Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Three Births in Four Days Stew

All the babies decided to come at once so I was tired by last night and I decided on a hearty stew.

Hearty Beef Stew

1 Kilo Stewing beef, preferably organic
1/2 bottle red wine, ditto
2 onions
six potatoes
six carrots
six parsnips

Put the meat in a pot with the wine and simmer it with the sliced onions for an hour. Peel and cut the other vegetables and add them to the pot with a tablespoon of tomato paste, a splash of olive oil, and salt to taste.

Cover the stew with water, add whatever dried or fresh herbs you wish (1 chili pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf), and let it simmer on low for at least another two hours.

I served this with fresh baguette and mashed roasted squash.

Squished Squash

Take a whole acorn or butternut squash and poke holes in it. Put it in a 400 degree celsius oven, in a pan with a little (1/2 inch) water in it. Let it roast for about an hour.

When it is soft, scrape the flesh from the skin, mash it, add olive oil and salt and black pepper. Serve hot.

Nothing like winter and babies to build up an appetite.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 25, 2010

Just imagine all the food that was eaten and prepared today! I remember when we spent a winter in Africa and we endured Roast Turkey with all the British accompaniments: bread sauce, soggy vegetables, roast potatoes, and an ancient canned cranberry sauce, served with many bottles of ice cold beer (good), in a heat of well over 40 celsius.

New Year's Eve was even better. We were in Mombasa and we decided to go out and get some lunch. We ate a delicious goat curry, again, with many cold bottles of Tusker. The heat was infernal, so we went back to our guest house (read: flop house), where we had a bathtub! We spent an hour or so filling it with cold water and lay in it until well into the night.

Last night I was craving an Irish coffee, after attending a nice quick birth (baby girl). But alas, the Cool Whip had gone gray so I will try again tonight after a trip to the grocery store...

But we made some mulled wine instead.

Mulled Wine

2 large wineglasses red wine
1 large wineglass water
3 cloves
one stick of cinnamon
juice of half a lemon.
Bring it all to the boil and quickly turn it down to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes. Drink it hot.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Death and Housework

Last night I heard that one of my oldest friends - we're talking Junior High school, back in the early seventies - lost her husband the other day. A husband of many, many years: children, grandchildren, and a long and full life together. I am so sad for her. And, of course, as I have a husband too, know that it can happen to anyone at any time ... God forbid ...

So what do I do? I think about her all day, and I clean my house - dusting, sweeping, lighting the stove (that doesn't want to light today, and I keep thinking of his cremation and that final fire). I will cook a nice meal for tonight: baked salmon, roast chicken drumsticks and potatoes, challah, humous, various veggies, maybe a cake. Keep everyone on this side satisfied with their lot.

Light candles, be happy.

December 23, 2010

I wasn't feeling great so I decided on some Jewish antibiotic in the form of a chicken soup.

Chicken Soup (e pastine al brodo)

Take a whole chicken and cover it with water. Add two white onions, either cut in quarters or in small cubes or slices, depending on your mood. A whole head of garlic is nice, put it in like that and you can peel it and spread it on bread to eat with the soup. Three bay leaves. One tablespoon salt. These are the essentials.
Vegetables from your vegetable drawer, cut in large pieces:
Carrots, parsnips, turnips, celery, celery root, potato, fresh tomato, rutabaga, cabbage (this I cut fine). Yesterday I used carrots, parsnips, and celery.

Bring the soup to a boil then turn it down low, cover it and let it simmer for at least two hours.

When its almost ready, take a smaller pot and fill it with broth. Bring it to the boil and add 450 g. of small pasta (pastine).

Serve the pastine with broth first, then the chicken and vegetables, with bread if you wish.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flying Fish

Nostalgic gastronomy, thinking back a year ago to my first Flying Fish Sandwich ... just go down to the fish market, buy your flying fish, toss it in the frying pan with a touch of oil, then scoop it up, put it in between two slices of homemade whole wheat bread, add a few slices of raw red chili pepper, and you're off! A nice cold Carib and a half a Bajan cucumber with salt: Perfect...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22, 2010

The question today being Pasta Fagioli or Risotto ai Fungi.

Since I'll be going out before some of the household are home, perhaps the pasta would be better, reheated when they get in. But the porcini, picked and dried up on the mountain, are so good....

Okay, I was in a hurry, so:

Ragu alla casalinga in fretta

750 ground meat
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
tomato passata (750 ml)
extra virgin olive oil

Put the ground meat in a medium sized pot with 300 ml red wine and let it simmer together with the bay leaves and the crushed garlic. Add a good tablespoon of olive oil. When it has simmered for about 30 minutes, add the tomato passata and leave the lid off, on medium heat, until the sauce starts bubbling enough to make a mess of the stove.

At this point, turn the heat down, cover and let simmer until dinner is served (30 minutes to 2 hours).

I served this with Penne Rigate, and steamed broccoli on the side.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice 2010

Shortest day of the year, that means the least light.
To celebrate, I made:

Chinese Pasta

In a small bowl, mix 2 crushed garlic cloves, one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 cup tahini, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, dash of soy sauce.
Cook 500 g. spaghetti, linguine, or other long pasta al dente. When it is ready, drain and cover with olive oil, then mix in the tahini sauce. Serve hot.

Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Place the chicken legs in a roasting pan, cover with olive oil and sprinkle dried sage liberally. Cut potatoes in quarters, with the peel, and put them in the pan with the chicken. Pour more olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste and put in a 400 degree oven for one hour and a half.

Steamed Savoy Cabbage

Cut savoy cabbage into small pieces and steam until just done. Pour olive oil, vinegar and sesame oil onto cooked cabbage and serve warm.