Posts Tagged ‘Rick Stein’

Communion with a Frog.

November 22, 2016
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Milo at peace with the world

 

The event of my friendship with a stingray following me in the water along a stretch of beach at Bendalong was perplexing enough, but yesterday we had a frog visiting us inside our home. How often would a frog end up inside our homes? It would have to be a deliberate choice; surely?

It happened during last evening’s TV hour of Rick Stein’s ‘Venice and Food.’ He seems to be joining several TV cooks combining culture and food, or at least linking food having its origins in making do with whatever was available at earlier less affluent times . Good food is the result of poverty more than wealth. Herbs were added to basic ingredients to make tasty and often nutritious food by peasants. Of course, at least in Venice, the peasants have disappeared or are rich. The real peasants have morphed into hordes of belching tourists.

Last night’s Rick Stein’s tour along Venice’s Grand canals were interspersed with sea-food risottos or pastas dished on mouth-watering steaming plates, all so colourful, with just the right amount of a verdant green sprinkle of parsley, with Venetian sienna accented intonations by a smiling waitress.

When everything was steaming along on TV, I noticed Milo, our much revered Jack-Russell Terrier, carrying something around in his mouth. As it was dark outside I did not think it would be a lizard. During daytime hours, one of the less social acceptable amusements is Milo chasing lizards and performing amputations of their tails. He is totally flabbergasted that there are now two wriggling beings instead of just the previous single one. We don’t encourage him.

I told Milo to drop his pray. He did instantly. On close inspection I thought it might be a young bird. It kept moving about. I lost sight of it in the semi-darkness of our lounge room. We usually spent evenings in subdued lighting. Milo though, all excited, wasn’t about to loose his pray and directed me to this missing little animal hopping about. It had now jumped into our bedroom. I looked and discovered it was a fairly large frog. I tried putting a dish-washer cloth over it. It jumped away before the cloth hit the floor. It had jumped into the bathroom. Perhaps it needed water?

I managed to find it again underneath a rack of towels. This time I covered the frog with a wet towel. I told Helvi about the frog, but she did not seem interested, and kept looking at Venice and listening to Rick Stein’s cooking commentary on the telly. I duly and with some magnanimity carried (proudly) the frog to the other side of the house and to the safety of a tangled Jasmin bush. During the last few years  this jasmin managed to scramble over the paling fence shared by our neighbour. It was also near an outside light which had a crowd of insects buzzing about. I hoped this frog would find a nice morsel as well. It should not just be the domain of Rick Stein. I then took it a small saucer of water.

After the show was over, I urged Helvi to take a look outside at the frog. It was still there and looked happy. As far as it is possible to detect happiness in a frog.

Good boy, Milo. Good boy, for not pulling the tail off a friendly frog.

The magnificent Raan Curry for Christmas beckons

December 9, 2013

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If the Turkey for Christmas is getting a bit hackneyed and the ham has soured, consider the Raan dish. I won’t bother with giving you the exact details in grams ounces or kilos. Try and create your own Raan by just imagining tasting the combination of the different herbs, spices and ingredients.

You know that if you put in a kilo of salt the dish is likely to be very salty. Cooking is very much anticipating how things will taste by mixing and imagining the taste of the mixed ingredients before cooking. The religious following of recipes with the book propped up against the kitchen whisk is never going to be a surprise. Not as a failed dish nor of a basking in the glory of an unimaginable masterpiece, hailed by Rick Stein, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and all your guests for years to come. Take the risk!

So, here we go. The bulk of this dish is mutton or at least a large leg of sheep. You need a well aged leg not a lamb leg although that is permissible as well. This dish is Northern India and as you travel up further north, the Indian cuisine starts to be less chilli hot and becomes more infused with the sweetness of yoghurt and dried fruit, raisins, currants etc. of the Northern regions.

The secret of this dish is that the leg of mutton is allowed to cure or ‘cook’ for about three days in the fridge by the acidity of the marinade. The marinade has to be enough to cover the meat. Voila, you need plenty of good quality yoghurt, the juice of about 4 lemons about 200 grams of raisons and currants, a tablespoon of turmeric, a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, about 4 red-hot chillies, some cloves and about two teaspoons of cardamom, salt and sugar.

Mix the marinade in a mixer and let stand for about one hour, mix again. In the meantime pierce the leg and insert cloves of garlic. Good juicy garlic and not the cheap Chinese tasteless carton stuff. Poor the marinade over the lamb in a dish large enough to hold the leg.

Put in the fridge and leave for about two to three days occasionally turning the meat.
Then… as the excitement mounts…pre-heat oven to 200c and cook the lamb for about 30 minutes. Turn heat to 160c and cook 45 minutes for every kilo of the meat. It is cooked when the meat falls off the bone. When it does. Turn off the oven. Boil basmati rice.

I was amazed some years ago when we had Japanese students living in our house they were using an electric rice cooker. When I told them I thought the Japanese had invented boiling rice, they smiled politely but they never tried my system. She said, oh no… too risky! Can you believe it?
Here is how to boil rice; Just cover the rice with one finger digit of water on top of the rice and bring quickly to boil without the lid on. When water is disappearing and holes appear in the rice, put on the lid and turn the gas off. Wait for about twenty minutes and the rice should be dry crumbly and cooked. Perfect

Now, this is the important bit… Break the lamb into bite size chunks, put on the plate with the rice and pour some of the marinade over the lot. Some chutney or cucumber with yoghurt as a side dish compliments the dinner. Have it with chilled water with lime slices floating on top. Don’t muck around with wine. It spoils it. Have it afterwards.
Enjoy and let me know the results.