Thursday, 2 July 2009

Thursday 2 July 2009: A slight break in the kitchen

Sarah and my heart just left for Brisbane last night, but luckily I’ll get both back in five weeks time when I join them. This also has consequences for this secret, or soon to be not so secret, blog :) What it means is that the end of a chapter has arrived in this covert blog’s young existence, a sort of coming of age, as the cooking which will so gratefully be blogged about will not be from our checker-floored kitchen at 140 Dien Bien Phu, Saigon. Instead, the salivating smells and sound of sizzling will emanate somewhere from an apartment in Brisbane – hopefully without the masses of cockroaches (mostly dead or dying) and elusive mice that die in the sink and then miraculously disappear. Also, it means that there will be a temporary break from diarising Sarah’s cooking exploits until we are reunited. I also plan on documenting the dishes in picture form, which will add an extra element. Until then au revoir and bon appetit (or born up a tree as my sister says) for now!

In a hospitable kitchen in a freezing Pokhara, Nepal

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Monday 15 June 2009: Vegetarian Lasagne

Oh it’s been a while. We had the best vegetarian lasagne last night (and this morning, I couldn’t help stealing a cold slice from the fridge). The “meat” of the lasagna was made of lentils, garlic, chopped onion, green or red pepper, tomatoes and tomato paste, chopped celery, zucchini, and olive oil and dried oregano. Again, Sarah experimented as she couldn’t get ricotta cheese for the white sauce (I believe the term is b├ęchamel? bleh) so she used a mix of normal cheddar. She’s really waxing the white sauce bit, which is really hard because you have to get the temperature and stirring technique just right otherwise the consistency turns into a pubescent British teenager’s face, all lumpy and pale. For the cheesy top she used a pizza topping mix (mozzarella and cheddar) which was perfectly crunchy and gooey, again hard to get right as we have a very shallow baking oven but all I could do was droooooool again and wolf it down. Nyumnyum.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Monday May 4 2009: Depression Stew

We just came back from holiday, and as you can see from the date it wasn’t “tomorrow”, like I promised. Anyways – let me get into the Depression Stew. There’s this wonderful food blog called “The Wednesday Chef”, which has become one of Sarah’s favourite online haunts since her discovery of these digital food resources. Anyways, The Wednesday Chef has been kind enough in these troubled and miserable times in which we live to provide us with the Depression Stew.

Here’s the recipe reblogged:

“The base recipe: Saute a chopped onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until translucent, then add a sliced carrot (amounts are to be changed as needed). When these have cooked together for another minute, add a can of diced tomatoes, and herbs. When the flavours have melded nicely and the stew has reduced a bit, about 15-20 minutes, add a box of frozen baby lima beans. Cook, covered, until heated through, and serve. Vary as you'd like, and enjoy."

Serve with warm, crusty bread to mop up with.

So this is Sarah's version (drrroooool):

2 small onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 ½ medium-sized potatoes, cubed
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 tspn brown onion powder (from Henno’s Ma in SA)
1 tspn dried basil
2 dessert spoons fresh thyme
1 tspn fresh rosemary
1 can red kidney beans
shaved parmesan cheese

As you can see, I’ve started getting all fancy ‘n shite woith posting recipes 'n things. Not bad huh?
See that part about “mop up with crusty bread”? Sarah went one step better. We ate the stew the one night but there was just enough left the next day for one of us, so what did she do? The next night when I got home she had ordered a large Al Fresco’s Gourmet Vegetarian Pizza, warm yummy goodness with all kinds of veggies on it. She heated the chunky, hearty stew, which by now had sucked in all the flavours overnight and dumped it all over the pizza. Now that’s how you make food stretch during a depression. If only those Yanks had her around back in the 1920s and 1930s! Therw would've been none of that jumping from buildings and things, and if their was, they would've landed safely in pools of their own drool!

Oh what wonderful food we ate on holiday! It was a joyous occasion not seen since the likes of the feast of St Someone back in the Holy Days where all those ridiculously dressed geezers ate great hunks of animals with their bare hands and gulped down ale till they all puked and passed out on the feasting tables. We didn’t exactly do that but we did stuff ourselves royally, historically and joyously. We managed to fit in a cooking course in Hoi An as well, I haven’t really managed to put it into words yet. It’s all written down in Sarah “real” cooking diary. I’ll get to that one day. Possibly when she’s back in Australia without me for 5 weeks and I get all nostalgic.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Monday 13 April 2009: Apologies and bad excuses

Bloody hell it’s been a long time. I apologize sincerely. Since my last entry, there have been so many yummy things to post about: The Depression Stew, the pastas, the stir-fries, the soups…I can go on. But I need to think back and make a proper entry. Things have been getting pretty hectic as Sarah has discovered foodie blogs. What a blessing, as a whole new world of possibilities have opened up. She’s started copying down recipes from her favourite blogs and trying them. Dips, Indian food, stews, again I can continue but give me time.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Tuesday 05 August 2008: Fly my little feathered friends!

Chicken wings, mate. What more should I say? Dunked in honey, soya sauce, freshly squeezed lime juice, a squirt of orange juice, a bit of mayo for thickening, ground black pepper and coriander, these dripping beauties splashed around in the marinade for a day in the fridge and then hit the oven that evening. With a nice side salad and a few more buttery hot bread rolls, the marinated, sticky wings really hit the spot. Yum.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sunday 03 August 2008: Laksa

It’s laksa time! I think Sarah got the original recipe from her Thai cookbook, but spiced it up a little (excuse the low-grade pun) in her own style, adding a little here, reducing a little there, until it was what she proclaimed her best dish to date (which actually says a lot because she’s so damn modest about her cooking and doesn’t know how to take a compliment about it!). It starts with the fragrant stuff: chopped ginger, onion, lemongrass, chilli, garlic and galangal – the ginger lookalike that stains everything it touches a deep yellow, so Sarah’s hands ended looking like she had an advanced case of TB or had been chain-smoking a pack of French filter cigarettes for twenty years! Add some chopped spring onions and curry paste and it’s on. She turned this yummy base into a delicious, yellow, creamy curry laksa after adding a can of coconut milk. She chopped a block of tofu into chunks, stirred them in and topped it off with bean sprouts and fresh coriander leaves and some roughly torn basil leaves. Add some baking hot buttered baby bread rolls for dunking and viola, couldn’t have asked for more.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sunday 22 July 2008: Liquorice all-sorts

It’s been a while since I’ve update this secret diary, not for lack of cooking on Sarah’s part, or lack of eating on either of our part, but due to my own inherent laziness. This weekend was a bit of a messy one and I was feeling a bit under the weather, nursing my self-inflicted physical and mental wounds on the couch, while Sarah was toiling away in the kitchen (I still feel kinda bad about that). I don’t know how she did it because she couldn’t have been feeling much better than I did. Anyways, she came up with something really good.
Now, I like a fat juicy steak as much as most South Africans (or Australians for that matter), and wouldn’t naturally flick to the vegetarian section of a menu, but this veg meal was awesome. In my torrid state, my only job was to mash potatoes (which I messed up wholeheartedly – the mash was more like milky porridge peppered with olive-size cancer tumours). Sarah, on the other hand, totally outdid herself. She hollowed out some eggplants (the skinny, long Vietnamese kind, not the fatter Western variety) and then mixed up and fried some chopped onions, tomatoes, capsicum, pine nuts (yum), garlic, fresh coriander and the innards of the eggplants and laid it out nicely inside the skin. Supposedly you’re suppose to use parmesan, which we didn’t have, so Sarah substituted it with cheddar, which was grated, sprinkled over the top and baked in the oven. When it came out, it looked so good, really visually appealing with the different colours and the layering inside the eggplant skin. It was also super tasty, exactly what I needed in my degraded state of being. The best part was that we also got to eat it again the next day!