Time for some me time – destressing in the kitchen…

 

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Thai green curry collage, #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Everyone needs some me time from time to time – and everybody’s relaxation ideas are different. As you’ve probably guessed from reading Bristol Bites, I’m a big fan of food(!), and when I’m not working (which seems to be most hours of the day since I went self-employed), I like to destress in the kitchen.

Although we go out to eat a fair amount, I still enjoy cooking at home. From simple midweek meals to more complex dishes for friends and family, from breads (which are still a bit of an experiment…) to cakes and biscuits, I’m a big fan of experimenting with different recipes, flavours and ideas, remembering the ones that work and quickly forgetting about the ones that don’t!

This last week has been a little crazy, with huge amounts of work that have been eating into my evenings as well as filling my days. My problem is that I struggle to switch off – I have so many things going round in my head that I find it difficult to relax in the evenings, and even harder to sleep at night.

So…this week, a little me time was much needed – this #CollectiveBias project couldn’t be timed better. Having just got a new chest freezer (our tiny freezer compartment was a bit too small for our needs…!) I decided that the best way to enjoy some me time was to cook a meal in bulk to freeze in portions – not only destressing me while cooking, but avoiding the need to spend time cooking on busy midweek evenings over the next month.

I’m a bit sick of making chilli con carne and Bolognese sauce, which tend to be two of my staples when it comes to freezing! This time, I opted to make a  load of Thai green curry paste that could be frozen in ice cube trays and thawed in portions…but then I got sidetracked by a salmon fishcake recipe and decided to make those too!

Armed with my shopping list, I headed to Asda, which is our local supermarket. I love Asda: there’s plenty of choice, and their world foods section is amazing – full of weird and wonderful ingredients from around the world that it’s fun to experiment with.

Asda’s also under a ten minute walk from our flat – and on a rainy and windy day, that convenience is key!

A large part of my shopping was done in the fruit and veg aisles, where I was able to pick up the potatoes and parsley for the fish cakes, as well as the lemongrass, ginger, chillies, shallots, garlic, coriander and lime for the green curry paste.

The fruit and veg aisle at Asda, #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

The fruit and veg aisle at Asda.

I started my afternoon in the kitchen with the Thai green curry paste, using a Jo Pratt recipe from the BBC Food website (it’s here, if you want to have a go). There’s a lot of chopping, peeling and deseeding involved, but the end result is definitely worth it.

Some of the ingredients for my Thai green curry paste,  #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Some of the ingredients for my Thai green curry paste.

All of the above ingredients, when prepared, were put into my food processor with the rest of the ingredients, which I already had in my cupboard. These were blitzted to a paste.

Ready to be blended...,  #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Ready to be blended…

After blending to a paste (the smells were amazing!), I portioned it out by putting into ice cube trays, ready to be frozen. That way, I could freeze the paste in individual portions, making it easy to defrost the right amount for each meal in the future.

Thai green curry paste in the ice cube tray, ready to be frozen,  #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Thai green curry paste in the ice cube tray, ready to be frozen.

When the paste was frozen, I transferred the cubes from the ice cube tray into freezer bags – simple! That’s a few easy dinners coming up in the near future…

Thai green curry paste complete, I moved onto the second recipe destined for the freezer: salmon fishcakes. These are nice and easy to make, and are frozen after breading but before frying, meaning that all you need to do is defrost and fry before using. I used Tamasin Day-Lewis’ recipe from the Good Food Channel website (recipe here) as a starting point, but adapted it slightly – we’re both big fans of capers, so I threw a few in for good measure! Her recipe has a good salmon to potato ratio – I’ve found that some recipes in the past are far too potato-heavy…

So…I started by boiling and mashing the potato (with no butter or milk), and cooking the salmon before flaking it. It was then time to mix everything together.

Salmon fish cake ingredients...,  #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Salmon fish cake ingredients…

I shaped the mixture into 12 cakes, before putting them in the fridge to firm up. Granted, they’re not particularly attractive-looking without their breadcrumb coating…

Naked fish cakes,  #shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

Naked fish cakes!

After an hour, I removed the fish cakes from the fridge, and coated them, first dipping them into beaten egg, then coating well with breadcrumbs. When this had been done, I simply placed them on baking trays and put them in the freezer – and, once frozen, transferred them to freezer bags.

#shop, #cbias, #collectivebias

The finished fish cakes, ready to be frozen…

For me, this was me time at its finest – not only did I manage to clear some head space by focusing on my cooking, but I’ve now got fish cakes and a homemade Thai green curry paste in the freezer meaning less need to worry about midweek meals in the near future. Perfect!

 

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