Monday, January 9, 2017

July 2016

Scott got his flatmate a cookbook by Ferran Adria for Christmas the year before to encourage him to cook more often. Lucky for us, his flatmate kept it out in the living room so we were able to use it too. Scott and I took turns picking a random number between 1 and 31 (there are 31 meals within the book). Then we'd flip to the corresponding meal in the book and try to make it happen.
I found the book to be super helpful because each recipe is generously accompanied with step-by-step photographs, which gives kitchen rookies like myself a better idea of how everything is supposed to look as its all coming together.

Meal #17: baked potatoes with romesco sauce, whiting in salsa verde, and rice pudding. OK, so maybe we only followed the 'baked potatoes' and 'fish' part of the recipe and made everything else up. This was when I first took notice of Scott's compulsion to puree things through a sieve, which I wrote off as dedication initially but then later realized was an obsession. During this time, I also realized that Scotty likes to put chopped spring onions on errrrthang. He's so funny. Everything started making more sense, like how he always, always leaves the supermarket with a bag of spring onions.

Meal #3: vichyssoise, lamb with mustard and mint, and chocolate truffles. There was no chance we were making the cold leek and potato soup, so we made lamb stew with mashed potatoes instead. Scott's insistence on pushing boiled potatoes through a sieve amused me to no end. This was when his particularity about taste, texture, and presentation came to light. But 45 minutes, an aching arm, and lots of sweat later, we had the creamiest mash! A few weeks after this incident we went to Mustafa and bought a hand blender.

We ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning (we do this a lot). Mixed some chopped vegetables into the mash and fried them like patties in the pan. Scott was still drinking a glass of milk in the mornings at this point... The pretty fuchsia mess is beetroot with a yogurt dressing to go with. My mum always nags at me to "eat the rainbow" to get me to include a variety of fruit and vegetables in my diet so that I get the different minerals and vitamins. Blue is a tough one for us. We eat blueberries and drink blue pea flower tea occasionally. Unfortunately, our blue pea plant (pictured right) isn't doing very well. Any ideas for eating blue?
We stopped using the cookbook soon after because a lot of the meals required like, 5 litres of romesco sauce, which we couldn't be bothered with.

Anyway, one thing I like about Scott is how whenever we go to Shirokiya, he always orders a dish of pickled Japanese cucumber with plum and bonito flakes without fail. [FYI: they moved from Cuppage to CHIJMES :'( ] You know how when you go out to dinner with friends and each person gets to pick a dish from the menu to share with everyone else? I'm the twit who'd order pickled cucumbers and get eye rolls from the rest of the table because not a lot of people can understand the logic of going to a restaurant and ordering a plate of cucumbers.

Anyway, we figured out how to recreate this dish at home. Basically, Japanese cucumbers, sour plum, bonito flakes, sesame seeds. Again, Scott insisted on putting the sour plum through a sieve to get the 'right texture.' But honestly, if you're not fussy and don't have the patience, mushing it with a fork will do the trick. We had it with roast pork - SO YUMMY. I don't really eat pork but I couldn't resist this one. I don't know how Scott did it. I guess on the pan? A bowl of edamame and soba with mushrooms topped with lots of spring onions.

We had banana pancakes one weekend!!!! I LOVE BANANA PANCAKES! Or rather, crepes with bananas on top. Staying true to the 'no measurements' policy we have in the kitchen, I did not know how much flour to put into the batter and ended up putting too much. Not sure if Scott is just not a fan of sweet stuff in the mornings or just not a fan of tough rubbery crepes in general.... We had this one time and then went back to having eggs and vegetables for breakfast.

Salmon omelette!! This was really yummy. Scott did all the chopping and cooking for this one while I pitted the cherries.

Scott made pasta from scratch one evening!!
Sweet potato fries, some vegetables, and fish, which we did two ways. One panfried on the stove with dressing (garlic, herbs, anchovies) on the side, the other we baked in the oven with the dressing. We both preferred the baked one because the raw dressing on the side was a bit overwhelming.

Such a good breakfast this was. Ok, backstory: Scott is quite frugal when it comes to grocery shopping. His shopping outlook is complementary to my mother's "a penny saved is a penny earned" philosophy that I was brought up under, so we are mostly agreeable on when we want to splurge and save. For example, Scott refuses to buy leeks in Singapore where they cost $20/kilo because he knows he can get them for $3/kilo back home. Fortunately, I do not like leeks that much so this hasn't been a source of friction between us. Anyway, I don't know how it happened, but we ended up paying $9 for a broccoli one day. Scott made damn sure we ate every bit of that broccoli =) We ate the head with our leftovers (kebabs from Sufi's at Arab Street) and cheddar cheese. And then the stem and whatever other little bits tossed in salt and olive oil.

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