Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Prepared easy meals

Given R is a bit older than me, there is a chance that one day he might not be around and I might have to cook for myself. I ask questions about what he is cooking. Mostly it all starts with frying onions in a pan. I do actually know how to cook a lamb chop and a steak, and some vegetables. But it is his lasagne and various other pasta dishes, his stir fries, his tuna mornay, and his sweet Indian curry that I would struggle with, never mind presentation of a meal. I am hopeless at that.

I am sure River, who lives alone, has the best of intentions, but things fail for her. (I was supposed to link there to something River wrote, but I have now forgotten what is was. It was a long time ago)

What to do when you are getting on a bit and want nice food? Meals on wheels are not so bad. I am a resident of the expensive to live in City of Port Phillip, and I think our meals on wheels are quite good.

I recently heard of a trial programme with local restaurants joining in with meals on wheels. Instead of having your meal delivered, you can go out to a restaurant and have a meal for the price of a meals on wheels, which I think is about $6. How good is that!

But I am bit surprised as I assumed Meals on Wheels was for people that were pretty well incapable of cooking for themselves and perhaps house bound.

The place where we often have Saturday morning breakfast, in Pran Central, Prahran, seems to do take away evening meals for locals, who may live in nearby high rise housing commission flats. The same cafe owners have been there for twenty years or more. As regular customers, they treat us very well. I have also seen them treat very disadvantaged well, with some extra food put in with what the little the person could afford to buy. I think it is a quite profitable business, but the owners certainly put back.

Mother is very reluctant to cook for herself now. She will occasionally, but too often it is a chicken burger from that Scottish restaurant, or something from Subway or soup from a tin. Hardly surprising she has lost a lot of weight since Step Father died. She may start getting meals on wheels soon. We have planted the seed in her mind, but it may take some time to generate.

Lordy, I wrote this so long ago. Mother is still making her own meals, in a way.

31 comments:

  1. I suspect, like my late mother, I'll end up in a nursing home being fed multi coloured mashed meals.

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    1. And hopefully not knowing the difference Victor.

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  2. Michael10:41 am

    Sandwiches are always the best way to start "cooking" before venturing into the curry unknown...

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    1. Michael, I can make a sandwich, but R makes a sandwich look very appealing.

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  3. Anonymous12:01 pm

    Lean Cuisine or Weight Watchers frozen meals are ok if you don't want to cook. I have them when doing shifts at work.

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    1. Anon, Mother has tried them but they aren't particularly cheap and she thought they had a lot of salt in them.

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  4. Meals on Wheels here is not so good. Rather greasy. That is such a fantastic idea to let people eat out with Meals on Wheels money, but I doubt it would ever happen here.

    I've learned to make simple things that I like -- pinto beans with cheese, onion and garlic, baked potatoes with cream corn (you don't need butter), Amy's meals (kind of like Lean Cuisine but organic), and of course simple salads with arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, kidney beans, and avocado. Garlic and purple onion are my staples.

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    1. Rubye, as far as I know, it was a trial and not continued with.

      Australians don't really eat creamed corn. I don't really like corn. I will have to google arugula. Ah, rocket. I like salads but I would add fetta and olives.

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    2. I like creamed corn on toast for breakfast sometimes, with a bit of pepper but no salt. Bacon on the side if there is any in the fridge, rarely though, I don't often buy bacon.

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  5. If you don't know how to cook or don't have the energy for cooking, stick to easy dishes. Bagels, cheeses, hard boiled eggs (boiling water does not count as cooking), avocado, tomatoes, boiled potato, sliced smoked salmon, sliced cold meat etc etc. Appetising, nourishing and no pans to scrub.

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    1. Hels, if I was on my own, that is very much what I would do, without the bagel though. I just don't get them.

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  6. Colin4:55 pm

    Andrew!
    You learn to cook like I did when I went to Papua New Guinea in 1963, it was either that or starve! Get a basic cook book, I was given one by three of the female teachers for a birthday present with a note in it -"To Colin, from "You know Who" and "You know why"???
    It is the Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union of Victoria cook book (1962).
    I think they got sick of my evening visits at meal time - ha ha!
    And you will save, as the word "alcohol" is not mentioned and certainly not used.
    I still have it - excellent batter recipe.
    Of course, in TPNG, everyone had a domestic - "haus boi or haus meri", but you had to show them what you wanted and how to cook it.

    Yep start as Hels has pointed out - boiled eggs, not as simple as it sounds - do you want, soft, medium or hard boiled? Then there is the removal of the shell for the hard boiled ones, that takes practice. Must not break the white part, that looks messy when displayed with a salad. Start practising under the instructions of your mate, "R".

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    1. Colin, among our innumerable cook books, is my grandmother's copy of the PWMU cook book. I have used it off and on. The recipes are simple and the food wholesome. But fancy making a christmas cake without brandy! Or a wine trifle without a good slug of port?

      We all find a way to boil eggs that suit us. Cold eggs in cold water, bring to the boil and switch off and while you are waiting, pour another glass of wine. When the wine is finished, the eggs will be ready.

      I have no intention of learning about cooking. For me, that is for someone else to do and if I have to move to PNG and pay a haus boi, so be it. I am sure you can get one with benefits.

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  7. There's always the CWA cookbook, the Woman's Weekly, Kylie Kong and Jamie Oliver. Not to mention Stephanie Alexander who explains everything. My cooking usually starts with onions and a bit of garlic then work out the sauces and herbs as I go... with a little bit of this and that and mashed potato on the side on the grounds the Irish survived on little else for eons. Heston Blumenthal's slow cooked chicken ( he gave the recipe on one of those ABC radio music programs) is to die for.
    Christine

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    1. Christine, CWA cook book, tick. Woman's Weekly, tick. Delia Smith, tick. Ken Hom, tick. Stephanie, tick. You cook as R does. It is always onions and garlic and often enough, chilli. R made a slow cooked roasted leg of lamb recently. It was delicious. While I consider it is not worth roasting a chicken, because the supermarket does it so well, this slow cooked method might be worth investigating.

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    2. Learn to butterfly a chicken, it seems to cook faster. And because it is flat you can marinate a whole chicken easily. Supermarket roasted chickens are better than they used to be, years ago they were always too dry.

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    3. Is that how they do chicken for Chicken Maryland?

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    4. No, Chicken Maryland is thigh&drumstick portions of chicken.
      Butterflied chicken is a whole chicken cut open along the entire backbone and opened out to lay flat.
      Then put the whole thing into a large zip-lock bag along with your favourite marinade for a few hours before baking it in the oven.
      OR...just put the flattened chicken in the roasting pan, brush with oil and sprinkle with herbs and roast.

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    5. Got it now. Thanks.

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  8. I'm with Michael. Sandwiches are the start to everything good and a lot of fancy chefs even admit that a simple sandwich at the end of a huge day/night of cooking Michelen star meals is what they want.

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    1. Kath, it is hard to buy a normal sandwich now when out, but the take away at South Yarra Station has a nice ham and salad one for about $3. Almost worth travelling for.

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  9. If you manage to get R to write down his Sweet Indian Curry recipe, please share it with us.
    Soups are an easy excellent meal also and there is only one pot to wash. Sandwiches, such as others have suggested, can be a meal in themselves, depending on what you put in them. Vegemite sandwich? snack food only. Ham, cheese and salad sandwich; that's a meal. You have carbs from the bread, protein from the ham and cheese, greens (roughage)from the salad. Vary the protein by using hard boiled egg, cold roast beef, (buy it pre-sliced from the deli)or tuna, salmon; you get the idea. Don't forget toasted sandwiches for a nice change. But don't fall into the trap of only sandwiches. There are many other options. I'm sure you'll be fine.

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  10. River, soup is ok. I can do the rest. I suppose I am spoilt because R is such a good cook. I just asked R, add to a normal curry, a sweet red jam and sultanas. Our curry powder comes from an Asian shop and is bit hard to get.

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    1. I knew about adding sultanas but not the sweet red jam. Thank you. I know someone who adds pineapple when making chicken curry.

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  11. I really enjoy cooking these days Andrew, better late than never haha!!

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    1. I don't mind doing it Grace, when I have the time.

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  12. I go through phases where I either like to cook or I'm so uninspired that all food annoys me. Currently in the latter camp.

    Do you go to the place run by the Greek (?) lady in Pran Central?

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    1. Well spotted Fen. When I am not working, we alternate between there and Mojito's for Saturday morning breakfast and have for nearly twenty years.

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    2. Just posted a reply and blogger ate it (i think)

      I go to Mojitos every 2nd Thursday for an early lunch. Prob will be there today. Danny & co. are a miserable looking bunch but if you get them on a good day they're good value.

      Love the lady at Pran Central, she's warm & friendly and goes that extra little bit to make you feel special.

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    3. Have to be approved by me if a comment is more than ten days old Fen, sorry. Is that his name, Danny. He sometimes looks quite hot, better with a beard. I assume the woman is his mother? Maybe not. It has taken us years but we can get her to smile now.

      Yes, she is very nice and knows she has gay customers and tailors her behaviour to such.

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  13. aaaah I go to Mojitos for lunch every 2nd Thursday (probably today in fact!). Danny & co. are so miserable, but get them on a good day and they're lovely.

    Love the lady at that Pran Central shop, she's so warm and friendly & goes that extra little bit that no one else does.

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