I have a confession to make. I loathe cooking. With a passion.
It wasn't always like this. Pre-kids I used to love tinkering in the kitchen, concocting fancy-pant dinners a deux. Even with young kids, I found the daily grind a bit of a pain, but I had a baby blog to feed with great ideas and new recipes, so that gave me the impetus to carry on.
But now? Well, now I love the idea of pootling in the kitchen, beavering away and ending up with some enticing soup, or delicious homemade jam. But in my imagination my kitchen is bright and airy - there's an island with copper pots hanging above it.And then I remember that my kitchen is not like that. It's a place of darkness, somewhere I just don't want to spend any time.
It hasn't always been this way. Before we moved house , in December, our kitchen was perfectly adequate. Not great, pretty small, but it functioned. But now we live (sometimes it feels like squatting) in our new home. It has potential, but deeply unrealised potential. And the kitchen is not only tiny, it has virtually no light. What little light it has got is positioned in such a way that ensures you will be in shadow wherever you work. The design has a lot to thank 1980s Mexican cantina restaurants for - pine ceiling, terracotta walls, and a configuration which means there is no space for cupboards or shelves. This means all crockery, from cups to plates, are kept in a wardrobe in the room next door. When you open the doors of the wardrobe to put things away, the only window in the room is blocked, meaning you must work in darkness.
And it makes me realise that so much of cooking is where you are. It's not just about results, it's about enjoying the process. And we spend so much time cooking, its worth making the process enjoyable. Doing it somewhere reasonably nice and well-designed. And having the right equipment - not much point trying to make a cake if you don't have an electric mixer, unless you enjoying creaming butter and sugar with pure arm power. Unfortunately in my case making my kitchen reasonably nice involves removing three walls and putting a window in!
We have big plans to sort it all out next year. In the meantime we've still got to eat, and I've still got to spend time in this dungeon of a kitchen. So, what's the answer? Pasta. Pasta in 10 minutes. I make this spaghetti aglio e olio (chilli and parsley pasta) at least once a week. It takes minutes, tastes delicious and has virtually no washing up. Here's a film of Lucy and I making it - in her (lovely) kitchen.