Archive for May, 2008

Hello, Microwave!

There’s been an awful lot of button punching going on in my Brooklyn pad since my kitchen was demolished. I’ve been getting reacquainted with my microwave, an old pal from my boarding school days. It was then that I relied on it equally with Mr. Toaster to provide me with the necessary sustenance that school house meals were unable to provide. Saturday night at the pub were not complete without cheese toasties made with the toaster on laying on its side and microwave pasta & sauce. The cheese toasties were legendary but the microwave pastas less so. In the years since, my Quasar has had little more than a look in from me and sees more mugs of lukewarm tea and hard brown sugar than it does food. There’s something about cooking in a microwave that just makes me gag- perhaps its the way the smell of microwaved salmon lingers in the work kitchen after one of the crew cooks his dinner.

So we’ve been making up for lost times and becoming buddies again. Well, sort of. He didn’t like it when I tried to bake a chocolate chip cookie yesterday (hey, things are desperate around here, people and I needed something sweet). There were a few sparks and zapping noises and my apartment was left with the unforgettable smell of burnt chocolate intermingling with paint fumes. He also doesn’t know that once this whole renovation debacle is over and I’m no longer high on the paint fumes he’s going to lose his prime real estate position on the kitchen table. When I have my new kitchen he’ll either be making friends with other recycled appliances or perhaps hanging out with a less neglectful neighbour who fancies its electromagnetic waves cooking their dinner. It’s a sad fate, but Quasar just doesn’t fit into my new kitchen design.

I can’t claim that I’ve been nuking-up culinary wonders though- think more like the occasional sweet potato and frozen leftovers from the freezer. And there’s nothing like microwaving leftovers and sweet potatoes to induce a phase of culinary meloncholy. The electromagnetic waves paired with the thought of washing-up in the bathroom sink and eating off of paper plates seem to have zapped my enthusiasm. I thought that I might make myself feel better by going through my cookbooks and magazine clippings and dog ear all the things that I’m going to try when I have a kitchen again. But alas, it has not helped. Not only has this made me more depressed but I’ve also managed to wrack up quite a hefty Amazon bill on new cookbooks- which I decidedly do not already have enough of. I’m like a child writing their wish list from Santa Claus in July. Christmas will never come soon enough.

A RECIPE: Speckled coconut macaroons

It happens every time I try to follow a recipe. I’ve mixed together all of the ingredients listed on the page and scooped a delicate pinky in for a sampling. And then similtaneously, or so it would seem, something through the cracked-open cupboard door grasps a hold of my eye, lures me towards it and forces me add it to a what could have been a perfectly fine recipe. Sometimes I wish I’d just tried the recipe untampered with and sometimes I have to admit I find myself thinking it was a stroke of culinary fate. Fate or just pure genius. Speckled coconut macaroons came about on one of these occasions.

Everything got in my way when I was trying to work on this recipe for the blog. Work for one thing, really got in the way. And then because I haven’t had an oven the only way to test them was at work- which I’ve been banned from doing so I had to sneak test them without the original recipe to hand. Honestly, the trouble I get myself into trying to keep this blog going. Then it was too dark to photograph them, which meant that I couldn’t eat them (talk about tedious) and by the time I did photograph them they were a bit past their best. I did manage to get there in the end though- and I think you’ll find yourselves thanking me for my troubles. Your welcome.

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Speckled coconut macaroons’

Starting over

I apologise for neglecting my blog over the past ten days. It’s not that I haven’t wanted tap at my keyboard but life has somehow gotten in the way of me and my Mac. I was away at the weekend for a friends fabulous wedding and then when I returned after fourteen hours at work on Monday night this is what I faced when I walked in the door of my tiny apartment.

Oh, alright, so it wasn’t a complete surprise- I did know it was coming but somehow seeing my kitchen smashed to smithereens still provided quite the shock factor. Even if it was horrifyingly out of date, lacked a working oven and generally drove me bonkers. My mother tells me that renovating is one of the most stressful things that a couple can go to next to moving, divorce and planning a wedding. Well, in the past eighteen months, Don and I have moved country once, moved apartment twice, and similtaneously have started planning a wedding and kitchen renovations. One of these days, I’m going to have to learn to slow down. In the meantime though, my biggest concern is how we are going to eat for the next six weeks and what am I going to blog about? It may well turn into the London Foodie learns to microwave blog- we’ll see, perhaps I’ll try eating out first. At least for the next couple of weeks you’ll be covered with a stash of pre-demolished-kitchen recipes (phew). Heck, I’ve survived three months without an oven- I think I can take six weeks without a kitchen.

In the meantime though (whilst I peruse over the microwave cooking manual) – here are some of my favourite recipes from the past year.

Gluten-free Biscotti

Chocolate Cocoa Nib Shortbread

Squash, Chorizo & Feta Tartlets

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Feta Cheese, Cucumber & Tomato Herb Salad

A RECIPE: Sweet & savoury Israeli couscous

It’s only recently that I’ve developed a favouritism for Israeli couscous. Not one who usually chooses starchy carbohydrates over whole grains I never gave it a nibble. I resolved that it was just fancy couscous that you were only served in fancy restaurants who wanted to put couscous on the menu only with a more glamorous name. And then -I ate it at work, when a not-so-fancy-chef cooked it and I realised that it’s not fancy at all; it’s just good.

Actually, it came as quite a surprise to me that I so thoroughly enjoyed it- after all it does have an uncanny resemblance to frog spawn. But the nutty flavour and highly satisfying squeaky noise it made when I chewed won me over. It’s so much nicer than the grainy texture of normal couscous that just slips down your gob with no necessity to chew- it has more depth and it’s much more filling. Of course, it does take more effort to cook than bog standard couscous- I mean you can’t just pour over boiling water and come back to it; you actually have to cook it, people! The horror! Being a cooking blog though, I decided that this really wasn’t too much to ask of my readers- especially given the fact that it only takes ten minutes to do and because you’ve had weeks of no oven required recipes whilst my faulty oven situation drags on. And on.

Feel free to substitute the apricots for other dried fruits or cooked chicken and the nuts as you please- I won’t hate you, mine are only suggestions. There is a simple recipe and a more involved recipe. And when I say involved I’m referring to the fact that you’ll have to open up your cupboards and search through your spice jars. Is that really too much to ask?

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Sweet & savoury Israeli couscous’

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