Every Sunday, I spend several hours cooking. Some weeks I spend two to three hours and other weeks it is more like five or six hours, depending on the number of meals I am making in advance and their complexity. I try to have all the meals for the working week cooked and also to prepare all our lunches for the week in advance.
There are many reasons behind this but the main one is to save time and money. It is often between 6pm and 6:30pm before we get home on a weekday (often I am even later than this) and the girls are tired. They want to be fed immediately, bathed and put to bed otherwise tempers start to fray (and we get tantrums). There is only really time to do a bit of reheating, rather than cooking from scratch.
Additionally, buying ready made stuff is neither satisfying to the palate nor to the wallet. Despite our jobs, money is still tight (costs of living in London, childcare for two children 5 days a week balanced with being low down on our respective pay scales) and we still scrimp and save at every opportunity. Besides, I come from a family where no matter how busy my parents were, there was a proper meal for the entire family to sit down to in the evening. A very Chinese tradition.
Thus the need for the cooking marathon. Last week, I hadn’t had the time to make our lunches and spent about £25 on some rather limp and bland sandwiches. Ouch!
Today, I prepared a fantastic beer braised beef casserole, some herb and chilli marinated lamb cutlets (which were wolfed down by the whole family – not a scrap left) and a beef and vegetable pasta in a tomato and mascarpone sauce. At some point this week, I still have to roast the five spice pork shoulder (a firm family favourite – it has the most amazing crackling if you have good quality meat and get the temperatures right) and steam my organic chicken (another family favourite – steamed white chicken with a spring onion garnish). I’ll probably do that on Tuesday. Thus most of my weekend seems to fly by without much opportunity for real rest; however, it’s always good to know that we’ll eat well during the week without putting in too much more effort.
Today, Lauren drew me a picture. She was really proud of it and I was thrilled to receive it.
It’s of the house she’d like to live in. She explained to me that it was a big house, with enough bedrooms for all of us to have one each (I guess that it’s a four bedroom house then!) and a playroom in the centre (the round window) for the girls. I asked her what was happening outside; she explained that on the left was a playground next to the house. In the playground was (from left to right) Jocey, Lauren and Daddy. On the right was Mummy’s garden.
“Where’s Mummy then?” I asked, slightly puzzled. She pointed at the pink window on the ground floor. “Mummy, you’re in the kitchen cooking,” she replied proudly.