Saturday, 27 November 2010

When life gives you lemons...

... preserve them. Lemons, salt, peppercorns, bayleaves, star anise, water in some preserving jars.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A Boozy Stew

It started off with thoughts of red wine and red wine alone. This was to be my main ingredient.

A kind of Mediterranean stew

red wine
brown lentils
cannelini beans
1.5 cans of tomatoes
black olives (pitted) 
sundried tomatoes
onion and garlic cooked in olive oil
a dab of mustard
fresh roughly chopped parsley (added at the last minute)

No salt was added to this dish, as the sundried tomatoes and olives had plenty. The fresh parsley is important as it cuts through the richness and the salt.

No dumplings, potatoes or bread for this stew, just grilled polenta squares, to which I had added smoked paprika, bouillon powder and chopped sundried tomato pieces while it was in the porridge stage.

I used the stove-top to cook this, not realising that I could have made it as a casserole.

I have realised the food I cook is "feminine". Its function is not to bedazzle upon first glance, but to satisfy. It also tends to warm, comfort, nourish and sustain. I do sometimes wish the food I made were more "masculine", e.g. make fancy stacks of things with skid marks of sauce, or beautiful tiny things jewelled with even tinier feathery dewy things and painstaking detail, but the appearance of food is not my passion. The first bite may be with the eye, but where I can, I try to give the nose a head start.

One other thing before I go, it was Eid-ul-Adha recently. It reminded me of a Sudanese colleague an at old workplace of mine telling me that for Eid where she was from, a sheep or lamb is killed and cooked out in the street. The resulting food is given out to any passers by who aren't fortunate enough to have their own, and I thought how nice it was that people share their food without making such a big fuss about doing it. It has more Christmas spirit than Christmas in this country seems to have where we are all holed up, only interacting with a small group of people as we stuff our faces with mince pies and Quality Street.