So I've been keeping an eye out for owls when walking around Geneva as my eye was caught by one of the recipes in this book:
Owls, Simmered with OysteSo I've been keeping an eye out for owls when walking around Geneva as my eye was caught by one of the recipes in this book:
Owls, Simmered with Oysters.
I've never cooked owl before, but the combination was fascinating to consider, if perhaps a little too alliterative. Not to mention, if there is one way to make people take care what they give you for your birthday, this would be it, don't you think? That? Just a little something from that book you bought me. A bit of a hoot, don't you think?
However. I've just picked this up again and wondered why on earth the principal ingredient picture was of chooks not owls....
Whooooooooooops. It isn't a recipe for Owl and Oyster at all! The first letters have been done in fancy Victorian illustrated block style: it says Fowl and Oyster.
I'm uncertain as to whether to be relieved or disappointed. What about you, Manny?
Oh, I should mention if you never want to cook rabbit again, take a look at the rabbit pie recipe: it is faced by a page of the cutest little bunny wunnies ever to come out of a children's nursery book. Hilarious....more
These observations pertain only to the Hardie Grant recent revised hard cover edition of this book. (The paperback edition does not suffer from this,These observations pertain only to the Hardie Grant recent revised hard cover edition of this book. (The paperback edition does not suffer from this, it had a different publisher.)
It sucks. It fucking sucks.
I already have a sore head from looking at it today. Why? Because they have used a weird font to introduce the recipes; it looks cute and Asiany, which is no doubt that the 'book stylist' (Lord save us from stylists) thought would look good, but the only important thing to a font is that it is fucking readable.
Some basic facts about Winnie the Pooh and the Divine Comedy.
(1) Have you ever tried looking up Winnie on projeFor the final of Celebrity Death Match.
Some basic facts about Winnie the Pooh and the Divine Comedy.
(1) Have you ever tried looking up Winnie on project Gutenberg? You find that Dante gets a few thousand hits and Winnie gets none. NONE!!! And you know why? Because Disney bullied Congress years ago into being allowed to keep the copyright longer than was their legal right. And you know why they did that? Of course it is because everybody loves Winnie. Try this, if you don't believe me. Offer the copyright to The Divine Comedy to Disney for ten bucks.
(2) Have you ever tried shopping for Dante sheets? Cursor? Wallpaper - both hard and soft? Mice? Toilet paper? Colouring-in books? Dante stuffed animals? Interactive game sites?
(3) google The Divine Comedy and you get 3M hits. google Winnie the Pooh and you get 58M (numbers rounded down, to Dante's advantage).
Democracy, ladies and gentlemen. The world has voted. Celebrity death match can scarcely go against figures like these.
(4) When I was in Grade three, about seven years old, we were set as English comprehension:
"Compare and contrast the following passages"
The start of the Divine Comedy:
His glory, by whose might all things are mov'd, Pierces the universe, and in one part Sheds more resplendence, elsewhere less. In heav'n, That largeliest of his light partakes, was I, Witness of things, which to relate again Surpasseth power of him who comes from thence; For that, so near approaching its desire Our intellect is to such depth absorb'd, That memory cannot follow. Nathless all, That in my thoughts I of that sacred realm Could store, shall now be matter of my song.
and a poem by Pooh:
I lay on my chest And I thought it best To pretend I was having a evening rest; I lay on my tum And I tried to hum But nothing particular seemed to come My face was flat On the floor, and that Is all very well for an acrobat; But it doesn't seem fair To a Friendly Bear To stiffen him out with a backet-chair. And sort of squoze Which grows and grows Is not too nice for his poor old nose, And sort of squch Is much to much For his neck and his mouth and his ears and such.
I discussed all the obvious points, the sheer boredom of reading Dante, his inability to call a rhyme. Naturally I compared Pooh favourably with Shakespeare, making the point like others before me, I expect, that they were both inventors of words, that they revelled in the joyous playfullness of language.
The coup of my essay, however, was revealing the sociological experiment carried out by my mother. Whilst I was sweetly put to sleep with Pooh each night, my poor brother was served up Dante. He has never recovered from the trauma of it. To him going to bed at night is to be avoided at all costs. Anything but that. And in a truly despicable example of what happens when one is raised on Dante, my mother once found that my brother had hanged his teddy bear.
‘You have to admit you’re a bit light weight aren’t you?
It’s going to take more than a spoonful of sugar toCelebrity Death Match review vs M. Poppins.
‘You have to admit you’re a bit light weight aren’t you?
It’s going to take more than a spoonful of sugar to win this competition, you understand. I mean look at what Heart of Darkness is doing to Pooh and 1984 to Alice. You kiddy characters who think life’s all about honey and sweet things…we’re going to have to cook up something pretty good to take on the heavyweights here.
It’s a pity, of course, that we aren’t meeting in the final.’
Isabella and Mary were having tea and scones while discussing this rather miserable turn of events.
‘But we have to deal with how things are. We have to deal with reality. That’s what counts now. We aren’t in a pretend story where umbrellas can do magical things.
Look at you, for heaven’s sake. You are just a character. I’m a real person. Even your movie didn’t get made again and, well, it was so old-fashioned. Flat as a tack. My books are three-dimensional. You LIVE my books….they have taste and smell.
Face the facts, Mary. There is a natural order of things. You can’t beat a governess – you are just a nanny. But I can. I’m the one who wrote the book, after all.’
‘Yes, I see what you mean,’ Mary agrees.
‘So, you know what you have to do now?’
‘Yes,’ says Mary, ‘I think I do.’ She wipes her rather buttery fingers and opens up her umbrella. ‘Pop out? And not pop back in?’
‘You’re a team player, Mary. When I win, I will be winning for all of us.’
Mary only faintly catches this, she is drifting far, far away. ...more
I have a friend who is a dyke from Amsterdam - let me clarify that.
It isn't that she holds back the flood waters.
More that she likes girls more thanI have a friend who is a dyke from Amsterdam - let me clarify that.
It isn't that she holds back the flood waters.
More that she likes girls more than is strictly speaking necessary.
More, for example, than Whitaker would.
She comes around for dinner a lot and she is a very politically correct dyke. Last Monday she presented me with something. 'What's that?' I asked suspiciously? 'A zucchini' she replied. Well, I did know that, really. But for all I know, being a dyke means -
Well anyway. Now I had this zucchini and I had to do something with it.
Enter Madhur Jaffrey's triple x tome 'A thousand and one things a girl can do with a zucchini', that is to say a zucchini and like things. Only 650 actually, but that's quite a lot when you come down to it.
I will put a couple of recipes in the Indian section of my writing tomorrow....more
14 Oct 3am. And yet I cannot help reflecting as I lie in bed in the dark, that it isn’t the wondrous strange things I ate in Japan that I will always14 Oct 3am. And yet I cannot help reflecting as I lie in bed in the dark, that it isn’t the wondrous strange things I ate in Japan that I will always miss. Instead it is this. Every department store has at least one floor of food: to eat on the spot, to take home, ingredients, prepared.
Each morning we would go to the bakery section and purchase a large bread roll – made for two, I’d say – warm from the oven, crusty, filled with bacon and melting cheese and take it to the coffee shop area next to the bakery. We’d take turns to eat a mouthful and this is the delight that can make me feel good right now when that isn’t such an easy thing to do.
3 Oct. Oh, and crab brains, I forgot about them.
2 Oct. Well, I don't know about my mayonnaise idea after all. The thing is, I've just spent 10 days in Japan and had the most remarkable eating experiences, not least involving mayonnaise.
This was my fourth visit to Japan and I've always thought I've been adventurous and intrepid. But now I realise there is more to being those things than closing one's eyes and pointing.
This time we were lucky to be the guest of a UK professor resident in Hakodate who saw that we knew no cowardice in the eating department. This led to our having two meals which one simply couldn't stumble upon by accident. The first was probably more exotic. Raw squid, including the liver, so fresh it was still wriggling just a bit. Apparently out of deference to our sensibilities it was only a bit...Fried fish bones. Raw sea urchin. Abalone in the shell popped on a flame in front of us so that we could see its death throes.
The second dinner came about because I expressed my desire to have an extravagant crab meal, that being one of the port's notable catches. The previous dinner had been in an up market restaurant, into which we might have accidentally strayed on our own, though we would not have ordered the 'right' things.
This time we were going to a hole-in-the-wall, just six chairs at the counter. Ian had ordered the day before and this will surely remain for all my life as about the most incredible meal I've ever eaten. First up, starters, delicate serves of roe, smoked mussel and maybe scallop, whale also smoked, and, would you believe, corned beef. NOTHING like our idea of that, this was mmmm.
Next, crab baked in a mayonnaise sauce and this is what has made me change my mind. It was stunning, as was a similar dish we'd had at the other dinner. So, maybe I've simply never had Japanese mayonnaise as it can be. I could have eaten this all night. But next was crab shabu. Magificent crab leg meat, beautifully prepared. There was an assortment of accompaniments including soy sauce foam - the secret of which is guarded, I discovered. One could eat the crab raw or first dip it in the boiling stock - only for seconds, just enough to warm it, as The Master showed me, taking it from my rather hesitant hand.
What can I say? I was in crab heaven.
Some of his friends, Ian said, don't like coming to this place, as The Master likes to have his position in the world reaffirmed frequently. Well, we were so happy to do that. He was the best as far as we were concerned. Pleased, he gave us presents to take away with us. Next, grilled crab in its shell, then sashimi and then an amazing dish which was a whole fish one could eat every bit of. It is cooked in liquid for a long time, creating that effect of chalky bones like tinned tuna, which are so easy to eat. Brilliant, but I can't eat it all. I'm kind of full.
But next is the shabu stock in which has been cooked rice and egg; a delicate gruel-like dish, and I confess to gobbling it down, despite not wanting to eat for about another week.
Finally another education: dessert was sweetcorn tofu. I had no idea that tofu could be made out of lots of things, not just soybean. Maybe if I hadn't been actually bursting at the seams I could have appreciated this.
This dinner was an absolute eye-opener for me. I'd read all about the idea of The Master, but I'd never come close to eaten under the aegis of one. I rather think that a true Master would always be in a tiny place like this, able to completely control every aspect of the meal, not just how it is made, but how it is eaten, as he stands watching, the most excited anticipation on his face. Ian rarely takes Westerners to this place as it would be an insult if they were the least bit picky. We embraced the experience as Ian knew we would and were rewarded with something so special that we felt utterly privileged to be invited into what was for both of us a world which we kind of knew existed but would simply never have found on own own.
I can't help wondering. You know that stuff the Americans call mayonnaise that comes in a jar, it's thick and gluggy and white? It's one of the things MacArthur gave the Japanese in the post-war reconstruction. For some mysterious reason they love it. So, what if the Japanese had won? Maybe instead of this travesty of taste that has infiltrated Japanese cuisine, we would have soy sauce on everything in the US, the corn additive wouldn't exist at all, Americans wouldn't be fat, the whole world would seem a different place.
I used to be offended by the idea that Japanese people might spend $20 on a cherry. Too much money for their own good and on top of it, that’s where MY cherries were going. The nice ones I used to be able to buy in Australia.
I discovered when I made my first trip to Japan that what it’s all about is the most profound respect for quality and for doing things well. I’d been invited there for a bridge tournament and, having played bridge all over, including world championships, the NEC tournament in Yokohama is by far and away the best in every respect. Of course. It is in Japan.
This book is all about the mentality of the Japanese search for perfection. I was amazed to discover one could have a dish of soba noodles in Tokyo that would cost a small fortune, but it isn’t at all surprising after reading this book. A chef will study the art of the soba noodle for years before becoming a master. Everything is done in the best way, including grinding one’s grain fresh every day.
It was from this book I learned to make the master stocks/sauces that are the basis of properly constructed soba noodle dishes. In fact, once one has taken the time – and I DO mean time – to make these, there are some fairly simple things to be done to make soup noodles. And the master ingredients, once prepared, last for years – well worth the trouble.
I’m going to Japan next month and the thought has me racked with guilt. Every time I go there I come back inspired to learn to cook Japanese – every time I come back with a new cookbook. Every return I go out to buy peculiar ingredients which I put in the cupboard and never introduce myself to. It’s hard, cooking Japanese – not surprising, it is often both simple AND hard. I do have a few things I cook competently, I suppose. But the fact is I have no feeling for it, no sense of enjoyment. When I cook Indian I am a relaxed, happy little Vegemite, I feel like I’m in control. Cooking Japanese makes me feel like I’m cooking a roast. Complete stress and panic followed by some sense of relief that it’s over. Not one second of it was enjoyable. I’d like to get over that. I really would. If somebody finished eating my Japanese and asked 'was it good for you too?', I’d love to be able to say ‘mmm, could we do that again?’. ...more
I will never understand the fact that it is obvious to me that all the best cookbooks have almost no pictMeat Maharaja – and a detour into pornography
I will never understand the fact that it is obvious to me that all the best cookbooks have almost no pictures and yet what people buy are books with pictures. ‘Oh’ they will say ‘I need the picture, it’s what makes me want to cook the dish’. Rubbish! The ingredients, the story of the making as it unfolds, this is what makes your imagination understand the dish. Not a picture, least of all one by a food ‘stylist’ who has patently faked what you look at. And yet, this seems to be the cooking version of sexual pornography. Just as men are all too happy to watch ummm, actresses, pretending to have orgasms, so women seem perfectly content to know that these pictures are fake and yet not be the least put off by that. Amazing. The book for this recipe - Classic Indian Cooking - is no exception to the rule. Full of fabulous recipes, no pics, nobody has heard of it!
This is one of those cookbooks I feel like I should use more than I do. The one recipe I've tried from it so far is for tempura, you can find it here:This is one of those cookbooks I feel like I should use more than I do. The one recipe I've tried from it so far is for tempura, you can find it here:
Have you ever hired a porn movie and had to take it back to complain that the people on the cover weren't in it? I feel much the same about cooking boHave you ever hired a porn movie and had to take it back to complain that the people on the cover weren't in it? I feel much the same about cooking books. The ones with lavish pictures in them purporting to be a recipe in the book, but. The pics are as faked as the acting in xxx movies. You are following the recipe to the 't' and you know that there is no way you can make your dish look like the picture. And cooking's tougher than sex. You can't even fake it. I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!
This book ISN'T like that. It has no pretensions whatsoever. It stands by its recipes. Some of them are splendid....more
My take on recipe books is that if a book gives me one good thing, one food parcel that adds to my life it's been worth it. Why should it not be worthMy take on recipe books is that if a book gives me one good thing, one food parcel that adds to my life it's been worth it. Why should it not be worth $40, one fine recipe? This book passes that test, its baba ghannooj and tabbouleh are the best I've come across.
Still, there is something about this book that misses and I'm not sure what it is. I fancy blaming the book when it has lots in it I'm going to try but don't. If I get over that maybe I'll add a star or two.
There are a couple of rather lovely desserts in this book, and, as others have observed, easy at that.
But...there is a recipe for a crisp apple thing.There are a couple of rather lovely desserts in this book, and, as others have observed, easy at that.
But...there is a recipe for a crisp apple thing. Sorry, book not to hand so thing it is. The idea that this recipe could result in something crisp is beyond me. The night I made it I happened to have two highly educated cooks to dinner and neither of them understood either. So I wrote to her. That was about ten years ago. Still waiting....
Personally I've never found anything useful in the rest of the book....more
Down Australia way this has been the definitive general text since long before I started cooking.
Like anything that does so much not all of it is goiDown Australia way this has been the definitive general text since long before I started cooking.
Like anything that does so much not all of it is going to work. I was disappointed to find the laksa recipe nowhere near as good as my favourite restautant versions. It's true, it was one of my early sorties into cooking, but still....
Her Sri Lankan section is wonderful - not surprising since she is herself Sri Lankan, though since she moved to Australia in 1959, we may be forgiven for thinking of her as a local.
There are other sections of her book that I don't use, but may be excellent. I simply have enough good specialist books in the area, thinking now of Indian food in particular.
Cut chicken into curry pieces. Heat ghee or oil and on low heat fry fenugreek seeds and curry leaves until they start to brown. Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently until onions are soft and golden. Add turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin, fennel, salt and vinegar. If the curry isn't quite red enough, add the paprika because while it isn't used in Sri Lanka, using enough chilli to give the required colour would mean a curry too hot for most people. Stir well, add chicken and turn the pieces in the mixture. Add tomatoes, whole spices and lemon grass. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Add coconut milk, cook uncovered for a further few minutes, then remove from heat and stir in a squeeze of lime juice if desired. Serve with rice and accompaniments.
The influence of this book which transformed Australian eating in the 1960s cannot be overestimated. Remarkable book for its (what we'd call now) multThe influence of this book which transformed Australian eating in the 1960s cannot be overestimated. Remarkable book for its (what we'd call now) multi-cultural authenticity in the face of White Australia. Lately it's been revised, but it scarcely needs it....more