taste

the art of leftovers cooking

Anytime of year (but especially at times of seasonal feasts and celebrations) – there may be leftovers in your fridge/kitchen – or a surplus of one ingredient you’ve grown or been given – can they be put to fresh use?

I’ve just discovered a useful website that says “yes” – “Love Food Hate Waste“.  There’s a great recipe page where you just type in whatever ingredient you have in surplus – press return and ping! Some suggested recipes come up.

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To test the system, I just typed in one food group often a leftover in the West at this time of year, after Thanksgiving and Christmas: Turkey.  Result: Potato bites, Celery Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Turkey Tagine, Cranberry Turkey Pasties, Turkey Tomato Gratin (hmm, grasping at straws here), Turkey and Sweetcorn Burgers, Turkey and Chickpea Coconut Curry….  a Smorgasbord of winter fowls.

Worth a try.

And I only visited the site to see if I could freeze cooked rice.

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Cooking with Georgia O’Keeffe

The artist Georgia O’Keeffe took a keen interest in health foods – believing that what you ate was important to creativity.  Delightfully, she lived to be 99, producing brilliant paintings to the end, her mind sharp as a tack.  So here are recipes for her wholemeal bread, a health shake, and Green Chillies with garlic, oil and a fried egg.

 

The recipes come from two books: “A Painter’s kitchen” edited by Margaret Wood, who worked as Georgia O’Keeffe’s companion and cook for 5 years – and “Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe: Recipes, art and landscape” by Robyn Lea, a well-researched book on the artist’s foods.  The latter book features 50 recipes drawn from Georgia’s own handwritten notes on recipes books, and her instructions to caterers.

Georgia O’Keeffe chose to live very much in her own style, settling in New Mexico, and organising the kitchen and garden so that there were organic vegetables to eat.  Her paintings show an awareness of the land, nature, living close to the earth and the beauty of simplicity.

The cooking is re-enacted for the video in a light, easty-to-follow humorous style.  In between the cooking, there is a time for a short but well-done overview of O’Keeffe’s life and works – with pictures!  A rather brilliant introduction to her work, if you’re not already in the know.

Spoiler alert: there are a few minutes of advertising for financial support at the end.

There’s no actual thematic link – but I don’t suppose it would hurt to listen to the song “Georgia on my mind” by Ray Charles while you’re cooking.  As a little amuse-le-chef.

Poetry, noodles and animation

As you know, this blog likes to mix its ingredients of art and life, so putting together poetry, noodles and animation this morning was the work of a moment.

Exhibit A – the poem is “Making Mines Frires” by Dominique Ahkong and if you pop over to http://bit.ly/2vm5ZEk you can read the poetic description of the family-making of noodles for the dish.  (from Cha: An Asian Literary Journal)  It includes phrases such as:

“My mother and grandmother trickle water

and crack runny suns into a powdered white well.

They whisk and mix until the walls collapse.”

(very recognisably a description for making pasta – but what genius to describe eggs as cracking ‘runny suns‘.  This simple and beautiful descriptive poem gently hints at family dynamics and cultural expectations and norms, too).

When the pasta machine slices the noodles into running ribbons, the writer describes it as “”like limbs in a Ghibli cartoon.”  Dominique was born to Mauritian parents in London, and now works as an animation writer in Singapore.

 

Exhibit B: the food – Mines Frires is a classic noodle dish of Mauritius and you can see it being made here in this video.  The noodles have already been made, sadly.  Now you’ll have to excuse me, as I feel an irresistible urge to go and eat noodles, suddenly……

 

 

Exhibit C: an animation about noodles….

Cheesecake is a luxury

… but sometimes we need a little luxury.

I just had a fabulous cheesecake experience.  If you are ever visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, swerve off your eaten path and try Artisan Cheesecakes, 104 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh.

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I had been viewing this shopfront from the top of a passing bus on journeys into town (the shop is well served by a large number of bus routes, as befits a place of importance).  Today, the weather was so glorious that you can see a neighbour sunbathing – but that just happened to be today.

I am at the start of a demanding project, so having made some progress this morning, I stopped off at this emporium of unctiousness, as a treat.

A really good cheesecake is a happy memory.  A middle of the road cheesecake is an incredible disappointment and every mouthful has the same no-taste-but-cream pointlessness.  Not today.  Not on my watch.

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How to get best food experience

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Food critic, Jay Rayner‘s top tip for great eating experience?

“thou shalt choose thy dining companions bloody carefully. I am constantly asked to name my favourite dining experience but the truth is that it all depends on the company. Get the choice of dining companion wrong and even the most sublime cooking can taste only of ashes.”   – Jay Rayner

From article “10 questions for the ‘world’s most feared food critic’ “by Lucy Clark in todays Guardian newspaper, 18 May 2017, section Life & Style.

Other great questions included:

“What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you in a restaurant?”

“Do you cook much?”

“Everyone thinks Restaurant Reviewing is the ultimate dream job.  Is it?”