Introducing Can't Cook, Will Cook.

Did I ever tell you the story of how I set a jacket potato on fire in the microwave? I was about sixteen (if I remember rightly, don't quote me on that), and the jacket potato incident has pretty much been a signifier for the years that have followed. That poor jacket potato didn't stand a chance. By the time I realised that it was basically a rock-solid, blackened ball of cremated potato, it was far too late to try and rescue it. In the end, it got launched through the front door, landing on the grass in the front garden, only to roll to a standstill, smoking on the lawn like it had shot down from space. It was pretty tragic, for both me and the potato. Once the smoke-alarm stopped, I sort of fell back down to earth with a bump and thought to myself, "So that's cooking, huh?"

There hasn't really been much progress made since. I mean, I can cook. Frozen stuff. I can make a mean fish-finger sandwich, a smashing dish of beans on toast, and a pretty magnificent pizza (did I mention that it's frozen?). I bet you're wondering how I've made it this far in life, right? Honestly guys, I do not know. But now. Now is the time to change, and I'll tell you why.

Last year, I ended up in hospital. By the time I came out, a week later, my life had changed dramatically. No longer was I the carefree eater I had been before, who would happily chomp her way through any and all meals put in front of her. Through those sliding doors walked someone who suddenly had no idea of how she was going to get by without a chicken tikka curry or a chicken chow mein every Friday night. I was diagnosed with a chronic condition (IBD), which basically meant and still means that I've got to watch what I eat. No more greasy, greasy takeaways. No more diving straight into a meal without wondering what it actually contains. I guess, really, I just became more careful, and a lot more conscious of what is going into my body. In the lead-up to my diagnosis though, I lost a hell of a lot of weight. I couldn't eat. I felt stuffed after three or four forkfuls of my meal and, when it got really bad, I was throwing it back up anyway. Sorry for the gross details, but I want to be honest about it all. Anyway, throughout that period of not being able to eat, I missed food so much. And by the time I was back home, I was on a low-fibre diet, which left me with mashed potato, boiled chicken and fish. I didn't care. Not really. I just wanted to be better. And now, as I sit here and type, I've made a lot of progress since that awful time, and I feel very proud of myself too.

Onto the food. The thing is, as much as I love a good fish-finger sandwich, I sort of can't live off them forever. And as much I love a good takeaway, they're not exactly great for my gut anymore. It's easy to just chuck something frozen in and let the oven do its thing, but just lately I've been thinking more and more about doing something new, something exciting. Doing something that will benefit me and my health. And if that means making a mess of the kitchen during the learning process, then so be it. I want fresh food. I want food that is healthy but tasty. I want food that hasn't been sat in the freezer for months. I want wholesome, nutritious meals that I can go back to again and again not only because I enjoy eating them, but because I enjoy putting them together too. I don't have much confidence when it comes to my abilities in cooking. I don't have much confidence in a lot of things, really. But you've gotta do what you've gotta do, haven't you?

And so, Can't Cook, Will Cook has been born. I suppose this will be a feature where I document my cooking adventures. That's not too boring, is it? I just want to start experimenting with food. I don't want to be stuck in the same old food habits. I want to use herbs. I want to make my own soup. I want to try new things that I've never tried before. I want to cook meat and be sure in myself that I'm not going to kill myself off from food poisoning. As you can probably tell, it's going to be a steep learning curve but as they always say, practice makes perfect and I am more than willing to get that practice in.

So I do hope you'll join me in this culinary adventure. I hope you'll perhaps share your favourite recipes, or tips and tricks with me. I hope that perhaps in one year or two years time, I'll be whipping up homemade dishes on a regular basis and feeling more confident than ever in my abilities to create food that I will enjoy and take pride in. Be careful though, it might get a little bit messy...

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