Of all the things I whip up in my lovely kitchen in Putney, my lunches are not necessarily the most beautiful, but what I do try to do is feed my body with healthy, filling food to help power me through the afternoon, and avoid the temptations of the biscuit cupboard as when I get a little distracted I’ve been known to be a bit of a snacker. I’m going to try and post these on a weekly basis to showcase some of my experiments, and hopefully give you guys some fresh ideas of what to make in preparation for the week ahead, as we all know that in reality squeezing everything into the working day is hard!. It’s become a bit of a reassuring, comfort ritual which I enjoy either really early on a Sunday morning before any of my housies arise or of a Sunday evening as part of the weekend wind-down – it’s half an hour of creating, calm and clarity.
This isn’t just a recipe post though, because my lunch making habits are a bit of deeper reflection on my relationship with food, which like many girls has been a tad tumultuous. I was a buzzy kid and teenager, into absolutely everything, playing every sport and too eager to get on with life to sit at the supper table, my mum always says I used to sit with only one bum cheek on my seat, for the minimal possible time it took to eat an acceptable supper. My parents are fantastic cooks and we’ve always had the best, freshest food, from our garden and have always been shown where it comes from, picking and smelling tomatoes in the vegetable patch and helping my dad pluck pheasants, but away from their watch as a fresher at University I began to stray. Suddenly the world of fast food was open to me and that, along with the pints of Guinness (I know, what was I thinking?!) started to take its toll on my 18 year old body. However a polite word from my mum at the end of the year meant I was soon making sure I the majority of what I ate was homemade and moving more, and my limbs slimmed out again, in fact I became a bit obsessed and controlling about what I put into my body and how I moved it.
In my late teens and throughout University I was a waitress at a fantastic pub in the countryside, where the amazing chefs continued the education my parents had started, encouraging us to try new things and I really began to develop a passion and knowledge for food, farm to plate living and the wine that goes with it! This really helped me get a bit more of a grip on reality and become less fastidious about my diet and exercise regime, and I really started to enjoy what are the most natural things in the world.
When I first moved to London a couple of years ago I was overwhelmed by the choice of quick and easy food available at lunchtime, it was like being a University fresher all over again and, being a typical country-girl in the big city, I indulged left right and centre. Coupled with all the irresistible, glamorous cocktails, and then spoily hangover brunches I suddenly started getting bigger, quite a lot bigger than my little frame had ever been and one day I got on the scales after about 8 months in the big smoke and could no longer deny it! I knew things had to change, but I had kind of lost my way, lost sight of everything I had ever been taught. So I set out to retrain myself – physically and mentally. I took up running and trained for a half marathon (I’ve done two now!), and began listening to my body a bit more and taking into account what it needs to fuel it properly.
There are so many inspiring bloggers both foodie and fitness, and chefs who’ve really helped me find a balance (I’m going to do an inspirations post some time soon), rediscover my love for a fresh healthy lifestyle, and those size 8 high-waisted shorts I thought I’d never get back into! I’d be lying if I said it was easy, I’m only human and have had slip ups along the way, but living by the 80:20 rule has really helped and I’m now, although not entirely happy with my body, more comfortable. I also get a huge kick off all the different exercises and sports I am trying all in pursuit of that post-workout high! I truly love to move.
So that explains why I cook up my lunches every week – to keep hands on with my food, enjoy the creating cooking experience and know exactly what I’m eating, avoiding all the hidden nasties in pre-prepared food and keep my body and mind happily ticking along. Now the Parsnip soup recipe I’m going to post tomorrow is not exactly radical, but it is what I’m eating for lunch this week (shock horror), is super healthy, warming and is perfect for the end of what has been a financially lean January!