How to Use this Book
This book is unique and special because it introduces you to my world, my way of cooking, which can become your world and your way of cooking. It will help you become a time-smart cook without even really realizing it. I’m so excited to share all this with you. There are recipes that show you how to batch cook and how to use—and really appreciate—the space in your freezer. You can spin leftovers into whole new meals and make beautiful food that can be put together in very little time.
I don’t want to appear condescending, I really don’t. Or look like I know what I’m doing. But I kind of do! Not because I’m an expert, but because I know what it’s like to have just one head and one pair of hands. We are all human. Cluttered minds, to-do lists that never seem to get smaller, stuff to do, and still only four limbs. We can only get to our destination as quickly as our legs can carry us. We can only prepare the family dinners that are needed with the two hands we have and whatever time is left at the end of the day. Yet life seems to treat us like we are octopuses, with eight limbs to juggle the laundry, the chores, wiping down surfaces, tying laces, shoveling in food, typing, swiping, clicking.
I haven’t got it all figured out. I still don’t know how to do the YMCA and knead bread at the same time. It’s a work in progress, but I will do it! I’m not saying my way is the best way. But it’s pretty good. This is the way I have been cooking for a decade and it really does work. All you need is a willingness to change how you cook a little, and to make a little freezer space. It’s definitely not foolproof. It takes time and a little extra thinking, but ultimately when I cook like this, what happens is I get my cooking fill, I get to be creative and cook delicious food. I get to cook in advance. By spending just a little more time in the kitchen (and by little I mean not that much more), it means I'm cooking extra and freezing and saving for the week ahead. By the time I have done this for a few weeks, I find myself with a whole week free to do other things. Like have a bath, do some work knowing dinner is sorted, simply enjoy putting one foot in front of the other without worrying about the speed at which my feet are moving. Leaving me happy to be human and less envious of our eight-legged sea creature. I don’t want to be the octopus, I want to cook him, eat him, freeze him, and enjoy him again the following week without breaking a sweat, without thinking.
This book has over 100 delicious recipes for you to choose from. Some take a little less time and others take a little more time, but there’ll be a reason for it—you’ll be creating a second meal to keep in the freezer, or you’ll be using a component of the meal you are making to spin into something completely different tomorrow that won’t require any preparation. Some are perfect for when you have no time to spare and others for when you have plenty of time. The difference with these recipes is that you have options. You can use frozen onions or fresh. You can use fresh veg or canned. You can make one recipe now and know that you have dinner in the freezer ready for the weeks ahead. You can make more sauce than you need for that dessert now and make a hot chocolate later.
In my first few weeks of cooking like this, I found I was busy cooking one week, cooking more than I needed, stocking my freezer and giving myself a week free of cooking, but safe in the knowledge that my family was eating home-cooked food. But after a few months I found I had food stocked up for weeks, so much so that I had to stop cooking for a while just to empty the freezer out. After six months, I was ready for every situation. Cake to take to a party? I had one in the freezer! Late home one night? It didn’t matter because dinner just needed to be taken out and heated from frozen. Unexpected guests? I always had something to whip up fast. Late night? There was always something in the back of the fridge for when we got the munchies. If you want to test the theory, turn up at my home and I will have something for you—but I won’t be slaving or panicking over a hot stovetop and a noisy oven.
Copyright © 2020 by Nadiya Hussain. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.