A few months ago I was sick of cooking. I figured I had cooked thousands and thousands of meals over my life, not all wonderfully creative or restaurant standard, but the type that could keep a family fed and stop them whingeing. So I told Rod that I was sick of cooking and that I thought it was time for him to step up to the plate (so to speak) and contribute a bit. He used to cook quite a bit in years gone by and can make a mean beef strogonaff, nachos, stew etc and even brandied strawberries, but had neglected to venture into the kitchen other than to raid the fridge or make toast for many moons.
“I think it would be nice if you cooked once a week” I whined, and to give him his due he has been doing so dutifully ever since even when I have forgotten and been about to make dinner. Every Thursday night without fail (unless he is tired or has to do something else in which case he buys takeaway) he cooks a meal. One of my favourites is his pesto chicken which is delicious and last night he made a lovely beef, bacon and kidney casserole with baked potato, steamed carrots and cauliflower.
I have to say I find the sound of pots and pans clattering and the smell of food cooking much more of a turn-on than flowers or chocolate these days. It requires some effort, and it is always lovely to have someone else cook for you. How lucky Jamie Oliver‘s wife must be to have it every night (when he’s not off somewhere doing a cooking program or writing a book). No wonder male chefs are so popular. I don’t even mind the mess or occasionally having to do the washing-up afterwards if I can have a lovely home-cooked meal. You can keep your buffed male models and film stars. Give me a man who is not afraid to stuff a chicken, fillet a fish or chop up liver any day!
Here’s Rod’s latest offering and a picture of my dinner last night complete with a savaged baked potato.
BEEF, BACON & KIDNEY CASSEROLE
400-500g lean beef, cut into cubes or strips
3-4 lamb kidneys, cut into small cubes. Remove and discard all fat
2-3 lean bacon rashers, cut into strips or squares
1 large onion, chopped
50-100mls IGA pasta sauce
1 teaspoon mixed herbs (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, ‘savoury’, sage)
1 heaped tablespoon gravy mix (e.g. Gravox)
Olive oil (just sufficient to coat bottom of pressure cooker)
Heat pressure cooker with olive oil.
Brown onion pieces and bacon at high heat.
Add kidney, mixed herbs and beef. Stir well and allow to brown as desired.
Add 100-150 ml water and bring to boil. Add pasta sauce.
Place lid on pressure cooker, and cook for 20 minutes at high pressure …
(reduce heat so that there is only a small amount of steam escaping, or water may boil dry – not good)
After 20 minutes, allow pressure cooker to stand until pressure is gone (don’t vent cooker)
Remove pressure cooker lid, bring liquid to a gentle boil, and add gravy mix (mix to a smooth paste first to avoid lumps)
Stir continuously until gravy thickens. If too thin, add some more gravy mix until desired consistency is achieved. If too thick, add water slowly, stirring continuously.
Serve as pie filling, or simply on a plate with steamed veggies and an oven-roasted potato (or garlic mash).
Serves 3 people – adjust quantities to suit more or fewer hungry diners.