Brisbane News columnist Alicia Pyke. Photo: Russell Shakespeare/AAP
Brisbane News columnist Alicia Pyke. Photo: Russell Shakespeare/AAP

Tips for cooking for one, how I feel like Nigella Lawson

Have I mentioned I'm living on my own at the moment?

With Guy working overseas for a few months, it's just me and the cat, CJ.

She's excellent company, and I've lived alone before, but that was nearly two decades ago, when I was more likely to be out working or socialising than at home.

Now that I'm doing the mature-age student thing and working from home, spending lots of time in on my own is the new norm.

Living alone isn't unusual of course. The last census found almost a quarter of us do it, and that number is growing.

At a time when the possibility of having a federal minister for loneliness gets raised every few months (the UK has one after all), living alone often gets a very bad rap.

But for many of us, it can be a highly enjoyable way to live. Even if it's only for a few months, like me.

Brisbane News columnist Alicia Pyke. Photo: Russell Shakespeare/AAP
Brisbane News columnist Alicia Pyke. Photo: Russell Shakespeare/AAP

It does, however, require some major adjustments, particularly in the kitchen.

Here's what I'm learning.

Cooking for one just isn't fun.

Guy is a very enthusiastic supporter of my cooking (plus, he cleans the kitchen) and I miss his compliments.

These are often sweetly reminiscent of the dad in The Castle's famous, "What do you call this, love? Rissoles?" routine, which makes us both crack up.

Everything tastes better served with a side of laughter.

Always buy yummy things in jars.

Ravenous? Haven't been to the shops for days? Need to put something on a plate and eat right now? Open a few jars of preserved veges - olives, pickled cucumbers, artichoke hearts, sauerkraut - check if there's a ripe tomato or avocado in the fruit bowl, drizzle it all with olive oil and add cheese. Instant hunger-busting smugness is mine.

Firing up the barbecue to sear a steak is not only deliciously acceptable, it keeps the kitchen splashback grease-free and reduces the washing up. Permission to grill granted!

The freezer is my friend.

When I do cook, I upsize it for leftovers.

Not just enough for tomorrow's dinner, but to freeze for a couple of uni lunches too. This culinary organisation makes me feel Nigella Lawson-esque while queuing to use the campus microwaves (weirdly clean, in case you're curious).

Step aside, junior, my roast pork belly with caramelised fennel and cauliflower rice needs reheating.