish using Duck for the first time.

Where’s My Christmas Spirit?

Christmas is most definitely my favourite time of year but, this time around I can’t seem to find my Christmas spirit.

So many of us at this time of year put enormous amounts of pressure on ourselves to live up to a certain expectation and as a result it’s sometimes hard to sit back and enjoy the festivities.

Christmas is probably when I feel the most stressed personally. Money is always at the forefront of my mind and making sure I buy perfect gifts for all of my relatives is my top priority. However, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important and often I forget that during this season in particular I need some real down time to feel calm, something I really need after a busy year of financial worry.

So, whilst admiring my humble sized Christmas tree sat upon my windowsill I suppose I’m wondering about the pressure we all put on ourselves to spend, whether it’s really necessary and whether it’s something we all feel?

I don’t come from a big family with lots of money to spare but, no matter what we’ve always tried to spoil each other with gifts on Christmas day. Seeing the look of surprise on someones face when opening their Christmas present feels priceless at the time however, the overspending, the heartache involved and feeling crippled by debt in the NY is all too real.

I like to think that’s something we all experience. Maybe not every year but probably at some point during our adult lives and, this year it’s my turn.

I haven’t really found a way to resolve the issue and I’m still pretty daunted knowing that as soon as payday hits most of my expendable income will be gone in a matter or hours or days.

I love shopping though, whether I’m buying for myself or for my loved ones. Yet, I think I’m somewhat frugal with my spending nonetheless. So, feeling the pressure to shop until there’s nothing left at Christmas is a little hard for me to feel okay about. On previous years when I was in a more financially secure position with more disposable income than I knew what to do with it was okay but, this year money has been tight  and I know that I’ll still be catching up in 2019.

Maybe in a perfectly rational way I just need to accept that Christmas 2018 isn’t going to be that special. In fact, I’m actually working for the most part anyway.

Maybe I just need to realise that Christmas is just a day? Something shortly forgotten.

So, what now?

In between trying to find my Christmas spirit I’m going to try my hardest to feel calm, spend within my means and stop when things get a little too overwhelming. Something I hope isn’t easier said than done.

Old Flames

Sitting here slightly hungover and drinking diet coke, I’m reminded of my old flames in the form of best friends and just why they mean so much to me.

I’ve always struggled balancing my social calendar especially during the festive season and the task always feels daunting but, recently I met up with two of my closest school friends for dinner at our local Wetherspoons and all my anxieties disappeared.

I’m just so happy that we were finally all available on one cold November evening for one another.

We’ve always had the ability to talk and talk and talk for hours without taking a breath. Voices getting louder with every sip of alcohol.

We drank lots of wine and gin, spoke about our relationships, old school friends, food etc and reminded ourselves of why after over 10 years we still make time to care and love one another.

We’re all now more or less in the same head space, settled down with our partners, looking forward to 2019, saving for a home and wanting to go on lots of exciting adventures. Supporting each other and equally wanting to make more of an effort to keep in touch.

It feels like time is fleeting these days and often we all forget to communicate with each other and the rest of our wider friend group but, personally, I know that as long as my friends are happy and healthy it doesn’t matter whether I see them once a year or once a week.

Nonetheless, when I’m with my best two I feel like I’m fun, carefree and ready for anything. That’s something I haven’t felt for a while and never realised I missed until now.