IN DEFENCE OF DELAY IN THE KITCHEN
Matt Preston stops procrastinating over chores and comes up with tips for lazy cooks and DIY fans
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.