I often experience micro-epiphanies on food & wine and I am starting to write them down as they occur, sometimes via twitter. Here are a few thoughts that I couldn’t cull to the 140-character cut-off [btw, pics in this post are from my May trip to Broome – breakfast at Zanders with two gorgeous friends and their kids – and, yes, I did eat both the eggs and the pancakes in the one sitting…].
Poached eggs. They are truly awesome, aren’t they? When they are cooked just-right they can accompany just about every meal and they coincide with a number of different cuisines. That reminds me, I will have to make my breakfast pizzas again very soon…
Verjuice is possibly the most heavenly and versatile ingredient ever conceived – although, now that I think about it, the same could be said for dark chocolate. And chilli.
I think I have figured out why fragrant soups (eg. tom yum, tom kha, pho) are so soothing for the spirit: they are basically herbal remedies with added carbs & protein to keep the body fuelled.
Pastry must be loved. It’s often said, and I have proven it with my own attempts at shortcrust and sable; pastry loves a tender touch. Pancakes are the same, in terms of the mixing [with a whisk; I don’t expect you to do it with your hands!]. The end result is directly related to the amount of love you imbue from the start.
Further to my ‘Mindful eating’ post, because eating is such an emotive experience, food is absolutely what you put into it. That is why I prefer to cook from scratch. Using pre-packaged products feels stilted in the eating – after all, how much love can a stainless steel machine give back? No matter the activity, your emotions at that time are instilled in whatever you are doing – in a concentrated form.
If I am sick, my food is oversalted. If I am rushed or lacking ingredients, my food is more creative. If I have all the time in the world, I can either produce a culinary masterpiece – or completely overthink the meal and end up with something that looks great and tastes ordinary. It all depends on where my head and heart are at the time.
The other night, I made my soulfood staple – tom yum gai – intuitively, and under the influence of a bruised spirit [at the time, I was oh-so-dramatically “Not wounded, sire, but dead!”]. The result was the clearest, most pure infusion I have ever created. Every flavour was present distinctly, yet so wonderfully intertwined with its partners. It both cradled & uplifted me; was precisely what I needed without knowing it beforehand.
Good ingredients are a must, but it’s the feeling in the food that really distinguishes a dish. I urge you to cook with your heart.