I think the reason that I love my freezer so much is because I have never been able to cook for small numbers. Maybe that’s something that has been handed down from my parents or maybe it’s because cooking in small amounts “looks wrong” – one handful of peas in a pan is just pointless right? So for as long as I can remember I have always ended up cooking meals for 4-6 people. Lunch always needs thinking about as I take a packed lunch into work most days so leftovers can be used up in that way but more often than not I freeze it.
With all these weekly menus, probably 1 night week is something from the freezer either as it was, so a sausage casserole is still a sausage casserole or it morphs into something else – leftover roast meat for example could be shredded and added to a soup or stir fry. It’s great to know that in my freezer with the exception of one drawer, everything else is stuff I or my husband have made, our own ready meals! So when we don’t have time to cook or can’t be bothered we can still have the quick convenience of a ready meal – although as we don’t own a microwave heating it up the old-fashioned way defeats the object slightly!
Cheating is allowed – of course it is – in my one “not home cooked” freezer draw I store ready-made pastry (as sometimes I just don’t want to make it, especially if I’m in a bad mood as it somehow reflects my mood and comes out all heavy and stodgy), a stash of veg usually peas (what sane person doesn’t have frozen peas?), soya beans, sweetcorn, and broadbeans. Then there are oven chips, they will never replace freshly made chips when you have time and the right oil/potatoes to get lovely crispy ones, but when you get home and really have to have egg, chips and beans then they are a life saver!
Since Christmas I have been reading Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries and his morning breakfast includes a smoothie made from frozen berries, yoghurt and apple juice. So I bought some frozen berries and on the weekends I have started having this in the morning and I can honestly say that its been quite a revelation for me. It’s filling without having to eat breakfast which I don’t really cope with well unless on holiday and also frozen berries are a great addition to my cheat drawer to pop on meringues or make a speedy crumble. I know I’m late to join the smoothie converts but to be honest I wouldn’t bother if I had to buy fresh fruit every week it’s only because I can use frozen that I do it.
A few facts to round things up:
- Clarence Birds Eye introduced the first line of frozen foods for sale to the public in 1929 and the frozen food industry was born
- You cannot freeze eggs in their shells
- To prolong the freezer storage time for roasted meats, cover them with gravy
- In the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, popular fridge freezer colours included Harvest Gold, Avocado Green and Almond
- Flour can be frozen
- Clarence the Birds Eye polar bear in the recent adverts is voiced by Willem Dafoe!