> Let's Talk - Cooking! - Its All Zara

Let's Talk - Cooking!

July 15, 2017

Happy Saturday readers, its time for another of my Let's Talk segments and this time we are discussing Cooking! I have another 3 fabulous guest writers joining me in this weeks post;

Jess - @QueenSaphireUK on Twitter and her blog can be found at: https://queensapphirelifestyle.wordpress.com/
Sarah - @Sarahprimrosex on Twitter and her blog can be found at: http://www.sarahprimrose.com/
Mollie - @Molliemstevens on Twitter and her blog can be found at: http://www.molliemariestevens.co.uk/

 Jess's thoughts: "Being a Latina already just pushes me towards loving to cook. As a little girl, I would always watch my mum and nan cook up awesome meals that were super colourful and full of flavour. They would always cook big meals; my favourite was always Bacalhau à Brás which is a traditional Portuguese dish. Growing up with amazing cooking made me want to learn how to cook too. I love how cooking some foods can be so simple and easy to do and they can still turn out amazingly. I love how you don’t have to go to a restaurant to eat great food, you can cook it all at home.

 Now that I have my own home, all you have to do is walk into my kitchen and you’ll see it’s something that has carried on to me. My cupboards are full of spices and products that I use to marinate all meat with.

Even though I have faced a few challenges with cooking recently. You see, the thing about cooking good, colourful foods full of spices and flavours is that you can very easily get carried away and the dishes aren’t always ‘’healthy’’. I’m overweight so one of my biggest goals this year is to lose all the extra weight I’m carrying and go down to a healthy size. This isn’t always easy when all you want to cook is a juicy roast chicken with oven baked square sweet potatoes along with a nice tomato and onion sauce.

The thing about healthy eating is that when you first start off, you have this idea you’re going to be a healthy cooking guru and then two weeks in, you’ve already run out of ideas and are holding on to your dear patience to create a nice menu for the week.

So, I’ve decided to go on an adventure to find different ways to cook things in a healthy way. This involves lots of vegetables and meats that contain the least fat I can possibly find instore and NO sauces. My little adventure is still in the early stages and I still have a lot of experimenting to do but I have a feeling it is going to go well and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

I’m basically learning to cook in a whole different way and I thought this would cause me to lose my love for cooking. However, trying new things and new ways of cooking and prepping different ingredients has made me enjoy it so much more. It has made me want to share with the world the dishes I have created along the way so far. 

Sarah's thoughts: "Ever since I was little, I always had a keen interest in helping in the kitchen or asking my mum and dad if I could cook dinner (always a no sadly!). I think once I convinced them to let me try and cook American Bean Pie – with their guidance of course – and I loved every second of it, even the washing up! Over the last few years, I’ve been experiencing more with different cuisines, whether it’s from a cook book or finding it while I’m scrolling through Pinterest.

I need to be very conscious of what I eat as I have coeliac disease, which means I can’t eat anything with gluten as it makes me quite unwell and has long term effects on my health. And since literally everything has gluten in it (here’s looking at you carbs!), cooking from scratch gives me full control. I’ve found that over the years, free from ranges are starting to get a lot better so I’m not as restricted as I was with what I can cook or eat, even though I think a lot of the free from ranges are aimed at people who have a sweet tooth (definitely not me). I’m also quite conscious of what sugars, saturated fats and salt I consume as a lot of processed foods are full of it – but of course there’s nothing wrong with the odd treat now and again!

My speciality is cooking Chinese meals from scratch. My boyfriend and I wanted to do this for a healthier takeaway alternative that I could also have, as I have tried different Chinese takeaways before and ended up being ill after a mouthful. Our first meal took us hours to do but we can now get a three course Chinese cooked and on the table in about an hour. My favourite dishes to cook would probably be orange chicken or sweet and sour chicken – I love getting them to a certain bitterness were your mouth starts water as soon as the sauce touches your tongue. I’m also quite good at making my own vegetable spring rolls and some other Chinese starters, but I think I need to more practice on other things such as dim sum. The only thing I’m not able to cook, and miss the most, is making a chow mein as I can’t have the egg noodles required to make it (boo :( ) and using rice noodles just isn’t the same!"

Mollie's thoughts: "For me - cooking is a form of escape. I find it becomes somewhat of a ritual, from searching for inspiration and sourcing the ingredients, to actually creating it and plating it up. When I moved into my home, the first thing I unpacked into my kitchen was my myriad of cookery books. To me, there's nothing quite as comforting as curling up on the sofa with a heavy recipe book on my lap, page markers and post it notes at the ready. I really find the process of cooking as a whole really helps to ease my anxiety and release the stress of the day. I think it's wonderful to take an hour to myself, focus and really let the task consume all of my attention and to create an end result I'm proud of, so even if making a home cooked meal is the only thing I've achieved that day it's still a little something to feel good about.

The thing that excites me the most about cooking (and food in general) is the overall experience of it. I spend a LOT of time scrolling Pinterest, reading food blogs and of course sifting through my beloved recipe books to discover new ideas and combinations to experiment with. Although I adore reading other peoples recipes, I honestly can't remember the last time I followed a recipe even slightly, never mind at all. My oven is practically a relic, I bought it second hand for £15 and it doesn't have any temperatures on the dials, not to mention it's lack of fan assistance, and that's one of the reasons why I like to completely disregard any sort of guidance, as well as to take full hold of creativity in the kitchen.

The best part, by a long way, is cooking food that makes people happy. I'm sure I'm not the only person here who's completely food centric, so I'm not ashamed to say a lot of my day is spent day dreaming about what dish I want to try out next. When I cook my family and friends their favourite meals, seeing their happy faces and knowing I created something just for them honestly fills me with delight. In my opinion, cooking is synonymous with happiness. I'm easily at my most relaxed and content when in my kitchen, and I'm a firm believer that a great meal shared with the people you hold dearest really is one of the best vessels for injecting joy into your lives."

My thought's: "I love cooking, I've grown up with a mother and two grandmothers who were amazing in the kitchen and its natural I picked it up at some point. Having a split cultural upbringing of English and Italian I learned to cook both types of food very early and to this day I can make a fantastic risotto or a brilliant shepherds pie. I took cooking as a GCSE at school but I hated it, so many rules and coursework to do it took all the fun out of creating food and I didn't do very well. I bet my cookery teacher would be amazed if she saw the things I can make nowadays (although she was always grumpy to me so I wouldn't share food with her).

Cooking for me is also a way to track my calories and my diet which helps me with my weightloss and fitness, it also helps me stick to my vegan diet quite easily because I can see what's in my food. When I'm in the kitchen cooking my stress and worries seem to vanish as I'm more focused on making sure I don't burn, scold or stab myself with various pieces of equipment. I love making food for others and it's always great when people enjoy what I rustle up for them, I would do it as a job again but as soon as you add pressure or stress to it I don't enjoy it! So, who's up for home made pizza at my house?

To see some of the things I've made and posted to my blog you can look HERE (I plan to add more to this very soon) - enjoy!


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  1. Absolutely loved this post. Love what the other girlies said too :)