What in the name of all that’s holy do YOU cook for dinner????

I am mystified, I have asked many people and never yet been satisfied with the answers. Myself, dinner is an event, every night. Must be planned, purchased and executed. Takes effort, time and emotion. Oh yes, always emotion. (How do you think I ended up in hospital anyway?)

I am fetish driven, but I think that many would have either guessed that or know it. I nurture my fetishes, take care of them. Right now, today, since I am still confined to the study (worse still I am out of books to read) and the study is where I keep my food collection, I have dived into the bottomless pool of Elizabeth David and her excellent writing.

Does this not excite you…. from David’s “A Book of Mediterranean Food”…..

Stuffed Tomatoes A La Grecque

“Displayed in enormous round shallow pans, these tomatoes, together with pimentos and small marrows cooked in the same way, are a feature of every Athenian taverna, where one goes into the kitchen and chooses one’s meal from the pans arrayed on the stove. It is impossible to describe the effect of all the marvellous smells which assail one’s nose, and the sight of all those bright coloured concoctions is overwhelming. Peering into a stewpan, trying a spoonful of this, a morsel of that, its easy to lose one’s head and order a dish of everything on the menu.

Cut the tops off a dozen large tomatoes, scoop out the flesh and mix it with 2 cups of cooked rice. To this mixture add 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, 1 tablespoons of currants, some chopped garlic, salt, pepper and, if you have it, some left over lamb or beef (minced). Stuff the tomatoes with this mixture and bake them in a covered dish in the oven, with olive oil.”

Sighhhhhh… I remember this soooooo well and for a short and delicious time we had our very own Taverna in South Yarra with Johny the Greek and his giant trays of meat balls, and the above. We used to drop in and gather enough food for a picnic in the park. Johny’s home baked bread and he would even drizzle some oil over. So yummy.

David is just so evocative.

So for the past few days, prior to being able to get into the kitchen and thus having to slave drive Jennifer, and post rehab since I can now walk and stand, its been me. Let me give you and example:

Last nights dinner:

Snapper Fillets, egg and breadcrumbs and simply pan fried. I love snapper. In light of my new found dedication to the control of D2, some vegetable and some carbs were necessary. Elizabeth to the rescue… I sliced some tomatoes in half, chopped some garlic and minced it with 5 or 6 anchovies, set them to fry off in some butter and oil and then added the tomatoes, cut side down, turned the gas down to its lowest setting and let them cook till slightly mushy. Opened a tin of Chick Peas (Garbanzo) drained well and simply tipped the peas into the pan with tomatoes. Continued to cook till the chick peas were cooked through, added a splash of sherry vinegar and chopped parsley. Simple but delicious. Elizabeth’s version has basil and cream.

Back in the days of yore, you could say that everyone had meat and three veg… or in summer mashed potatoes and a salad. Now days with the many changes in our social order, its pasta, rice plus plus. And I suspect that much of the old ways has been changed or even lost. That the likelihood for example of anyone running up a stew or casserole for a meal, during the week anyway, is remote.

From the Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy… a sadly no longer existing institution:

Foundation Brown Stew

  • 500 grams of steak (Its a stew, so use the cheaper cuts please) OR 750 grams of chops (I assume they mean chump chops from the sheep)
  • 1 tablespoon of fat (OK, I hear the screams, use olive oil or even butter, I am going to use dripping)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 400 mil water or stock (stock will give a richer flavour)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion (Diced is best)

Heat the ‘fat’ and fry the meat on all sides, remove from the pan. Add the flour and the onion and cook till the mix is brown (but not burned) add the water (or stock) and bring to a boil. Add the meat and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. Remove any fat that has risen to the surface and serve.

From the foundation stew lots can be done; replace some of the liquid with tomatoes’ crushed. Add herbs and even spices, think curry. This is simply stuff. One of my childhood faves was a lamb casserole that mum did with worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and maybe a few more onions than the basic, but the above can be adapted. Take it to a new level, add some anchovy. A splash of wine would be good. Pork also works, chicken is ok to.

So its a case of, get home, get the ingredients, drag out that fabbo heavy gauge enamel casserole, do the above with embellishment and get it either in the oven or on stove top.

Pour drink or make tea and watch the news.

Thirty minutes before you think its going to be ready, choose your carbohydrate (I am so D2 focussed) and cook. I like either rice or potato, but noodles or even pasta can also be great. Toss a few salad leaves together, bit of Peter Watson dressing, dinner is served.

Pour wine.

Not hard and you don’t have to do it every day.

So come on, fess up, I know that many of you will go out and eat (a lot) but for those who cannot afford this and have families to also feed, I want to know what sort of food you eat?


note: D2 = Diabetes 2


~ by peterwatson on November 2, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: