Thursday, October 26, 2006

It looked pretty...

I usually have high hopes for dinner. I think that my meal is going to be so fantastic that Rafa will do one of those silly dances seen in musicals and cry from every rooftop how remarkable his wife is. I'd be Wife of the Year. Erm, that doesn't happen. Which is not to say that Rafa doesn't appreciate my cooking at all - it's just that there are certain things that he doesn't like, actually many things. I have been dying to cook out Cupboard Love but haven't found the inspiration at all because I'm running out of the recipes that are begging to be made. Also, our dinner schedules have been complicated as Rafa usually works very late, which would mean, if we ate together, I'd have to wait until then to eat, or we would eat in shifts, but then that would only be worth it if the food was cold to start with or able to be reheated OR if it is something we both like. As you could see, complicated stuff. Dinner shouldn't be that complicated. And this coupled with the feelings I get every once in a while that my life is meaningless and I'm wasting it away and I can't get out of the vicious circle of overeating and feeling like crap about how fat I look ....
haha, sorry for that. But really, blogging is a lot cheaper than therapy! LOL.

So....... back to dinner. We had some leftover sausages from Nigella's One-Pan Sage-and-Onion Chicken and Sausage (FEAST), and I thought it would be cool to jazz them up a bit with a relish from Tom's Junk Food chapter.

124. DIY: Make your own sweetcorn relish - *Junk Food*

Tom writes that this relish makes a burger, more so than the dill sauce I had made earlier in this project. Well I didn't have any burgers, but taking some inspiration from the hot dog vendors around these parts, a relish sounded like a good topping for some sausages. I don't eat sausages, so this meal was for Rafa. (You'll see what I ate further down below.)

I really didn't know what to expect from this relish. Usually, relish is a pretty generic term for a kind of pungent topping. But, I wasn't sure if it would be spicy, vinegary, sour, salty, etc. See, even though this is a DIY recipe, implying that it is something one could purchase somewhere, I had never heard of nor seen sweetcorn relish. But then again, I'm not really a toppings kind of person. So, I was cooking blindly, and I also had no idea how Rafa would react to it.

On to the process: You first blanch some frozen (or fresh) corn in a lot of boiling salted water. That didn't take very long, and after draining the corn, I put it back in the pan. To this, you add sliced onions, some chilli (I used just a dash of chilli flakes), white wine vinegar, salt and sugar.

You let this boil on a high heat for about five minutes, and then you lower the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

While this was going on, I got started on the thickening agent. It was basically just mustard powder, corn starch and water all mixed together.

After the relish had its simmering time, the mixture was added to thicken up the sauce. This boiled on a medium heat for another five minutes so that relish would get glossy and thick.

And that was it. It was then just a matter of putting it on the desired meat of choice.

I really thought it looked pretty. It was shimmering and sticky at the same time. I tasted a little bit of it, and it was sweet and had heat. Definitely a punch. As you could see, I put a lot on Rafa's sausages. And though he said it tasted nice, it overpowered the actual meat. Rafa said that he had a hard time actually tasting the meat. Hmmn, should have exercised the 'less is more' style of plating up. Well I could not really argue with that; I saw what he meant after tasting the relish again. So it was not a hit at the Ilana-Rafa household.

I don't think this recipe is a total waste, because it really is tasty, I am just not sure what it should accompany. I'm thinking maybe a simple chicken breast that has been saute├ęd in olive oil and nothing else. That might actually be pretty good.

Well I promised to show you what I ate. I was quite proud of myself because had about four things cooking at once and was quite pleased that I was able to be in control. Here is Bill Granger's Spaghetti with Garlic and Spinach. I think it may be from his new book, but I got the recipe from the UK Delicious, November 2006.

It's a very basic and delicious recipe. All you do is boil up some spaghetti, or linguini, in my case, and in a separate pan fry some garlic slivers in olive oil and then add white wine. The pasta goes into the oily sauce with some baby spinach (yes, we can eat it again!), and then is topped with parmesan at serving. It was lovely and really flavorful even though not many flavors were added to the pasta. It was a bit on the oily side; but that's not a bad thing necessarily. With the heating in my apartment, it tends to get pretty dry, and this was great at moisturizing my lips. LOL.


Anonymous said...

Hurrah Ilana, you're back. I missed your self-deprecating humour this week. Anyway I have never made sweetcorn relish, but I have eaten the stuff that comes in jars... and it hasnt been that pungent. Maybe that's because it has been diluted for mass production? Your Bill pasta looks delicious. I have his new book (I am a Bill fan!) ; I think it is in there. There is quite a lot in it you would like, I think. One comment - you and Rafa, in food terms, seem like chalk and cheese! (him-meaty - you, veggie). Must be true that opposites attract. Don't beat yourself up about your weight or anything else. Your posts make me smile and that has meaning too. Keep going, chiquita.
Kathryn (aka Anonymous) x

Elisabeth said...

I hear you on the dinnertime quandary. In my household it is a perpetually late-working hubby, and a couple of sorry-Mom-but-practice-ran-late teens!! A constant challenge, and not one I am always up to meeting, LOL!
Your food looks fab, and very inspirational...

beatgirl said...

Ilana, how could you ever feel your life is meaningless when you have inspired so many and bring so much love into the world? :)

Serving dinner to someone with irregular hours is difficult. My husband also works in a hospital and sometimes works weird hours, especially when he is on call. I gave up a long time ago trying to have a meal for him straight out of the oven. When I was first married and he was in training it was comical how I used to try to cook for him. (And, back then I didn't know a thing.) Well, after a couple of years, especially after having our children, I had to set some guidelines. Now, dinner is at 7:00 pm. That is it. If he is home, he gets to eat his meal nice and hot and lovely. If not, well that is why the invented the microwave.

xxxooo, beatgirl