Just One Breath

An American girl in Scotland, figuring things out one step at a time

Made from scratch


As I was looking over some new recipes this week I came to a new realization, I am not afraid to cook anything anymore. When I first moved to Scotland in March I desperately wanted to be able to cook for Jamie and I didn’t know where to begin. I looked at recipe books and kept saying… there are too many ingredients! That one takes 3 hours. How will I ever be able to make bechamel sauce? What is the celsius to fahrenheit conversion? What? How? What? How? I had so many questions and such fear of messing up.

The first thing that I made was a Chicken pasta bake. It was edible and safe. I barely dared to use spices and I was terrified of undercooking the chicken. I was cooking with a new oven though so it was a start. We ate it and it was the beginning of our food conversations. I was very sensitive so anything we discussed about my cooking felt like it came with a sting even if it was a compliment.

I began to cook other things that were safe but I always threw Jamie out of the kitchen when I was cooking. It made me nervous to have him watch. When we began each meal I would say… “I hope it doesn’t suck.” I think this was my way of getting off the hook if it did. As the days of trying to cook became weeks and then months of hardcore learning to cook I realized I don’t say that anymore. As each new recipe was tried we discussed what would add to the recipe and what was there too much of. We put things on the make again list or don’t make again. I can honestly say there are about 2 things on the don’t make list, the bland pasta bake being one of them in my mind, and everything else has made it through. My days of kicking Jamie out of the kitchen are over and I gladly invite him in to chat with me while I am cooking. We often have team cooking sessions too. These have become some of my favorite moments with him. We are side by side cutting, sauteing, grilling and baking. Domestic Bliss!

The first daring try... the Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

This salad gave me hope that I could do something that was a little more complex. This recipe had more than 5 steps! That was a massive achievement.

Ginger Maple Soy Salmon

This salmon was much more complex. This had more ingredients and took more time but with my new found confidence it was easy. The flavors are so delicious, it is a firm winner.

Leek and Potato Soup with homemade Soda bread

I didn’t even know if I liked leeks but I wanted a fast soup that would be great on a cold day… oh boy did I find it. This is my new go-to soup. The bread was a major learning process. Thanks to some motivation from our favorite chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie and I began braving the bread baking. Soda bread is fast and oh so tasty. I think that the store to home baked bread is about 10 home baked  to 1 store now. That feels so good.

Homemade Vegetable Pakoras

This is me getting daring now. I love Pakoras and so does Jamie. I wanted to do Indian this night so I made my Curried Carrot and Apple soup to go with these babies. Hugh had once again inspired me to make something new. So with the pakora recipe in hand, or on iPad I should say, I got my ingredients, all 16 of them, and went to town. This was actually really easy. Not once did I look at it and say, there are how many ingredients!? How long will this take? I just did it…with Jamie there to watch and be brave enough to be the first to flip the pakoras. I wanted him with me instead of pushing him out the door.

I have to thank my husband for his support, motivation and honesty throughout the whole learning to cook process. He has continually given me the confidence to keep trying new things and giving me the tools to do it. Our spice rack had about four spices on it in March, now has twenty or more and long gone are the days of carrots or parsnips with every meal.  I now love making lasagne from scratch and proudly say that it takes me 3 hours and it is 99% homemade. I am just waiting for the pasta maker. x heather


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.