This cookbook chronicles the skill-set I have learned in the kitchen as a financially squeezed, time-pressured mum. Batch cooking has opened up a whole new world for me; a world without kitchen cuffs, wailing children, superfood sonatas or pans to scrub.
Care to join me there?
As an under-caffeinated, financially cramped, time pinched mum, my kitchen management needed re-evaluation. Sometimes I got it right. But most evenings I felt like a Winegum in a combine harvester. Being short on time, money and patience, I had a problem.
I wanted to cook badass nourishing meals but I didn’t want to cook every single night. I wanted to reduce the honking stress at 6pm in our home. I wanted to spend less time in the grocery store looking for arcane ingredients. And I wanted to spend more time at home, high-fiving my genius. I didn’t need another freaking meditation app. What I needed was to get through the month without maxing my Visa or adrenal glands.
So these days, my freezer plays an Oscar-worthy role.
I’m all about finding sweets to love, that will love my body back. I enter a state of limerence milling into these pinwheels. How can something so healthy taste unstintingly sinful?
Bringing the right combination of flavours together is nothing short of bewitching. When the list of ingredients is short – like this one – and requires absolutely no cooking, a tingly infatuation takes control of my motherboard. I morph into a culinary Steve Irwin, telling everyone what’s happening in my wild kitchen life.
These are basically pimped up pinwheels, inspired by Jessica’s genius from One Part Plant. I love her vibe. These guys are cleverly stored in the freezer, which is almost the same as having treats-on-tap. This is real fast food brothers and sisters, with a nutritional slam dunk.
3 tablespoons sweet white miso 2 cups medjools dates, stones removed 3 tablespoons coconut flour or ground chia seed 3 tablespoons cashew butter Soft, desiccated coconut to roll
Using a food processor, blitz the Medjools, miso, coconut flour or milled chia, and cashew butter until a rough doughball forms. Splendid. Now smooth it onto parchment paper using a silicone spatula (see photo above). Depending on how squishy my medjools are, this can be straight forward, or damned messy. Be patient. You’re looking for 5mm thick.
Neaten the edges, ensuring a similar depth across the dough. Go for a rectangle rather than square. Shake some desiccated coconut over, and press. Freeze on a flat breadboard for 1 hour.
Take it out of the freezer and roll like a Swiss sponge (see below). Use the parchment paper to help you, as you would do with sushi. The first bit is the trickiest, as you tuck the ‘tongue’ under to facilitate rolling. I use one hand to pull the parchment away from the dough and the other hand to push and roll the dough. Work with what you have sister. Keep rolling into a log until you’ve reached the end and then smooth over the seam with damp fingers. Return to the freezer wrapped in parchment, where it will live until your guests arrive.
Nobody wants to live forever; especially if you’re in pain or if your husband has halitosis.
Could we possibly enjoy both health and longevity as scientists continue to make huge advances in our understanding of human biology? I think even Disney would be doubtful.
If science cracks eternity, frankly we’ll still have unquantifiable, self-destructive tendencies like jaywalking or social boxing. Few of us will see our ninth decade. And those of us who do, will be burdened with arthritic shopping rounds, or worse still, bad conversation.
The most dramatic changes in our cells begin at the age of 38, says Dr Rose Anne Kenny. Foly huck! Kenny is professor of clinical geriatric medicine at Trinity College, so she has seen a thing of two. Next year when I hit 40, we’ll know if kale is all that super.
Making your own food with unprocessed, fresh ingredients is the ultimate ammo against aging. We can’t fight off the aging process, but we can certainly engage in battle. Every cookery class I give around the country, I’m always asked for my Number One kitchen tip. Here it is: eat a little salad before your supper. Not during. Not after. Just before. This will ensure you mainline a suite of antioxidants and essential minerals into your system before you fill up on other stuff. If you do this everyday, you will cash-in the benefits of 365 bowls of goodness each year to help your skin glow and your limbs ignite. Here’s one to get you started. Kale-free.
Makes 1 large jar
500g Napa cabbage or sweetheart, sliced
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
1 carrot, peeled
2 spring onions, trimmed
Bit of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1-2 teaspoons Korean chilli flakes or 3 fresh red chillies
Massage the salt into the cabbage leaves until nicely softened. Cover with water, weigh it down with something heavy and leave for 1 hour.
Rinse under cold running water, and leave to drain on a clean tea towel.
Using a sharp potato peeler, slice thin long ribbons of carrot into a large bowl.
Halve the trimmed spring onions, and add to the bowl.
Now blitz the ginger, garlic, fish sauce and chilli with a little filtered water to form a paste. Add to the bowl of carrot and onion strips.
Now you can squeeze any excess water from your cabbage leaves before adding to the bowl of ingredients. Coat everything really well and transfer to a half-litre glass jar, pressing down firmly so the brine rises to cover the veg. Add a weight such as a clean stone or tiny bowl, and seal the jar at room temperature for 5 days (2 days in summer). Tah-dahhh! I like to stand mine in a bowl to catch any adventurous brine going AWAL. Transfer to your fridge and enjoy within the month.
Let me see your creations on Instagram @SusanJaneKitchen . Just tag me in the post, and I’ll high five you from here !