Me, Myself and I

On this page I would like to chat a little more about myself, what I love and what I don't.  I never really know where to start so the safe option is a name.  I am known as Zoë and I was born in Southampton where I grew up with my mum, dad and sister for eighteen years before I uprooted myself to go learn useful things such independence and cheese whittling in Oxford.  I attended Oxford Brookes University for four years and now hold a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology.  Oxford holds a multitude of fond memories for me as it is the place I met some of my closest friends, it taught me to dance, to cook, to live and showed me what it meant to follow Christ.


I remember my first year and the excitement of learning how to cook from scratch for myself.  I recall the days of believing that a single vegetable counted as 1 of my five-a-day, be it a tomato or aubergine (luckily I never bought a marrow)...  Fortunately I learnt pretty fast this wasn't the case and so continued my exploration of cooking at a more reasonable standard.  Moving out held a lot of excitement, not just because I got to cook what I wanted, but also because I could start my life as a vegetarian.  I don't claim my reasons to become one as purely ethical as let's be honest, where does one draw the line?  I do however have an issue with the over-consumption of meat leading to over-farming and production of greenhouse gases and the destruction of the tropical rainforests.  "Soy beans also destroy rainforests" I hear you scream and yes I acknowledge that.  Legumes though take less land and water and produce less carbon emissions, but equally I would love for soy beans and their equivalent to become more local but until such a time I choose the friendlier legume as the lesser of two evils. 


My passion for food grew as I progressed through the university years, as I excitedly filled my cupboards gradually with dried porcini, sundried tomatoes, herbs and spices.  Then came various pastas, rice and seasoning such as miso, sea vegetables and interesting foods such as tinned artichokes.  These days I panic if I don't have at least 4 cans of tomatoes sitting in my cupboard ready to be made into a chilli or red wine tomato sauce.  The discovery of the Gloucester Green Wednesday market was wonderful, I still go there for most of my fresh produce today.  The colourful stalls are stacked full of fresh fruit and vegetables of the season and priced with poverty-stricken students in mind.  Usually I cruise on down with my housemate on our bicycles and we leave the square laden down with fresh produce precariuosly stacked onto our mounts ready for the long and laborious trip home.  Why put ourselves through this? I hear you ask, well anyone who has been to Oxford will realise that the main mode of transport is to cycle or walk, buses are over-priced, unreliable and I personally end up stressed, hot and tired by the time I get home.  At least on a bike I end up equally hot but not stressed and I can honestly say I've been a good person for today as I have done this thing the Governement likes to promote called "exercise".


I am proud to say that since moving out, I have not bought a packaged meal and can count the number or take outs I have on one hand excluding thumb.  I just never understood the point of them - or maybe I do, but I have never felt the need to turn to one for sustenance.  Time in the kitchen is a treat for me, a time to relax and flow into the soothing act of preparing a hearty meal.  Good food to me is not about whatever can be cooked fastest, nor is it one which is complex and full of exotically alien ingredients, or branded delicacies.  Good food to me is a homemade fish pie, a herby lasagne, a warming bowl of soup, a bite into a ripe and juicy apricot...  I see you get me.  Pleasure to me is the act of chopping up herbs, smelling the aromas in a kitchen before dinner time, drinking wine with friends and the feeling I have after consuming a meal with sustenance.  With that I hope you enjoy perusing my blog and following me as I continue my explorations.