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My Worst Cooking Habits (a follow up)

quick fish salad-2

Back in September, I ‘outed’ myself here on Stonesoup by revealing my 3 worst cooking habits. A bit of a brave move for an introvert like me.

Anyway, I promised to report back on my progress. So here we are!

BAD HABIT 1. Picking While I Cook

This is easily the toughest habit for me to break. So don’t be surprised that I still pick from time to time. But I do feel like I’ve made progress.

I’ve been tracking whether I feel ‘full’ or ‘hungry’ when I sit down to dinner in my habit tracking app on my phone (it’s called ‘habit keeper’). Usually it’s only one or two nights a week I’ve been over doing the ‘picking’.

Having more of a focus in this area has helped.

But the biggest change is that Fergal moved to having one nap a day. So we now have lunch at 2pm rather than midday. This means I’m much less hungry in the evenings.

It’s amazing how changes to your schedule can have a knock on effect to how much food you eat.

BAD HABIT 2. Dull Knives

OMG… This has been the easiest habit to kick AND the most rewarding. I’d forgotten how much easier it is to cut with sharp knives.

All I did was make a promise to sharpen our knives every Sunday night (or Monday if I forget). It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

I’ve even found myself sharpening mid week if they aren’t up to scratch. Love it!

BAD HABIT 3. Not Washing Leaves and Herbs

There have been countless times when I’ve been tempted to not wash my leaves. But then I’ve thought about sitting down to write this post and have dug out the salad spinner (one of Fergal’s favourite kitchen toys).

But there’s also been many a time, mostly when I’m in a hurry taking photos, that I’ve fallen back into my old ‘dirty salad’ ways.

So progress but not perfection!

What about you?

Got any bad cooking habits you should break? Or good habits you’d like to form?

I’d love to hear about them in the comment below :)

quick fish salad-2

Quick Fish Salad

We’ve been trying to eat fish at least once a week. And I’m really enjoying it! This recipe is one of my fishy favourites. I love it with flat head fillets but it works with any fish or even chicken for that matter. Hooray for fish!

enough for 2
400g (14oz) fish fillets
2 tablespoons flour (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bag salad
mayo, to serve

1. Heat a frying pan on a medium high heat with a little oil. Toss fish in the flour (if using) with some salt and pepper.

2. Cook the fish until golden on both sides, about 3-5 minutes depending on how thick it is.

3. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Season and toss in the salad leaves.

4. Divide salad between 2 plates. Top with the hot fish and serve with mayo on the side.

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Variations

gluten-free – The flour is just there to add a light crispy coating to the fish but you can easily skip it or use your favourite GF flour. I used chickpea flour which adds a lovely yellowy colour.

chicken – replace fish with chicken breast or thigh fillets. Chicken will take an extra minute or 2 on each side to cook. I wouldn’t bother with the flour if cooking chicken.

beef – this salad is also surprisingly good with steak sliced into strips and tossed in the flour.

vegan – replace fish with a drained can of chickpeas or white beans. Skip the flour and just pan fry the legumes in a little oil until well browned. Use a vegan mayo or see below for other egg-free ideas.

egg / mayo-free – replace mayo with lots of lemon juice, natural yoghurt, a dollop of creamy ricotta or goats cheese or with a tahini lemon sauce (3 tablespoons each lemon juice, tahini and water).

vegetarian – replace the fish with sliced halloumi cheese. Skip the flour and pan fry until the cheese is well browned on both sides. Or try a fried egg salad.

more veg – feel free to add your favourite raw salad veg such as grated carrot, cherry tomatoes, grated beets, sliced cucumber, sliced zucchini, chopped red capsicum (bell peppers). Or add a handful of frozen peas to the pan for the last minute of cooking the fish.

more substantial – serve with home made fries or toss in some steamed potatoes or torn chunks of sourdough bread.

With love,
Jules x
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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Christopher 9 December, 2014, 1:07 pm

    My bad habit I would like to correct, walking away from the stove while cooking. It doesn’t take much to get distracted and return to find I have to eat over cooked eggs for breakfast.

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:43 am

      I hear you Christopher!
      And it’s gotten worse for me with a toddler in the house. I’m finding myself setting my timer on my phone or in the kitchen is the best solution… the only problem is remembering to set the timer!
      Jx

  • JoKateG 9 December, 2014, 3:25 pm

    I find washing leaves, fruits and veg the best reinforcement to keep me doing it! When I see what I wash off it certainly makes be do it again next time!

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:31 am

      I hasn’t thought about it that way JoKate… I’ll pay more attention from now on!
      Jx

  • Kara 9 December, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Bad habit: Not being prepared for the week with groceries which leads to eating out. Stonesoup has absolutely change this bad habit into great news! Bad habit: not eating up veggies and fruit and throwing them out. Ouch!

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:30 am

      Glad to hear Stonesoup has helped you Kara!

      If you’re finding you’re throwing things out more than you’d like I’d encourage you to just focus on really looking in the fridge on a more regular basis… It’s so easy to forget what’s in there!

      Jx

  • Jane 9 December, 2014, 9:56 pm

    Hi Clance – I, once upon a time, shared the ‘not washing leaves and herbs’ habit but now it is very rare and I cannot live without my salad spinner – my tip – grow all your green salad – there is a challenge for you! By growing my own I either
    1. Don’t wash it at all and eat it striaght up because I absolutely know where it came from and that it is organic and clean OR
    2. I wash it to remove any extra protein ie. slugs … because according to my youngest it’s pretty scarey finding one in your salad wrap when you are in kindergarten! – oops my washing was a bit rushed that morning and she will not let me forget it!
    Thanks for your braveness … I share all three habits with you!
    My big share is I went live with one single blog post over a month ago – see Organic Colourful Living – let me know what you think – I have lots of work to do and would love to link up again soon. I really want to know what is going on in your vege garden? I have squash and zucchini coming out my ears and I’m so excited because I picked our first tomatoes this week!
    I trust this finds you all Happy & Healthy Love Jane xox

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:29 am

      Jane!

      Good for you. I love you new blog. Super excited to learn more about vege gardens from you… I’ve got a LOT to learn :)

      Love Clance x

  • Jackie 10 December, 2014, 1:10 am

    Can you do a blog post on how you sharpen your knives? Do you have a whetstone or do you use something else? Thanks!

  • Donna 10 December, 2014, 1:28 am

    I have the opposite problem in that I tend to overdo washing, everything from the veges to the utensils and pans. I wash very thoroughly, and then I rinse and rinse, and then I rinse again! As you can imagine this habit slows me down a great deal. Dry beans! I will spend way too much time sorting and rinsing them.

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:17 am

      Wow Donna!

      We’re almost opposites on the washing front… maybe we need to channel each other :)

      Jx

  • Daryle Thomas 10 December, 2014, 6:47 am

    Hey Jules,

    You will cut yourself easier with a dull knife, AND do a nastier job. You won’t cut ANYTHING else easier. 2-3 inch by 8-10 inch stones are the best for sharpening. Buy yourself a 10 – 12 inch long, quality butcher’s steel and true your knives (straighten the edge) every time you use them. Watch a butcher, he or she will cut for a few minutes and take a few strokes on the steel before resuming.

    Ditto on the walking away from the stove/oven while cooking. Even the gods are turning down burnt offerings these days. I carry a pocket timer that makes a clear signal when presence in the kitchen is required.

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:16 am

      Hey Daryle!
      Couldn’t agree more on the dull knives. I’ve tried the sharpening steel and found it a bit beyond me. My favourite sharpening system is the Furi fingers… they give a really great edge and are pretty much foolproof!

      Great idea re the timer… I’m finding myself setting my phone timer more and more too.

      Jx

  • Peachy Keen Mumma - Jess 10 December, 2014, 5:30 pm

    I tried your cabbage and smoked salmon salad just now for dinner. It was delicious. I’m going to introduce it to my mother-inlaw for Christmas dinner because usually the smoked salmon just sits on a place all boring like. This salad also looks like another I’m going to have to try. Thanks for the dinner inspiration tonight.

  • Sue 10 December, 2014, 7:14 pm

    Hi Everyone, yes I too will start a meal and walk away. An extremely bad habit. That said, I am only just, after 3 children and 34 1/2 years of marriage, starting to like cooking. Maybe because I like more Asian style meals and their ingredients are easier to get these days. Oh yes, and when I don’t want to cook, my bad habit is to pout to hubby until we go out for dinner or get takeaway.
    (LOL !!!)

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 8:00 am

      Sue! So glad you’re getting into cooking. That’s awesome.
      And love your pouty bad habit… Yo made me laugh!
      Jx

  • Meg @ Adventures in Verdance 12 December, 2014, 2:50 am

    I do all three of those things. I’m pretty sure it takes a huge master of wills to be able to refrain from doing them. I believe in you (but I’m still going to keep picking). :)

    • jules 16 December, 2014, 7:57 am

      Glad I’m not alone Meg!

      You know the knife sharpening doesn’t take much. Washing leaves is a bit more taxing but worth the clear conscience.

      Pickingis the tough one but I’m not sure it’s something I want to stop completely (I love a good cooks treat!) for me it’s more about not ruining my appetite

      So keep on picking if it works for you!
      Jx

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