"there are fairly compelling arguments for not putting your trust in the supermarkets and their suppliers, and not just because you might end up eating Black Beauty..."
I was listening to the radio the other morning, but instead of just mutely absorbing Clifford Longley's thought for the day and listening to Evan Davis reading out tweets about George Osborne, I managed to pick up what I thought was a pretty interesting piece of information. There are now more of us living alone than ever before - 7.6 million to be precise.
Obviously a fact like this is highly interesting those of us who have a curious disposition and unfulfilled ambitions to appear on University Challenge (DURHAM, LEAHY!). But with my food writer's hat on, why would I bother bringing it up on the blog?
Because these singletons need feeding of course! And having lived on my own at various stages of life, I know that cooking solo can be a rather dispiriting affair. Often it just doesn't seem worth going to much bother for yourself, so you either start snacking and not eating properly, or resort to takeaways and ready meals.
Even I, a committed anorak, have found myself slipping into this routine: why bother spending half an hour cooking something that is going to take you five minutes to wolf down tout seul. Much easier to open a carton of coup or remove the film from a ready made pizza or tikka masala.
I am not going to try and persuade you that cooking your own meals is easier than buying them ready made - obviously it isn't. But there are fairly compelling arguments for not putting your trust in the supermarkets and their suppliers, and not just because you might end up eating Black Beauty. You will also end up with meals that are much better for you, cheaper, and if you follow my instructions, tastier too.
Even now that I live with my girlfriend, aka. the UK's answer to Man vs. Food, there are still times when I have to cook for myself. It these meals I am going to try and document on the blog in this new series of posts - solitary suppers. Simple recipes, that won't cost you a lot, don't take hours to cook and are perfect for when you are on your own.
The first of these is a great recipe for spiced scrambled eggs. It went down extremely well and took much less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That's in real time by the way, not Jamie Oliver's parallel "15 minute meal" universe.
Spiced scrambled eggs
2-3 eggs, lightly beaten (depends on how hungry you are!)
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
small piece ginger, sliced into matchsticks
1 small green chilli, finely sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced (optional, but a good addition)
1 teaspoon curry powder
small bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
light olive oil
couple of slices of toast to serve
- Kick off by putting a small glug of oil into a small saucepan over a medium to low heat. Then add the garlic, ginger, chilli, spring onion and curry powder and cook gently in the oil for three to four minutes.
- Now add the tomatoes, some seasoning and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, by which time you should have a fragrant and sweet smelling ochre mixture.
- Add the parsley and allow to cook for a minute. Pour in the beaten eggs and using a wooden spoon or spatula, keep stirring over a medium heat until the eggs are combined with the rest of the ingredients and are thoroughly scrambled in the traditional breakfast sense!
- Spoon the eggs over the toast, grab a knife and fork, your favourite book and settle down to enjoy your solitary supper.