I have quite the mix of cooking influences: I was born and raised in England, so I enjoy traditional british dishes and I especially enjoy baking. But I also like to create tasty, healthy meals (I try to eat low fat, low sugar, high fibre, high protein, organic and local - but that doesn't stop me cooking the naughty stuff for my friends and family). I have had a lot of German, Czech, French and Spanish recipes handed to me over the years also. I especially love cooking for my boyfriend; I find it very fulfilling when he cleans his plate. I work 6 days a week, so I usually save the flashier recipes for our Sundays together. You'll see a lot of "quick" and "easy" recipes in my repertoire because they come in handy for last minute work day dinners, but I am happy to spend all day on more complicated dishes, when I can.
My favorite things to cook
I love, love, love Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving food! I am a Naturalised American Citizen and Thanksgiving has become my favourite holiday by far. I always look forward to holding hands and giving thanks with the people I care about. I have completely adopted the traditional american dishes. I love putting my own twist on things though, and I'm a big believer in 'cooking from scratch.' I also love making Christmas cookies as gifts.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother always taught me to be generous with the salt in my chocolate cookies. She showed me the importance of contrasting textures and flavours. I love baking sweet treats, but always with a twist! Like the candied ginger in the graham cracker crust of my pumpkin pie. Or the ground hazelnut and chunky walnut topping on my sweet potato casserole. Or the ground almonds in the pastry shell dough for my mince pies. I love this site for finding a basic recipe and then making it your own.
My cooking triumphs
One Thanksgiving we had a mix of Czech, German, American and English guests. I had moved into a small town house, and my parents moved into the unit across the street (both kitchens were on the second level and equipped with very small ovens). Sadly my mother couldn't make the flight out, and there were plenty of discerning visitors to please. So, I spent the entire day running back and forth between the two kitchens and managed to produce an astounding amount of dishes, including; roast turkey, roast duck, turkey gravy, chicken liver stuffing, sage and onion stuffing (for my Dad, who wouldn't eat the chicken liver), vinegar sauce for the duck, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, roasted veggies (brussell sprouts, carrots, parsnips), yorkshire puddings (popovers to the americans), corn bread, knedliky (potato dumplings for the duck), red cabbage (also for the duck), cranberries (fresh, organic ones), chocolate pecan pie and pumpkin pie.
My cooking tragedies
The very first time I went fishing with my new boyfriend, I was determined to impress. I took him to my best spot for inlet fishing and sure enough we had good luck. After boasting my fish cleaning and filleting abilities, I took the fish home to prepare and cook, and promised him a meal out of it. We only caught small mangrove snappers, which produced tiny fillets, so I chose to make a soup (bisque actually). I'd never made a real bisque before and I was pleased with the end result. I served it with his favourite beverage and plenty of warm bread for dipping. The next morning I was struck with the most excruciating abdominal cramps and a fever welled up inside of me... accompanied by my growing sense of dread, as the thought invaded my mind, "oh no, I've poisoned us!" Needless to say, I was absolutely mortified and had to take the entire day off of work. I am very glad to still be cooking for him, but I must admit, I haven't made a fish dish since!