The belly rules the mind – Spanish Proverb

Never a truer sentiment could be said of myself. Food is my passion. It pervades most things that I do. My day is structured around it and so it is never far from my mind. It is often among my first thoughts of the day. I have even been known to dream of nothing but cooking and menus.

I read cookery books as if they are novels and I have shelves bursting with them. I have an uncanny knack of remembering things I have eaten over the years and things that I have cooked for other people. I may not remember your name, but I can probably repeat your dinner order!

For all these reasons and more besides, I have decided to start a food blog for those of you who may share my obsession for food. I am the kind of person who is always interested to know what people eat behind closed doors. What types of dishes the lady next door might cook for her husband of an evening… So I thought I would offer up some things that I cook for my family and friends and some of my thoughts on them.

So, a little bit about me and my life as a starter. I am 34 years old and I live in beautiful South West France,  in Gascony. I am a mother of two. My daughter is two and half years old and my son is just one. I am lucky to have my family also living here in France with my parents just five minutes away and also my husbands parents nearby. You might say we are a family of ‘foodies’. Big family lunches are frequent and all of us women are very good cooks. Being in a family of people who love food as much as we do inspires me to always try to be a better, more adventurous cook.

My vegetable gardenI am also inspired by the place that I live. We are so lucky here to have daily local markets bursting with the most wonderful fresh produce. We also have a thriving vegetable patch that yields almost more than we can eat. And I cannot help but be impressed by the French people and their loyal enthusiasm for their cuisine and local ingredients. They will not be swayed from the belief that they do it best.

For me, food can be many things. It can be rustic and homely, basic and nourishing, experimental and challenging, indulgent and spectacular. I cook in all these ways and each plate of food is a reflection of my mood and my intentions. Perhaps that is why I find it so interesting to know what people cook everyday, or order in a restaurant. I believe food can say so much about a person and their values. So by presenting some of the dishes I cook in my home, I let you into my world.

So, to the food. Last night I cooked a meal for my parents, in honour of my Dad’s birthday. Our vegetable patch is full to bursting right now so my main aim was to maximize on all those wonderful vegetables.

We began with a Spanish inspired starter of Pimentos cooked on the BBQ with nothing more than olive oil and plenty of salt. Also, we had Patatas Bravas made using fresh tomatoes, chilli and garlic from the garden. The sauce certainly packed a punch and once you stopped eating, it left your mouth glowing! It was delicious and has motivated me to do more tapas inspired meals. I had always thought that they would be an awful lot of work, but these dishes were quick and easy and hugely gratifying.

The main course was a recent discovery of mine, a Beetroot Risotto (from BBC Good Food). Vivid crimson and seasoned with dill, it is a surprising and winning combination. The colour alone makes it visually appetizing. And I never can resist the comforting creamy texture of a well made risotto.

On this occasion, we ended the meal simply with some cheese and bread. A very tasty and satisfying dinner. Not showy or flashy, but healthy and delightful with the freshest ingredient straight from the garden. Meals such as this make me oh so happy.

1 thought on “The belly rules the mind – Spanish Proverb”

  1. Heather (at Lanterns, Cornwall)

    Wish you were living nearer to me and then I could sample your delicious menues. Good luck with your new venture and remember if you ever need another ‘taste checker’ ……..

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