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What is mise en place?

It is defined as: n, in professional cooking, proper planning of equipment and ingredients for a food preparation and assembly station, Et. French ‘put in place’, (usage cooking)

[From: Webster’s New Millenniumâ„¢ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.6). Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 27 Feb. 2007. <Dictionary.com >]

What are you recommending this then?

Well, I saw this entry about it on The Happiness Project, a blog about erm.. happiness that I read, and it is certainly linked to the recipe I’ve got to post today. Although the focus of Gretchen’s blog is about life and happiness, other more food-focused blogs that discuss it, like this one, show that it can make cooking easier.

By having all the ingredients ready and diced, all the implements checked and on hand, and (the bit I fail on usually..) by reading a recipe all the way to the end, you’re far less likely to feel rushed and also to have an accident/disaster. It’s just like the TV cooking shows, but you don’t get a production assistant to fill up all the little glass bowls. (Sadly, after a long day at work, it also doens’t allow you to pull out a here’s-one-I-prepared-earlier, no matter how dearly you might wish to….)

Just something I’ve been thinking about as I settle in to a new kitchen, badly in need of better pots and implements (which is really adding to the challenges of cooking in it, really, must keep buying more things!) I’m also trying to inspire my housemates, two of whom are kitchen novices to get into cooking, and this makes the whole experience more zen.

Last weekend I went to the Marylebone Farmer’s Market with Andrea, who I’ve been staying with, and Elizabeth, a friend from my World Schools days. They go every week, for the ring of the market’s opening bell, followed by an almond croissant at the nearby Patisserie Valerie. Last week I only got a little bit of goat’s cheese (herb tart to follow) as I am yet to have a kitchen of my own, but I plan to make this a regular habit for my fresh food shopping. Also nearby is a gorgeous food store, La Fromagerie, which has gorgeous gifts written all over it.

In anticipation of the big move this Thursday (and by big move, I mean bus trip/walk with one bag, rather than road-trip with Mum & Tom over 1,000+km) and my return to a kitchen, I’m setting up one of the two sections the blog needed – a proper recipe section. I plan to add to this about once a week, so that I can build a seasonal archive of recipes and food stories.

Once I’m more settled, I plan to get my Mum to scan a few Donna favourites from my much missed mag library in Australia, but I also have a few favourites around and about to add…

V x