smarter. better. faster. cheaper. part II: roast

Ever noticed that meals marketed at busy people on a weeknight are like 9 out of 10 times a variation on a salmon fillet baked in foil haha? I get why – it doesn’t take much time or skill, and it’s going to come out the other side edible at worst. But there’s something about this type of cooking that doesn’t sit right with me. Where’s the anticipation? Where’s the time for flavour to develop? To quote the Black Eyed Peas, “where is the love?”

In this second part (check out Part I to get more background to the series/learn a new way to cook!), I want to focus on a technique for getting complex flavours into your meals, with plenty of love, comfort and, well, hygge haha. Oh, and the bonus is it’s super cheap, super low-waste and super compatible with a busy lifestyle. I’m talking about a traditional British roast of course!

We think of this style of cooking as time- and labour-intensive, but you have to re-imagine it slightly. Think of your busy lifestyle, think about your weekly routine. Maybe you work full-time, and in the evening you have family to care for, or a busy social life or whatever. But can you honestly say, that you spend less than 1.5 waking hours per week in your home? I’m talking about the time you spend doing laundry, or ironing, or dishes – it doesn’t have to be free time. If the answer is yes, you have time to do this!! 

Because slicing some veg, rubbing meat with butter (if you were that way inclined) and chucking some aromatics into a roasting tray will take you 5 minutes, and while it roasts, you’ve got all that time to do the other things you need to do. In fact, you’ll probably accomplish more because you’ve got a sense of urgency to beat your roast haha.

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What you get at the end of it is a beautiful, large portion of food with loads of flavour and love! But wait…there’s more! So you’ve taken the food out of the tray to reveal a pool of roasting juices and oils, don’t throw it away! Just put the tray directly onto the hob, chuck in a wee bit flour and some stock (I actually use the stock I make from the veg peelings while roasting, all I do is chuck them in boiling water and sieve it), give it a mix on a medium heat, and you’ve got real beautiful gravy with complexity that you can use for the whole week! I even used mine to make sweet-potato poutine with cashew cheese lol.

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And you can customise your roast with what you like, what’s in season, and what’s in your budget! I love putting tonnes of garlic and lemon in my roasting tray, and somehow smoked paprika and parsley always seem to make their way in haha. To make sure the aromas penetrate what I’m roasting, I usually put a sheet of foil on top for the first 30 minutes, then I remove it to get some good colour.

So why not try this technique one night this week, I usually do mine on a Sunday while I iron my shirts or study. I don’t mean to come across so preachy haha, it’s just that I’m passionate about encouraging more people to love food and cooking. When you put love into your body, your body loves you back! And that makes your busy life work better!

Instagram as a platform seems to fetishise slow living, and I take great issue with that. To me, that’s a classist concept. Because for every 1 person who spends 6 hours a day doing pilates and another 6 making sure their smoothie bowl is *just* perfect, there’s a million people who have to work hard, have to look after others, have to put food on the table. And when you’re constantly told that the only way to be happy is living slowly, you start to feel like you don’t deserve happiness – and that ain’t right!

That’s why this bugs me so much. To everyone out there who has to hustle on the daily, I just want to let you know that you can fuel your body with all the right stuff whatever your budget or time constraints. And also let you know that you deserve happiness as much anyone else! Peace,

RAB XX

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