16 October 2007

My Monthly Fix

Every month, I religiously head to Kino for my dose of food related magazines. For a very disturbing digression, on one of those trips I spotted a guy in his late thirties or early forties sitting on the floor, with a soft porn magazine open on his lap. Sure, I'm all for free speech and human rights, and whatever men like to do in their own little private space. Lets not even go there.

Bring it out into the open, er... SURE. But to sit there, with a camera phone in hand, snapping photos of the bikini clad, busty model with barbie-type big hair featured in the magazine, now that's just plain disturbing.

Anyway! Fortunately or unfortunately, I head to Kino pretty often to grab a couple of magazines. I'm a terrible sucker for handsome steaks or sexy pies. Throw in some adorable mini scoops of caramel ice cream and I'm sold. A couple of magazines have entrapped my mind and heart. Donna Hay is one of them. The gorgeous photos, reader-friendly layout and useful tips on cooking make the magazine a mainstay in my repertoire of magazines to grab regularly.

Sadly though, their recipes and tips have been grossly used and consulted. And with that realisation, I stacked up my D.H. mags and trawled through, considering a possible menu to provide for some friends. As I was catching a matinee, I only had a couple of hours to prepare the meal and had to (again) look for something uncomplicated.

There were way too many choices, and after much mulling over, I chose to start the meal off with caramelised mushrooms to top off a thinly sliced baguette, smeared generously with cheese (I chose my childhood fav,
Laughing Cow Cheese) and scattered with wild rocket leaves. This was such a convenient dish to prepare way before hand, to get out of the way and out of the mind while preparing the other courses. I just had to simmer it for a while, allowing it to cool naturally until it is ready to serve. Although the original recipe asked for goat's cheese, my uncontrollable aversion to goat's cheese led to my substitution, which I thoroughly enjoyed anyway.

Following that, we had salmon gently poached in tomato broth, frugally garnished with dill. Convenient point number 2: the broth is prepared before hand and the salmon poached for just 8-9 minutes for the middle to remain that slightly darker shade of pink. Of course, that means that the salmon should be sliced into individual portions first before poaching.

With some careful timing and prep work, some stew and risotto was served after that. The lamb was stewed with an entire bottle of red wine and the aromatic rosemary, while the risotto was plain and spiked with just a mere hint of thyme.

One thing I've learnt however, after so many attempts to recreate dishes featured in magazines or in cookbooks, is that they almost always never turn out the way it looks like in the photos. My fish broth looked far too red, making me alarmed by the disparity of colour. I re-read the recipe over and over again to make sure I wasn't adding the tomato puree to the broth erroneously. Was it 1 tsp, and not 1 tbspn? Was my tomato puree unusually red?

So yes, I've learnt (the hard way) to accept that I might never be able to make such perfect looking steaks or pies. But when you have friends like mine who mostly don't notice if the carrot sticks were not julienned properly or if the frosting on the cake is slightly uneven, it is easier to let go.
Just walk away from the cake Daffy, just walk away from the cake.


valentinA said...

Who is on the pic?? It's not you definitely, you're right handed!

daphne said...

ok..that guy sounds disturbed.

the fish broth however-looks delish. Even with the red! =)

val said...

haha u psychotic woman..

Anonymous said...

Stella> Her name is Sarah! I can introduce you to her when you come over! =)

Daphne> Indeed! The fish broth was not bad but just a little worrying that the photo and the outcome was so drastically different!

Val> Hey! Excuuuuse me.

Paw Paw said...

Enjoyed reading your very nice blog...Just stopping to say HI!

Anonymous said...


Sarah said...

Helloooo! Very sharp of you to notice! I'm actually right-handed, but for some reason I sub-consciously hold spoons with my left hand sometimes. :D
Yum yum. *thinking about dinner that night* Positively yum yum. :)

Anonymous said...

Sarah! I shall not only keep track of how many chews you take per mouthful of food next time, I shall also take note of which hand you use to hold what! Watching you eat wil be very interesting. =)