Tag Archives: Impromptu

My kitchen rules (when my flatmate is cooking)

Fervet olla, vivit amicitia: While the pot boils, friendship endures.
~ Latin Proverb

I am way lucky, because my flatmate Fran is a fantastic-o cook.

This delicious prawn and zucchini spaghetti with chilli and garlic flecks I recently came home to following a full day at work and an evening work function after that… now, the pinot noir and canapés at the function were very delicious, as was the angelic singing (!!) – but I was nowhere near as happy as when I was home eating this!

And this was dinner the night before which Fran very kindly invited me to partake of too – baked tikka masala-flavoured chicken nibbles, a warming chicken + potato curry, healthy zucchini and fluffy rice. Antidote to Winter/Long Day Blues.

Fran is younger than me in years but has probably been cooking since she was born. She cooks with an intuition and instinct that is innate, not taught; and she cooks to feed a multitude, not just herself. It’s generous, and warm, and full of love.

Every time she cooks, I think about how lucky her children will be!

P.S. In reference to the quote at the start of this post, I am of course friends with Fran whether the pot boils or not ;-)


A shiny new header – and a kitchen experiment

The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.
~ Leonora Speyer

I’m not sure there is an adequate way to describe art which makes your heart twinkle… alright, see the new header graphic above? How can one not smile at it? Do you like it? I think it’s more delicious than a generous slice of moist banana-chocolate cake… it makes me wish I was sitting up on that tree branch asking you to come up and join me for a cup of tea. It’s a dream, is it not? I hope you like it too, especially if you visit my blog often… thank you Mr Piper for designing it! :-)

Tonight was the first night in awhile of cooking for all my flatmates again, and I couldn’t decide what to make. Steak? Pasta? Something crazy? In the end, I decided to make do with whatever I could find…

So. Four potatoes. One pack of chicken thighs. Leftover salad. An orange. A lonely nashi pear. A small handful of hazelnuts. An even smaller handful of dried apricots. Hmm…

I like mentally choosing a dish, and going to the supermarket to buy what I need. I like walking around the market, thinking about what to make and buying what I need for it there. I like having a lot of ingredients to choose from and work with. Spontaneous as I am, I usually like feeling prepared ingredients-wise when I’m cooking for others… tonight, though, I decided to relax and try cooking something out of nothing, so to speak.

It was good fun.

Of course, our cupboards and fridge were not too desolate, which made things a little easier. I sliced the chicken thighs into mini strips, washed and cut the potatoes, set some rice to cook in a bubbling saucepan of water.

I fried the chicken strips in warm, shimmering olive oil with garlic, mustard, paprika and chilli, adding the apricots, hazelnuts and a sprinkle of dried basil and mint in later. Boiled the potatoes. Zested an orange, cut most of the orange into cubes, tossed it all in with the leftover salad and left a wedge of orange out to make a simple orange juice salad dressing. I dusted the nashi pear pieces with some salt and added them in to the salad (sweet and crunchy, so good!).

And there we have it… a random dinner. Ate with my flatmates, and it was great. As a bonus, Matt was so good as to wash the dishes too. :-)


A sort of tiramisu

I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream.
~ William Shakespeare

Were I as vigilant as Shakespeare, I would have had some cream at home. As it is though, I did not, so I made some impromptu tiramisu-inspired layered something with trim milk instead and poured it into 5 ramekins which are now sitting in the fridge.

I did not cook with method or precision tonight. Ingredients used: amaretti biscuits, shredded coconut, 2 eggs, strong coffee, drizzle of kahlua, 1 tbsp sugar, some mascarpone cheese, some cream cheese, some trim milk, chocolate bits. I’m mostly optimistic about the results.

[edit] It tasted perfect, but it was very wet! I strongly advise the use of sponge fingers (as opposed to amaretti biscuits) and cream (as opposed to milk). [/edit]