Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Vegetable hate

Right now, while reading TV recaps, I am eating lucnh. Which is mainly, pureed carrots and potatoes. Seriously, a vegetable puree. Baby food. I hate vegetables. I'll eat the occasional leafy green if it's cooked properly and not mushy as hell, but other than that, the vegetable has to be disguised in some way in order for me to eat it and not gag. Funny isn' t it? And the lack of veggies, is making em sick. So one of my newest quirks is now to make pureed vegetables and just eat the whole baby foodish lot. I like baby food. Alot. So well, hey, whatever works, right? So far my two favourites have been broccoli potato and carrot potato. Potatoes rock, they make everything taste better. Right, now that I'e finished my five minuts of daily grossing out, it's back to the normal program.

Monday, July 11, 2005

You didn't think I'd have a blog and not do a meme, did you?

Got this off Chocolate and Zucchini.

The Cook Next Door Meme
What is your first memory of baking /cooking on you own?

My grandmother's kitchen in the old house where they lived. Her housekeeper was teaching me how to fry an egg. I remember adding alot of pepper to it.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?

Uh, my grandmothers, both of them. I learnt alot of things from my dad that my paternal grandma made and I started being interested in my maternal grandma's cooking after she died. My dad. Occasionally my mother. But now, mostly stuff from cookbooks that my dad has and also, veg*n cookbooks and chefs. And the internet. Also, Nigella Lawson, her style of cooking anyway.

Do you have an old photo as 'evidence' of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?

No pictures, no one considered a little girl learning to cook as something to be photographed, it was more of that 'good, learn to cook and do your duty' kind of mentality in my mom's extended family.

Mageiricophobia-Do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?

Mmmm. Alot of dishes. 'Traditional' family dishes, chiffon or sponge cakes and also, veg*n cooking, it somehow never turns out well the first time.

What would be you most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?

Most valued. My Grandma's wok. Funny thing to say, but yes, alot of memories are stuck to it and it's cast iron. Most used, the sillicon baking pan I bought, man, it's good. Biggest letdown would be, the funny foam creator thing my mom bought, one AA battery lasted like, five minutes, it made some bubbles in the soymilk, is all.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like-and probably no one else!

Mmmm. Tofu and chocolate pudding. Only people I know who like it are veg*ns who I meet online, everyone else here thinks it's weird, which is funny, considering how common tofu is. Also, when I was younger, this tuna/egg/kraft cheese combination which I nuked for a minute in the microwave. Ew. And eggs poached in light sugar syrup the way my dad taught me.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without.

Wanton noodles with the chilii sauce thing but non of the dead animals. Tempeh goreng. Chocolate!

Your favorite ice-cream.

Mint chip ice-cream and lemon gelato.

You'll probably never eat...

That strange thing my dad makes with fermented rice wine something which is a sick shade of red and has chicken and glass noodles in it. The chicken is boiled so it turns this sick shade of white before taking on a strange hue of red which renders it red but at the same time keeps the original shade of sick white. Blergh!

A common ingredient you just can't bring yourself to stomach

Onions from Subway. The last time I ate them was before I fell sick with gastritis and puked the whole night. Everytime I smell them, I just feel sick all over again.

Which one culture's food would you most like to sample on home turf?

Everything! Haha. Ok, fine, maybe say, something European, that's about as specific as I can get because I want to experience the food culture everywhere.

Any signs that this passion is going slightly over the edge and may need intervention?

Uh, no, because if it stopped, I'd be aneroxic. And depressed. And then I'd need intervention.

Any embarassing eating habits?

Aside from snapping photos of food at Club Chinos? Uh, maybe developing food cravings because I just saw someone eat it on TV or a movie or in a book.

Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?

OMG. Anyone from the Millemium resturant or the Candle Cafe!

Who's your favorite food writer?

I dunno, I really like them all.

Three people to pass this along to.

Eh, the Goddess, the Genius and maybe my sister. It'd be funky to see how they respond to this.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Birthday disasters

So I turned 19. The big 1-9. It was not a good birthday by any definition. Things were not going well in my life and I didn't really feel like celebrating. So what does a person do when she does not feel like celebrating? She bakes.

There was a recipe for a red velvet cake posted on chocolate and zucchini and seeing the lovely picture of the cupcake there, I knew I had to have the cake for my birthday, red cake, white frosting and heart shaped sprinkles. I nicely nicknamed the cake 'The Hannibal lecter Cake' for it's bloody coloring. The cake turned out well, interestingly. Apart from being the moistest cake I've ever baked (Thank you tofu sour cream), it was a weird bloody shade of red, which suited me fine, but had a metallic after taste from the coloing, which did not suit me at all. And it gave me a stomach upset. Out it went.

So into the picture came the Bacteria Rod cake. Do you see a theme here? I got the idea for the Bacteria Rod cake from the veg*n forums. The Bacteria Rod cake is actually a coffetti cake which is white cake with rainbow sprinkles stirred in. And because the rainbow sprinkles look like bacteria rods, wll, that's how the cake got named. Anyway, both cakes turned out funny. The bacteria rod was decent while the hannibal lecter was weird. I'm gonna try again. One day.

By the way, you can totally tell I'm high now, can't ya? ;)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Comfort food: Spaghetti Aglio Olio

Having spent the last week in heartbreak, tears and not eating at all because of 'emotional turmoil' (Oh the drama of teen life, even in the late teens.), I've only started eating. By 'started eating', I mean maybe one proper meal a day. And most of the time, that meal is spaghetti Aglio Olio.

For some reason, spaghetti always remains a firm favorite of mine. Maybe it's because in this Atkins crazed times, it's nice to be non-conformist and adore my carbs, especially in the form of pasta. Maybe it's that spaghetti was one of the first foods I learnt to cook in high school and it because the default dish for Home Ec. tests. Maybe it's just that it's pasta. And I love pasta. So the last few days, the garlic and chilies have been crying for mercy. There's something wonderfully carthatic about preparing the ingredients. First, the garlic is to be peeled, smashed with the dull side of a knife and chopped into a mince. Then the chilli padi to be deseeded and chopped. For someone with a broken and disappointed heart, all that smashing and chopping helps. A lot. Even more than a therapist ever could. And then the spaghetti is put to boil. After that, it is drained, the pot is wiped dry and the olive oil poured in, heated and the garlic and chopped chilli thrown in and cooked until I can smell something. I would then salt the mixture to death, as the combination of pasta and olive oil can get scarily bland. The spaghetti is thrown in, along with chopped, dried cilantro and stirred until it's all mixed up nicely. And this is all enjoyed in my comfy clothes in front of the computer or TV while agonizing over if someone is going to prove me right and disappoint the hell out of me or if he will prove the skeptic in me wrong. But the skeptic has been proven right, so it's another few days of spaghetti Aglio Olio for me.

Spaghetti Aglio Olio
Spaghetti for one person
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 chilli padis (Depending on how much of a heat freak you are)
2 tbsp olive oil
Generous pinches of salt
Chopped dried cilantro or coriander leaves

The amount of garlic and olive oil used is dependent on how much spaghetti you use. Play it by the ear.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fast dinner

So the finals are finally over and you would think that with so much time on my sadly unmanicured hands, I would be arsed to make dinners like I used to. No such luck, my friend. With all the time on my hands, I am now even more determined to live the ultimate college student lifestyle completey with the crappy diet of beer, chips and stringy salads. Except that I don't like stringy salads. So it's been instant noodles, chips and Indian. And eventually, the practical side of me steps in and goes all "No, this can't go on, you'll die of malnutrition or stomach cancer if you keep eating like that."

Ok, so maybe I got sick of instant Tom Yum noodles with egg and frozen peas. You would too if you've been eating them for lunch and dinner continously for three fricking days.

So I figure I would revive one of my favourites foods on earth. Pasta. More specifically, spaghetti with tomato sauce. My past attempts to freeze pasta sauce has never ended well for anyone. The sauce froze in large blocks which were too much for one serving of pasta and it never really got used. I had been toying with the idea of freezing pasta sauce in ice cube trays like some people do with baby fod and I figured that if the sauce didn't have too much solids in it, it'll be pretty freezable.

Freezer Friendly Pasta Sauce:
1 large onion, chopped to bits.
1 small can tomato paste.
3 cans of chopped tomatoes in juice.
Olive Oil
Salt, sugar* and black pepper

Heat oil in a large pan. Fry onion until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well and simmer. Season with salt, sugar and black pepper.

Spoon the sauce into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, store in plastic bags for future use. To use pasta sauce, throw frozen cubes into a pan, let the sauce melt. Add seasonings and other ingredients. Top pasta.

* A little sugar takes the sour edge off the tomatoes and allows the salt to do it's work.

Also, I some how found the frozen sauce cubes very, very tasty. Yum. tomatoe sauce popsicles. Just when you thought I couldn't get any grosser.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Carrot fries. Hmmmm.

He is not going to be in class early today. Which means I don't have to scramble to get out of the house by 12. Which meant that when I woke up at 10.30 this morning, I had plenty of time to make breakfast. And make breakfast, I did. I love fry-ups. The really greasy, starchy, heart-attack inducing kind of fry-ups. The kinds which Dr. Atkins will look at and faint because of the amount of carbs present. But carbs are not evil. Carbs are my best friend. Well, not just because I'll get all shaky and cold if I don't eat enough carbs, but because they're just so damned good. And an essential carb in every fry-up I make, is fries. Golden, crispy, potato fries. The secret to making decent fries is to boil the potato whole. See, the potato gets boiled and so it's all soft and mealy. Then you slice it into fries and pop it in the pan or oven, coat it with some olive oil and let it brown. It's easier and well, healthier than having to fill the whole damned deep fryer full of oil. And maybe safer as well morning I made not only potato fries but carrot fries as well. You ca make fries out of any root vegetable. As long as it can hold up to frying, it can be made into a fry. Hee.

Serves 1(I know, I know. But hey, I live all by my lonesome.)
1 egg(unless you prefer tofu scramble, then substitute as you wish)
4 very thin slices of firm tofu, patted dry on paper towel. Store the remaining tofu in a container of water in the fridge.
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke(Cold Storage sells that stuff.)
Any regular old cooking oil, NOT olive oil.

Mix soy sauce and liquid smoke on a plate. Add another teaspoonful of water and stir it properly. Coat tofu in that mixture and let it sit in there for about 10-15 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry the egg or tofu scramble. Put on a plate. Add more oil to the pan and put the slices of tofu into the pan. If there's any more marinade in the plate, feel free to sprinkle it on the TOFU, not the oil. Fry the tofu until it is crispy and brown and sort of resembles bacon. You've just made tofu bacon.

Vegetable fries
1 potato, scrubbed clean.
1 Carrot, peeled.
Any other damned vegetable you like.
Olive oil
salt and black pepper
Italian seasoning or other seasoning mixes of your choice.

Peel the potato if you don't like potato skin, otherwise, scrub it very well and leave the skin be. Put the potato into a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes or until a fork can pierce the potato easily. Drain the potato and slice into thick fries. Slice the carrots into fries as well. Put the carrots in the pan and drizzle olive oil over it and toss to coat. Let it sit on the fire for a while before adding the potatoes and tossing with some more oil. Cook, stirring and doing whatever with the spatula until everything is nice and brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and seasonings.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rainy afternoons and mango jam.

This afternoon was a rainy and boring one. I woke up from a nap after an assault on the supermarket and steaming and freezing vegetables earlier on. So somewhere between trying to figure out what to do and staring at the state of my fridge in despair, I realized that I had two mangoes which were all ready to go horribly bad if I didn't use them soon. The best thing to do when there are two of the mangoes and one of you is to turn it all into jam. Anyway, the mangoes were kind of sketchy looking all brown and spotted and slightly wrinkled. Not exactly prime eating out of hand condition.

Anyway, for a mango jam, dice up two medium sized mangoes, just slice it in any way possible when it comes to the seed. Measure out to mangoes and add an equal amount of sugar to it, or less if you're anything like me. Stir the whole lot until the mangoes are coated in sugar. Let it sit for an hour. When the hour is up, bring it to a boil on low flame and bring it to a boil, stirring ever so often. Skim off any foam that might turn up. Keep stirring and boiling for about fifteen minutes or maybe a little more. Chill a plate in the freezer and drop a little bit of jam on the plate. When it sets, the jam is ready. If not, just keep cooking and testing until the jam sets. Pour boiling water over a glass jar and its cover. Dry it well and spoon the hot jam into it. Cover and let it cool. I store my jam in the fridge because well, this is the tropics and I'm paranoid about nasty bacteria. The chilled plate idea came from Clotilde on Chocolateandzucchini.com