19 September 2012

All the little things..

Sorry to my lovely blog readership (what's left of you, if any) for my prolonged radio silence. What with an interstate move (including a bonus surprise flight back a week later to pack the car and a trip away for a course a week after that) and a new kitchen with hardly any cookware in it (yet), it's been way too long between kitchexperiments as well as blogging.

The last couple of weekends I have had the honour of cooking big hearty meals for family and friends to celebrate my return to first hometown. It's been such a relief to be able to cook again, and each time I did my usual thing of brainstorming an idea or hankering, ducking out to the shops, seeing what was fresh, then making sh*t up! With great times to be had by all!

Which got me thinking, what is it that has made me so confident in the kitchen that I think I can just lash out, let loose and just ...cook!? I still remember when I first attempted cooking and the whole thing just seemed like mysterious alchemy, witchcraft and terrifyingly easy to burn. After talking with my kitchen gurus Mumsy and Dadsy about it whilst cooking up a big Father's Day lunch; and a recent chat with a new colleague about cooking TV shows... I think I know the answer, a little bit. It's not a definitive moment, but rather, a series of little moments. A cumulative sum of all these small victories or massive failures that add to your mental data bank, your muscle memory and your skill tool belt. Which is why I'm such a fan of the genre of Experimental Cooking a la bork bork bork.

So while I'm warming up into the swing of things, there's a few 'little things' I want to share with you. Soon I will work out what other grand notions to post. In the meantime, enjoy!

Tonight's modest ideas come courtesy of the ever loved Rick Stein, who tonight on my telly, from Spain, enthused about all the little things he was learning (and earnestly writing down in a notebook) from local chefs. The episode is currently up on ABC iView at http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/26392 for any Aussie readers who would like to view it (be prepared to drool and turn green with envy!). In particular whilst he was watching a nice man cook Hake, beginning with a Roux-like mix of onion, flour and oil, Rick was chuffed to learn exactly the degree to which the chef 'sweats down' the onions, or the way the chef turns the heat off right before he adds the flour to stop it from burning; these gems 'you never find in the recipe!' - exactly Rick! Well said! That's the great thing about cooking, you build up a repertoire, but you can still constantly be learning and joyfully discovering! Thanks for inspiring me to return to my blog!

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