Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a fantastic festive period.
What did you all get up to for New Year? For the first time this year we decided not to go out and party. Instead we had our first New Years together in the flat. I cooked a lovely three course meal consisting of Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Salad to start, Wild Mushroom and Chestnut Stroganoff with steam veg and wild rice for our main and then Vanilla Mousse with Champagne Red Berries and Pistachios to finish.
It was lovely seeing in the New Year together in a relaxed, unfussy way. Keeping things simple is definitely going to be one of my mantras for this year.
In the past I’ve tried avoiding making resolutions as I hate the feeling of not reaching my goals, but I’ve decided that is such a defeatist attitude so I’ve spent a lot of time trying to come up with sensible, realistic and achievable goals for this year that will leave me feeling good!
Unsurprisingly many of them involved food –
1. Commit to clean eating
For me, clean eating is avoiding as many processed foods as possible. Anything unnatural or overly refined (like some sugars and flours) are a no-no. I made a good start on this in the run up to Christmas and it left me feeling fantastic. Unfortunately Christmas came a long and I fell down the slippery slope of buffets and boxes of chocolates.
My first food resolution leads in to the second.
2. Continue meal planning
When Jon and I moved in together I insisted on starting to meal plan. I’d planned all of my meals religiously at university, and I’d managed to get my parents to try too when I moved back home so it seemed sensible to continue with Jon, after I’d seen so many of the benefits. As with many things over the last few months we started off well but as we got closer and closer to Christmas and we both became busier at work meal planning went out the window. With nearly two months until I start back at work I’m hoping this is one habit that will be easy to create and will make clean eating that little bit easier.
3. Shop locally
We are extremely lucky that in Southgate (and Cockfosters) there are family run restaurants and deli’s which means when we nip to the shops or out for dinner it’s incredibly easy to support our local community. Sourcing local fruit and veg however has not been quite as easy. There are a number of farm shops nearby but they’ve been mainly selling eggs, honey and milk over the winter months. Fortunately things are on the up and I saw on Twitter recently that a farmer’s market is coming to Southgate!
The market (called Kings Market) will open on 2nd February 2014 and will be in the heart of Southgate, behind the station every Sunday of week! You can find out more on the Kings Market website.
Hopefully this will help us shift our dependency on the Asda just up the road from us. It is incredibly convenient but there are more important things in life than convenience!
4. Learn new skills
I like to think of myself as quite an accomplished home cook. I know enough basic skills to whip up delicious home-cooked week day meals but when I’m faced with entertaining large groups of people, or cooking more skilled dishes I shy away.
My cookery skills are almost entirely self-taught and I think I’ve almost reach the limit of what I can do on my own. With this in mind I’m hoping to focus on learning new skills in the kitchen this New Year and I hope to do this by learning from others – perhaps through an online course or workshops both locally and in the city.
I think it’s important to keep on learning throughout your life – otherwise it can get incredibly boring!
So these are my food resolutions for 2014.
I’m still thinking about my more personal resolutions. 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for me as I start the final stages of practical legal training. At the end of the two year training contract I will be a newly qualified solicitor! It’s going to be tough but it just makes me even more determined and focussed.
Have you set yourselves any goals this year – both for the kitchen and outside?