Friday, 31 May 2013

Preserving One's Sanity - Some Essential Items

So, May was Cakegeddon.  It was cake-tastic, cake-splosive, cake-apocolyptic, even.

So. Many. Damn. Cakes.

I logged some serious hours in the kitchen.  My kitchen is small and not considered to be a "fun" place to hang out in.  Productive, yes, rewarding, yes, enjoyable in a soul-fulfilling and satisfying manner - yes!  But not "fun".  While my house is old and pretty (fancy folks call it 'vintage'), it means that it's not built on an open plan, so the kitchen is a completely separate space.  In modern kitchens, kids do their homework at the breakfast nook while Dad cooks bacon and watches football simultaneously.
My house ain't built like that.  At my house, if you're in the kitchen, you're cooking.

It can get a little crazy-making in there, especially if you're baking what feels like a thousand cakes (okay, four).  So here are a few things I use to make kitchen life a little more streamlined and (I hate to say it) "fun".

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Frozen Bread And Salty Yolks - The Cheapskates Guide To Groceries

Like most people, I go food shopping once a week.  That's when the big list gets made and when I know it's time to get more self-raising flour, eggs, bread or tomatoes.  Sometimes though, stuff just dies mid-week.  Got a bunch of spring onions?  Most of 'em floppy by Wednesday.  Ate half a baguette?  The other half goes stale, languishing in the bread bin.  NOOOooooo!

It took most of my adult life, but I finally became a Grocery Scrooge.  No more shall my onions wilt!  Yes, I shall freeze my perishable seafood!  Yeah, I'm making it sound like a bigger deal than it really is, but the truth is I hate wasting food because it's money down the drain... or in the bin.
Money that could be spent on shoes, illicit street drugs nail polish, or a can of Ortiz anchovies.

So here's what I do to get more food in my mouth, while saving some sweet sweet dirty cash.
  1. Italian Week = YES.  Italo-Mexi-Thai-Grecian-Chinese Week = Aww hell NO.
    I get that in the 21st century we home cooks are supposed to be as schmancy and cosmopolitan as James Bond's flight itinerary.  We've Got Skills and can wield both a wok and paella pan with equal dexterity.  Damn, has Marvel made a comicbook about us yet, because they should.  The ability to cook food stemming from different cultures and regions is a fabulous undertaking.
    However, I assure you there is no pressure to cook food from wildly different etymologies every night of the week.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Two Chicken Soups

The weather here in Melbourne has turned properly autumnal. Summer is a memory, and the with the turning of the seasons come the usual rituals - woolly jumpers resurrected from the back of the wardrobe, sales of hot water bottles and electric blankets start to rise as the temperature drops and alas, the inevitable cold besmirches your body.  Or it's the 'flu.  Or some random virus that's going around.

So here are suggestions for two types of chicken soup, both pretty low-effort.  Because no-one feels like cooking when they're sick (or at least, I don't) they're 'cheat' soups - so make sure you've got some powdered chicken stock or bouillon cubes in your pantry.
I was pretty ill last week and trust me, you don't feel like doing much other than wrapping yourself in blankets and groaning a lot.  Making soup from scratch is for healthy people.

Animated GIF from Nerdy World

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Science! The Little Cup That Could

In this special volume-centric post of 'Science!' we take a look at a small wonder - the Little Plastic Cup that comes with your rice cooker.

(L) Egg cup for comparison (R) The Little Plastic Rice Cup

Some of you have kept it - wise move.  Many folks toss it out along with the packaging, assuming it's a nondescript item which serves no purpose.  You know how much rice you want, right?
Plus, you've other measuring cups and can't possibly cram more stuff in the drawer of assorted gadgets, whotsits and geegaws that every kitchen has.

Yeah, sure thing buddy.