IN DE­FENCE OF DE­LAY IN THE KITCHEN

Matt Pre­ston stops pro­cras­ti­nat­ing over chores and comes up with tips for lazy cooks and DIY fans

The Advertiser - - DELICIOUS - @mattscra­vat @MattsCra­vat For Matt’s baked chicken and mush­room risotto and bar­be­cued rump with pimped-up black bean sauce, head to de­li­cious.com.au

It’s a stand­ing joke around my house that my mid­dle ini­tial stands for “pro­cras­ti­na­tion” rather than Phillip. This col­umn, for in­stance, was sup­posed to be for a Fe­bru­ary is­sue, but then pro­cras­ti­na­tion got the bet­ter of me, thus prov­ing my house­hold’s point. Now, I knew I’d been pro­cras­ti­nat­ing so I watched two hours of Ted talks on avoid­ing pro­cras­ti­na­tion. Neu­ro­sci­en­tist Tali Sharot and psy­chol­o­gist Adam Grant had some ex­cel­lent in­sights, but it was a psy­chol­ogy stu­dent, Vik Nithy, who cut to the nub of the mat­ter: He ar­gued that we pro­cras­ti­nate be­cause our lim­bic system makes us chase in­stant plea­sure. This res­onated strongly with a man who’s paid to eat cake. In fact, look­ing back on my se­ries of ca­reers, from pro­mot­ing clubs and con­certs and watch­ing TV for a liv­ing to now eat­ing for a liv­ing (in­ter­twined with cook­ing and writ­ing recipes), chas­ing im­me­di­ate plea­sure is writ a lit­tle too large on my CV al­ready. The cur­rent need to stay at home has, of course, re­moved my ma­jor ex­cuse for not knuck­ling down – that old lie of how I’ve just got no time. So, af­ter watch­ing the rest of the best 10 videos on pro­cras­ti­na­tion, I’m ready to tackle the things I’ve been putting off for so long.

HOW DO I PER­FECT NUT BUT­TERS?

The nut but­ters I used to love be­gan to seem cloy­ing. How could I make one I’d want to eat a whole jar of, with­out over­load­ing it with sugar and salt? The an­swer was sit­ting in the spice drawer. Cashew, vanilla and honey but­ter had its at­trac­tion, as did pecan but­ter with salt, maple syrup and smoked pa­prika. The win­ner, how­ever, was made by blitz­ing toasted al­monds with a gen­er­ous whack of cumin, a lit­tle salt and some olive oil – it’s ridicu­lously mor­eish with­out any gra­tu­itous sweet­ness. Blitz­ing 100g of blanched al­monds with 80g of white miso and 80g of but­ter is equally as good.

CAN I MAKE ASIAN SAUCES?

Some Asian sauces, such as sweet, sticky ke­cap ma­nis, are sur­pris­ingly easy. Cook 250g palm sugar with 3 tbs wa­ter to make a light caramel, then care­fully add 310ml soy sauce, a cou­ple of crushed gar­lic cloves, half a star anise and four slices of galan­gal. Black bean sauce to serve with a beef and broc­coli stir­fry is a lit­tle more work, but a vast im­prove­ment on most bought ver­sions. Now, more goal-fo­cused in­di­vid­u­als may ar­gue that these dis­cov­er­ies were about pro­cras­ti­na­tion, but might I point out my pro­cras­ti­na­tion col­umn is now writ­ten. You’ve just read it.

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