I saw the film Julie & Julia* and thought to myself: ‘What a lovely idea… I could do that too!’  But then I looked at my cookbook collection and all ambitions came to a grinding halt – which cookbook to choose? I could devour any one of Tessa Kiros’ cookbooks (they’re delicious just to look at!), or I could try my hand at one of my Portuguese cookbooks, or perhaps a British cookbook… but then again, there’s also my medieval cookbooks… I have a little fixation with muffins and cupcakes – so I could saunter through one of those cookbooks… and of course there’s Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home, which would fall in nicely with my grand ambition to start a vegetable patch… Oh, how to choose, how to choose?!

Then I realised that I didn’t have to choose… it’s not about what I’m cooking so much as the experience of cooking.  For too long I’ve wanted to capture that gorgeous sense of nurturing through the food I make… that earthy warmth that comes from enjoying a hearty, robust home-cooked meal (especially since we’re now in winter – a perfect time for comfort food and comfort cooking)… that joy of sharing, of experimenting, of connecting… and of course, that sense of childlike surprise when the dish I’ve prepared actually tastes good!

I’ve heard it said: ‘the universe applauds action, not thought’ – clearly I just need to start somewhere, anywhere!   Perhaps I should try making my mother’s famous orange cake (no one makes it quite like she does…), or perhaps I could make some crunchies (haven’t made those in ages!)… or… um… I could try that delicious-sounding herb and lemon roast chicken…

Do you see my problem?  I get so carried away with the possible delights of cooking, that I don’t actually get down to doing the cooking… Oh, to be that domestic goddess Nigella Lawson writes of, Tita of Like Water for Chocolate, Babette of Babette’s Feast, or Vianne of Chocolat!

Oh fiddle sticks! I must just choose one recipe and cook it – just one.  How does beef and mushroom stroganoff sound?


* A film about Julia Child’s cooking profession, which is intertwined with Julie Powell’s challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year and to blog about it.