The other post today was pretty short so I’m going to write s’more, because I feel like I’m short changing you somehow. To avoid the usual boring posts about how I’ve been abducted by aliens and am drinking my 33rd coffee of the day, I thought I would tell you what I did last night. I made an Irish dinner. None of the dishes were Irish.
“Why the hell you call it that then you fool!” I hear you shout at me through your screens. Well, shouty-face, numero uno, I cannot hear you as you haven’t turned on your mic, and numero dos it was because of the colour scheme, which I suppose means it could also have been an Indian dinner. That’s right, last night dinner was green, white and orange. We had chicken in pesto crust, creamy white mushroom sauce, and steamed carrots. Not that I’m amazing or anything but I also baked a ginger loaf. Yep, I’m pretty awesome at kitchen stuff. Big woop , I know. But you know what, I like cooking, I like seeing something being built from its base ingredients into something new and different. I guess I get a mini version of the kick architects get when they’re design is built, or how politicians feel when they’ve sucked a country dry. It gives me a high of elation, knowing that I made this, that without me, it would only be worth the sum of its parts, but due to me it is much much more than that.
Cooking in my opinion has been best described on film by one little digital animation company called Pixar. I am of the opinion that ‘Ratatouille’ explains my perspective on cooking and cuisine perfectly. “Anyone can cook”, but not everybody can cook. Subtle difference.
Anyway all this to give you my two ‘in-a-jam’ recipes, ie the ones I know off by heart, having said that I usually improv. But sometimes you do need certain measurements to acquire certain things, once you get the hang of recipes you can pretty much add or subtract anything as you get to be a better judge of consistency etc.
The first is a stew, which goes by the supercilious name of Boeuf Stroganov
2 cups Beef strips
1 tsp oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar/ red wine/ martini rosso
2 cups diced mushroom (if you hate mushroom use something else)
1 large potato diced finely
1 carrot diced finely
3-6 tsp paprika ( I love the stuff but if you don’t, don’t add it)
1 tsp rosemary
1 cup cream (the liquid kind, if you only have solid use half a cup and fill the rest with milk or water, soy milk works too)
Salt and pepper to taste
First get some decent beef, cut it into thin strips, around a two cups should do. Then throw the beef into a sandwich bag a quarter full with flour and with a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Shake it. Shake it , like a Polaroid picture. When the strips are all covered you have succeeded, have a glass of wine/ beer.
Next finely dice all your veggies. Toss the onions, vinegar and mushrooms in with a tsp of oil and fry them in a deep-ish pan or saucepan (big enough for stew), until they glisten and smell good. Don’t let them burn. When you’ve done this have a celebratory glass of wine/ beer.
Add the beef and rosemary to the pot, lower the heat and wait until everything is looking less pink. Have a glass of wine/beer.
Pour a cup of water into the pot and add the other veggies. When all the veggies are nearly fully cooked, DO NOT let them become mushy yet (and the water mostly gone- a sort of gravy should remain) you have succeeded. Have a pint of wine/ cask of beer.
At this point you add the cream and paprika, and stir until you can’t resist anymore or the beef is cooked all the way through. Celebrate by drinking a wine cellar/ beer brewery dry, then eat.
So that’s basically the ‘recipe’ I know tip to tail. All variations are welcome.
My next one is my Mom’s Walnut Cake, obviously if you are allergic to nuts, eff you.
¾ cup/175g margarine
1 ½ cups/175g castor sugar
2 cups/225g plain flour
1 and half level teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 eggs beaten up until they cry for their Mommies
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup/ 75 g chopped walnuts
Mix all the ingredients well- preferably in a mixer, cement mixer if you have one. If no mixer, mix with
wooden spoon in large bowl or saucepan and build up your upper body strength. Start with margarine and sugar, then add flour or everything will explode. Backing Powder and salt should be added, continue mixing (hard work but if you were smart you would have a peon making this for you). Then add eggs, the consistency should be of latent napalm, do not make any sudden movements, but mix well. Lastly stir in nuts. Hehehehe nuts!
Place mixture delicately in a 7inch round greased or non-sick tin – preferably line the bottom with greaseproof paper cut to size. Or create a casket to bury your cake in. Bake in centre of preheated oven Gas Mark 3, 150C or 320F or for 1 and half to one and three-quarter hours.
Take it out of the furnace BUT leave it in its tin for around quarter-hour to make it think about what’s done. Then turn it out, into the streets alone and unloved. Let cake cool before making icing.
Coffee fudge icing stuff to go on top (and if you like inside)
¼ cup/50g margarine
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups/225g icing sugar
Few drops coffee essence or otherwise mix two teaspoons instant coffee with
one tablespoon water and only use two tablespoons milk rather than 3.
Cook slowly in saucepan. Keep stirring until smooth and boiling slightly.
Place in cool place – perhaps outside on window ledge and beat up every five
minutes until it begins to stiffen up. Now stick it on top of cake and smooth out with back of a fork or samurai sword.
Decorate with a few half walnuts. Don’t die of anaphylactic shock.
Well I hope that these will inspire you guys to go and make a hearty meal on this cold-as-f*ck day. Enjoy!