The art of cooking is not just about feeding the body, but also about nourishing the soul. When it comes to cooking dinner for oneself, it can be easy to fall into the trap of quick, bland meals. But why settle for a lonely bowl of cereal when you can write a love letter to yourself with every meal?
To make cooking for one a special occasion, start by setting the mood. Choose a relaxing ambiance with dim lighting, music, or a glass of wine. Treat yourself like a VIP guest. Get creative in the kitchen by trying new recipes, flavours, and cooking methods. Don’t hold back and indulge in the freedom to experiment. Use quality ingredients to elevate your meal’s flavour and romance.
Take time to pamper yourself and make cooking a therapeutic experience. Savour each bite and enjoy the flavours, knowing you made the meal with your taste buds in mind. Remember to pay attention to the presentation by plating your meal beautifully and setting the table with your best plates and silverware. These small details will add serenity to your dining experience. Finally, savour the meal and enjoy every bite. Add a touch of romance with a candle, fine china, and take your time to appreciate the love and care you put into the meal.
Here are the two styles of recipes I will always cook if I am in need of some self love.
Pasta takes self-care to a different level. Opt for chickpea or lentil pasta if you’re looking for something a little healthier. I tend to indulge via a bowl, with a rocket side salad to cleanse my palette. Lately, I haven’t been able to walk past chorizo in the supermarket without picking it up. Chorizo, lemon and chilli flakes is where it’s at. I prefer to use a cream based sauce, but this also works wonderfully if you substitute the cream for tomato paste. If so, make sure you cook out the paste for at least 4 minutes to let the chilli flakes and oil soak through.
- 1x Chorizo stick
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- ½ finely diced shallot
- 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup parmesan
- Salt and pepper
- Pasta of your choice
- Start by boiling your pasta – the sauce will take 15 minutes to cook, so put your pasta on accordingly. Salt the water enough that it tastes like the sea.
- In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced chorizo and cook until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the skillet and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the juices in the pan.
- In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped shallot. Cook until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth to the skillet, and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Let the broth simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream to the skillet, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the juice of 1 lemon and zest to taste.
- Add 2 tbsp pasta water to the skillet. Then, add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and toss to coat with the cream sauce.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the chorizo and creamy pasta in bowls, topped with the crispy chorizo and extra coarse black pepper.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
This is the ultimate comfort food, but spiced up with lots of nutrition. Grilled cheese will always be the perfect late night snack, paired with the tomato soup makes it a perfectly adult dinner.
- 2 slices of bread of your choice – I love ciabatta
- 2 slices of cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh tomatoes
- Herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano
- 1 capsicum
- Olive oil
- 1 brown onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Place your tomatoes, capsicum, olive oil, onions, garlic, and herbs in an oven tray. Cook for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a pot. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to heat the soup over low heat until heated through.
- While the soup is cooking, place a skillet over medium heat and let it heat up. Butter one side of each slice of bread, and place the bread slices in the pan, buttered side down. Toast the bread until it’s golden brown, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove it from the heat and place the cheese slices on top of one of the bread slices. Close the sandwich by placing the other slice of bread on top, buttered side up.
- Grill the sandwich: Place the sandwich back in the skillet, and cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you press down on the sandwich with a spatula to ensure even melting of the cheese.
- Serve the grilled cheese sandwich hot, along with a bowl of hot tomato soup. Enjoy your comforting and indulgent meal!
Cooking dinners for one is an act of self-care and self-love, not a lonely task. Don’t be afraid to indulge in the romance of it all.
Bon appétit, my love.