Hugh's kitchen adventures in 2019

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Hugh's kitchen adventures in 2019

Jan 6, 2019, 9:28 am

I much prefer this idea of MrsLee's to the way I first interpreted the "cooking challenge" thread: either prepare so many meals in a set time (lousy idea because sh*t happens) or prepare a specific meal at a specific time (I am far too undisciplined to see the point). So here will be any meals I happen to feel like crowing about -- and anything else I think of commenting on.

Jan 6, 2019, 9:35 am

The other day I found a new book in the library and brought it home; so new that LT evidently hadn't heard of it as of a few minutes ago when I added it to my "read but unowned" list. It's Curry: stories and recipes from across South Africa by one Ishay Govender-Ypma -- I'll try to get a touchstone to work in a few days' time. The concept is maybe not as strange as it may at first seem. For one thing, Durban is known to be the largest Indian city outside India, and Cape Town has a large community of Indonesian / Malay extraction, dating back to the days of the Dutch East India Company.

Anyway, the other day I made up a chicken curry the author of this tome harvested from a Nigerian living in Polokwane. I liked it, though the family were less thrilled; they can't tolerate even a modest degree of heat.

Jan 6, 2019, 10:36 am

>2 hfglen:. I look forward to reading about your adventures!

Living with a family of heat haters, I know how it is to every now and then make a delicious recipe the way it should be. Nice thing is, you don't have to share.

Jan 6, 2019, 10:40 am

Curry: stories and recipes from across South Africa

You can use the work number and two colons to get a touchstone.
21567348::Curry: stories and recipes from across South Africa

Jan 6, 2019, 11:22 am

>4 MarthaJeanne: You learn a new thing every day! I was planning to wait a day or 2 until LT updates itself and then use the usual square brackets. Many thanks for a potentially very useful piece of information.

Jan 6, 2019, 11:57 am

>2 hfglen: Oh, my. South Africa is a bit too far for me to find a way to drop in. I really *love* curry, and am happy with a bit of heat. I used to make my own curry, in the very long and distant past, but I am very sad that I cannot visit. I don't think that book is recently published, though. That looks (I checked on Amazon) like a ten-digit ISBN, in addition to the fancy 13. I could buy it, if I wanted to surrender $80 and change (from third party sellers).

I love all these separate threads about what folks are cooking. :-}

Jan 6, 2019, 1:34 pm

>6 Lyndatrue: Hmmmz. Yes, you are rather the other end of earth from Durban. The colophon in the book lists it as a 2017 publication, with no sign of a 10-digit ISBN. It looks expensive, and weighs a ton. This is where the local library is a blessing.

Jan 12, 2019, 4:48 am

Last night's offering was Daube Provençal, from Elizabeth David's ancient (i.e.early 50s) French Country Cooking. I wonder if the fact that the book was assembled just after the end of post-war shortages and rationing, and (de-)tuned to English tastes -- these trained by Mrs Beeton and the said rationing to grey and awful food, contributes to the accessibility of these recipes? Very few unicorn ingredients (despite the fact that olive oil was bought by the ounce from the chemist at the time), and decidedly edible results.

Learning experience: I hadn't realised until I carried out the instructions in this recipe, that the vapours above boiling wine will burn if lit.

Jan 12, 2019, 10:01 am

>8 hfglen: Your last sentence sounds ominous. I hope the lighting was intentional and no eyebrows were damaged in the test?

Jan 12, 2019, 12:19 pm

The lighting was intentional, using a fire-lighter with a relatively long handle. Neither eyebrows nor anything else were harmed.

Jan 12, 2019, 12:19 pm

First time I ever flambéed anything, I spent ten minutes convincing myself I was not going to burn down the house.

Jan 12, 2019, 12:28 pm

Er, yes, well. I can visualise that if you used brandy or another spirit at 43% alcohol, but red wine at 14%? That's what surprised me.

Jan 12, 2019, 12:47 pm

In my senior apt building (for seniors -- the building's only 30 years old) there are fire suppressant gizmos built in to the range hood, so I think any flambeing will have to happen on a hot plate on the other side of the room.

Jan 12, 2019, 1:12 pm

I see the management's logic, but clearly they never expected to house a gourmet chef. Of course if you have guests you could maybe flambé at the dining table.

Jan 12, 2019, 4:31 pm

>14 hfglen: My apt is so tiny, I don't even have a table! It does keep me from getting too many kitchen gadgets, though -- nowhere to put much of anything.

Jan 15, 2019, 1:23 pm

A book I'm browsing has a poultry section that reminds me of a good (alas now deceased) friend; one of his better stories deserves re-telling in present company. Dave and his missus were touring in Madagascar -- by public transport, as Dave never acquired a drivers' licence -- and arrived one lunch time in a village in the middle of nowhere. The only visible place to get a meal was a hotel of sorts, so Dave went in to check the possibilities. The young lady in the reception area was most helpful: "Oui Monsieur. Voulez-vous du poulet ou de porc?" Dave chose chicken, and retreated to the verandah with a beer. Not too long afterwards, all hell broke loose. The reason why soon became evident, as a chicken came running for dear life around the corner of the building, screaming blue murder. Followed closely by the young lady who had taken the order, waving a machete. They got their lunch, and to the day he died Dave wondered what would have happened if he'd asked for pork. At least the chicken was fresh ...

Jan 15, 2019, 5:35 pm

>16 hfglen: LOL. That did not happen! No way. That's way too funny to be true! Now I'm going to have visions of chickens screaming blue murder.

Jan 16, 2019, 8:59 am

Sadly I wasn't there to watch, but knowing Dave's capacity for getting into ridiculous situations, it's all too credible. He also loved Madagascar (or indeed anywhere away from "civilization"), and displayed a remarkable talent for getting into and out of scrapes there.

Jan 16, 2019, 9:34 am

>16 hfglen: Somehow that reminds me of a Three Stooges movie! One about "hotdogs." :D

Jan 16, 2019, 9:50 am

Dave shared a lot of genes with the Three Stooges :)

Jan 26, 2019, 3:41 pm

Made blomkoolbredie (cauliflower bredie) last night; a traditional Cape Malay recipe. Any bredie involves fatty lamb, a potato or 2, maybe a chilli, and whatever vegetable is the star of the show. This was a whole lot paler than the tomato bredie that everybody here knows (it would be), but no less flavourful. Reading a few pages on in the books, I was interested that Hilda Gerber's informants in Traditional Cookery of the Cape Malays (1949) list carrot bredie as a dish for the wake after a funeral, and so give quantities that would feed a small army, but the much more recent My Cape Malay Kitchen by Cariema Isaacs makes no mention of funerals and offers quantities only enough for about 4 eaters.

Jan 27, 2019, 3:01 pm

A firm complaint from out kitchen. Mr Inky Mistoffelees is deeply upset at the way his pet hoomins fail to observe the unwritten first step in any recipe: FIRST FEED THE CAT! Good heavens, within the last half hour he came in, emptied the dishwasher, made coffee and totally failed to feed the cat, claiming to have fed the cat a scant hour earlier. Should he phone the SPCA?

Jan 27, 2019, 10:17 pm

*gasps* Cat abuse! Dereliction of duty! 40 lashes with a wet noodle!

Jan 28, 2019, 9:26 am

>22 hfglen: Honestly, what were you thinking?

Jan 28, 2019, 11:14 am

Er, that I wanted a cat-shaped cat and not a spherical one?

Fev 1, 2019, 1:17 pm

This week's special was Rhus Bukhari from yet another Cape Malay cookbook. The book alleges that this was brought back to the Cape by Malays returning from Mecca after hajj. This seems possible to me, as one ends up with something best described as a breyani with a funny accent. I could easily believe that this model arose in Central Asia. Cats were fed during its preparation.

Fev 2, 2019, 11:07 am

>26 hfglen: It is important to appease the kitchen gods. They watch over you and keep the evil spirits from lumping the gravy, burning the rice, etc. A little known fact about cats.

Fev 2, 2019, 12:27 pm

>26 hfglen: All hail the spherical cats! Oh. Great. Now I may have to listen to the Broadway soundtrack while I bake today. I've got the intro music stuck in my head all of a sudden.

Fev 2, 2019, 1:36 pm

"Bustopher Jones is not skin and bones.
In fact, he's remarkably fat ..."

I know two others who are well on their way.

Fev 8, 2019, 12:50 pm

This evening's offering was meant to be lamb chops grilled (US: broiled) nice and simply. Ahem. What actually came out of the freezer was lamb ribs, with much less meat on them. So out came a length of boerewors; dinner saved. Incidentally, if anybody is in the habit of grilling lamb, may I pass on an idea I rather like? It would probably work as well on kid / goat as well, and comes from Apicius via the Sally Grainger realization. Make a rub from coarsely ground coriander (seeds not leaves), pepper, salt and olive oil, and smear that on to the chops / ribs / roast / whatever; then cook as normal. Quantities? In the great Roman manner, I invite you to look and guess, but go easy on the salt.

Fev 8, 2019, 1:00 pm

PS to #26. I dimly recalled that one of the Time/Life world cookery books had a recipe that I thought might be an ancestral form of Rhus Bukhari. Found the recipe, for Uzbek Palov in the recipe-book that goes with Russian Cooking -- it's much less interesting than the Cape Malay version, though probably distantly related.

Thinks: One day I should share a good bottle of red wine with my good friend and co-author Braam van Wyk, remind him of a deceased colleague who swore that in her retirement she was going to write the ultimate systematic study of lemon-squeezers (she never did), and suggest that what the world needs id a series of phylogenetic studies of apparently related recipes.

Fev 8, 2019, 11:36 pm

>31 hfglen: if you’re doing phylogenetics of recipes (and if I understand what phylogenetics means), you could for example consider the ways in which porridge is like risotto is like pilaff is like kedgeree, and so on. A taxonomy of prepared foods makes perfect sense to me.

Editado: Fev 15, 2019, 12:27 pm

>32 haydninvienna: Clearly you understand me perfectly. I think I hear you encouraging me to do this not only at "species level" but also at "family level". Now I shall have to ask Braam to find me somebody patient to guide me through the software.

Fev 15, 2019, 12:56 pm

This week's adventure was to Iran, via the Time-Life Cooking of the Middle East book and recipe supplement. I don't know if the Babylonians in Old Testament times (think about 500 BC) had rice, but if they did we had a truly ancient Babylonian meal: chillau rice with Khoresh karafs. In other words, a stew of lamb and celery (lots of celery, cooked -- mirabile dictu -- tender) and plain rice steamed with butter, and topped with a light dusting of sumac when done. The family liked it.

Fev 16, 2019, 11:29 am

>34 hfglen: Sounds lovely. My mother wouldn't eat it though. She can't abide cooked celery.

Fev 17, 2019, 3:29 am

In view of Escom's unpredictable but predictably inconvenient "load shedding" (the management for the last 25 years have been both corrupt and incompetent, and maintenance of power stations has taken a permanent back seat), I'm wondering about making a Sabbath Cholent next week. At least then if they switch the power off for 2 hours it'll be mostly cooked by suppertime. Does anybody have a good recipe?

Fev 24, 2019, 4:58 am

No good cooking to report this week. Daughter is in intensive care with rampant septicaemia, so feeding for the rest of the family is an on-the-fly activity.

Fev 24, 2019, 5:21 am

>37 hfglen: Oh dear. Best wishes and lots of healing thoughts to all of you.

Fev 24, 2019, 10:26 am

>37 hfglen: So sorry, Hugh! That is very scary. As >37 hfglen: said, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Fev 24, 2019, 11:11 am

>38 haydninvienna: >39 MrsLee: Thank you, Richard and Lee. All such thoughts are treasured.

Fev 24, 2019, 1:39 pm

>37 hfglen: Oh goodness!! Hopefully, she has a speedy recovery.

Fev 24, 2019, 4:46 pm

>37 hfglen: There are no words that seem to fit; I will keep your daughter in my heart.

Editado: Fev 26, 2019, 8:22 am

>37 hfglen: Prayers sent for all of you. Take care.

Fev 26, 2019, 10:39 am

Mar 1, 2019, 4:18 am

Cooking has recommenced, though daughter is still in ICU (but recovering, slowly). Better Half bought a pack of pork stir-fry, which I used in a recipe for pork and new potatoes from Japanese Cooking, modified somewhat to allow for things that have run out in the pantry cupboard. Tasty, though I says it meself as shouldn't, and I now have soup for my lunch as well.

Mar 7, 2019, 3:24 pm

Good news on the health fron is that daughter is expected home from hospital over the weekend. She's not 100% by any means, but it is still miraculous that she's recovered to the extent she has.

Indian Delights has been the go-to South African Indian cookbook for decades; I gather the author, Zuleikha Mayat is still in the land of the living, if ancient. Anyway, I needed a recipe for mince that I could make up while Better Half was visiting Daughter, and found Mrs Mayat's recipe for Chapli Kabaab. This turns out to be relatively subtly spiced hamburger patties -- even more subtly in this case, as The Girls can't handle chillies and we all belong to that part of humanity that experiences anything touched by cilantro leaves as tasting unpleasantly of soap. The asides in this evening's version included rice, a carrot salad, a mint raita and bought-in chutney (the ever constant Mrs Ball to the rescue).

Mar 7, 2019, 3:29 pm

PS May I ask the Brains Trust in this group for enlightenment? The next recipe after the one for Chapli Kabaab is a mixed dhal to go with it. The dhals one encounters in our local Indian community are the consistency of a very thick soup: chunky but pourable. This appears to be the same (I wasn't about to go out in the evening rush hour and try to buy assorted beans from the Indian lady in Kloof). So what on earth does the addition of baking powder to the mixture achieve?

Mar 7, 2019, 3:47 pm

>46 hfglen: Congratulations on the news of your daughter, and her improvement!

Mar 8, 2019, 5:41 am

>46 hfglen: Brilliant news about your daughter, Hugh!

Editado: Mar 8, 2019, 6:03 am

>47 hfglen: since no-one else has tackled this ....
Baking powder or baking soda? I had a vague memory that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) was used to soften legumes during cooking, and that seems to be right ( There is a belief that the soda also helps to break down the oligosaccharides that produce flatulence (, but the science behind this is at best dubious, it seems. Notice that the second StackExchange reference quotes Harold McGee (blest be he) in favour of the softening effect.

Mar 8, 2019, 6:27 am

>50 haydninvienna: Interesting. She definitely said baking powder, but I'd not be surprised to find that soda is a major component in that. So the carbon dioxide bubbles off, and the sodium softens the mung beans, lentils etc. in the mix, rendering it soupier. No wonder she adds only half a teaspoon, as an option.

Mar 8, 2019, 6:28 am

Mar 8, 2019, 6:37 am

Good news about your daughter. Prayers for continued healing.

Mar 8, 2019, 9:27 am

> 50 Thank you, interesting. I had not heard of that.

>46 hfglen: Sounds like a great meal plan. As you know, I also have to reign in my love of spice as my mother and husband are only mildly tolerant. :) Happily, we all love cilantro.

May your daughter continue to heal and thrive.

Editado: Mar 8, 2019, 1:34 pm

>50 haydninvienna: Interesting on the preference for baking powder over just soda. I believe that baking powder is mainly baking soda, plus salt and cornstarch. I even have a book somewhere that says if you lack baking powder, just substitute with baking soda plus extra salt. I'll have to track down the book and come back, so that I have the specifics. The only significant *active* component of baking powder is baking soda, and it does help to break things down.

Science? Who cares about science? (Just kidding, for the humor-impaired.)

Mar 8, 2019, 2:30 pm

>55 Lyndatrue: I understood that the active difference was an acid—cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate?). Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) needs an acid to produce a rising action, and sour milk or buttermilk were often the acids. Baking powder contains the necessary acid within itself. Baking powder contains starch, but not salt.
Authority: Wikipedia and years of reading labels while watching my mum bake.

Editado: Mar 8, 2019, 7:03 pm

>56 haydninvienna: Of course, you are correct in that. It is indeed cream of tartar, and not cornstarch. I'd found the book and was about to say that I was mistaken, but you beat me to it.

To quote: In place of one teaspoon baking powder, use 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Another interesting note (which I need to post over on MrsLee's thread) is the following:

To quote: Flour for baking: In place of cake flour, use 7/8 cup all-purpose flour.

As a girl, I was just told to use 1/8 cup cornstarch and 7/8 cup of flour to substitute for cake flour, and I recall that working just fine. Cake flour was expensive, and my mother was a child of the Depression. No way would she have countenanced the purchase of cake flour. I wonder if cake flour even exists, nowadays...

Mar 8, 2019, 6:21 pm

Cream of tartar used to be in everyone's cabinet and turned up in recipes with at least some regularity. I can't remember the last time I even bought it much less used it or saw it in a recipe.

Editado: Mar 9, 2019, 8:18 am

Very interesting; thank you, all. PhaedraB may be interested in the bush-substitute for cream of tartar I learned somewhere. Remember that the Afrikaans name of a baobab translates to "cream-of-tartar tree". Find a baobab, shoot down a fruit or 2. Crack them open and retrieve the powdery white substance around the seeds. That is essentially cream of tartar.

ETA: Here's a fallen baobab fruit (Sinamwenda on Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, May 1971):

Mar 9, 2019, 11:24 am

>59 hfglen: Wow! That is really making do. :)

All this talk of baking soda/powder softening beans, I have always heard (and experienced), that adding salt to beans before they are fully soft, will make them never be fully soft. One book I read An Everlasting Meal, said that is nonsense, if you cook them long enough they will soften. However, I tried it, and cooked them all the live-long day and they did not get the "mouth-feel" we like. When I soak them overnight, cook them for an hour or two, then add the salt after they are soft, they are perfect.

Editado: Mar 9, 2019, 12:18 pm

>60 MrsLee: I also learned (the hard way) that if I cook beans in a broth containing tomatoes, they will never get soft. I really like beans in a tomato-y sauce, but I have learned to add the red stuff later.

Mar 9, 2019, 1:10 pm

I am amazed at the number of things I've learned in the past few days. I haven't cooked beans in many years (they don't like me, so I don't like them right back). It does explain why I've had mixed success with dried black-eyed peas (which are actually beans). Salt. Who knew? I don't normally salt a lot of food (just habit, no good reason), and I suspect that it explains why sometimes the black-eyed peas were perfect, and other times were inedible.

I also don't believe I've ever seen a baobab tree, nor do I expect to, but that's interesting to know, just in case.

This whole conversation made me check the spice cabinet. There it was. Cream of Tartar. It was purchased sometime after 2006, since I cleaned out anything that had been opened before I made a move to my current house, since I didn't know how long things would be in storage, and it seemed the most sensible thing to do.

Mar 9, 2019, 2:41 pm

>62 Lyndatrue: I'm amazed by exactly the same thing, and very grateful.

Here's a picture of the largest baobab in southern Africa; it's 47 metres (well over 150 feet) diameter at 5 feet above the ground.

The normal-size tree-shrub on the left side of the trunk is more than man-high.

Mar 9, 2019, 2:59 pm

The pub is an amazingly educational place about all kinds of things.

Mar 11, 2019, 12:20 pm

Better Half had some beef stir-fry that needed cooking and lacked the time to do anything about it, so I looked for inspiration in Kenneth Lo's Quick and Easy Chinese Cooking. Didn't exactly follow any recipe in particular but made a sort-of beef, mushroom, peas and corn-kernel stirfry. Seeing I had everything assembled ages before she got back from visiting daughter in hospital, the beef got an unscheduled hour marinating in a soy-cornflour-sherry mix. The result was distinctly edible.

Mar 12, 2019, 9:22 am

>65 hfglen: Mmmm, I'll bet that was the perfect thing to do for the beef. I should step up my game for stir-fry. My problem is that I am so tired after work I don't want to spend 45 minutes chopping and assembling everything. I know it doesn't always take that long, but if feels like it. :) Now, if I could talk my DH into chopping things so they are ready when I get home? That might work.

Mar 12, 2019, 3:40 pm

Talked to the S.A. National Society this evening about Roman cookery. Invited them to imagine having Apicius' chef standing next to them in the kitchen, and then walked through a recipe looking at the culture gap between us and the Romans. I think they enjoyed it.

Editado: Mar 16, 2019, 11:54 am

We're once again enduring "load shedding", which means that the state electricity monopoly invents ever feebler excuses for not doing their job of supplying electricity, but still charging the earth for connections (as far as anyone knows, the money ends up in the pockets of corrupt Indian businessmen.) So I told the family yesterday that I would cook a Sephardic Sabbath dish called Dafina. This would take a minimum of six hours, so I needed to have the materials before noon, didn't I. So Madame decided that my shopping would be scheduled for the afternoon, and she was oh such a hero for producing the meat at 3 pm. That meant the family could start bellyaching about supper being late already at 5:30, and they were most put out when I pointed out that I could not fold three hours into one no matter how loudly they whined. And at 6 the lights went out.

/end rant

ETA: Nevertheless, I believe that the principle of doing most of the cooking before lights-out and leaving the pot in a warm to hot oven until required works. This coming week I intend to try another Sephardic Sabbath recipe, but putting the materials requisition in on a Wednesday, so that I can start cooking on Friday morning.

Mar 17, 2019, 10:29 am

>68 hfglen: This is what is called experience and learning curve. Sorry for the outages, what a pain. I think you are pretty clever to find a culture/cuisine that works with them.

We have those occasionally in the summer when the temperature gets above 110°F. The power company says there is too much drain on the grid and everyone needs to turn off lights and A/C as much as possible or suffer the consequences. When it is that hot, we rarely feel like eating hot food anyway. :)

Mar 23, 2019, 7:08 am

>69 MrsLee: Now we're supposed to praise them because they bowed to Presidential pressure and reduced the load shedding from stage 4 (2 hours 2 or 3 times a day) to stage 2 (supposedly 2 hours daily, but often twice a day).

Anyway, I was let off cooking yesterday -- a kind friend planned a picnic that got rained out, and we scored much of the food.
But I found a Sephardic Sabbath recipe at the University of Washington website, of all strange places. I've assembled it and put it into not quite as slow an oven as recommended, so that we can eat it in about six hours' time.

Mar 23, 2019, 9:57 am

Another recipe which was created for the Sunday "Sabbath," Boston Baked Beans. You might do a search on that. I made it from one of my cookbooks and it was wonderful cold or hot.

Mar 24, 2019, 4:07 am

Report-back on #70: Family heartily approve of the Uni. Washington Adafina. The website says it's a Spanish recipe from pre-1492 (when the Jews were thrown out of Spain). This is entirely plausible, as the recipe lacks potatoes and paprika (both New World plants). I may consider making this again with something other than / as well as chicken.

Mar 30, 2019, 9:18 am

Found some frozen lamb chops yesterday, and repeated the Roman dodge in #30. Thinks: even though we're spared load-shedding (we have an election in May) maybe I should look up Boston baked-bean recipes in Mrs Rombauer's celebrated tome, of which we have two different editions for some reason.

Mar 30, 2019, 12:12 pm

>73 hfglen: You have two different editions because you are poor ;-} I've had up to five (because I lack common sense). The Joy of Cooking (as you probably knew) editions can differ quite a bit; hence the usual admonition to only purchase those with a copyright from the 1970s or before.

There are recipes that only appear in a single edition. They're lumped together a bit more here on LT than they ought to be, and my favorite is still the oldest one (in my collection).

I note that at least one of yours hails from 1952, which is filled with worthwhile recipes. Of course. I can see I'm going to have to make a trek to Costco, since I'm out of rack of lamb (they're the only place where I can buy New Zealand lamb, which I prefer).

(I gave one of my J of C copies to a dear friend, who was only able to find new copies in her area.)

I saw in your library that you had the 1952 edition, which is (of course) one of the very good ones. :-}

Editado: Mar 30, 2019, 2:19 pm

>74 Lyndatrue: How very interesting. Thank you for sharing (and researching my library). I will now go and get the 1952 edition out and read it.

ETA: Good heavens! I see what you mean! Not only more and different recipes, but delightful asides as well.

Abr 6, 2019, 5:08 am

Yesterday I took haydninvienna to Ike's, Durban's premier (and I suspect only) antiquarian bookshop. In addition to elderly books at eyewatering prices, they also have used books that ordinary mortals can afford, and indeed a cookery section! And there I found a Moroccan Cooking book published in Casablanca. I'm planning on trying the "m'chermel" k'dra chocken recipe tonight: not quite a curry, but simmered for hours with lots of lovely spices and herbs, and decorated to serve with lemon zest and olives.

Abr 6, 2019, 2:11 pm

Chicken duly made and consumed. There was supposed to be enough for tomorrow's supper too, but we all enjoyed it so much there wasn't. The book has lots of recipes for delicious-sounding tadjines that can evidently simmer quietly for hours, and so are proof against load-shedding. A good buy, methinks.

Editado: Abr 14, 2019, 10:48 am

The Moroccan Cooking book I bought at Ike's with haydninvienna has provided tonight's recipe as well. M'chermel meat and potato tajine using beef this time. It's been on the stove 2 1/2 hours, and is scheduled to cook for another hour.

Abr 14, 2019, 10:56 am

The tajine was good, and the remains still are. Since then I've been (re-)reading 650 cookery recipes..., which is probably the best reasonably accessible account of late-Victorian Cape cooking, as Hildagonda Duckitt's original books are rare as hen's teeth. Knowing MrsLee's fermentation saga, I was mildly amused by one recipe for Van der Hum liqueur; it's evidently meant to be made in a small barrel, as the first ingredient is 10 bottles of Cape brandy.

Another recipe that one might have difficulty with in the 21st century requires "1 fowl, too old for roasting".

Abr 14, 2019, 1:05 pm

>79 hfglen: I'd say that the caveat on "1 fowl, too old for roasting" would depend on where you lived. Anyone who keeps a few chickens for fresh eggs is going to be able to satisfy that easily. I'd also recommend my Daddy's method for plucking same, which was to invert the carcass, and just pull off the skin, feathers and all. Dang. That was fifty years ago, and more.

Abr 20, 2019, 9:41 am

>80 Lyndatrue: I live in a city. About 40 km inland is a major area of battery-chicken factories. Neither exactly conducive to finding a fowl of any age.

Abr 20, 2019, 9:45 am

Made a Karoo stir-fry, with strips of beef, shredded cabbage and assorted seeds and nuts. A splash each of soy and sherry for flavour. In the absence of a variety of nuts I added peanut butter mixed with water and a little Maizena. Rather fun.

Abr 20, 2019, 12:21 pm

>82 hfglen: Sounds interesting and tasty.

Abr 20, 2019, 1:02 pm

>81 hfglen: I live in a city, but not by choice. When I moved in, in 2006, the area was considered semi-rural; even then, there were more neighbors than I really wanted. I've watched all the pastures get sold off to developers, and seen orchards cut down, for others. It makes me very sad.

Battery-chicken factories is a word picture that will stick with me for days. I think that I'm glad to be old, to be truthful.

I love all your recipes, filled with strange ingredients that I know I will never see. Then again, the internet assures me that Maizena is just a brand name for corn flour (obvious, in retrospect, considering the name). I might go to the bother of picking up some ground nut butter (not peanuts, of course), and try adding it to a stir fry. It sounds interesting.

Abr 20, 2019, 2:21 pm

>84 Lyndatrue: When we moved in here 15 years ago, from the house we could see a (sugar-)canefield at the head of the valley we overlook. But all too soon it disappeared under townhouses. So I sympathise.

Durban is said to be the largest Indian city outside India, so we get a wide variety of spices that other towns don't. In fact not long after moving in here I discovered (to my delight, let it be said) that even the supermarkets here smell different to the ones in Pretoria, especially the spice aisle. My gut feeling is that with few exceptions such as Pinotage (cultivar) wine, Mrs Ball's chutney and venison from African animals (including ostrich) you should be able to find most of the things I cook with (or close substitutes) with minimal searching. And even the things I named should be available in a halfway decent South African shop, though you may be many hours away from one of those.

Abr 21, 2019, 1:40 pm

PS. It's just dawned on me that there is one "strange ingredient \you\ will probably never see" that I would be more partial to if it were more easily accessible. That is a wild water-plant called waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyus) -- I don't know an English name. It grows in ponds in the Western Cape, and one eats the flowers, which are in season for about a week in spring. I have seen it in tins, but not in the last decade or so, and never fresh in Durban. Even in the Western Cape it's easier to find in small towns than in Cape Town. But you may not need to feel too hard done by -- the Prof who was my postgrad supervisor loathed them, saying they tasted of "faintly mustard-flavoured cottonwool". His wife was one of the best Cape cooks ever, and loved them. I tend to be of his wife's opinion, or would be if I ever saw the things.

Abr 21, 2019, 2:03 pm

>85 hfglen: Just to prove I don’t know what, I can get Mrs Ball’s chutney (and quite a few Ina Parmaan and other SA brands) in the Carrefour supermarket here in Doha.

Editado: Abr 21, 2019, 2:42 pm

>87 haydninvienna: Maybe that there's a significant number of South African expats in Doha? (Which comes as news to me.)

Editado: Abr 21, 2019, 6:50 pm

>86 hfglen: How funny that is, to see that name! I know the plant, because I used to visit relatives in the Southern USA. It's common in the South East, and has found its way to such strange places as Texas. I could get it to put in a pond here in the wilds of the far North, but it would not survive the winter...and I don't have a pond, either. I never tasted the flower (or thought to), but have seen the tubers used in stews, and those were very tasty.

It was called "pond weed" or similar.

For those who are curious (it's a nice photograph):

When I searched, it also showed up in Australia. Little fella gets around.

Abr 25, 2019, 6:21 am

Better Half needed to work on a publication -- on wetland plants, by a curious coincidence considering the conversation above, so I stepped in and made a Venetian chicken offering from Ada Boni's Italian Regional Cooking, listed under the title Polastro in Teccia. Family expressed satisfaction.

>89 Lyndatrue: I've not heard of eating waterblommetjie tubers before, at least not consciously. But I'd be surprised if there is/was no Khoisan group that did this.

Abr 25, 2019, 7:05 am

>88 hfglen: We have 2 or 3 that I know of in our office, but I'm not aware of any large community of SA expats. Also, all the usual brands from the UK, Europe and Australia (even Vegemite!) still seem to be available. The products that disappeared after the blockade was imposed were products under US brand names but were actually manufactured for the Middle Eastern market in Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

Abr 25, 2019, 10:51 am

Inneresting! I don't envy you the Vegemite.

Editado: Abr 26, 2019, 1:34 pm

Roasting a chicken. Years ago our butcher sold a piece of kit called a "Beer Bird". This is a metal stand that holds up a beer can in such a way that one can place the chicken (legs down) with the open can up its, er, fundament. The assemblage is then put into a roasting pan and that goes into the oven for an hour and 3/4 at 180°C. I've basted it with butter and Moroccan spices: garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. I plan to make gravy out of the pan juices. You need a fairly tall oven as the chicken stands upright; the makers of the stand recommend a "kettle braai", but I have difficulty imagining how the chicken would stand upright in one of those.

ETA: Gravy made of pan juices, leftover beer (from the can) and thickening (cornflour). Family liked their dinner; chicken was delightfully moist.

Abr 26, 2019, 2:38 pm

>93 hfglen: Some Americans call it beer can chicken. Oddly enough, it generally will sit up correctly in that style of grill. Although, there's a lot of kerfuffle about the "rightness" of beer can chicken -- "just because it "works" doesn't mean a better bird" kerfuffle. There's also science-y bits in the kerfuffle-ness, apparently: Am glad you had good results! Yay, for moist chicken!!

Abr 26, 2019, 3:29 pm

>94 lesmel: Interesting. The author of your article would doubtless have been horrified at the age of the can of beer I used (mainly to use it up rather than throw it out). Will have to try one on the stand without a can one day.

Abr 27, 2019, 9:38 am

>93 hfglen: I bought one of those contraptions several years ago. Mine was to do 2 birds at once. I had a heckuva time finding a pan large enough for the rack! Also, although the birds were good, I have found them to be just as good and moist by sticking a bit of lemon, celery and garlic into the cavity and roasting it normally. I roast mine at a higher temperature, for a shorter time to keep the moistness, but I think for a slower cook, the can (liquid) method is good too.

Abr 27, 2019, 11:36 am

>96 MrsLee: I've seen the twin-bird version, and can imagine the difficulty of finding a pan (possibly an oven, too) big enough. I'm now thinking of an experimental rig based on a stand in the pan, to allow air circulation around the bird in the oven. With liquid (beer? wine? stock?) in the pan for added moisture. Also maybe marinating the bird first, which might need a small wine barrel to be "practical".

Abr 29, 2019, 5:13 am

Either here or in the Green Dragon I may have mentioned that DD was not expected to survive when she landed in intensive care some weeks ago. On Saturday she joined her parents at a beer festival, and yesterday braaied (barbecued) a fish for supper -- truly a miraculous recovery! She marinated the fish in yoghurt and herbs, and it was delicious.

Abr 29, 2019, 5:33 am

>98 hfglen: Well done to Melissa!

Abr 29, 2019, 9:13 am

>98 hfglen: My heart rejoices!

Abr 29, 2019, 11:37 am

Maio 3, 2019, 3:15 pm

Melissa braaied again last night -- steak, yum! And set the fire herself, too.

I made a beef casserole from Cristina Blasi's Mediterranean: classic recipes from Italy ... (Why does the touchstone say the author is Picci Graziella?) book for tonight. Took hours of cooking, but worth it. And I think we have supper for tomorrow, too. The book claims this recipe as French, which I can believe. Provençal, I take it.

Maio 4, 2019, 11:45 am

>102 hfglen: I had to read that twice, because the first time I read it as, "And set fire to herself, too." !!!

Maio 4, 2019, 2:38 pm

Not yet, thank goodness!

Maio 5, 2019, 2:16 am

Have to add my similar experience: We were dining at a hotel in Taiwan, and ordered the roast duck. A lot of scuffling sounds were heard a few minutes later, along with unmistakable noises. Three ducks were brought in on leashes, and we were told to select our duck ! Horrified, we ordered a fish dish instead, and left the selection to the cook !

Maio 10, 2019, 2:19 pm

>105 Sheila_A: Some years ago I attended a conference in a quite classy hotel in Beijing. They had a fish restaurant; mercifully the printed menu was illustrated -- the first 20 pages were pictures of sea cucumbers. However, not all the menu was in the book. One wall was filled with small tanks containing some relatively large fish. That, too, was part of the menu. The first day I was alone, and had something innocuous. The next day the Dutch delegation arrived, and I joined them for a second try. They ordered duck, which came in due course. Complete with feet and beak.

Maio 10, 2019, 2:25 pm

Tonight was experiment night. Ducks cost a fortune here, but there's a fun Provençal recipe in Gourmet's (of blessed memory) Bouquet de France for Canard aux Olives. So I tried it using chicken pieces. Duck would probably have had a stronger, more interesting flavour, but tonight's result was definitely worth the effort.

Maio 10, 2019, 2:57 pm

>106 hfglen: I tried to order a sea cucumber once in Vancouver, but the Chinese waiter told me they were only for men and I had to order something else.

Maio 10, 2019, 3:13 pm

>108 varielle: Interesting. I didn't have the courage.

Maio 14, 2019, 4:35 am

We have a house guest, who arrived last night. So I made Beef Madras. Interesting concept: a curry without chillies. Tasty, nevertheless.

Maio 14, 2019, 9:36 am

Curry. Without. Chilies...*blink, blink*

I'm sure it was delicious, and I think, that like the word "salsa" curry simply means a sauce, doesn't it? Perhaps a seasoned sauce, which I will concede that seasonings do consist of other spices than hot ones. :P

Maio 14, 2019, 10:52 am

>110 hfglen: >111 MrsLee: There must have been curries without chilies once, mustn't there, since the chile is a New World plant ...?

Maio 14, 2019, 3:00 pm

>112 haydninvienna: Absolutely! And finding out what was used before chilies appeared in India (c. 1500-1520, if you're interested) is an interesting project.

Maio 15, 2019, 9:12 am

Maio 18, 2019, 2:04 pm

Yesterday's dinner was Roman beef with leeks, apples and beans. Too many leeks, not enough apples. The result was revolting.

Editado: Maio 19, 2019, 2:36 pm

>115 hfglen: Boy, *that* is a piece of information to file away. To be truthful, leeks always lie in the area of a little bit is the right amount, with some exceptions.

(I edited to change the wording. I see that my brain was on autopilot, and usually I catch glaring mistakes. Hopefully it is more clear now.)

Maio 19, 2019, 2:30 pm

>115 hfglen: I love leeks, but somehow that combination does nothing for me. For me, it's the mention of beans. I know I've had apples and onions which were delicious, somehow the same treatment of leeks seems rather a waste. For us, leeks are expensive and difficult to clean.

Maio 31, 2019, 2:06 pm

This week's was much better. The library yielded a book called Curry Lovers by one Roopa Gulati, and so the family got treated to Koftas in Cinnamon Masala. We all enjoyed the taste, but O how I wish I could make a meatball that would stay whole long enough to get cooked!

Maio 31, 2019, 2:08 pm

Last week it was (Kassler, i.e. smoked) pork chops with apricot puree, inspired by the Gourmet magazine Old Vienna Cookbook. The food didn't last long!

Maio 31, 2019, 2:09 pm

>117 MrsLee: Here Woollies sells them pre-cleaned, and they're not all that expensive.

Jun 7, 2019, 7:41 am

>115 hfglen: This sounds rather like a dish I cooked from The Classical Cookbook, though I don't think that had beans - it did have pork, and the beef was in the form of little meatballs. My problem with it wasn't the leeks or the apples (or the pork or the beef) but the vinegar and fish sauce in large quantities - "pungent" is the politest description I can think of for the result.

Jun 7, 2019, 11:02 am

>121 Sovay: Indeed. IMHO when fish sauce is called for, it needs to be followed almost immediately by boiling vigorously for a minute or two in a well ventilated kitchen (which dissipates the pong and leaves the umami in the dish). Not sure what to do about too much vinegar -- a glug of sweet wine, perhaps? The book sounds very desirable, and something to be hunted for.

Jun 7, 2019, 11:34 am

And further to your note at #195 in MrsLee's thread: I looked at my Evita Bezuidenhout books today, and concluded that you made the right choice. Cook and Enjoy is dull, and Jan Braai presupposes sitting around an open fire, which doesn't sound too practical in West Yorkshire! But one day you may warm to Mimi Jardim and Cooking the Portuguese Way ..., especially when you discover that her son is the Nando in Nando's Chicken. Sounds like the next thing you'll need is a South African shop to get the "unicorn ingredients" :-)

Jun 8, 2019, 8:11 am

Yesterday's adventure was a Turkish lamb pilaff from Claudia Roden's Book of middle eastern Food. Stewing lamb browned with a grated onion, then simmered with tomato paste (and I threw in a fresh tomato) and chopped parsley, spiced only with salt, pepper and cinnamon, until very tender. Then a large quantity of rice, which took up the stewing liquid. Family was appreciative.

Only after I'd decided to make that was I inspired by Sovay to read Evita's Kossie Sikelela, which has about three good recipes for stewing lamb. Maybe next time ...

Jun 12, 2019, 3:42 am

>122 hfglen: I can cope with the fish sauce - it's the boiling vinegar that makes my eyes water. As far as I can remember I poured off about half the sauce and added some stock to the remainder to tone it down a bit. I've cooked a couple of other recipes from the book and enjoyed the result much more. Kidneys stuffed with pine nuts were delicious, though quite fiddly to prepare.

>123 hfglen: I have to admit that my choice was influenced to some extent by the fact that Evita was available for £1.58, post free! And we are currently having weather better suited to late October, so no al fresco cooking for me.

The unicorn ingredient issue has already arisen - I was looking through Everyday Cape Malay Cooking, picked out several promising recipes then went to the index to look for the various masala spice blends - no instructions for those!

Jun 12, 2019, 7:16 am

>125 Sovay: My instant thought about masala mixes involves either the Indian lady and her spice shop in Kloof or a well-known Aladdin's-cave of spices in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. Which won't help you at all. I thought I had recipes for some, but annoyingly, The Cape Malay cookbook lists ingredients without quantities, and the usual go-to, Indian Delights, is even less forthcoming. If there's a spice shop run by Indians near you, they'll probably know what you're after and should be able to supply. But I'll keep an eye peeled and report if I find a recipe with quantities.

Jun 12, 2019, 7:26 am

PS: Found the magic book, which has the fairly obvious title of The complete cook's encyclopedia of Spices, and a fistful of masala recipes inside. Let know what you want and if I can find one, I'll post a recipe.

Jun 13, 2019, 3:02 am

>127 hfglen: That looks a very useful book, and a recipe or three would be most appreciated. The blends most often referred to are: masala; leaf masala; and red masala. There are a couple of others, but they're not needed in the recipes I've picked out. My next problem is going to be mutton knuckles - not a cut that exists in Britain as far as I can establish. Lamb shanks seem to be a possible substitute - though for my by-the-book recipe I'll have to go for a chicken recipe.

>123 hfglen: I did fancy the Mimi Jardim book and it's on my list to look out for, but the best Abe Books could do was over £40!

Jun 13, 2019, 5:39 am

>128 Sovay: That's iniquitous for the Mimi Jardim!

Spice mixes: all are pretty elastic. Faldela Williams offers this enlightenment about Leaf Masala: "There are many varieties including red leaf masala, which has more ground chilli powder and is therefore hotter." The lazy will probably substitute Thai red and green curry pastes (which, if memory serves me well, the Cape Malay shop in Bo-Kaap sells next to individual spices) without doing terminal violence to the spirit of the recipe. But for DIY from first principles, here goes:

Garam Masala: 10 green cardamoms, 6 tbsp coriander seeds, 4 tbsp cumin seeds,10 cloves, 5 cm cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 3 dreid bay leaves, 1 tbsp ground mace. Warm a dry pan. Bruise the cardamom pods, then put everything except the mace in the pan. toss until the spices give off a rich aroma. Take the seeds out of the cardamoms, break up the cinnamon, then grind all the spices to a fine powder, mix in the mace.

The recipe for green leaf masala gives a paste:
1 tsp fenugreek seeds, 10 green cardamoms, 6 cloves, 2 tsp ground turmeric, 2 tsp salt, 4 cloves garlic, crushed, 5 cm fresh root ginger, grated, 50g fresh mint leaves, 50 g coriander leaves (I loathe the soapy taste of these, and would substitute parsley), 1 small green pepper seeded and chopped (optional), 50ml cider vinegar, 120 ml mixed sunflower and sesame oil. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Next day, bruise the cardamoms and dry-fry them with the cloves until they give off a rich aroma. Grind them to a powder and add the turmeric and salt. Drain the fenugreek seeds, place them in a blender with garlic, ginger, mint, coriander leaves, green pepper if using, and vinegar. Blend to a purée, then ad salt and ground spices. Heat the oil, add the purée and heat until the oil bubbles. Transfer to a clean jar, making sure that there is a film of oil on top to make an airtight seal.. Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

There's a recipe for Thai red curry paste that has its own range of unicorn ingredients (fresh galangal, trassie (blachan) and citrus peel). Will send if you want.

For mutton knuckles, any stewing lamb or mutton would do very well.

Jun 13, 2019, 6:03 am

>128 Sovay: PS: just found my copy of My Cape Malay Kitchen, which contains the Ultimate Answer to your masala problem. And it's not 42.

"The kokhni (red) masala contains a combination of dried chilli flakes and chilli powder, but is not as pungent as pure chilli powder. If you're unsure about which spices to use or in the absence of the masalas I've mentioned here, then simply use a good quality chilli powder or curry powder, along with the turmeric and ground cumin."

Easy, hey?

Jun 13, 2019, 8:08 am

>129 hfglen: Really helpful, thanks! I think I'll go for the DIY option - Thai curry pastes tend to be too heavy on the chilli for me.

Is goat meat appropriate? Mutton (as opposed to lamb) is hard to find in this country but I do have a source of goat.

Jun 13, 2019, 8:59 am

>131 Sovay: Now I'm green with envy! Goat is often hard to find here, for no convincing reason. And yet I firmly believe that unless you have top-quality (Welsh or Karoo) sheep, the flavour from goat is better. It may need long, slow cooking if the goat went around the block too many times.

Jun 21, 2019, 2:29 pm

Hungarian Cuisine has a recipe for Tamasvár Pork Cutlets, which involves the obvious, bacon, paprika (surprisingly little), sour cream (lots, with a bit of flour for thickening), green beans and either lecsó or fresh sweet-peppers and tomatoes. It looked good, so I made it up with Kassler (lightly smoked) pork steaks instead of chops. Family liked it.

Jun 28, 2019, 1:35 pm

Tried the peppercorn chicken curry in Sovay's thread. Made a few tweaks -- long-pepper (bought a year or 2 back in Cape Town, I've not seen it here in Durban) instead of ordinary peppercorns, dried basil for cilantro, changes in quantities. I liked it, and found it very mild. The Girls claimed it was unbearably hot (wimps!).

Jun 29, 2019, 2:10 pm

The Girls took Jess the Dog to a dog show today, so I cooked the supper. Can anyone please explain to me why a steak cooked with a sauce composed mostly of sour cream, gherkins and capers should be called (in Specialities of Austrian Cooking) "Maschinerostbraten" or "Machine Steak"? Whatever the reason, it was remarkably good.

Jun 30, 2019, 12:44 pm

>135 hfglen: That sounds wonderful!

>135 hfglen: I'm a little more dubious about the sauce here, but if you say it is good, I will believe you. Of course I know about caper sauce, but the gherkins? As in dill pickes?

Jun 30, 2019, 1:48 pm

>136 MrsLee: Got it in one! Dill pickles it is, as I should have explained. The sauce is rich and creamy (there's some stock in there as well), with a light tinge of paprika for colour.

Jun 30, 2019, 7:32 pm

>135 hfglen: How did my mate Jess go at the show? I presume that she was taken there to be shown rather than just to hang out.

Jul 1, 2019, 4:14 am

Jess was doing all right until the command "lie down ... wait". At which point she decided to "heel", losing 20 points and going from near the top to near the end of the class. Not as bad as the alsatian and the ridgeback that decided to eliminate each other violently, though.

Jul 1, 2019, 5:13 am

> I think my wife had the occasional moment like that with dressage horses too. Never mind, Jess is still a lovely dog.

Jul 5, 2019, 2:14 pm

Tonight's supper was a Kenyan offering listed in the book under catch-all title of "kuku" -- a generic term used across half Africa for "chicken", often meaning the live ones. Family grizzled mightily at the thought of the Viennese steak recipe or Hungarian chicken I wanted. It has to be said that the Kenyan offering wasn't quite as dull as I'd feared -- I've never seen mung dhal used as thickening before, but it works. Couldn't help wondering if the East African Pavilion restaurant* ever offered this dish.

*You need to be a Johannesburger of a certain age to get this reference. In 1936 the Rand Easter Show temporarily morphed into the British Empire Exhibition. Some pavilions offered food as well as showing off. Notably, the East Africans did so to such good effect that after the Show closed, they moved to a site in town, and offered Mombasa curries in a room that resembled a coastal eatery, even to the point of having a working punkah, and waiters dressed in galabiyahs and fezzes. I can just remember this incarnation. Sadly, the building was flattened in the 1960s' building boom, and the restaurant moved into prettified quarters in its replacement. The food and service in that incarnation were expensive and dreadful; needless to say it didn't last long.

Jul 6, 2019, 9:30 am

A propos the previous post and a discussion in this group some months ago about "unicorn ingredients". Does anybody have any suggestions for using up about a pound of mung beans?

Jul 6, 2019, 11:58 am

>142 hfglen: People in my fermenting group are always making a fermented bean something, but I think it would require purchase of more unicorn ingredients. They end up looking like beans covered with slime mold, but people save about them. I will take their word for it.

Can they be sprouted? Bean sprouts are excellent stir-fried, or made into what we Americans call "egg fu young"

Jul 6, 2019, 1:34 pm

Now there's an idea. Mung beans are exactly what one uses for bean sprouts. Many thanks!

Jul 8, 2019, 1:35 pm

>134 hfglen: Glad you enjoyed the Pepper Chicken - I too found it quite mild (and I have a very low chilli tolerance) but I much prefer aromatic to fiery when it comes to curry.

Re: the mung beans - I've used them in Indian dhal recipes, particularly khichri of various kinds where they're cooked with rice and usually quite a small selection of spices, including ginger and cumin.

Jul 14, 2019, 11:09 am

Quote of the day, which may amuse other Cookbookers and which I find irresistible:
(On cooking with common sense) "... if I say it feeds eight but you have the front row of the local rugby club over for dinner, clearly no matter how much meat you \cook\ it will serve three." Jan Braai, in the introduction to Red Hot.

Jul 14, 2019, 1:31 pm

>146 hfglen: I used to watch a cooking show (was it Yan Can Cook?) whose chef was Asian/Hawaiian. He used to say, "This will feed ten Chinese or six Hawaiians."

Jul 19, 2019, 2:23 pm

>147 PhaedraB: Yes indeed. I like that.

Tonight's offering was a beef stew called Transylvanian Tokany. Curiously, no paprika, no sour cream and no fresh tomatoes, despite being Hungarian (from Hungarian Cuisine). The book suggests puliszka (description in recipe a dead ringer for putu, so seeing we had some polenta meal I made polenta. Not bad, though I say it myself as shouldn't.

Jul 26, 2019, 2:40 pm

Muttabah is the name of a Cape Malay mincemeat++ pie. The Cape Malay Cookbook gives a recipe where the filling is composed of mince (ground) meat, spinach leaves and brinjal (eggplant). As none of us really like brinjals and we had some mushrooms, I made the substitution. The pastry goes underneath, and there is a cheese topping. Family liked it.

Ago 9, 2019, 3:35 pm

Cape Malay again: frikkadel (meatball) curry. Interesting idea: you make the meatballs and put them aside (raw), then make the sauce and let it cook for a bit while the ingredients get to know one another, then poach the meatballs in the sauce. Curiously, the meat didn't immediately fall apart, a first for me. I liked it, because there was a hint of warmth in the spices. i suspect the girls didn't, though they didn't say anything.

Ago 10, 2019, 10:09 am

>150 hfglen: I don't know if you watch YouTube at all, but there is a woman there I just discovered named Marion Grasby. Her videos are casual and informative about cooking Thai food. Every one of them seems to have some hint of making things easier that I didn't know. Her mother is a professional chef.

Ago 10, 2019, 12:32 pm

>151 MrsLee: Thanx a miljin, as they say in Pretoria. I'll search out those videos.

Ago 11, 2019, 1:10 pm

I used her technique to make pepper beef stir fry this morning and it is the best beef stir fry I have ever made.

I don't see where ingredient amounts are listed, and it seems impossible to find her book, but I haven't explored much on her website. I managed by eying it as she cooked and jotting down the ingredients.

Ago 13, 2019, 9:31 am

>151 MrsLee: >153 MrsLee: Spent too much of yesterday binge-watching Marion Grasby videos. I see some have recipes with quantitative details. Better Half is interested enough that we'll probably sample her Vietnamese beef stew in the next few weeks.

Ago 15, 2019, 10:45 am

>154 hfglen: Lol, it's easy to do! There is something about her that is sweet to watch, in addition to the fact that I always seem to learn something I didn't know.

Ago 16, 2019, 2:23 pm

So I made the Vietnamese beef stew today. Interesting; a not unpleasant flavour, but one that one could easily tire of.

Ago 18, 2019, 12:48 pm

I'm reading the book, Salt: a World History and he just finished giving all the instructions for making the Chinese and Roman fish sauce. Made me think of you and your dipping into ancient Roman cuisine. If I lived in a place where I could have my own dedicated fermenting sheds, I would love to try to make fish sauce some time, but I think my husband would leave me if I tried to make it in the house.

Ago 18, 2019, 2:00 pm

You'd need to be sure to live upwind of it, too! Even Roman chefs bought it in, and I have no compunction in doing likewise. And even so, I have to make sure the Girls are not around when I splash it in to the pot, and that there's a breeze in the kitchen when the pong boils off.

Ago 18, 2019, 6:24 pm

>158 hfglen: It must be much stronger than Asian fish sauce? I don't have an issue with it, although I don't stick my nose to the bottle for a big whiff, either.

Ago 19, 2019, 12:23 am

Ago 19, 2019, 4:39 am

>160 guido47: Thank you, but all I get from that link is a headline and byline.

>159 MrsLee: Sally Grainger gives a recipe for converting Thai fish sauce to a garum lookalike. Far from beefing (sorry!) it up, IIRC she dilutes it with sweet wine or moskonfyt.

Ago 23, 2019, 7:06 am

>161 hfglen: I had to wait about 10 seconds but a "clip" did come up...Hmm?

Ago 23, 2019, 2:04 pm

>162 guido47: Not a sausage. I've just tried again.

This evening's offering was inspired by a throwaway paragraph in Claudia Roden's Book of Middle Eastern Food. It was a nameless marinated grilled chicken recipe. She suggested that the longer you marinate the chicken in a brew composed of yoghurt, garlic, salt, pepper, mint and paprika before grilling, the better. I did, and it was. Note the absence of quantities: look and guess, in the great Roman tradition.

Ago 28, 2019, 1:58 pm

I've just watched a TV chef making what she was pleased to call "Leamingtons". Sure enough, she started with blocks of Victoria sponge. But then, she mixed lemon curd with white chocolate, and dipped the blocks in the result. She did at least sprinkle fragments of coconut flakes over them. But I can't help wondering if Dame Edna Everage would recognise the result as a Leamington. (Cross-posted in the Green Dragon.)

Ago 28, 2019, 2:08 pm

>164 hfglen: Hugh, I’ve just been trying to decide whether your TV is really a portal to another dimension. Among my people, lamingtons are sacred, and even the pink variety is viewed with suspicion of heresy. White chocolate (which is itself from a parallel dimension)? Lemon curd? What was this woman thinking?

Best lamington I’ve had recently came from an Aussie pie shop .... in Los Angeles. Santa Monica, to be precise. Run by a bloke from Adelaide.

(X-posted to the GD or nearest parallel dimension)

Ago 28, 2019, 2:18 pm

>165 haydninvienna: The chef is of Afrikaans extraction, and grew up on a farm near Piet Retief. I surmise that she has no idea what a real lamington is.

Ago 29, 2019, 9:41 am

I don't even know how (or why) you would mix lemon curd with white chocolate. That aside, what is a proper lamington?

Editado: Ago 29, 2019, 10:56 am

>167 MrsLee: I was hoping someone would ask that. A real lamington is basically a cube of white cake (butter cake or firmish sponge cake) coated with chocolate sauce (not icing--it has to be rather more liquid than icing usually is) and then desiccated coconut. The cubes are about 2 inches or a bit more on a side, and you coat them by dipping, hence the need for the coating to be liquid. This is tedious. The liquid coating gives them a distinctive texture because it soaks into the cake a little. There is a variation with raspberry coating, and also a version that is split and filled with whipped cream, but true connoisseurs regard both with scorn.

They are popular as fund raisers for schools and scout groups and the like, and as a kid I occasionally helped with the dipping. As I said, it's tedious.

I entirely agree about mixing lemon curd and white chocolate.

ETA: Sorry--for USians, "icing" = "frosting".

Ago 29, 2019, 11:31 am

To add to the heresy, she melted the white chocolate in a double boiler, then added the lemon curd. I suspect that in my dreamed-of kitchen taxonomy, her product would turn out to be more closely related to a petit four than a lamington. I would guess that her strange product may be improved by being dunked in alcohol before being coated -- it certainly couldn't be harmful!

Ago 29, 2019, 11:51 am

>169 hfglen: Dunking butter cake in alcohol and then trying to coat it with anything seems likely to produce nothing but a mess. Seriously, I wouldn't complain about someone inventing something new or trying a new flavour combination, but the idea of combining white chocolate and lemon curd doesn't appeal at all. I'd probably cut her some slack on the cutesy name if she had dyed the coconut dark brown or something, so that the result was a kind of inverted lamington.

Anyway, here is a recipe for the real thing that looks pretty authentic.

Ago 29, 2019, 1:26 pm

>170 haydninvienna: Well, perhaps "caster sugar" has meaning for you, but I've *never* seen that before. I thought about looking it up, but then decided to whine about it here (because I am surely not the only one who will be surprised by it). I suspect that the phrase "icing sugar" refers to powdered sugar, often called confectioner's sugar.

I gave up looking after that. I have a recipe for Lamingtons somewhere; perhaps I'll dig it out and post it...

Ago 29, 2019, 1:38 pm

>171 Lyndatrue: Caster sugar is a standard product here. It's a grade with crystals between ordinary sugar and icing sugar in size.

Ago 29, 2019, 1:41 pm

>171 Lyndatrue: >172 hfglen: Same in Australia.

Editado: Ago 30, 2019, 10:00 am

Just to add to the pile-on about the lamingtons, I see that the Wikipedia article mentions "Amy Schauer, cooking instructor at Brisbane's Central Technical College from 1897 to 1938". Ms Schauer published at least 2 cookbooks, a general one and one on preserving, and my mum had both. I wonder what became of those copies.

ETA: Schauer Cookery Book; The Schauer Australian fruit preserving recipe book: And confectionary.

Editado: Ago 30, 2019, 10:06 am

Caster sugar = Superfine sugar in the USA. We have it, it's just blasted hard to find on your average grocery shelf.

Ago 30, 2019, 12:21 pm

>175 lesmel: Hah! Suddenly there's a stirring of the old brain cells (on my end). Yeah, back in those long ago days when I had people around me who would eat desserts, I even used such a thing (the superfine). On the other hand, I'm a sugar snob anyway. I *only* use C&H because it is made entirely from cane sugar, and I can tell the difference in quality when someone's used a product made from beet sugar.

>173 haydninvienna: I wonder if there even is such a distinction in Australia... Do you know what your sugar is made of, and who makes it?

(Yes, I haven't been awake that long, and am still drinking my first cup of coffee.)

Ago 30, 2019, 1:18 pm

>176 Lyndatrue: Australia being the huge sugar grower that it is (if you drive north along the coast from about Ballina in northern NSW, except for the cities you're driving mostly through cane plantations for over a thousand miles), if you buy Australian-packaged sugar you're pretty certain to be buying cane sugar. The big local sugar company is CSR, and their website assures you that their standard products are made from 100% Australian cane sugar. Imported sugar might not be cane sugar though. I looked at the Woolworths website (big supermarket chain in Oz, unrelated to the similarly-named companies in South Africa or the UK) and every packaged sugar was made by CSR.

"Standard products" because heaven help me there is now reduced calorie sugar. God only knows what that is. There is also "coconut sugar", which apparently involves palm trees, but that is labelled as coconut sugar.

Editado: Ago 30, 2019, 2:20 pm

>176 Lyndatrue: Much of what >177 haydninvienna: says applies to South Africa too. Our cane-growing area runs from the former Transkei to Mpumalanga Province, and names on the packets are Illovo (mainly South Coast) and Huletts (mainly north of Durban). One thing that may not be true of the Australian growers: Huletts make at least as much money from smelting aluminium as they do from sugar. But essentially any beet sugar here is imported and taxed heavily.

ETA: When I was an undergraduate it always amused me (and the postgrads) that the Biochemistry department kept a supply of fabulously expensive analytical-grade 99.5% pure sucrose that came from a well-known German supplier. The stuff we put in our coffee cost a fraction of the price, came from "just down the road", and was ... better than 99.5% pure sucrose!

Ago 30, 2019, 3:52 pm

Tonight's supper was Sosatie Chops with sides of yellow rice and smoor tomatoes. Interesting idea: Marinate your lamb (or mutton or goat) in a brew that somewhat resembles a sosatie marinade, then simmer until tender. Sosaties are the Cape descendant of Indonesian Satay; chunkier, pickled in a curry marinade and without the peanuts. Yellow rice involves adding turmeric and a cinnamon stick (and raisins, to be authentic) to the water you boil the rice in. The result is pretty to look at. Smoor tomatoes involve sautéing an onion (chopped) to medium-well-done, then adding chopped tomatoes and simmering for 1/4 hour or so -- somewhere between raw and tomato sauce.

Set 20, 2019, 2:19 pm

The other day while looking for something else (as haydninvienna knows, my library is an exercise in chaos) I found a book called Best of Fellows. I deduce that this book is not exactly common: apparently I have the only copy in LT. Back in the 1960s, Bert Fellows was food-and-drink writer for the Rand Daily Mail of blessed memory, and this is a collection of his Saturday columns, published in 1965 -- so none too recent. Anyhoo, there was a quite interesting looking recipe for Chicken Parisian, quite possibly of Fellows's own invention. You rub chicken pieces with garlic, salt, pepper and paprika, then put them into a casserole with oil and vermouth, and bake for two hours. Family approved.

Interesting the various things that one took for granted 50 years ago, but which the Youth Of Today would be nonplussed by. Several recipes make use of the "top of the milk", for example.

Set 23, 2019, 9:50 am

>180 hfglen: The Chicken Parisian sounds very like how I season my chicken to cook. I've never tried cooking it in vermouth though! I don't think my husband would care for that. I can only use alcohol in cooking when it is well disguised.

I remember the "top of the milk." Mmmm. We used to have our own milking cows when I was a child.

Set 23, 2019, 11:35 am

I tried making a risotto once substituting vermouth for the usual white wine. Not inedible but not fantastic.

Set 28, 2019, 5:41 am

>181 MrsLee: Father-in-Law kept Jerseys and sold the cream on the local farmers' market. The foamy tops of the cream were the best!

Set 28, 2019, 5:45 am

Made a chicken stew from The Russian Cookbook. Interesting idea, to include apples, sultanas and a wide variety of veg. Strange but not unpleasant flavour, not helped by too much onion. Though IMHO anything much more than sharing a kitchen that has an onion in the veg tray is usually too much onion. Rather like some people's ideas on vermouth in a martini.

Set 30, 2019, 6:37 am

I have enjoyed the discussion on this thread! I love the way geography, cooking, processes, practices, education all intersect. In fact most of us have learnt quite a bit about these things by just being around kitchens and people talking food and its preparation. Talking about such things is good around current younger kids too - teaches them important life skills. As they grow, cookery is used extensively by STEM teachers. Even textbooks for older students teach chemistry using culinary science. (See textbook problem from Chemistry for Today: General, Organic, and Biochemistry.) In fact many chemistry PhDs get into jobs related to cooking which could be preserving, packaging etc. My aunt knew a lot of chemistry thanks to being a great cook, but she didn't even think of it as chemistry - it was just a skilled cook's love for setting a fine table for family and friends!

Set 30, 2019, 8:50 am

>185 zo_ey: Er, ahem, yes. This is the only use I've ever discovered for the 2nd-year organic chemistry that was a mandatory part of my first degree.

Out 4, 2019, 2:46 pm

Today's happy discovery is that I can make potato crisps at least as well as the commercial kinds, and probably save money while doing so.

Out 5, 2019, 11:22 am

>187 hfglen: Now I wonder what potato crisps are in your part of the world? Are they what we would call "French fries," long skinny pieces of potato deep-fried in oil? Or more like what we call potato "wedges," which are wedges of potatoes fried/baked until crispy? Or perhaps "potato chips," which would be extremely thin slices of potatoes fried/baked until very crisp? :)

Out 5, 2019, 11:41 am

>188 MrsLee: What you call "potato chips". I've been eyeing the 2mm slicer that came with the food processor we bought with our tax refund last year for some time, and have at last worked up the nerve to use it.

Wedges are wedges and come frozen, as do French fries. There's a local variant on these that seems to be restricted to a dying breed of greasy-spoon joints, that we call "slap (flaccid) chips". Cooked in usually stale oil and half drowned in salt and vinegar. Sometimes this is the best kind of comfort food!

Out 5, 2019, 11:41 pm

>189 hfglen: Enjoy! Then, you will have to experiment with other veggie chips. Winter squash, parsnip, and beet come to mind. Glad you worked up your nerve to try the slicer. Are grating in your future? Also comforting.

Out 6, 2019, 5:37 am

>190 MrsLee: The grater discs are the very best way of fulfilling the instruction to "chop the onion finely", and I've been using that almost since day 1.

Out 6, 2019, 12:07 pm

>191 hfglen: In my effort to de-clutter and simplify my kitchen, I got rid of my big mixer and my little food processor. I never had a proper size food processor because of tiny kitchen. I am waiting for my monster microwave to die because I may want to get one or the other of those implements back. My French knife and I can handle most any chopping chore at this time, but with my hands going numb a lot it may be necessary to get some help. The Vitamix I purchased is sub-par for chopping purposes (uneven pieces, or liquid if you aren't very, very careful), not really being designed for that. Otherwise for me, it's my small mandoline or the grater if I want shredded or thinly sliced, neither of which are easy on the hands.

Editado: Out 14, 2019, 8:35 pm

>192 MrsLee:

Ha, I was just noting I ought to get a food processor or something finally. But figuring out what's the minimum that does the maximum--that's tough, especially as I never used anything of the sort (had a blender once, used it maybe once--turns out I don't care about shakes and juices at all).

>187 hfglen:

Now that's dangerous knowledge!

edited: typo

Out 13, 2019, 7:05 pm

>193 LolaWalser: When I was married 34 years ago, I was given a mini-food processor by Sunbeam. Loved it. The only problem with it was that it wasn't meant for large amounts of Cooking. Only 3 easy parts to clean that went in the dishwasher. There were more if you put on the attachment to grate or slice, but I hardly ever did.

Out 14, 2019, 8:38 pm

>194 MrsLee:

3-part simplicity sounds exactly my speed. All I want is something that can help me make hummus (which i currently do by vigorous smushing with a large fork--good upper arm workout but too much time investment) or something like that chile/cilantro paste the other day.

Out 15, 2019, 10:26 am

>195 LolaWalser: You might want to investigate a hand blender. I love my Cuisenart hand blender. It will make hummus, puree soup, make mayonnaise or the perfect blended salad dressing with ease. Mine also came with a whisk attachment and a mini-processor blade for chopping small bits like garlic or herbs and such like. The blender and whisk attachment only has one piece to clean, the processor has the container, lid and blade to clean.

Out 15, 2019, 11:25 am

At least some hand blenders come with a goblet you can use as a mixer, AFAIK.

Out 15, 2019, 12:13 pm

Thanks for the tips, sounds just like what I should look for. Now to subtract from the book budget in the interest of kitchen... no one tell Erasmus...

Out 19, 2019, 2:11 pm

Petti di Pollo al Marsala from an Italian book; apparently this is of North Italian origin. Chicken breasts with mushrooms and a sauce made mostly of sweet wine, the whole with a cheese topping. Not noticeably improved by Eskom's "load shedding" (i.e. corrupt and incompetent management) hitting at cooking-dinner time, yesterday and today. Though the dish probably improved for an unscheduled 22-hour marination in the sauce.

Out 20, 2019, 12:03 am

>199 hfglen: Tricksy cooking gourmet food in those conditions.

Out 20, 2019, 9:27 am

>200 MrsLee: Thank you for understanding.

Editado: Out 25, 2019, 1:50 pm

A "literary" dinner tonight, in honour of Head over Heel, which I noted fondly in the Green Dragon, and which Better Half is now enjoying. We're told that Daniela ("smile when you say it if you want to pronounce it right") grew up in a village right at the southern end of the heel of the Italian boot, so what better than a typically Italian offering of primo piatto and secondo piatto, both Pugliese specialities? Fortunately when we were in Italy -- was it really nearly 40 years ago? good heavens! -- we found a copy of Ada Boni's very beautiful Italian Regional Cooking on a sale table in a bookstore in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. It came home with us, and has been a godsend ever since. So was Orecchiette al pomodoro, except that making my own Orecchiette looked like far too much PT, so I used shop-bought Lumache rigate instead -- more or less the right shape! Il secondo piatto was Polpettine ai capperi for parents, and ... senza capperi for daughter, who doesn't like the taste of capers. I loved the meal, but we all found the sauce for the meatballs lacking something. Now I shall have to think of something both Sicilian and convincingly edible, in honour of Valeria, Daniela's mom.

ETA: So for afters Better Half dished up il gelato, from a supermarket tub. Sort-of appropriate.

Editado: Nov 9, 2019, 8:02 am

Last week was beefburgers with a "Spanish" sauce, from Famous Florida Recipes. Edible, but I've made more interesting things.

This week I found a new-ish book called Boere Chic, with modern South African recipes. I made a chicken dish flavoured with lemon and garlic. Not bad, though I says so meself as shouldn't.

Editado: Dez 7, 2019, 4:26 am

Escom (the electricity monopoly) with their customary corrupt incompetence had their "Black Friday" a week late, thereby reminding us that from earliest times until just over 100 years ago, all cooking was done over an open fire, by daylight, candle-light or lamp-light. And so it was back to the 18th century last night. Fortunately I have a copy of Jan Braai's excellent Fireworks: recipes, techniques, advice out of the library. I could therefore prepare a whole meal on the stove while the power lasted then (author notwithstanding) on a portable gas burner. Pork chops in a paprika marinade, brown beer sauce, Bratkartoffeln. The book is packed with great recipes, and if we ever go camping again I'll be wanting to read it attentively to make shopping lists both before and during. I love his system that you only use three measures: a teaspoon, a tot or a cup.

Dez 7, 2019, 8:16 am

>204 hfglen: Any cookbook author who measures things in tots is worthy of respect.

I take it that "Jan Braai" is a pseudonym? Isn't it just the Afrikaans equivalent of "Jack Barbecue"?

Dez 7, 2019, 8:30 am

>204 hfglen: Absolutely! He writes with a gorgeous sense of humour. (For example: "A cow must only be killed once. Do not braai your steak until the flavour is dead.") The author biography on the rear flap tells me his real name is Jan Scannell, and he is the life and soul of the campaign to make 24 September (officially Heritage Day) into "National Braai Day".

Dez 7, 2019, 8:36 am

>206 hfglen: Quaintly, the Wikipedia article on Heritage Day is illustrated with a picture of what is obviously a braai, and it mentions your man Scannell.

Editado: Dez 7, 2019, 11:12 am

>204 hfglen: What, approximately, is a "tot" measure?

I know the word "tot" to refer to a child, or a particular form of grated-and-formed-into-tiny-barrel-shapes deep-fried potato.

Oh, and possibly a measure of drink, but I have no idea what the measure is. A shot? It is implied that it is less than a cup and more than a spoon.

Editado: Dez 7, 2019, 1:38 pm

>208 MrsLee: In this neck of the woods it is legally 25 ml, so 5 teaspoons or 1/10 of a cup. You can buy tot-measure glasses, but I'm not sure where; probably the local off-licence. Yes, it translates to about a shot.

ETA: I've not heard of the deep-fried potato concoction before (talk about two friends divided by a common language!), but the size and shape sounds like the usual measuring glass.

Dez 13, 2019, 1:46 pm

Friends have invited us to their annual bring-and-share on Boxing Day. Last year I suggested that it's a bit rich that I have the crust each year to make something from Apicius, seeing as he's Italian. So this year his missus suggested maybe I should make something medieval. Not difficult, I have To the King's Taste, which is a realization of some recipes from the Forme of Cury, which originated in Richard II's kitchen. Had a trial run of Roo Broth, which was not improved by the threat of load shedding in the middle of cooking. A luta continua!

Dez 20, 2019, 12:34 pm

Evidently Jinny the Kitten likes my cooking. I made a "Libyan Stew" with beef, cinnamon, parsley and lemon juice. DD looked away for half a moment, and when she looked back at her plate a kitten had her face in it! The rest of the family enjoyed it, too.

Dez 21, 2019, 7:08 pm

>209 hfglen: A sample of what we call tots:

Dez 22, 2019, 6:01 am

That all looks rather good! Including the liquid refreshment behind.

I see in one or another outdoor magazine that's landed on the doorstep in the last couple of days that Jan Braai has published a book of vegetarian braai recipes. Somehow I have difficulty in connecting those dots (even if I'm not as carnivorous as the legendary Namibians who consider chicken to be a vegetable).

Dez 22, 2019, 12:44 pm

>213 hfglen: Yes, it was delish. I read that the tribal people in the frozen north received all of their vitamins and minerals which most people get from vegetables, from eating the offal of caribou and other such grazers.

Ago 25, 2020, 6:06 am

I had never heard of the word Braai - enlightening. Thanks.
Este tópico foi continuado por Hugh's kitchen adventures in 2020.