I love Jamie Oliver. He is so passionate about his food, and what he cooks. Watching him makes me just want to go to the grocery store, buy a bunch of ingredients and jump around the kitchen like a wizard making magic happen. At Christmas I watch a video of Jamie Oliver cooking Christmas Dinner; It has become a personal little tradition of mine as it gets me in the warm and fuzzy vibes for Christmas, and makes me feel all nostalgic for my home across the sea. I've even named my two owl salt and pepper shakers Jamie and Oliver ...
... Too far? A couple of Christmas' ago my Mum picked up Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food cookbook for me because who doesn't like comfort food + Jamie Oliver + a bright pink cover? I was so excited about getting this new book, and dreamt of how delicious my kitchen would smell once I started tackling the recipes, but as with all new things I get, this book sat on the shelf for quite some time for fear of me ruining it/staining it/bending the pages/cracking the spine.
Fast forward a year or so later and I finally decided to get my toes wet and tried two of the recipes: The Hummingbird Cake and The Jaffa Cake. I had never baked cakes from scratch before so these were a first, and they turned out relatively well for my first attempts. The Hummingbird Cake was baked for my Mum's birthday and turned out perfectly. We decorated it with chocolate eggs and real flowers and it was just magical. The Jaffa Cake was baked for my sisters birthday and was almost perfect - except for the slight burnt taste that kept coming through as you ate it (baking this cake involves a lot of thin layers of cake, chocolate and marmalade to be stacked and baked. I think I must have misread the temperature on the oven and somehow burnt almost every layer of cake). The cakes felt like enough of an adventure for me for the next little while so back on the shelf the book went ...until yesterday.
Another year and a bit has passed, and I decided it was time to take a look at the book again and make a real effort to cook some of the delicious looking food that filled its pages but as I flicked through the book my heart sunk a little; Since the last time I picked the book up I have stopped eating meat and now only eat fish once in a while; As I was browsing the recipes I noticed that so many of them involved meat as an integral part of the recipe and it dawned on me that had I not left the book on the shelf for 'another day' I would have been able to try a lot of these recipes.
Sometimes in the oddest of places we learn some of our best lessons. This served as such a great reminder to not always wait for 'tomorrow' or 'another day' or 'sometime soon'. Every day is a special day and we should take advantage of the here and now, today. Let's not save things for special occasions, or special events. Let's not keep things on shelves out of reach for fear of ruining them. Let's instead celebrate the ordinary, let's celebrate today, and let's keep things on shelves where we can quickly and easily reach them to be used and loved and yes maybe even a little ruined.
I still plan to tackle as many of the recipes in this book as I possibly can, and have thought of work arounds for some of the recipes that involve meat. Unfortunately there are some recipes that simply won't work, but c'est la vie.
Here's to good lessons, in odd places, and even better food.