Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snowy Snow Snow! and also Cooking Club: The Return

Today I opened the door to head down the hill and ... it was snowing! Big, fluffy, white flakes! It was so exciting!  I went to meet D for coffee in the bookshop and we ended up getting into a conversation about the snow with the baristas:

Me: It's bound to stop snowing at some point
Barista: Not necessarily.  It could just carry on going. Covering everything deeper and deeper.
Me: Like a snowy apocalyse.
D: We'll have to hide out here and live only on coffee and pastries.
Barista: I reckon we could survive at least a week.
Me: Best place to survive an apocalypse ever.  There's coffee and books. We'd never be bored.
D: We'll know everything ever by the time we get out.
Me: Everything ever. And when we get out we'll come across a small band of survivors, and they will label us the Holders of the Knowledge because we'd read the whole bookstore.
D: And they will worship us because we make really good coffee.
Barista: So if it snows any harder we're all staying here then, yeah?
All of us: Yep.

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The girls and I have set up a little informal cooking club: last month we made nori rolls, on Sunday we set about making turkish food with traditional recipes from Mr. Julie's great grandma. We started off the afternoon with a good old gossip which lasted a long time and we finally got down to cooking at about 4.30pm.  We made three different dishes, substituting lentils for beef, some turned out to be more successful than others! Since they are grandma recipes, there are no quantities and the instructions are pretty loose. We just kind of experimented and hoped for the best.

Baked Zucchini

Zucchini / courgette - peeled and diced (though we used aubergine / eggplant)
4 eggs
salt red pepper
1/4 stick margerine

- grease the pan with the margarine
- beat the eggs together, add salt and pepper, and then scramble them lightly
- while the eggs are still runny, pour them into a baking pan with the zucchini.  Mix this together and bake at 180 C / 350 F for 40 mins.  Make sure you mix it every so often while baking.
- add more salt and pepper as required, and bake for a while longer if it needs it.

We found this recipe a tad confusing (red pepper like capsicum? or red pepper like pink peppercorns?) and while we did eat it all up, I think we'll have to modify a little - maybe we could have cooked the aubergines before hand more? If you experiment with this then let me know.

our version of Baked Zucchini

Maldoom

potatoes or peppers or sauteed aubergine, sliced thinly
tomatoes
minced beef (in our case we substituted with brown lentils, but you could use soy mince, Quorn or mushrooms just as well)
pepper paste
parsley
garlic

- combine the beef (or whatever) with the tomatoes, pepper paste, parsley and garlic. We boiled the lentils before for half an hour just to make sure that they were cooked.
- layer the potato slices (or other options) in the bottom of the oven dish, and then some of the beef mixture on top.  We used potatoes, and then put a layer of lentils, then a layer of red peppers, then lentils, then potatoes.  Unfortunately we forgot step 1, so we had to just to pour all the tomato concoction over the top and hope it seeped through during cooking! It was still good, but I recommend mixing it up first.
- pour some extra tomato sauce over the top of the dish (but not so much that it completely covers it)
- cover with foil and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven at 200 C / 400 F for about an hour. If it is a bit too watery then take off the foil and let it cook up top for a while til the water evaporates more.

This was very yummy and I'm definitely doing it again - even though we forgot the spices! It reminded me a bit of Eggplant Parmigiano, which made me think that maybe I could experiment with cheese on top next time.

Maldoom

Fasooleeyeh

onion - chopped in chunks
green beans
fresh tomato - chopped in chunks
swedish salt I don't actually know what this is, but apparently you can get it in Portugal.  We settled for more spices
jalapeno we ended up using an italian capsicum, so we didn't get as much spice, but it was a yummy addition to th recipe
paprika

- sautee the onion until a little bit transparent
- add the green beans
- add the tomato and spices
- cover and simmer for 25 - 30 mins

This was definitely our favourite dish of the night, it's easy and tasty and even tastes good as a cold salad, and it keeps well, I imagine. I'm not sure because we ate all of it.

Turkish dinner: yum!

Naturally, in fine Cooking Club tradition we ended the day with a board game.  The choice this time was the Lego game which was a bit tricky but quite exciting.  I ended up rescuing the King, but Julie got the most gold and Mini-Julie defeated the huge big monster, so everyone's a winner.


Now it's just a case of finding other exciting food to try out next time! Any ideas anyone?

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