Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Lazyweb, Ethiopian

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Dear Lazyweb,

My brother lives in Addis Ababa. This means I sometimes get cool stuff (like coffee straight from the highlands) and sometimes rather incomprehensible parcels in the mail. In this case, I have a sachet of "Raw Tikur Azmude" and a bag of very interestingly colored beans. See photo. Since my Amharic just isn’t what it needs to be — and I still have Hausa on the list of things to do above learning Amharic — I’m at a loss as to what to do with this. So anyone with some Ethiopian cooking hints, please drop me a note.

Love in International cooking,



Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Even if Talk Like a Pirate Day (developer idea: implement tlapd, a proxy LDAP server that mangles replies to be more piratey or which intercepts http requests) passed quiety for me this year, I’m still partial to the (ahem) romantic ideals of the pirate. So when Something Positive pointed to a Steve Jackson floortop game Evil Stevie’s Pirate Game which combines Pirates, Lego ships and large group gaming. Whee!

Recent kitchen projects have included a totally failed meringue pie and chocolate ice cream — neither of which the kids liked, but which nonetheless disappeared so quickly no photos are available. And I think I’m getting the hang of white bread now, too. Need to work on getting the crust just right.

GUUG’s Linux Kongress is on right now, if you’re near Nuremberg. NLUUG’s Fall Conference, with Security and Privacy as topics, is coming up at the beginning of November.

Lastly, I’m happy to hear tales of people (like Frederik) Joining the Game. Coincidence that he describes what KDE e.V. does the same day I write a rather dry item on the same topic? Mystery! At least he can spell “e.V.” properly, which I couldn’t.

Paneer (say cheese)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The kids — now aged five and nearly seven — have some interest in cooking. After all, they see one parent or the other making dinner daily, usually with some narration. Once they’re old enough to hold a paring knife and not cut off their little fingers, I’ve been herding them both into the kitchen for odd jobs like chopping mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers. Recently I’ve started trying to explain principles to them as well — like what can you do with an egg. Fried or scrambled is familiar to them, and I’ve started explaining why a boiled egg can be soft- or hard-boiled (and playing with the kitchen timer to show them how). Recently we moved a step further with separating an egg and making meringue from the whites and custard from the yolks. Kitchen chemistry at its best.

This weekend the “kid’s science corner” in the paper (with Dr. Zeepaard) had an item on “gummy cheese”, which they made with milk and vinegar — warning that it’s inedible. That prompted me to go looking for edible recipes, which are of course paneer and its cousins ricotta and the like. Some recipes for paneer call for vinegar — it’s a little random out there on the web. In any case I wonder why the paper added that warning.

We went for a lemon-juice based paneer, bringing three-quarters of a litre of milk to a boil (in retrospect I should have kept it cooler, around seventy degrees) and then adding half teaspoons of lemon juice until the milk curdled. This was quite remarkable to watch, as the transition from milk to curds and whey went quickly. One minute it looks like milk, the next it’s lumpy and watery — then add one more half teaspoon of lemon for good measure, cut the heat, stir, strain, press and serve. The curds need to be strained out of the mixture. I discarded the whey. I suppose I could have made fake Rivella as well or boiled some rice with it, for full use of the ingredients. The whole process yielded a lump of white gummy stuff — very little lemon taste — about the size of my fist. The kids didn’t like it much, because they’re more into aged goat cheese, but as a first excursion into this kind of chemistry I think it was a success. With soy sauce and coriander leaves it was great.

There must be a movement somewhere striving for awareness of ingredients and participation in basic foodmaking — any tips? (Of course, such a movement would be very much tied to Europe; when I lived in Yemen my mom made this kind of stuff regularly if only because you couldn’t get cheese otherwise so then there’s no real point to emphasizing it)

New Year’s Recipes (1)

Monday, January 4th, 2010

[[ No, wait, let’s make that the new decade’s recipes. I’m with the “convention determines usage” on the decades front: the 80s do not include 1990. Oddly enough, I side with the centuries-and-millennia from one group, so my decades and centuries don’t run in sync. I guess it’s all about the Ordinals vs. the Cardinals (weren’t they from St. Louis?) John Layt, are you going to support that feature too? ]]

So, baking. I’ve taught Mira how to crack open an egg into a bowl for baking a cake without getting bits of shell and gunk into the batter. It cost a half dozen eggs over a bunch of practice sessions, but now I can delegate that bit to her. She’ll be baking bran muffins all by herself, soon. But today we made a pecan cake which turned out really well, so I thought I’d share the recipe. This also serves as a demonstration for what you can get if you’re one of the lucky winners of the Freedom Food donation drive from the FSFE.

Pecan Cake: Mix three (3) eggs, one cup of sugar, half tsp. of salt and one tsp. vanilla extract with a hand mixer on high for about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of chopped or whole pecans and one cup self-raising flour (maybe a tad more). Mix briefly until all blended, then in the oven at 160C for 30 minutes or until a fork comes out clean. Frost with 100g mascarpone and 100g icing sugar and 2 drops lemon juice.

See, my recipes, like my time-reckoning, use a mix of units and conventions. Basic stuff gets North American units applied, but I’ve never used an oven that didn’t have a scale in centigrade (well, except during CampKDE last year, where I baked cookies for most of the attendees, but that was .. exceptional, shall we say).

Cookery (4)

Monday, August 31st, 2009

While I recently wrote something along the lines of “buy local!”, extolling the virtues of vegetables from one’s own garden, I’m also partial to a Dutch saying “wat je van ver haalt is lekker” — whatever comes from far away is yummy. Unfortunately I have not learned to make sinasiri (next time I got to Nigeria, I will have a shopping list), so the followin pan-European thing will have to do: mushroom risotto with salmon and beet greens. I obtained a box of Polish mushroom stock tablets recently from a friend’s mom, a box of Italian risotto rice from a local deli, salmon from the market (presumably Norwegian farmed) and the beet greens were part of our vegetable subscription, so they were from across the river. A 2007 pinot blanc from the Alsace rounded out the European tour. Menu for two or three diners:

Mushroom risotto:heat some olive oil and sweat off an onion until glazed; stir in some chopped mushrooms and allow them to brown. In the meantime, prepare 2 cups of mushroom stock (from bouillon cubes if you like, and the Polish ones do taste better than the Dutch ones). Add one cup of rice and toast it for three minutes, stirring occasionally. Quench with one cup white wine, then stir in the stock, half a cup at a time, and allow the rice to cook (about 16 minutes at lower heat).

Salmon: 400g salmon fillet. Rub down with salt and pepper, allow to stand 15 minutes. Melt butter (actually, I tend to use half butter half olive oil for frying fish) until browned, then add fish (I don’t have a pan that will take a single chunk of fish this large, so I cut it in two and have to shuffle a little). Fry one side 3 minutes, sprinkle dill liberally on upper side, then turn over, fry for another three minutes. Add one pound chopped beet greens over top, splash on some wine and cover tightly to steam the greens for 4 minutes or so (until the fish is just done).

Serve with what’s left of the wine — if the cook has been tippling in the kitchen, don’t give him any more. A selection of cheeses makes a fine dessert.

Cookery (3)

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Book coverSome folks know that I used to be a fan of the Gallery of Regrettable Food — also a source of recipes to avoid and wonderful pictures. So while re-organizing my house and clearing out shelves, I found a wonderful item: Adelaide Daniels Weight Watching Cooking. The food itself is so-so, typical early ’70s Canadian fare with plenty of evaporated milk and instant coffee and the inside illustrations are just boring. But the cover! So in the interest (questionable, I know) of saving the cover and pitching out the paper (to the recycle bin), I’ve scanned it. Click for full(er) size, 850kB; the scan is a little less vibrant than the original, and both the dithering in the original printing and the texture of the cover show up more in the scan than they do on the book itself. It’s a bit of a shame, because the green glowing lime Jell-o pudding really leaps out at you.

Adelaide Daniels was founder of the Weight Watchers of Ontario, but doesn’t seem to have left much of a biography on the net. The book itself is for sale from some “antique” book-sellers, listing USD 7.95 — maybe I should keep it and wait for it to appreciate more?

Not responsible for resulting queasyness, here’s a recipe for my Jamaican friends.

Jamaican Orange: Fill a 6-ounce goblet 2/3 full of an orange-flavoured, low-calorie carbonated beverage. Add rum extract to taste, and ice to fill the glass. arnish with a lemon twist. Makes 1 serving.