Day 31 – walked into a cookbook

First of all: well done, me! One month completed – I didn’t think I’d make it this far, if I’m honest.. To celebrate the first milestone of my challenge, I treated a group of us to a special dinner tonight.

There’s an up and coming thing in Germany at the moment, which is the concept of a “walk-in cookbook“: a shop offers recipes for various courses at different stalls, each including the ingredients needed for the respective dish. Quite a neat idea for the typical “what shall I cook tonight?” dilemma that we all must go through at least twice a week. I’d been given a voucher a while ago (I had so many amazing presents to help me through the first few weeks of being a mum, but was too in awe of my new life to actually make use of them until now) so I was able to give in to the temptation of giving it a try.

The little stalls are designed very appealingly, with fresh ingredients and beautifully photographed presentations of what the finished meal will look like. You just pick the stall for the meal you fancy and pick up the right amount of ingredients for the number of people you intend to feed.

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I picked a meat dish: duck with sweet potato crisps and a really creative avocado salsa. It’s practical and quick, having all the things you need in one place. It’s also quite inspiring, as the dishes are a bit out of the ordinary so that you’re tempted to cook things you might not otherwise have given a go.

However, I think I’m not quite the target audience for this. I hardly ever shop just for one meal, so the time-saving aspect cancels itself out a little if I still have to go to another shop to buy stuff for breakfast, baby food or whatever. I also think the tiny packets produce a bit too much waste for my liking. But that’s because I love to cook so I can easily buy larger packets of ingredients, as I’m sure to use them up eventually. For anyone who doesn’t cook regularly, this certainly is a clever idea.

What we all agreed was that the portion sizes were just perfect. Nobody had to go hungry, but we didn’t have the normal amount of leftovers. So that’s definitely a great benefit. Moreover, trying a new dish becomes lots easier if you don’t have to go hunting around three different shops for some ingredient or other. Don’t let me forget to mention that the prices are more than fair as well. I think if this shop was on my way home from work – or if I even gave the delivery service a try – I definitely would benefit from it.

I’m not good at following recipes, though, so even tonight we decided to alter things a bit. To save both time and calories, I baked the sweet potatoes in the oven rather than deep-frying them. The duck was amazingly tender, the salsa was really, really yummy (I’ll definitely be making that again!) and sweet potatoes are one of my favourites anyway. So all in all, this was definitely a success. What a great “first” today: I know it’s been about food again, but it does feel very different.

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My plans for tomorrow have changed unexpectedly so that I’m having to come up with a different idea than I’d originally planned. I think Las Vegas beckons…

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