I'm Susie Collings, married to Keith and with two children and two step-children, so my family size has ranged from just two of us to six and now back again (mostly). We live in Berkshire, England with the latest of our ex-racing greyhounds, Billy, who is enjoying a well-deserved, relaxed and pampered retirement.
Cooking as a hobby
I’ve spent 30+ years working mostly in the IT industry and some of those raising a family as well. For many years I would have described cooking as one of my hobbies. I certainly enjoyed it. When I was first married, every summer I would hold a lunch party for 30 for my husband's birthday. I loved it all - the planning, the shopping, the preparation and, of course, the actual cooking.
I've always been particularly keen on baking. When I was a child my mother baked twice a week – three sorts of cake each time - and from the age of eight I took over the weekend cakes. As I got older the cakes became more lavishly decorated. No family celebration was complete without an elaborately iced and decorated cake. I went on courses, bought all the equipment and spent hours creating.
Transition to an Everyday Cook
And then I went back to work after having my children and life changed. Cooking was no longer a hobby, it was about getting a meal on the table, that everyone would eat, after a day at work. I had less time and energy for cooking as well as a different 'audience'. The children's tastes were much more straightforward - and anything elaborate was not welcome. My enthusiasm for cooking nose-dived and I began to resent having to cook every day. There were even years where (whisper it quietly) I bought birthday cakes. (It took me some time to accept that this was not actually a crime, but something that many working mothers do). In short, I had become an Everyday Cook.
The most difficult times were as my career progressed and work became more demanding but I still wanted to provide home-cooked meals because I knew this was the best thing for my family and I feel very strongly about eating real food. So I developed a repertoire of everyday recipes that I knew the family liked, that were good for us, and were easy for me to cook at the end of a busy day - or could be prepared in advance.
My food philosophy
- I want to know what I'm eating, and I want it to be 'proper' food. I don't want lots of additives, but I'm happy to use shortcuts (and the odd tin of beans)
- For everyday cooking, I want ingredients that are in my store cupboard or part of my weekly shop. (I've thrown away too many packets of something I've used only once)
- Healthy-enough is good-enough. I believe that a balanced diet is the healthiest and I don't think that most of us need to cut out any food groups
- I don't want to spend ages in the kitchen, but I am prepared to invest some time in batch cooking to make life easier at busy times
- I think we can all do with cake now and then (weekends, holidays, treat days, Wednesdays)
So this blog is all about good, basic food - recipes for meals and cakes, some new, some from my grandmother, and everything in-between. I'll also include anything I find interesting about food and cooking - about ingredients, equipment, techniques, tips and trends. In short, everything an everyday cook could want!
Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy it - do let me know.
Are you an Everyday Cook? Find out here.