What a great start to the year! We were burgled.

Wow, it’s 25 days into 2017 (well, 26 as I write this), and we were burgled. I came home from picking my son up from daycare, to find the alarm going off. Now, I’ve set the thing off plenty of times myself, and at first glance everything looked ok. I thought I had accidentally set it off myself. But once I went inside, I realised something was off, which was when I noticed an enormous hole in the front door.

My heart nearly leaped through my chest. I had just cancelled the armed response! In a panic, I called them back, frantic, worrying there was still someone here, and my baby was sleeping in the car! They were right outside, having come when I didn’t answer my phone. The burglars were gone, and so were both our TVs and a DVD player. None of them state-of-the-art, but still ours. And they left behind a gaping hole in the door, and one in my trust levels.

I work from home. I’m here pretty much every day, and most of the day. I work in the mornings, and fetch my son at lunch. We come home, eat, play, go to the park. I always lock up when we go out, but I don’t always set the alarm. I don’t sit here with our security beams on, cloistered inside the house. I let my son play outside, while I am inside (within earshot, and with frequent visits, because silent toddlers are scary). We leave doors open, I rarely lock my car once I’m parked inside. Why bother? I thought.

But today, my trust in my own home, my faith in the security of my space has gone. I have had the doors locked, the panic button next to my workspace, the security beams on all day. What would I have done if we had been home at the time? It appears as though they waited for me to leave, which I can only be grateful for. But why do I keep saying to myself and others “It could have been worse.” Yes, it could have. But why are there people who feel like they can walk into your house and take your things, violate your privacy, and walk out again with no consequences. How crap is our justice system, that someone can crowbar open a panel of your front door, safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to them? 

Today, I feel sad, vulnerable and panicky. I also feel angry and pissed off that we have to live in a prison to protect what’s ours, while the perpetrators will never see the inside of one. Having experienced this once before, I know that this feeling will fade. But I don’t know how I will ever be able to leave my son to play unattended in the garden, like a child should, knowing that someone with a screwdriver and a crowbar can make their way into our home. How do you get back the trust?

Advertisements

Not Recipes and why I like them

I think it was Food52 who started Not Recipes. At least, that’s where I first saw the idea, and I loved it. You see, since I ‘learned’ to cook (mostly trial and error over quite a few years) I’ve been a ‘just wing it’ type of cook. I love cookbooks, I read them from cover to cover. I love looking up recipes, reading food blogs, and watching Masterchef. But I rarely follow a recipe to the T. For some reason, I simply can’t. And related to that is, I suppose, why I stopped food blogging. Do you know how hard it is to write a recipe when it’s completely counter to how you cook?

You see, the way I cook is driven by ‘Not Recipes’. I think of them as ideas for flavours that go together, little techniques and habits that form and inform the way I cook and what I make, and a mental list of successes in the past that I can build on. Occasionally, I’ll see a recipe that takes my fancy, and the first time I make it I’ll try to follow it, but usually end up substituting or changing the recipe somehow. Thereafter, I just wing it, then redo it from memory, until the outcome is how I want it to taste.

I was watching Masterchef Australia a little while ago, and in Nigella week, Nigella said something that so appealed to me, I wrote it down. She said, “you don’t feel like it, or feel like you’ll enjoy it, but the act of necessity, of having to get dinner on the table means you do it, and you enjoy it, and you get it done.” That quote might be a bit off the original, but what she was saying that it is the very act of necessity that means we do it, and in just doing it, we usually come to enjoy it.

I didn’t always love cooking. In my early 20s, when I was still learning, it was a pretty harrowing process which involved lots of packets you add water to and lots of over- and under-cooked food. Boiled chicken breasts and the mince I mistakenly added a ton of cocoa to (I had read about Mexican mole and was woefully under informed) are two of the major food lowlights of my learning days. But over time, the simple act of needing to be fed and then needing to feed other people meant that I got it done and, as I gained more confidence, I began to enjoy it.

So, while I plan to post more recipes here, you can be assured that they will probably remain badly photographed (because unless I can find a photographer/food stylist partner in crime, that ain’t gonna change), and they’ll be Not Recipes. Guidelines )that I hope you’ll have the confidence to try, but wing it where you need to) with lots of suggestions and variations. 

Because I think true enjoyment of cooking comes when your risks and trials are more successful than unsuccessful and you can have confidence in your ability to get a great meal on the table (and enjoy it).