The Pig

pig:

My son Nitai had to choose some verses to recite and act out for his Year 7 Poetry Assignment.

We fell upon this whimsical piece. A bit ghastly, yes, and I guess it does lean towards the idea of karma and retribution. Best read aloud, with a Yorkshire accent.

‘The Pig’
by Roald Dahl

In England once there lived a big

And wonderfully clever pig.

To everybody it was plain

That Piggy had a massive brain.

He worked out sums inside his head,

There was no book he hadn’t read.

He knew what made an airplane fly,

He knew how engines worked and why.

He knew all this, but in the end

One question drove him round the bend:

He simply couldn’t puzzle out

What LIFE was really all about.

What was the reason for his birth?

Why was he placed upon this earth?

His giant brain went round and round.

Alas, no answer could be found.

Till suddenly one wondrous night.

All in a flash he saw the light.

He jumped up like a ballet dancer

And yelled, “By gum, I’ve got the answer!”

“They want my bacon slice by slice

“To sell at a tremendous price!

“They want my tender juicy chops

“To put in all the butcher’s shops!

“They want my pork to make a roast

“And that’s the part’ll cost the most!

“They want my sausages in strings!

“They even want my chitterlings!

“The butcher’s shop! The carving knife!

“That is the reason for my life!”

Such thoughts as these are not designed

To give a pig great piece of mind.

Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,

A pail of pigswill in his hand,

And piggy with a mighty roar,

Bashes the farmer to the floor

Magical Mystery Tour

Last Saturday’s class at The Sticky Rice Cookery School in the Adelaide Hills was a bit different to most I’ve done. It was a surprise class. Not for the host, but for the guests!

Magical Mystery Tour:

The birthday girl arranged a mini bus to drive her 20 guests to a Mystery Location. That location was my class. They were absolutely delighted, and it turned out to be one of my most dynamic classes. The guests were all my age and they all slipped into ‘kitchen mode’ without a hitch.

The Magic continues:

The menu was as follows:

“Light & Healthy Vegetarian Dishes

Pumpkins

jap pumpkin:

Fernanda from Miami wrote:

“Hare Krishna Kurma. I was in Amsterdam for Ratha Yatra and had some delicious pumpkin subji. Although I did have the pleasure of meeting the devotee in charge of cooking for the temple, I didn’t put two & two together so sadly I forgot to ask her for the recipe. Do you have any suggestions? Your help & recipes are so much appreciated.”

My reply: Thanks for your kind words. Well, I cannot say whether this is what you tasted, as recipes vary so much across the world, especially when they are cooked in large quantities. Nevertheless, here’s a delcious pumpkin recipe.

gujarati pumpkin:

Succulent Gujarati Pumpkin

This dish proves just how delicious pumpkin can be if teamed up with the correct flavour partners. Succulent Gujarati Pumpkin is excellent served with hot chapatis. Makes enough for 6 persons.

2 tablespoons oil or ghee,

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds,

½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder,

1 kg pumpkin, cut 1.75cm cubes,

1 cup water,

1½ teaspoons salt,

½ teaspoon turmeric,

½ teaspoon red chili powder,

1 teaspoon coriander powder,

1½ teaspoons jaggery or brown sugar,

1 tablespoon lemon juice,

handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped.

Heat a wok or deep saute pan over moderate heat. Add the oil or ghee, and when slightly hot, add the fenugreek seeds. Fry them until they turn one or two shades darker. Be careful not to darken them too much, or they will turn bitter.

Add the yellow asafetida powder, saute momentarily, splash in a little water to cool the pan, then add the pumpkin, water, salt, turmeric, chili, and coriander powder.

Stir, then cover, raise the heat, bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender, preferably with a little liquid left in the pan.

Add the sweetener and lemon juice, fold through, then remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

Radha Red

ready for chutney:

Sonali from San Jose writes: “Can you kindly share a plum chutney recipe?”

Here’s my version of the old Iskcon classic recipe:

Malpoura

Luscious berry malpoura:

RM from South Africa asks: “How you make malpouras?”

My reply: Here’s my recipe:

Anise-flavoured Doughnuts in Fresh Berry Yogurt (Malpoura)

This irresistible dessert can be served in two ways. You can smother the freshly cooked crisp hot doughnuts with the cold, smooth, fruit-studded yogurt for an experience of contrasting textures and temperatures. Alternatively, if you leave the doughnuts in the yogurt, they swell up and become succulent, soft and spongy, drinking up the juices and flavours of their sauce. The choice is yours. Serves 6-8.

2¼ cups self-raising flour,

1 tablespoon freshly ground fennel seeds,

¼ cup fine sugar,

approximately 1¼ cups cold water,

1 teaspoon yogurt,

ghee or oil for deep-frying.


Yogurt Sauce:


4 cups plain yogurt,

¾ cup sugar,

2 punnets fresh berries, about 500g, sliced.

For the doughnuts: Mix together the flour, fennel and sugar in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the water and teaspoon of yogurt until the mixture becomes a fairly thick batter. Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes.

For the sauce: whisk together the yogurt and sugar and fold in the berry pieces. Set aside.

Heat ghee or oil in a wok or deep pan over moderate heat. When fairly hot (about 160° C/ 320° F) spoon out tablespoonfuls of batter, and with the aid of a second spoon, scoop the batter into the hot oil.

Fry as many cakes as can be comfortably fried at one time

Creamy and Dreamy

fresh asparagus:

Paul W wrote asking for a recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup. Here it is:

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Select the thin, green-stalked variety (English Asparagus) for this soup. It serves 5-6 people.

500 g fresh asparagus,

6 cups (1.5 litres) vegetable stock or water,

1 teaspoon salt,

1/4 teaspoon yellow asafoetida powder,

1 stalk of celery, chopped fine,

couple generous tablespoons best quality butter,

2 tablespoons plain flour,

1/2 cup light cream,

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika.

Wash the asparagus well and holding the bunch so the tips are all level, slice off the tips. Place them in a bowl. Cut the stalks into sections and place in a separate bowl.

Place 1 cup of the water or stock, one quarter of the salt, and the asparagus tips in a 4-litre/quart saucepan. Simmer for 4 – 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the tips and place them in a bowl, keeping the cooking water in the saucepan.

Place the asparagus stalks, the asafoetida, and the celery in the same saucepan. Covered and simmer over moderate heat for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the contents through a sieve. Keep the reserved liquid and squeeze the vegetables through the sieve, collecting the puree in a separate bowl and discarding the dry residue in the sieve.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, add the flour, and slowly add the reserved asparagus stock over low heat. Stir until the soup thickens. Add the vegetable puree, the rest of the salt, the pepper, and the asparagus tips; stir well and heat until almost boiling. Stir in the cream. Serve the soup in pre-warmed soup bowls and garnish each serving with a light sprinkle of paprika.

Flat Rice

flat rice pulao:

Robert From Poland writes: Please send me a recipe for flat-rice.

My reply: Here’s mine:

Bengali Flat Rice Pulao (Chira Pulao)

Flat rice, chira, also known as flaked rice or pressed rice, is a partially cooked rice product that has been prepared in India for millennia. Unhusked rice is first soaked, boiled briefly, then drained, heated until it puffs, then flattened into thin flakes. It can be stored for months without deterioration, then simply reconstituted by soaking, rinsing in boiling water, or deep-frying.

This dish is a comforting combination of flat rice and seasoned vegetables. You may wish to deep-fry the vegetables instead of pan-frying them. It’s important to note that two grades of flat rice are commonly sold in Indian grocers – thick and thin. The thick variety, poha, is used for deep-frying and adding to crunchy chidwa snacks, but is unsuitable for this recipe. Instead, make sure you ask for the thin variety.

Bengali Flat Rice Pulao is delicious served at breakfast time with fruits and yogurt accom-panied by a simple chutney. Serves 4.

6 litres water,

2 3/4 cups fine flat rice, about 250g,

3 tablespoons ghee or oil,

2 medium potatoes, diced 0.5cm (1/4-inch), about 1 cup,

1 small cauliflower, cut into tiny florets, about 2 cups,

one 5cm (2-inch) cinnamon stick,

3 bruised cardamom pods,

3 whole cloves,

2 or 3 green chilies, seeded and sliced into long julienne strips,

1 teaspoon turmeric,

1 cup cooked green peas,

1 1/2 teaspoons salt,

Set the water in a large saucepan over full heat, and bring it to the boil. Place the flat rice in a colander in the sink, and rinse it under the cold tap until the water runs clear.

Pour the boiling water slowly over the colander of rinsed flat rice to soften it. Remove the colander from the sink and set it aside to fluff up and dry.

Heat the ghee or oil in a wok or non-stick saucepan over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, drop in the potato and cauliflower pieces. Stir-fry them for three or four minutes or until they are golden brown and they yield easily to a knife point. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon, and set them aside covered, allowing the ghee to remain in the pan.

Drop the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves into the hot ghee, and fry them for one or two minutes, or until they are slightly darker and fragrant.
Drop in the chilies and fry them for another minute. Sprinkle in the turmeric, then add the flat rice, cooked peas, cauliflower and potatoes, and the salt.

Reduce the heat to low and gently sauté for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves, and serve the pulao hot.

We All Scream

we all scream for....:

S from London writes:

“Is it possible to make ice cream at home? If yes, can I have a recipe for
vanilla ice cream?

My reply: “It is possible, yes. Here’s my recipe:

Quick and Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

The vanilla plant is an orchid which grows as a massive vine needing a frame or trellis to support it. The fruit takes the form of a long thin pod, containing a pulp in which is found a mass of minute black seeds. Each of the pods must be handpicked just before they are ripe enough to split open naturally. Then they are fermented to enable the pods to develop their concentration of vanillin crystals which are chiefly responsible for the unique, haunting perfumed flavour of vanilla.

The subtlety and delicacy of vanilla makes it a perpetual favourite. The vanilla required for this most popular ice cream is in the form of pure vanilla extract, available at gourmet food suppliers. Avoid imitation, or alcohol-based essences, usually found on supermarket shelves.

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes,

CHILLING TIME: 2 hours,

FREEZING TIME: 6-10 hours,

YIELD: about 4 cups (1 litre).

3 cups (750ml) whipping cream (up to 40 per cent milk fat),

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract,

1 cup plus 1½ tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, 400g

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove the mixture from the refrigerator. Beat the mixture until it holds firm peaks. Spoon into a metal freezer container and freeze for 6-10 hours, or until firm. Return the ice cream to the refrigerator to soften slightly before serving.