I was in the UK for four months earlier this year for work. There’s an ad on television there for Just Eat, which is a website that centralises take out food – you visit the one site and you can order food there from any of the restaurants that are a part of the scheme. Their slogan is “Don’t cook, just eat. Leave cooking to the professionals,” and in their ads, stereotypical ‘chefs’ from an assortment of restaurants (Italian, Japanese, Burger Joint, etc.) come to the houses of people who are cooking to stop them, usually with threat of physical violence.
These ads made me angry. The very last thing society needs, in this age of unhealthy, overweight people, is a campaign encouraging people to eat more take out food, whether it’s designed to be humorous or not. It rankled with me, in particular, since I was renting a room in someone else’s house and had only limited access to a kitchen. I was forced to eat out for a majority of meals in the week, and it started to make me feel gross.
So. Now that I’m back in my own home, with my own kitchen, I am revelling in being able to cook for myself.
The tomatoes I bought earlier were for my favourite salad. It began life as one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes, the Asian-Inspired Turkey Salad. I came across it while investigating what to do with Christmas leftovers. Most of the time, though, I’ll use the dark meat from a roast chicken to make it, and it’s just as nice.
I’m having issues with lettuce these days (I’ll spare you the details, since I’m trying to encourage you to eat fresh food), so I make a simple salad with tomatoes, green pepper and cucumber. The tomatoes make a particularly nice combination with the pomegranate, I was surprised to discover.
And the dressing in the recipe is one of my all-time favourites. The first time I made it, the list of ingredients seemed so random I couldn’t even guess what the result would taste like. But it achieves a combination of salty and sweet that just makes my mouth water. It can be a little finicky to make, but it’s totally worth the time.