Sunday, 24 August 2008

Getting Back on the Horse

It's been a while since I did any cooking, but I'm finally better enough to go shopping and do some cooking. My plans for this week are to make some cook-ahead dishes that will work for after rehearsal. I did pasta with an arrabiata sauce on Saturday, and I'm going to try out a Woolworths brand stirfry sauce with some chicken and veggies tonight. I'm also trying to see how the Thai tamarind curry goes with a lot of variation. I'm using beef instead of pork, and more vegetables, and less meat. That's really a lot closer to how I usually cook. Recipes give a false impression of rigidity.

I made one of those super-substitution recipes last week, for the one dish I actually cooked. Starting from the Briami recipe, I morphed it very drastically into a sorta kinda patatas bravas. The concept is just vegetables in a baking dish with tomato, olive oil, lemon, garlic and herbs. My most recent version was a way to use up whatever was in the fridge, with minimal effort.

This is what I did - the not-recipe, if you will.

Get out ceramic lasagna pan and coat base with some oil. Fill with cut up vegetables. I had mostly potato, but also a couple of turnips, a couple of onions, and two half capsicums with some bad spots. Cut out any dodgy spots, of course. Then I had a lot of tomatoes in various stages ranging from mostly OK to really rather dubious. Soft and a bit wrinkly, so not nice for salads, but also not mouldy. I covered these in boiling water and left them alone for 5 minutes while I chopped up other things. Then peel them, discarding any nasty bits along with the skin. Chop in rough wedges and toss in the pan. Pour over the juice of a few lemons, mixed with 1 tsp each of thyme, dill and oregano, and 2 cloves of crushed garlic. I'd have used more garlic, but that was all I had. Then bake uncovered at 180C for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Put lamb & rosemary gourmet sausages on top for the last 20 minutes.

The key difference with the briami is that there was a lot more liquid, due to the amount of lemon juice and the squishiness of the tomatoes. So I wanted to leave it uncovered to evaporate. It worked pretty well, and as a nice big pan full, it stretched to other meals. I put tuna and chilli in one lot, after the sausages were all eaten.

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