Originally I wanted to call this blog ‘Something from Nothing’ after a colleague’s flattering phrase for describing my cooking style. We worked at a care home with a very low food budget and, also, we never knew what the other cooks would use during their shifts, so we often literally ended up with nothing. A similar situation I faced at home where university debt and crap pay left me with limited food choice (which at its ultimate low included market leftovers and the contents of supermarket or restaurant bins). But somehow I was never without good food, maybe also because I could draw on a varied spice rack.
Nowadays, I’ve moved a bit more ‘upmarket’ – which means I can enter the supermarkets mostly through the front door to buy basics and scavenge in their ‘reduced to clear’ pile. I also have access to affordable fresh fruit and veg at nearby outdoor markets and Indian, Chinese and Turkish wholesale places. And I can buy the occasional treat (liquorice & supermalt – yum)! Still, I maintain the same cooking style – making food with whatever I can get my hands on and try to make it nicer than the food that most higher income earners buy in supermarkets or delis! So it’s really ‘something from anything’ rather than ‘something from nothing’.
The blog will also feature food I cooked at different (volunteer) work places, so the recipes will not always be cheap and basic. But I thought I’d include a mixture of things for inspiration! Photos are usually taken with a phone camera, as I don’t have the flashy equipment, so hopefully they are not too off-putting. I also don’t want to contribute to the growing food fetishism that has taken hold of the blogosphere.
This blog is dedicated to the people who have taught me to improvise, to everybody who has to use what they find or to those who are ‘growing their own’ to maintain their (relative) independence.
PS A brief warning: I hardly ever use measured amounts of ingredients (I don’t even have a proper scale). I will try to give estimates wherever possible.