Saturday, 21 April 2007
My grandma used to be a cook in the kindergarten and I think she is great because she is able to prepare something delicious from "nothing". As a child, I used to visit her and watch her cooking. I loved tasting eveything. Some people even said that they had never seen such an eager child in eating:) I am not fussy about any food, I love trying new cuisines. I have my favourites of course.
For BREAKFAST I love eating sandwiches, e.g. with cured meat, cheese and vegetables or with jam. Sometimes I eat corn flakes with milk and jam. I love drinking tea, I am addicted to earl grey.
For LUNCH (in Poland called DINNER) I eat something hot. I love varieties of pasta, with different sauces, herbs and vegetables. I love also rice (the best one is Uncle Bens -http://www.unclebens.com/) with fish, grilled chicken with potatoes, different salads with tuna, meat, cheese and sauces. I also love soups: tomato, cucumber, beetroot. Most of them are typical Polish one. I like Romanian, Turkish, Italian (pastas and pizza), Indian (tikka masala) and Greek (olives, variety of meat and salads) cuisines the most.
I like also fruits (watermelon, apples, banana especially), juices, still and sparkling water, chocolate and cheese cakes, scones and sometimes cheese and onion/sour cream crisps.
I like eating and experimenting with new flavours. I hope that I will taste in June Portugese cuisine and in July the French one... We will see:)
Preliminary, there is no big deal in meeting standards for this dish. You just need to prepare ingredients (more later on), and be hungry. There is however a bit of subtlety in the final stroke.
Having assured yourself by ongoing protests of own stomach that you really need something to eat, gather:
- bread of good quality
- ham, or sliced sausage (poultry, fish allowed)
- fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives,
- tomato sauce
- herbs (later on)
The first thing I would like to skip, leaving it till the end, so we will start from the moment your bread is nicely spread with tomato sauce mixed with herbs. You need now to chop garlic very finely, ideally if you use a squeezing machine, and put it onto the bread. Note that amount of garlic is of your individual preference. The only clue I can give is to use it more generously, as you dine closer to Transylvania. Unless you are a vampire, werewolf or you have a date after the meal.
Pick 2-3 olives for each slice of bread and cut them in fine pieces. Put them on the sandwich, and decide what kind of meat you would like. I have not tried this with the fish instead of beef or pork, but it seems to me that it would not cause any horrid diarrhoeas. Poultry works fine – the fact that my semi-vegetarian friend, is still alive after eating one with chicken, justifies that. The next step is to put tomatoes, or if you prefer your dish without them, cheese. As for the cheese don't be mean. You will find it nice, once you find that your dish is covered by a cheesy tablecloth. Afterwards turn an oven on 200°C for about 7 minutes. Add ketchup, mayo, and mustard in line with your taste.
2. A hint of unspeakable
The secret lies in herbs you add to tomato sauce which you then use to spread the bread with. Grounded garlic, basil, Provancal herbs, chives are the main one I use, but the hardest thing to tackle is to measure them properly, to create the core ingredient. It is a matter of proportion, just like the beauty of a female body which, both of which come with experience.
Today, now I feel like on TV cooking-programme:-), we will learn how to prepare tasty meat and fish and how to fry them properly.
Let's start from MEAT.
1. When you buy a piece of it, you have to remove fat and clean it with water.
2. Then you take herbs (marjoram, curry, mild or hot pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, onion, parsley, salt). Use those herbs you like and the amount which is ok for you and people who will eat this meat with you. Take into account that children and elderly people prefer eating milder meat to spicier one. I noticed that the best way is to coat a piece of meat in herbs and leave it in the fridge for a day or even two, because the meat will become saturated with herbs and will be simply tastier.
3. Now, when the meat is ready to be fried, take a frying pan and oil (or any kind of fat you like). Take a big spoon of oil and pour it onto a frying pan, let it be hot. Having read my post with spaghetti and preparation of a sauce, now you should know how we check whether the frying pan is ready for putting some meat there... I am only reminding You now.
You have to pour some water on your fingers and then to flick your fingers on the pan, so that water could touch the oil. If the oil starts to sizzle, it means that you can put meat into it. Be careful because it is very easy to burn the piece of meat, so remember to check when it is "gold" to turn it over. Sometimes is happens that it will start burning, add some water then. When you are sure that it is gold on both sides, you may take a pot and put there your meat, cover it with a lid, pour 2 spoons of water and leave on the cooker you used but turn it off, it is still warm enough. Why I am advising you to do that? It is very simple, because the meat will have some time to get softer, it is like a kind of boiling and steaming at the same time. It should take about 20 minutes.
As far as FISH is concerned:
1. Clean it with water as well.
2. Take similar herbs I advised you to use with meat. I do not like coating fish with flour, breadcrumbs or a special kind of coating. It is more caloric and not as tasty as with herbs only.
3. When you have the fish is coated with herbs, take some ordinary or olive oil and DO NOT POUR IT ONTO A FRYING PAN, but spread it onto a fish. WHY??? Once, in December 2006, I watched a cooking programme, they said that when you do it in such a way, you not smell fish in the whole house. I was sure they were bluffing because I did not believe them... But I tried and they were right. When You spread fat onto a fish not pour onto a frying pan it is simply better.
4. It is also very easy to burn the fish so watch out and in a good moment put it over (when it is slightly gold).
I hope You will succeed!!! I am sure about that:)
It was in October 2006 when we, I lived that time in one of the dormitories on the campus, spoke about Christmas tradition and meals. They asked me what we eat in Poland that time. Believe me, I have never seen so disgusted people with anything. Yeah, according to many Brits Poland is a third-world country, with constant snow. Some Brits also think that we do not have mobile phones, the Internet, similar products in shops etc. PATHETIC!!!
Coming back to my story, I told them that during Christmas Eve we are not allowed to eat meat, because it is our tradition. Of course, they asked what we eat instead. I said that mostly fish, e.g. I love herrings and carp:) Every family prepare different salads, depends on what kind they like. For instance, in my family we eat also a beetroot soup with some kind of raviollis called "uszka" or "small pierogi". We have also cabbage with mushrooms, dumlings with poppy seeds and raisins, herring salads (one is a Ukrainian one, because my grandfather was born there).
However, everything depends on the region. My mum used to eat a fish soup at home, my boyfriend has a mushroom one during Christmas Eve. After the main meal, people eat poppy-seed cakes, cheese cakes,
boiled wheat with poppy seeds and honey etc. The next two days of Christmas, we eat different kinds of meat, salads and cakes.
Could you imagine that my BRITish colleagues almost vomited when I told them about typical Christmas meals?!?!?! How narrow-minded they are... My Gosh.
I am not jealous that they eat for Christmas, let's say similar things they eat usually, because then they cannot feel the special character of the time. I am only horrified that they are so closed in a pejorative sense to other cultures and cuisines....
Friday, 20 April 2007
Everybody, who has ever watched her cooking on TV, wants Nigella to cook for him/her.
I agree with her way of cooking because it is not only about cooking as such but the way ‘how to eat’, which in my opinion is even more important.
Nigella Lawson's Food Philosophy
You know what is so great about her? That she simply cooks, not celebrates. She says: ‘Take a shallot, but if you do not have one, an onion is also ok’. I love her because of that. She keeps herbs in the drawer in bags and not on the shelf in the perfect order. When she says to add any herb, she simply takes the handful of it, instead of taking only a bit from the jar. When she talks about stirring the salad, she does it with her hands, like EVERYBODY, who cooks at home – and not using elegant spoons... and then she licks her fingers:) and I do not have to feel guilty that I do the same...
She does not cook a particular cuisine. She also does not think that time consuming meals can give you pleasure, because not many people have time to do that or even want. She prefers a cuisine which is less effective and absorbing, adapted to the age we live in now...
New York Times wrote that 'watching her is like the prelude to orgy' (I have read it on http://kobieta.gazeta.pl/wysokie-obcasy/1,53662,4041265.html?as=6&ias=7&startsz=x).
I am a heterosexual, but even I wait until she licks her fingers because is is so passionate...
‘Nigella Bites’ is the best cooking programme I have ever seen because she is so charming, natural and not fake.
My favourite one is a GREEK SALAD.
In order to prepare it you need (depends how much you would like to eat:):) and how many people are going to eat that): some lettuce, an onion (preferably a red one), 2-3 cloves of garlic, tomatoes, a cucumber, feta cheese, pepper and oil of olives. Some people also add some red/orange/green pepper, but it depends on you...
Chop or slice vegetables and feta cheese into a bowl, add some oil and pepper and squezzed garlic. Stir and relish!!!
I think, however, that the best way to prepare a great salad is to use whatever you have or want to use, do not be afraid of experimenting. As a student, I have to save money so sometimes I do not have every ingredient I want to use in my salad.
Lettuce or cabbage, peppers (no matter what colour they are, but in my opinion red and orange ones are the best), tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs (e.g. basil), onions, garlic, olives, different kind of cheese and sauces, corn, tuna, meat, prawns, pasta, rice, pickled cucumbers, peas etc.
Pasta is great with prawns/chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and some mayonaise.
Rice is great with pickled cucumbers, peas, corn and mayo.
Lettuce (like a greek salad), but You may add some corn, pepper, cheese, meat etc.
As far as sauces are concerned:
- a yoghurt/sour cream with herbs
- olive oil with herbs (you may add some vinegar or lemon juice)
JUST EXPERIMENT, believe me it is great. Good luck!!!
Apart from Pierogi we have the most delicious meat, cured meat, natural vegetables, gorgeous BREAD, dairy products especially cottage cheese... My Gosh, Poland and Polish food are great. If you have not been there or tasted this marvellous food, believe me, you have to!!!!!!!!!
Not only food we have great, also: sightseeing, beautiful women:), mountains, the sea, lots of monuments, crazy politicians:) etc.
Today, my dear, we are to cook a soup. I decided to teach You a tomato soup, which is probably the fastest, simplest and the cheapest one.
You can cook some rice (pour hot water into a pot, add some rice and cook for about 10 minutes, stir!) or pasta (how to cook pasta see the post about cooking spaghetti) as well:)
I told you that it is very easy and costs approximately 1,5 pound...
I am completely unable to buy a pizza here in Aberystwyth, they are distasteful and expensive. I will provide You with a very cheap recipe and the dough is marvellous, I bet You:):)
yeast, flour, oil, water, salt.
tomato paste, salt, pepper, garlic, basil, thyme, oregano. MIX it all together in a vessel.
When the dough is ready, take a baking/pizza tray and spread some oil on it, on the bottom and on the sides, so that the dough could not stick. Afterwards, spread the dough on it, take a fork and prick it. Then, take the sauce and spread it onto dough.
THE FLOOR IS YOURS NOW:):):) You might choose a vegetarian, with meat, fruity or frutti di marre. Everything depens on your imagination, taste and of course money:):):)
Put Your pizza into the oven: 200-220 Celsius for 15 minutes!!!
BON APPETIT FOLKS!!!
It was my second and the last lesson with my female girls: Michelle and Gemma. This time I wanted to persuade them that spaghetti is probably the simplest meal to cook in the world, apart from scrambled eggs:) The girls were a bit frightened. They do not usually cook. So I showed everything step by step. In order to make it easy for you, I am going to present this recipe in the similar way, because you might cook it for the first time.
Boil the whole kettle of water and then pour it into a pot, add some salt, two big spoons of oil and mix. Then, add pasta. It should be ready in 10-15 minutes. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT STIRRING!!! It is very important because then the pasta will not stuck to the bottom. You are probably curious how to check when pasta is ready... YOU HAVE TO TASTE IT. Take a fork and "catch" one spaghetti, but wait a second because it is very hot and then try.
Chop one onion and 4 (or more) cloves of garlic, take a pan, pour some oil. When the oil is hot, put a chopped onion and garlic. My mum taught me how to check when the oil is "ready". You have to pour some water on your fingers and then to flick your fingers on the pan, so that water could touch the oil. If the oil starts to sizzle, it means that you can put onions and garlic into it.
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT STIRRING and your cooker must be on the lowest programme, because we do not need to burn it. When the onion and garlic are "gold", add (***) the concentrate and chopped tomatoes from the can, stir it of course. Then add some salt, pepper, herbs: the most important are basil and oregano, but you may also use some thyme, marjoram etc. In order to check whether this sauce is tasty, take a spoon and taste a bit. You may need to add some more salt, pepper or herbs.
When pasta and sauce are ready, put some pasta on the plate and pour some sauce on it. Afterwards you may also add some cheese and olives. I think you will like it, not because it is tasty, but because it is quite cheap, simple, fast and... because you cooked it, like my friends: Michelle and Gemma. Look at the photos from our cooking lesson:)
PS. Of course, it was a vegeterian spaghetti, but You may add for example some minced beef, I put (***) in the sauce quidelines when you should add meat.
Thursday, 19 April 2007
I found a very interesting article about savouir vivre but not only about that:
- most of the people I observed EAT very UNHEALTHY e.g. crisps, chips, fast food, sweets, chocolate, drinking sweet fizzy drinks.
There were only a very few ones who ate hot meals, home made sandwiches with vegetables, salads, some fruits and drank juice. I noticed that it is mainly because people got used to buying ready-made products, not because in most of the cases they do not have time but simply they are lazy. It is so common now to see many obese people on the streets, but who cares??? If even they do not care... I might be wrong...
I do not want to hurt anybody's feelings, but, being a foreigner some things like those crisps with a roll, crisps and chips with salt and vinegar and taps with separate cold and hot water... are really strange for me...
' The dictionary defines vinegar as “sour wine” or “a sour liquid obtained by acetic fermentation of dilute alcoholic liquids and used as a condiment or preservative.” '
Of course, I sometimes use vinegar but frankly speaking I prefer instead of it lemon juice which is very similar and for me also lighter. I tried to eat both crisps and chips with vinegar but it was so horrible and distasteful that my taste buds almost exploded. I presume it was like that mainly because the amount of vinegar was too big. In my opinion, vinegar should be only an additive and not a main ingredient of a meal, like herbs, oil etc. I admire all those Brits who adore eating crisps and chips with vinegar because in my view they simply spoil the taste of chips and crisps...
If you want to find out more about the versatality of vinegar, see this page: