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S02E04 The one with the side salad

Scene. A large room, painted white. White desk, white curtains, grey couch. A plant on the desk. Generic and green. A smell in the air of Cotton Febreeze and laundry that is clean. Big windows that gaze at a city in distress: filled with bad taste, chaos and waste. Luckily enough it’s a sunny day and everybody knows sunny days make everything better. If you expected me to keep on rhyming, well, you were wrong.

Behind that big, white, shiny desk sat a woman. Upright, cross-legged, stiff everywhere but loose in the hands. She is waiting for her next patient to come and spill the beans. Another individual that had it bad in his teens. She wonders what kind of abuse has this poor soul endured. Was he raped, beaten, or maybe severely insecure? Uuuuh, maybe he’s a repressed gay man that’s been living a lie! She’ll listen to him and then help change his life! She smiled, giddy as a child at the thought of maybe, actually fixing someone, a he or a she. Yes, a naive child, indeed.

A knock at the door. The damaged one is here. “Oh, come in, you poor darling! I’ll make your pain disappear!” She thought that, but she, of course didn’t say it. How inappropriate and awkward would it be?! (No, seriously, on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being cringe-worthy and 10 being bat shit crazy?) Control yourself, lady! That’s why you got into psychology! Breathe in, breathe out!

(The man enters, head down, shy and polite. He looks positively troubled, disturbed and fucked up. He’s biting his nails, his eyes look like shit and I’m not even gonna talk about the circles underneath!)

The troubled young man: Uhm, hi! I mean, hello, doctor... uhm...

The eager young psychologist (goes in for a repressed hug/awkward handshake type of thing): Amy! Just call me Amy. I mean, doctor Amy. And you must be Chris.

The troubled young man (visibly nervous): Yes, yes I am.

Amy: Please, sit down, Chris.

Chris (he wipes the beads of sweat running off his forehead and sits clumsily): Thank you.

Amy: Tell me, Chris, why are you here? What’s been bothering you?

Chris (with growing despair): Well, you see, I’ve been hiding this thing, this... terrible thing for half of my adult life. I... I seemed to be fine with it but lately it’s just been so much more difficult. I mean I can’t sleep, I can’t work, I can barely eat! Everywhere I go, with every person I meet I have to face this... this demon that keeps tormenting me! I can’t escape it, doctor! (starts weeping loudly)

Amy: Amy.

Chris (swallowing his tears): Amy...?

Amy: Or doctor Amy. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Please go on.

Chris: I’ve been keeping this secret for so long... I can’t bring myself to say it out loud. It’s too hard.

Amy: Chris, you are in a safe environment. You will not be judged here. You have to tell me your secret in order for me to help. Otherwise, there’s nothing I can do. Plus, you’ve already been charged for this session, so get in there, get your money’s worth! ( chuckles then gets embarrassed)

Chris (trying to gather up the courage): I... I have... Whuuuuu... Aaaaa... (losing it) I can’t, I just can’t. I wanna say it but then I can’t breathe and I feel like I’m choking and I’m seeing spots and whoooooooo...

Amy: Ok, Chris, take it easy. Breathe in (does it), breathe out (does it). You don’t have to say it. But you do need to, and what’s more important, you want to! Right? That’s why you came here. Now...start by saying it in your mind over and over again. Ok? Just... say it to yourself.

Chris (slowly nodding and trying to convince himself): Ok, I can do that. I can do that. I can do that! I can do that.

Amy (impatient): Then do it! (softening) Go on, slowly but surely.

(Chris begins saying the phrase in his head. It is visible that he is struggling but the more he does it, the easier it becomes. When he reaches a comfortable state Amy intervenes.)

Amy: Great job, Chris. Don’t stop, keep saying it in your head and when you’re ready start whispering it to yourself. Alright? (he nods). Let’s try it.

(Chris goes slowly and fearfully from no voice to the faintest whisper.)

Amy: And now, you keep at it and everytime I touch your arm, like so (demonstrates with a simple, gentle tap on his arm) you will go up a level. Slowly increasing, ok? Nothing to it, you can do this.

(Chris breathes methodically and nods his head. Things go as planned and slowly we start to make out what he might be saying. Amy is growing more and more excited, she tries to hide it but curiosity is eating at her like a mouse at a big chunk of smelly cheese. She is also breathing methodically in an attempt to contain her emotions and not scare the mouse back into head voice mode. At this point in time, she taps his arm and starts to make out some words.)

Chris: I... have... never...

(Amy listening intently, taps his arm again.)

Chris: I have never had salad.

(Amy’s face drops in disbelief and confusion. That can’t be it. She taps again.)

Chris (louder): I have never had salad.

(Amy could not believe her ears. In a frenzy she started tapping Chris’s arm over and over again, his voice was getting louder and stronger. She tapped madly, he yelled freely: I HAVE NEVER HAD SALAD!!!! They both stopped. They were sitting there, exhausted. Him, relieved and almost victorious. Her, stuck and almost immovable. Her eyes were moving left to right like crazy and then words started bursting out of her mouth like water from a fountain.)

Amy: Salad? You’ve never had SALAD? That was it?! The big secret?! The great, dark demon that torments you at night?! The thing that’s stopping you from being at peace with yourself?! Are you fucking kidding me? Is this a joke? (he has no time to respond, she is really going for the jugular here). I have dedicated all my years, all that energy, all the hopes of uncovering extraordinary past traumas!!! For what?! For this?! For someone who has never had salad?! ( laughs a maniacal laugh, like you see in the movies) I mean, my God, that’s ridiculous! At least tell me you’re gay! Please!!! You have to be gay! I mean look at you! You’re like a hungover Prince Charming! You look neat, you smell like fresh raspberries and your hair is simply surreal!! Please, God let him be gay!

Chris: I... I’m not...

Amy (not missing a beat): How does that even HAPPEN? HUH? HOOOOW?! How the fuck do you go through life and never stumble upon a salad?! I mean, they’re everywhere, God damn it! Oh my God, I am hyperventilating, I can’t stop, I’m freaking out.

Chris (baffled and confused): Doctor Amy?

Amy: I just... I mean what kind of person has never had salad before? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that! (can’t catch her breath)

Chris: Are you ok?

(Amy nods a desperate “no” while breathing heavily.)

Chris: Take it easy. Just sloooow it down. One breath iiiiiiin, one breath ouuut. Nice and steady. In and out.

Amy (calmer): I’m so sorry, I’m sure there are extraordinary circumstances that lead to this... uhm... situation. That was so unprofessional! I’m so ashamed! I... I have to explain myself. You see, I was so ready to help you. But I was ready to help with issues that I knew how to... well, handle. And then you sprung this on me... and I didn’t know how to help and I... I rrreally need to help. That’s what I do! Otherwise I feel useless. You made me feel useless. Well, no, not you! Just your... situation. I’m making it worse, aren’t I?

Chris: No, weirdly enough you’ve made it better. Finally someone else freaked out over something that I’ve been freaking out about forever! I felt... oddly understood.

Amy: Hmm, did not expect that. I mean, yeah, I know! I intended to do that! That was totally planned. It’s a new method, it’s called “Man In The Mirror”.

Chris: Man in the mirror? Like the Michael Jackson song?

Amy: Yup, mhm, inspired by the man himself. Too late to help him, though. He was long dead when we came up with this! (nervous laughter) I’m sorry, I say inappropriate things when I’m nervous.

Chris (smiles): I wish I could do that.

Amy: So, what happened? How did you manage to avoid salads for half of your life?

Chris: Well, you know, classic “mom dies choking on a salad leaf, boy never eats salad” story.

Amy: Oh my God, really?!

Chris: No, not really. At least I would have had a real “reason” if that were true. Truth is I didn’t eat salads when I was a kid because I found them gross, I guess. Just the way they looked! Everything thrown into a bowl and mixed together so randomly. And then as time went by, the pressure grew, that pressure that I had to taste one! And then I saw how people judge other people that don’t like or don’t eat salad! It terrified me! I got more and more afraid to find out. I much-preferred the coward approach. So, I kept stalling... But I’ve just reached a point where I’ve lied to everyone I’ve ever met! It’s too much

Amy (enthusiastic, figuring things out as she goes): Oh my God, I totally know what’s wrong with you! I mean, not that anything is actually wrong with you! You’re just afraid. When you were a child you were afraid of independence, of the chaos that awaited for you in the real world! You must have been a really insightful child! You correlated the uncertainty and the chaotic aspects of life with...well, salads. But what you did not realize is that you make your own salad, Chris. You choose what goes in there. You are the master of your own salad. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, tough to be fair, not this anxious.

Chris: What if I put the wrong things in there? What if they don’t work well together? What then?

Amy: Those are just mistakes you have to make, they’re chances you take. If they work, great! If they don’t, now you know what to discard and next time you make a better salad. I hate cucumbers in my salad! How did I find out? I put cucumbers in my salad! Then I knew I did not want them there ever again!

Chris: That makes sense.

Chris: As for people judging you based on your salad preference, you need to let that go. I’m sure they judge you plenty for all the other things. Kidding! People are assholes and they will judge you for the weirdest “reasons”. You have to stop depending on what others think of you. Allow yourself to be free and experience life! Stop hiding behind a salad, Chris. It’s not very effective. Plus, you’re too pretty to be this afraid.

Chris (blushing): Wow, that’s a lot to take in… You’re pretty rough! And sneaky too!

Amy: Hey, I could have dragged this for another 3 sessions but I think it’s in your best interest to spend that money on salads.

Chris: Haha. You’re funny too!

Amy: You pay for the full package. Are you not entertained?

Chris (coy): Oh, I am.

Amy: So, I know you’ve never had a salad but have you ever had your salad tossed?

(They went back to Doctor Amy’s place - she insisted to be called Doctor Amy for this part - and she made him his first salad. And it was this one right here. I shit you not.)

Ingredients:

The Process:

Disclaimer: There are no precise measurements for this one, so go crazy boys and girls! Your life in a bowl! Go ahead, mix it up, have some fun, make some fucking mistakes and learn how to get over them. Life lessons from a salad. This is what my life has come to.

Step 1: Make the vinaigrette by mixing together the olive oil (aprox. 1/4 of a cup), the mustard, the balsamic vinegar or the lemon juice (1 tbsp), le moutard aka the mustard (Dijon, cause we're a bunch of snobs), the salt and pepper. Needless to say you adjust this to your needs. Have you learned nothing from that long ass story? Oh, also, I only used a third of that vinaigrette for that amount of salad bush. Yes, I call that a salad bush. How very naughty, I know.

Step 2: Dress the salad bush a bit. Not too much. Think erotica not straight up porn.

Step 3: Make it rain with micro-herbs. Bitches loooove micro-herbs. I know I just called myself a bitch. It's self awareness week. Unagi, I am always aware ;)

Also, if you're wondering what the fuck are micro-herbs and why you need them in your life, listen up. They are very tiny herbs. You don't need them, they just look purty and make you feel better about yourself.

Step 4: Bring on the cheese, the figs, the blackberries. Top with pecans (I keep mine in honey, cause it makes me feel precious).

Step 5: You know what to do. Toss that salad, baby. Ain't nobody watching you (read this in Barry White's voice). You're welcome.

Amy: So, what do you think?

Chris(thinking about it): I'm thinking about it...

Amy: Well, think faster, I wanna know!

Chris: I loved it. If all salads are like this, I'm in! I mean, sweet, salty, tangy, soft, crunchy! Man, that was a sweet ride!

Amy(pleased with herself): I knew you were a salad man.

("Barry White - Can't get enough of your love, baby" playing in the background).

And then they tossed the salad and it was gooood (yes, with plenty of ooooo-s).

                                                       THE END, bitches! :D

S02E03 The one with the pizzas

Ladies, get your special panties ready, cause it's gettin' hot in here! We are turning on the oven at maximum capacity and we're getting ready for some steamy action! Why? Because you know what's sexy? Pizza. Smooth, soft dough is sexy. Melted cheese is sexy. Olive oil on the crusty bits is sexy! It's that time of the year when we let loose and celebrate the magic that is pizza.

This particular pizza is the Thai Chicken Pizza from yes, the same episode we seem to be stuck on: "The one with 5 steaks and an eggplant''. I know it was supposed to be teeny tiny, but I couldn't do that to myself. Also, since one does not make pizza everyday and it is sort of an event, I made four instead of one. Now wait a minute Miss Judge-A-Lot ! Before you trash me and my fat appetite, consider the following:

1. I live with two guys. Everybody knows guys like pizza. You can't just play "tease the bear" when it comes to the big dough, daddy. Comas - vewy impowtant.

2. Throughout the series, Friends is bombarded with pizza moments, so instead of making a pizza every-time pizza was mentioned on the show (and we all know that's a LOT), I made one big ass Pizza Feast to rule them all!

Alright, let's cut through the cheese already! I mean the chase, let's cut to the chase. Cheese makes more sense to me, but, whatever, I'll stick to the "classics".

There are many ways to approach the pizza making game, the options are quite overwhelming at times. I went for the barely-knead, leave-overnight-to-get-juicy'n'tasty-on-its-own-method and pre-bake to prevent it getting soggy. Hwhy?!

The hard part when making pizza at home is the struggle in trying to replicate the heat in an wooden oven (aprox. 500 degrees Celsius). A solution to that problem is to go ahead and invest into a pizza stone. I didn't, because I don't need another reason to eat pizza! I'm trying to slim down not puff up! The lil' trick I stole from someone who's already pretty famous on youtube, so I won't mention him cause he doesn't need your views, iiiiiiis the pre-bake way of livin'. That way, you avoid the whole soggy pizza fiasco and you get to live a long, happy life. Well, ok, I'm not sure about those last ones, but the first one is true! I'll prove it!

Things and stuff:

  • fairly big oven tray
  • an oven (duh!)
  • bowls
  • plates
  • measuring cup
  • cling film wrap

It was this big: 4 medium sized pizzas

It took this long:

The dough: 10 min. to bring the dough together, 15 min. to rest, 5 min to shape into a full moon and cut into 4 (in my case) pieces. Theeen 8 to 24 hours in the fridge. You know the drill, you do the math.

The toppings: It depends on the quantity and complexity of the shit you plan to up on it. Just cheese?Cow? Mousse? You're gonna have to spread your wings and fly alone on this one.

Don't be like Killer, don't hang on to your momma's skirt 'till she kicks you into the world! Come on, you know better than that.

Le Dough- Ingredients:

Le Dough- The Process:

Step 1: Get yo' self a mixing bowl. One that can take 400 ml of lukewarm tap water. Stir that together with the yest and the olive oil. Whatever you do, don't add salt here. Salt kills the yeast, it murders it without remorse! They are natural enemies. You know, like Superman and kryptonite.

Step 2: Get a big ass bowl. Combine the 2 flours and the salt. Dig a hole.

Step 3: This needs to happen:

If that's not enough of an explanation, let me try again. Pour the wet stuff (water, oil and yeast mixture) into the dry stuff (flours and salt). Clear enough? Oh, don't forget to yell "Oh, no! My hole!". It just makes better, trust me.

Before I take you to the next step, I need to tell how I fucked up. When I doubled the ingredients in this recipe I forgot to double the water quantity. Moronic, I know. Don't worry, I wrote it correctly for you. And hey, thanks to this mistake you get to see the "how not to" pictures.

Step 4: Start incorporating the thing into the stuff with your hand. Just mix in there round and round until it magically comes together. Don't overdo it, when you have something that looks like a soft dough, stop. Now, the ones in the top I call "The Ugly Face Of Failure". Dry, lumpy and uptight. The ones would read "Look at this dough, this dough is amazing!". The opposite of dry, lumpy and uptight.

Step 5: Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 min. Then transfer from the warm bowl that's been this dough's home onto the cold surface that is real life. It should look like this:

Step 6: Knead for 3 min. I am not a professional kneader, I'm not even close, so I don't really know what to advise on this. Just push it, work it, shaaape that bad boy!

Step 7: Cut into 4 equal pieces and then shape into balls. You can't see the "ball" stage here because I ran out of light. That's what happens when you fuck up the first time and have to re-do everything. Time. Time happens.

Step 8: Place said balls onto slightly floured plates and cover with cling film. Don't make that too tight, stuff is gonna fluff up and expand overnight.

Step 9: Remove from fridge 30 min. before you begin to shape it.

Meanwhile, I prepped the chicken & toppings for the Chicken Thai Pizza. First:

Le Thai chicken- Ingredients:

Normally, I would not buy a sauce in a bag, I'd make my own. But I rrreally didn't feel like it that day. So, I bought an Amoy-pad thai pack of sauce. You don't have to use this brand, they're not paying me.
Step 1: Salt, pepper, grill.

Step 2: Cut it up. You can do smaller bits, but I like it chunky. Yes, I know, that's what she said. Or maybe that's what he said! Keep an open mind, people. Oh, also, don't overcook it. Consider the fact that it's gonna go in a pan with the sauce AND in the oven.

Step 3: Pour your store bought sauce shamelessly into a pan. Let it start to bubble and then slide you poultry bits in there.

Step 4: When sticky enough, stop everything you were doing. You done.

Le Toppings

We're ready for the dough and the dough is ready for us! Look at that plump bootay:

Don't look at the deflated one, it's very self conscious.

Pre-step: Pre-heat your oven. I know I said this in the beginning, but I think you might have thought I was joking. I'm not. Full blast, the hotter the better. Put your oven tray in there, turned upside down. To quote Pitbull (which I never thought I'd say) :"Face down, booty up. Timber" Just kidding about the "timber" part. Whatever that means.

Step 1: Remove the cling film right before using the dough. Don't let them sit there uncovered, it will form a nasty crust and it will never feel young again. Uh, look at the bubbles on that one!

Slowly, don't go band aid style on this one, you're gonna ruin everything. There it is! Free, free at last!

Step 2: Sticky it is, but be gentle, flour your hands and tip it on your surface of choice. 

Step 3: Shape into a full moon. From a wild thing to a well behaved, gentle little creature.

 To get that, you must be gentle. You do not knead it! Not for this version of the recipe. No hardcore stuff in here, just the equivalent of a peck on the cheek. Listen to this while you do it, it will help you understand.

Step 4: Now stretch it. Aim for a round shape. Settle for whatever shape it chooses to be. It's what I did.

I ended up with this:

Step 5: Get that very hot tray out of the oven. Sprinkle semolina on it and try to place your dough there without ripping it. It ain't easy, you wont' make it, but that's oki. Let's focus on what really matters in life. A hole or two in your dough is hardly the end of the world, get over yourself. You need to move pretty fast here, hotness is important. As it is in life, apparently.

Step 6: Get it into the oven. Before closing the door splash a bit of water in there to make it steamy. It will help your dough. And if you can help, why wouldn't you? Why would you be a dick? Wah? Anyway, move fast and trap that in there. Leave for about 8 min. It needs to look kinda like this:

♪ Trrrriiing  trring trrring goes the timer / Ding, ding, ding went the bell /Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings/ From the moment I smelled it I fell .♪

From here on we're playing games. First you sauce it, then you you put stuff on it, then you stick it back in the oven for like 5 min or until your eyesight says " Yo, it's ready, don't burn this shit!". For the Thai Chicken one I used the sauce that didn't stick to the chicken and smeared it allover that sexy motherfucker. 

Whoaaaa, I smell pizza... It's my pizza! Omg, I made pizza!

For the second pizza I went with classic tomato sauce, mozzarella, pancetta bits and basil. 

Slapped it with some fresh Parmesan after getting out of the oven but before getting it into my mouth.

The third one was a Carbonara inspired pizza.I say inspired cause I covered that beautiful bitch in gorgonzola. Sauce was some blue cheese sauce I had from the night before when I ate spicy wings. Greek yogurt, blue cheese, some pepper. Really basic and lazy. Topped that with pancetta strips, gorgonzola, egg.

Ready for some heat!

The fourth and last pizza was a pepperoni and mushrooms one. Rosemary and chilli pepper here and there. All you kneed to know. 

Feedback: This is by far the best pizza dough I've ever made. The almost no kneading is great, the overnight method gets you a really tasty dough and the pre-bake trick works wonders. It was my first time eating and making Thai Chicken pizza. I gotta say I didn't expect much, so I wasn't disappointing. It's hearty but fresh at the same time, so I'm kinda sold. Of I had to pick one, though, it would have to be the Carbonara-Gorgonzola hybrid. Mmm...moldy love with a sunshine in the middle. Pizza, I love you. Please come back to me! I need your sauce and your warmth to make me whole again!

If anyone knows a good Pizza Support Group, please let me know. 

S02E02 The one with the grilled prawns

We continue the saga with the following recipe from "The one with 5 steaks and an eggplant". I won't talk much on this one. I promise! Cross my buns and hope to die! Today's recipe is Grilled Prawns! Dip those bad boys in garlic mayo and lick your fingers, honey! Let's get dirty!

You don't need much, you don't even need to know much for this one! You need to have a willingness to get freaky with it and a love for le prawn. Hm, le prawn kinda sounds like Lebron, just less succesful in the basketball world. Anyway, if you checked both those boxes, get on that horse, baby! Let's ride! In the spirit of adventure, I decided to keep the prawns whole: coat, heads and all! Not for the faint-hearted, though!

Things and stuff:

  • a grill/a grilling pan
  • a big bowl

It was this big:

  • 1 kg of prawns

It took this long:

  • aprox. 20 min.

Ingredients:

The Process:

Le Rosemary Salt

One and only step: Rosemary, lemon peel (without the white stuff) and salt. Blitz, baby, blitz!

Taa-daaaaa:

Le Chilli Oil:

One and only step: Just mix olive oil with chilli flakes.

Le Garlic Mayo:

Step 1: You put the egg gently at the bottom of an immersion blender bowl/thing.

Step 2: You sprinkle some salt and squeeze some lemon juice on it. 

Step 3: Then slowly lower the immersion blender enveloping the yolk.

Step 4: Pour a bunch of sunflower oil. This is the lubricant for your love mayo. Keep the blender perfectly still (very important to keep it still at this stage) and turn it on to low. Almost immediatly you should see streams of mayo forming underneath the oil. 

Step 5: Turn the blender to high and keep going until you stop seeing any changes. Start moving the blender up and down and tilting it slightly to the side to get more lube/oil into the mix.Keep doing this until it's all mayo. I think we've all learned a lot from this.

Le Prawns

Step 1:  Take your big ass bowl of choice, fill it with prawns, throw the rosemary salt and the chilli oil all over it and then mix until every prawn is lusciously coated in  goodness.

Step 2: Put your grill pan on the hot hot flame and let it get hot. Then get the prawns in there and watch the smoky madness begin.

Step 3: Uhm, you're done. Repeat until the prawns come to an end.

Yes, that's a whole lotta' prawn lovin' goin' on!

Dip it, swirl, lift it, babe! Aaaah, it's coming right at you! Open wide!

This is the end my friends, we truly thought the prawns would never end.

Feedback:

Easy to make, hard to eat. It's dirty work and you're left with fingers that smell of prawns forever. Well, a day or so, but seems like forever. It's quite therapeutic to eat something so damn slowly. It's a good lesson in patience, and I always need one of those. What really felt wrong was eating this in Dublin weather. Clearly, my ass should have been on a sandy beach, waves in my ears, sun in my eyes, prawns in my mouth. That's just how it should be.  

Peace out, lovelies! Until the next one, happy eating!

S02E01 The one with the carpaccio

Season twooooo! We've made it to season two!

A mini wave in celebration of me! I thought we were gonna get cancelled soon after the pilot, but look at us now!


Ok, it's a tad too much, it's not like it's season 10! I know, I know. Stop raining on my parade! Party over, let's get back to business. Today's episode is “The one with five steaks and an eggplant”. This episode is bursting with recipes, the first one on the list is Carpaccio. Yes, some people do say that's just raw meat and that it's disgusting. Stop listening to the masses, expand that view of yours and embrace some weird stuff in your life. If you are a newbie in this area (as I was) you're gonna wanna start with this guy:

This is Vittorio Carpaccio and he was a Venetian painter. It's sad that he's more famous (among us, simpletons, at least) for a dish that was named after him then for being a painter. Lemme tell you the story. Once upon a time there was a man called Giuseppe Cipriani. He, like all of us at one point in our lives, had a dream: he wanted to have a bar to call his own and name it Harry's Bar because... that makes no sense whatsoever. Who the fuck is Harry?! My bets are on “gay lover” who is not hairy at all ;) Where was I? Oh yeah, so Giuseppe opened a bar and named it after the love of his life, Harry. The bar became a hit! Everybody loved Harry's Bar! One day the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo (who has done nothing relevant in her entire life) entered Harry's Bar and acted like a snooty countess. Apparently her doctor advised her to eat raw meat instead of cooked, so she asked the chef to come up with something she could eat. And that event, ladies and gentlemen, is the most significant thing she's ever done in her privileged countess life. Talk about the right “disease” at the right time, in the right place! Anyway, Giuseppe stepped up to the challenge and essentially didn't try much. First he panicked, then he finely sliced some beef, pounded it (he was good at that, ask Harry) and drizzled it with a cream-colored sauce (worry not, it's just a olive oil and lemon juice emulsion). He looked at it, remembered that there is an exhibition dedicated to Vittorio Carpaccio (like right around the corner) and then his brain made the magical connection. Well, no, that was just a coincidence. He named it after Caravaggio because—aaaa! Carpaccio! Damn it! It was bound to happen. He named it after him because Carpaccio was known for the characteristic red and white tones of his work.

Disclaimer: This is the spicy version of the real story. Facts may have been twisted for my own entertainment and maybe with the purpose of tickling one fancy or another. For the real, boring story search your usual information channels. Or believe mine and help spread it! Like a disease! Or not, you know, whatever... Be the change you want to see in the world! Here at gogocherie.com we embellish stories to bring light into the lives of others. If you want to join our cause please email us at fake.it.till.you.make.it@gmail.com. No weirdos, please.

Things and stuff:

  • a well sharpened knife
  • a whisk
  • a bowl or two (who's counting?)

It was this big:

  • 8 glorious cuts of pink beef

It took this long:

  • 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

The Process:

Step 1: Make a vinaigrette by mixing two-three tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of half of lemon, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Whisk, baby, whisk! It shall be transformed into this magical looking "potion":

Step 3: Slice your hunk of beef. Thinly. Do not strive for thinness too much though! You risk destroying the slices and ending up with fringes. If you think they're too thick, just wait a minute! We'll get to that.

Step 4: Get yourself some cling film. Arrange beef on it. Cover with cling film and simply pound it with your palm or cute-but-firm lil'fist. It will expand easily and obviously.

Step 5: Now they're tired after all that pounding. Offer them a plate to lay on and look pretty and ruby-cheeked (innuendo over). Sprinkle with salt.

Step 6: Drizzle some of the lovely vinaigrette on top. Use the rest to dress those salad leaves and put that on top, like a crown on a queen. And then disregard the ridiculous comparison and add big, bold, parmesan shavings allover.

That is all. Now, summon up some courage and put that in your mouth.

Feedback: I'm not in the most meat loving time in my life, so for me it was just alright. My boyfriend was blown away. He didn't expect to like it so much and he kept saying things like "We're gonna do that again!". Yes, in that fat Monica voice. If you are a meat lover, I really recommend this. Very easy to put together and let's face it, it puts you in a very sophisticated light. If you eat it alone you're a snob, if you make it for a dinner party you're fancy. Either way, worth the try. It's like a personality test: "Are you the Carpaccio eating type or a closeted vegetarian?" Take our test and you will never have to ask yourself this terrifying question again.

Ragazzi, buon appetito! Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E13 The one with the burgers

Boys and girls, lovers of meat and buns (if you know what I mean), this one's for you! The episode is “The one where Rachel finds out”. The recipe- Burgers aka the ground up flesh of formally cute cows and turkeys. We've got buns, we've got coleslaw, we've even built a bbq, fo' fock's sake! What more do you want?!

This recipe requires few ingredients and even fewer words; which is perfect, because I am so tired of talking about myself! Bla bla bla, feelings, bla bla, it's so hard being me! “Oh, define me! Define me! Love me, I need love!” Now, all you well adjusted adults out there can feel the sweet relief of escaping my tiring rants. Yeah, oh, I'm so sorry for tainting your forever pink perception of the world with my muddy blue. Grow up and face facts, man! Outside that perfectly constructed bubble of illusions you've successfully built for yourself lies of sea of tormented individuals fighting daily to stitch their lives into a decent existence! Come on, now, get off your high horse and join us simpletons here in the gutters! Come to the dark side, we have burgers and coleslaw and sweet potatoes! Oh, honey, life is sweet with a bit o' sugar in it! Enjoy the fuck out of it! Do it now, cause you never know how long it will take those black thoughts to come running back, ruining everything you've build! With absolutely no consideration for your hard work, your time and your feelings! It all crumbles into nothingness and you're left with the aftertaste of failure and loss in your mouth. Alone and hopeless. Forever. Wow, that..went places. Welcome to the emotional roller-coaster! Not sure what happened there. The lack of sweetness is startin' to really affect me.Is this what being hormonal feels like?!

Things and stuff:

  • a bbq or a grill
  • a mandolin slicer type thing (if you want your coleslaw to be fancy) or a old fashion grater (cause you're not that superficial)
  • knife, spoons, plates, the usual.

It was this big: 7 burgers and a whole lotta coleslaw (big ass bowl)- enough for 6 people

It took this long: 10 min for the coleslaw, 10 min to prepare the burgers, 1 hour for them to sit in the freeze (apparently it helps keep them juicy on the inside), 20 min to cook, forever- to start a fire on an improvised bbq in irish weather.

Ingredients:

The Process:

Step 1: Chop/grate/slice your cabbage, carrots and onions.

Step 2: In a big bowl mix the yogurt with olive oil, one tsp of mustard, salt and pepper.

Step 3: Unite the two and mix them with your hands, like a savage, to get everything equally distributed. So, like a gentle savage.

Ingredients:

The Process:

Step 1: Mix your meats, onions, garlic and spices until they all love each other. It doesn't take long, they're kinda slutty. Shhh!
Step 2: Form patties. Make them as fat, as wide, as naughty as you like! No judgement here, no, sir!
Step 3: Put them in the freezer for an hour. They need to get all perky on the outside and soft in the middle. Like the ideal woman.
Step 4: Grill' em, grill'em good.
I made some on the outside man-built bbq and some on the inside grill pan. Of course, the outside ones were tastier because of that awesome smoky flavor they get from...well, being in a fire, basically.

♫ This burger's on fiiireeeeeeee! This buuurger's ooon fireeeeeeeeee! It's walkin' on fiiiireeee!♫

Step 5: Get that bad boy outta there and in a bun immediately! It's begging to be eaten! That's all the input you're gettin' from me!

Feedback: This one was a toughie, because I really had no idea how to "burger". I was also starving, so I couldn't quite think straight. Aaaand I did that thing I do where I overbook my schedule and I was running around like a headless chicken trying to keep my shit together. Needles to say, I didn't quite manage. You can tell by the crappy pictures you have to look at! I mean, let's face it, they're not good! The food was tasty,though. If I had to choose I would not use turkey again in a burger. I think "Beef meets Pork" is the love story that I want in my mouth. Turkey makes things bland and tough. Not worth it. Coleslaw made with yogurt is my new favorite thing, having a bbq in your back yard is awesome, eating foood is great! For the next one, I promise myself to learn from my mistakes, slow down and enjoy things more.

Let's control those crazy emotions, people! Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E12 The one with the salmon roulettes

Whistle while you work, tanananananana (music sign), then watch this clip and try to guess the lovely episode.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdpipXQdxIw

Man, I wish I had a monkey! Then I wouldn't need an excuse to listen to that song. I'd call her Cheesecake, and she would be my Cheesecake! I'd teach her how to cook and we would make wonderful,slightly hairy treats together! She'd d have a tiny apron that says “go bananas” and she would. And I'd say “Cheesie, stop going bananas, we need to get those cookies in the oven!” And like a good sidekick, she would listen. In one year tops, we'd have our own tv show “There's a monkey in my kitchen!” and thus Ratatouille will be long forgotten because Cheesecake will be in your homes every Saturday evening, basically saying that if a monkey can do it, you can do it too! I think that is the perfect angle and my key to that door called “success” that I can't seem to find on my own. That's why I need a monkey! If tomorrow, this idea still sounds as life changing as it does now, I'm going ape! I swear I'm not high, nor drunk. I do crave cheesecake like a mother fucker, so maybe that explains a piece of the craziness you just witnessed. The other piece has no excuse. It's merely a result of the lack of grip over my own life. So, nothing new there. Fortunately, Wikihow truly has the answers for everything!

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Grip-over-Your-Own-Life

Hey, I'm all better now! Anyway, the episode is “The one with all the poker” and the recipe is “Salmon roulletes with assorted cruditees”. Sounds fancy as fuck. It's really not a big deal, don't be deceived. If you translate it into regular, non-posh vocabulary, it's just salmon rolls with raw veggies. It was either this or “pretz” and I just found this more appealing.

Things and stuff:

  • a whisk
  • a couple of bowls
  • a pan
  • knife
  • spoon

It was this big:

  • 5 crepes, 1 big roll, 10 pinwheel shaped rolls

It took this long:

15-20 min preparation, 1 hour for the crepe batter to sit before using.

Ingredients:


The Process:
THE CREPE BATTER
Step 1: Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, near the flour. Do it in a silly way, so that it looks like a flour-eating monster.

Step 2: Start killing the monster with a whisk. As in beat those eggs into submission. 

Step 3: Incorporate the flour into the eggs. It should be fairly thick and lump free.

Step 4: Add the milk, slowly but surely. Then throw in there the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a lil' bit of salt. Cover with cling film or a plate and leave to sit for at least an hour.

Step 5: Heat a pan. Non stick, if you want your life to be easy and crepes to be crepes. Convince a knob a butter to melt, and then pour a ladle of your batter and swirl it around until it evenly covers the bottom of your pan. Leave it to cook for a minute or so and then flip it like there's no tomorrow. Another 30 seconds on the other side and you are done! Repeat until you're out of batter! Ta-daaa:

THE FILLING

Step 1: Mix the goat cheese with the greek yogurt, sage and pepper.

Step 2: Chop the avocado.

Step 3: Do nothing to the salmon.

THE ASSEMBLY

Step 1: Take a double piece of cling film, large enough to fit 2 crepes, slightly overlapping each-other. Like so:

Step 2: Layer that with your goat cheese and yogurt filling.

Step 3: Salmon time! Squeeze some lemon juice on that layer of pink, it will love it!

Step 4: Get that avocado in there!

Step 5: Roll it like a cigar and smoke it! 

Umph, there it is! Do not attempt to *really* smoke it. Let's play pretend, act like it comes naturally ;)

Step 6: Leave it in the fridge to think about its new found salami shape.At least half an hour, or up to one day. I used mine the second day.

Step 7: Slice those babies up, arrange them on a plate with your veggies of choice and a olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

Feedback: Easy to make, they look fancy enough to fool a bunch a people expecting fancy things from you and it's delicious! I see no down side to this. I wonder what Cheesecake would think of these. She's more into desserts really, but I do trust her monkey taste buds.

I bid you farewell, homies! Until the next one, happy eating! ;)

S01E11 The one with the biscotti cookies

Introduciiiiiing tooday's reeeeciiipeeeee! From “The one with two parts”, in the left corner we have Mad About You's Jamie and Fran, in the riiiight corner Pheobe Buffay! And in the middle “ 2 lattes and some biscotti cookies”. Now fight in the name of Italian goodies! If you are confused, go and watch the thing! What are you still doing here? If you know what I'm talking about, you're gonna wanna watch it again, because that's just the kind of person you are.

A lot of things happened in the world since the last post. Adele performed “Hello” on TV for the first time, Caitlin Jenner “finally” got her driver's license gender changed, teenage girl punched 87-year-old woman in face on bus in Britain, las empleadas domésticas en la Ciudad de México luchan por un trato digno, and I am on a low carb diet. You be the judge and establish which of these shocked you to your very core. I am not one to have dreams of skinnyness (yes, I did just make that up), I'm actually quite fond of my Nigella Lawson style curves . I just wanna transform the jelly parts of me into..well...not so jelly parts of me. You know, from soft cheese to a cheese that can hold its form. And the headline would read: The magical journey from mozzarella to Gruyere! [insert music notes] Reeead all about iiiit, reeeead aaaall aaabouuut iiit! However, I would like to do this while at the same time being true to my carb-loving self. I feel like my identity is being stolen from me! Yes, carbs are a part of my identity!I know there are brothers and sisters out there who fully understand me. I also know, some of you are calling bullshit on this. Papa Bear, honey, sugar snap, if you haven't had carbs taken away from you, you don't get a say on this one! You can't understand how it feels to suddenly rely on meat and eggs to fill you up. And no, the eggs cannot come in the form of a deliciously yellow batter that you can make into cupcakes, pancakes and/or generally slather your jelly-like body with. No! Even the stuff that autumnal baking dreams are made of are off limits. No more apple pies, pear and frangipane strudel, pumpkin spice flavoured everything, rice pudding with home made sour cherry jam, mashed potatoes with mascarpone instead of butter! Goodbye butter biscuits! Goodbye biscuits for that matter! A world without carbs is a world I don't wanna live in. It's a sad, bitter, black and white world, and bitch, I need colour! Foreeeeeveeer fat, I'm gonna beee foreeeveeer faaat! Do you really wanna eat forever? Foooreveeer caaarbs!

That being said, I decided to try my best but not deny myself what I consider basic needs. Because if baking bread (wholemeal even) at 11 a clock at night is wrong, I don't wanna be right. Eating 5 slices of it with butter and gruyere cheese, is definitely wrong. They might as well put it on the label :“Eating Gruyere doesn't make you Gruyere”. So much for that whole “You are what you eat” thang. It's important to know the difference between right and wrong so that there is no confusion in your mind when you're being a bad, naughty, downright dirty girl.

Tune in, and witness how I fail at life but win at food! Every week, I will have a “Naughty list” to share with the world (as graphically as possible). You know, cause I need to keep count. And what better way to do it then publicly? Declaring it, like you would in a great arena of shame. Glorious!

Now, let's focus on the recipe. "Cantucci" as they are called in their homeland, are biscotti that were born in the region of Toscany, the place where dreams are made of food. Traditionally they are made with almonds and almonds only. But we are a creative people and thus man has made many different combos. I will be making both the original one and a Christmasy one with pistachios, white chocolate, cranberries and orange zest. What makes them different from other types of biscuits is the fact that they are double baked for that extra crunchy, perfect-to-dunk -in-wine texture. Oh, did I not mention? Yeah, italians dunk them in Vin Santo toscano and gracefully stuff their faces with it! In our episode, they accompany lattes because they're in a coffee shop in NY and because God doesn't like it when I drink my wine with biscuits. He's such a purist. Even more so than the Italians.

Things and stuff:

  • bowls
  • mixer/old fashioned whisk
  • oven tray
  • parchment paper
  • brush/your fingers

It was this big:

  • aprox. 25 biscotti

It took this long:

  • 25 min. to make, 35 to bake! I made the rhyme, you do the math. It's only fair.

Ingredients and quantities:

The Process:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/ gas mark 5/ moderately hot.

Step 2: Take your nuts of choice and lay them in a tray, as you would a lover in bed.

Step 3: Toast them for 3-4 min.

Step 4: Crack 2 of the 3 eggs in a bowl, add the sugar and salt.

Step 5: Wisk, beat, do whatever you have to do to get the mixture foamy and pale.

Step 6: Add the butter. Melted and cooled down.Mix.

Step 7: Start slowly adding the flour. One tablespoon at a time. This is how it looked after half of the flor was incorporated:

Step 8: Add the rest and you will get a very soft dough, like this:

Step 9: This is where I realized that I forgot to add the baking soda (when adding the flour). First I panicked. Then I added it anyway, stirred the shit out of it, and voila! Like it never happened.

This is a picture to help you understand the magic of Irish weather and thus how lighting is an adventurous game I play every time I take these pictures. That cloud moved within seconds! That's how fast the sky changes its profile picture around here.

Step 10: I divided the dough in two almost equal for the two different biscotti. Now add your cool(ed) nuts,choc&cranberries. Drop that stuff from a height, because it makes you feel badass.

Step 11: Lightly flour a surface. Place dough.

Step 12: Play with that dough. Like playdough! Omg, I just got that! Shape it into a log. That is easier than you may think it is. This has got to be the most cooperant, gentle, docile, well behaved, polite dough ever! Just...really the nicest dough!

Step 13: Remember that third egg? Crack it, gently whisk it, brush them logs with it.

Step 14: Get those babies in the oven for 20 min at 190 degrees and just stalk them until they're nice and tanned.

Step 15: Get them outta there, let them cool for 5-10 min. Cut them diagonally. Try not to eat them. I ate some just like that, because IJBDBCHVC. Like I need a reason?!

Step 16: Tuck them in close together, like a big tray filled with babies. Now forget about my foolish baby comparison and get them back in the oven for 10-15 min at 170 degrees.

That is all! Fatto! Finito! Tutto aposto!

Now make yourself a latte, sprinke some crazy cinnamon on it and go to town. Methaporically. Don't really go into town, you just made biscotti!

Jump, Bis Scotty! Go on, take that bubble bath, you'll feel so much better.

A mountain is a mountain. When it's a biscuit one, it's just much easier to climb

I dunked a biscotti and I likeeed it.

Come on close, young dunked Cantucci!

Il Cantuccio nostagico.

In my corner. Where pretty things happen. Especially when you bake them.

Feedback: I'm just gonna say this: easy and delicios. Next time, I'm drowning them in wine! Because getting drunk on food is awesome!

Yours truly, forever a bit fat, Gogo Cherie!

Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E10 The one with the tuna melt and curly fries

(Joey enters, looking extremely pleased with himself.)

Chandler: Hey, where you been?

Joey: I went back to Riff’s. I think Ursula likes me. All I ordered was coffee, she brought me a tuna melt and four plates of curly fries.

Chandler: Score.

Yes, ladies and gents, that is all, cause who needs more? Tuna melt and fries. The simple joys of life, right? Usually, yes. Let me explain.

I was expecting my “return” recipe on blog to be an exciting and fun as fuck experience. Instead, it was more like sex without being hungry. I mean horny! Like sex without being horny! I MEAN LIKE EATING WITHOUT BEING HUNGRY! Man, those two are easy to fuck up. Mess up! Jeez! What's wrong with me?! Don't answer that.

Aaaaanyway, I was trying to say that this was the most MEH experience I have ever had in the kitchen. If you ignore that one hand job I tried a while ago. No! No, it's not true. I'm obviously joking. I'm quite successful at hand jobs. I am so sorry you had to read that! I could erase that, it's true. But I won't. You see, It's a thing I'm trying out. I write as I speak, once it's out there, I can't take it back. The system is designed to make me more careful when I open my big mouth and say all sorts of stupid things. It's supposed to make me more aware and responsible. I think it's working, I'm really starting to see results.

So, let me paint the picture for you. In theory, I was really looking forward to make the food and eat the food and be dazzled by the food. I was expecting to be seduced even. Did not happen. It felt like my body was being dragged around by pure inertia and my mind was foggy and unimpressed. Like being in a dream. A boring dream. The fact that my camera decided to be a deceitful lil' bitch sure spiced things up. Even though I checked the battery on my camera before starting, somehow, after taking 2 very bad pictures, it died. You'd think that would make me very, very angry, and make me want to do terrible things (I do hope you read this in the right voice, otherwise it's a waste). But I wasn't angry, or mad or pissed off or other synonyms. I was... very British about it. Very “oh, bugger”. So, I put the bitch down, grabbed my phone with resigned disgust and moved on with my life. Here's a visual, if you're having trouble:

Before this whole “doing” phase started, I, of course did my curly fries research, to find out the “how to” of it all. First, I struggled (some, not a lot) with finding a curly fries cutter that would not drill a hole in my pockets. What has it got in its pocketses?! Nothing, niente, nada! That baby is as empty as it can be! I refuse to spend more than 10 anythings on something that I will most likely not use again. So, I turned to the internet for help and the internet did not disappoint. All you need is (no, not love) skewers, potatoes and patience. S.P.P! Smug potato peeler. Silly pekingese porn star! Superior puzzle, Pinky. And theeeen, spiral potatoes, pal! That's the closest you're gonna get to curly fries! And the cheapest, too. As for the tuna melt, easy peasy!

Things and stuff:

  • knife
  • wooden skewers
  • a pan
  • a bowl

It was this big:

  • 2 tuna melts
  • 7 potatoes on a stick

It took this long:

Approximately 30 min, but it only takes that long if you are a beginner at cutting potatoes in a spirally fashion. If you're making regular fries, 20 min. If you're slow or hungover, the sky is the limit. But, really, it's a sandwich and fries, you got this.

Ingredients and quantities:

First of all, the picture says 8 potatoes. That is lie, a damn lie!

Second of all, you don't really need quantities. If you want a creamier tuna, add more mayo ( I used about 3-4 tablespoons), if you are a cheesy person, you will want more cheese! Just use your common sense and valuable eye sight.There are no real rules on this one, boys and girls! Taste, adjust, omnomnom!

The process :

LE TUNA MELT FILLING
Step 1: Release the tuna fron its tin cage.
Step 2: Chop, chop. Onions, capers and herbs.
Step 3: Omg, put them together in a bowl and mix. That is all.


LE CURLY FRIES

Step 1: Get yo' self some small potatoes, 'cause piercing some big ass ones with a tiny wooden skewer ain't easy.

Step 2: That's right, put that potato on a stick. Summon that Hulk inside of you, but combine it with some patience and ease, we don't want no smashed potatoes for this one.

Step 3: Get a knife and start cutting the potato slightly diagonally, while rotating the skewer. If you don't cut at a diagonal angle, you're just gonna get chips on a stick, they will not be connected. They will break all ties and stand alone, pretending they weren't even related, even though they were literally the same freakin' potato just a minute ago. Damn ungrateful potatoes! Just look at them, smug bastards.

Step 4: Season time! Rub a dub dub! 

Step 5: Pan. Oil. Hot. Skewers. In. Fry. 'Till golden. Brown. Ungrateful potatoes on a stick? Done.


So, we got the filling, we got the fries. Time for the actual tuna melt!

LE TUNA MELT

Pre-step: Take the butter out of the fridge, we need it soft and willing.

Step 1: Get yourself some sliced bread. Or get some non-sliced bread and slice it.

Step 2: Butter up one side of your slice of choice. Lay that gently in a heating pan. Yeah, grilled cheese style, as it should be.

! Don't have the pan too hot, just starting to warm up. Otherwise, it will burn your bread, while leaving the inside untouched, that means cold and pretty much the opposite of melt-in-your-mouth gooey and delicious. And if it ain't gooey, what's the point?

Step 3: Layer that baby! It goes: cheese,tuna melt filling, cheese again and top it with your  other slice of bread.

!You need to be pretty quick with this, because the bottom of that sandwich is getting hot!

Step 4: Butter the other slice too and then flip it, so it can be purty n both sides!

! You might be wondering " How the flippin' bird do I know when it's done on the first side?". Well, you don't really. Kidding. Usually it takes about 2-3 min, depends on how fiery your flame is. Just use your sense of smell, move fast with the assembly, and before turning it, lift it with a spatula and sneak a peak to make sure it's how you like it.

Yes, that is really how it looks like! I ate that with some store-bought spicy sauce and it was good! 

Feedback: The curly fries were not really special, despite their curlyness, but all in all, good fries. The tuna melt was creamy, gooey, tangy and just fishy enough to work. I'll tell this much: Whoever invented grilled cheese sandwiches, is a freakin' evil genius! Buttering the bread and then toasting that in a pan is the best method ever! Crunchy on the outside, cheesy in the middle! And so many possible combo's! And it really works for a tuna melt too! I'll tel you something:

That is a wrap,y'all! Until the next one, happy eating!

S01E09 The one with the onion tartlets

! Warning: You might find the following content at least slightly sad.

! Advice: Strap on a pair and read the damn thing.

A day that began with an early Skype call from my family back home, letting me know that my dad was in the hospital and that he might be dying. Nothing you imagine in the world can ever truly prepare you for that moment. I cried my heart out for half a day, thinking not only that he might be dying, but that he might die without seeing me for one last time. That was the day I told my father “Please wait for me” and he said “I'll try”. Every morning ever since that day, I would sleep with the fear and wake up with the fear, brush my teeth with the fear and eat and walk with the damn fear of losing him.. That day was the beginning of the end and the last time I cooked for blog.

Needles to say, I wasn't up for anything that day, but I decided to try and do it in order to distract myself and maybe stop crying for 5 whole minutes. This was like food therapy. That was the purpose of cooking that day, and it served me well. It's going to be extremely difficult to tell you how much time this recipe takes, because it took me aprox. 5 hours. I was thinking and moving in slow motion but I was crying full speed. This recipe was truly my Everest and the time that followed was easily the hardest time of my life. I did make it home on time to see my father before he died. I got to kiss him and hug him and tell him “I love you” for the last time. The reason I'm writing about this is threefold:

1. Because it happened and I have a crazy compulsion to tell the truth.

2. Because depending on how my life is going my relationship with food changes. I may use cooking to make me feel better, I may try to use it to make me feel better and fail because the shit I'm going through is just too much; There are times when I have no appetite, no creative spark, I'm stuck in a rut eating bad sandwiches and feeling hopeless. It's all connected and it reflects on my food.

3. Because my dad loved food. Decadent, hot, meaty, eat-with-your-hands and share-with-your family-food. I got my love for food from him for sure. The way he spoke about food would make any mouth go watery. He truly had a gift. He appreciated the good things in life, the good food, the good booze, the great music.

Food was a big part of my family's life. We did express love through food and no, I don't think that was a bad thing. My dad loved to take us out to eat, or surprise us in the morning with fresh hot pies from various pastry shops, or come home from the market loaded with strawberries and awesome cheese and hot bread! The best times we had together were the times we were around a table. In the summer time we would make late-night barbecue and eat it outside, underneath the dark sky. A meaty feast accompanied by a hot polenta and freshly made garlic sauce. At the end we would all share a huge, cold-from-the-fridge watermelon and fight over the sugary middle. Those were the days, my friend. Over the years, as my dad's sickness kept getting worse, I kept hoping that at one point we will be restored to our former glory and celebrate with one of those barbecues. Sadly, that never happened. He died with the taste of unsalted veggie mash and tasteless cottage cheese in his mouth. He had been craving a meat and cabbage stew. He would tell me about it, he would describe the smokey meat, the hot bright yellow polenta and the chili pepper that would accompany that. I was going to come home in august for a whole month and cook for him. We made so many food plans, a list of things I never got to make. That, believe it or not, is one of my biggest regrets.

After I post this recipe, the “Friends food challenge” will officially be on a break (get it? - insert Rachel and Ross fight here) because I will be staying home for a couple of months. During this period I may post childhood recipes or things my dad liked. And maybe a glimpse of the magic Romanian markets that I missed so much! And when autumn comes, I will return to Dublin and to the food challenge and to my fat cat. And possibly mental health.

Things and stuff:

A 20 cm tart pan with a removable butt, a rolling pin, a blender/mixer type thing/your lovely fingers, a bowl, a pan, a knife, a cutting board,the usual.

It was this big:

Well, a 20 cm tart ;)

It took this long:

The making of the pastry - 10 min., the resting of the pastry - 30 min. The preparation of the onions - 25 min., the making of the cheese filling - 5 min (but because this is happening while the pastry is resting, you're basically turning back time!). 5-10 min. to assemble, 30 min. to bake it. If you are making the candied nuts I made, add an extra 10-15 min.

Ingredients:


The Process

THE PASTRY

Pre-step: get your butter out of the freezing cold and allow it to come to room temperature. He deserves it! He never gets to be on the outside, playin' with the cool kids. When warm, dice that baby up real nice.

"Why am I doing this?"
Because if you want a awesome piece of pastry you need to have an even distribution of butter within the flour, to give it that flakiness we all know and love. This is difficult to achieve if the butter is as cold as ice but, unlike the girl from the song, unwilling to sacrifice. Sooo, listen and make sure it is at room temperature.

Step 1: Put the flour, butter and salt into a large bowl (if you're using your hands) or you mixer bowl (if you're going electrique).

Step 2: Lightly rub together using your fingertips OR blitz them shortly until you have a sandy texture.


Step 3: Add the egg and the water and blitz again like we did last summer. If you're doing this with your fingers, make a well in the center and then add the egg and water, gradually working them into the flour mixture.


Step 4: When the eggs have been absorbed, bring the dough together and press to form a ball shaped thing.Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently with your palms for just 10 seconds. Flatten said dough into a round, and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 20–30 minutes before rolling out. 


!  You have to judge the consistency of the dough. If it is too wet add a little flour; if too dry, add a little water. Flours differ in absorbency, you have to roll with it.

! Flattening the dough before resting it in the fridge is much easier to do than once it is chilled. Resting makes the dough less elastic, more pliable and easier to roll. I wouldn't have it any other way.


THE ONION FILLING


Step 1: Thinly slice the onions. Like so:


Step 2: Start melting the butter in a pan ( you can add a tablespoon of olive oil too, to prevent the butter from burning). Then throw the lobsters into the air! Wait. No. That;s not it. You throw the onions into the pan. With the salt and pepper.Let them soften. Little heat, lots of lovin'.


Step 3: When they are submissively soft, add the sugar and the balsamic vinegar and let them party until they merge into this purty lil' thang:

Done!


THE CREAM FILLING


Step 1: Grate cheese and combine withe the eggs and the thyme.


Step 2:  Add milk and creme fraiche, mix until combined.


ASSEMBLY TIME:

Step 1: Roll out the dough. Place in the middle of a large sheet of cling film and cover with another sheet of cling film, of similar dimensions. Roll out the dough to a circle, 3mm thick give or take.

!Rolling it in between two sheets of paper prevents the dough from sticking or breaking. It doesn't become heavier due to the use of flour and it's cleaner. Cleaner, faster, better! This is teleshopping shit at its best! Cling film! Point to a bag today! ;) 


Step 2: Take off the top layer of cling film and discard, then lift the dough by picking up the corners of the cling film and invert it into the tart pan, removing the cling film.

 Ease the pastry into the ring with your fingers and then tuck that baby in! With the help of your rolling pin, trim, baby, trim.


Step 3: Prick it, prick it good, prick it just like you should. Or maybe you prefer : Fork it, baby, one more time! A lil' bit of Britney for that old school feel.


Step 4: Place the tart case in the fridge for 30 min. to relax and firm up. At the same time! 


Step 5: Preheat the oven at 170 degrees/gas mark 3. now rest and allow yourself at least one glass of wine. Seriously, you need it. No? Just me?


Step 6: The 30 min. are up! Wake up, get it out of the fridge and get back to business. Place the onions in the pastry case.


Step 7: Pour the creamy stuff, you know you want to.


Step 8: Place it on the middle shelf in the oven and wait for it. 30 min or until golden browned.


Now, I decided to over-complicate things and add goat cheese and candied nuts on top. I would give you the recipe but I can'd remember shit. So, instead of lying about it or trying to cover up the fact that I have no recollection of how they happened, I am coming clean and promising to make lots of candied nuts in the autumn time when the weather is fine. Enough talk, there it is:


Feedback: Oh, goodness gracious, great balls of fire! You can't get cheesier that this! And gooey and sweet and creamy AND crumbly! This one here is the bees knees, the cat's pajamas, top freakin' notch! Takes a bit of time and a bit of dough skills, but I trust that you (whoever that may be) are a hungry yet rational individual with a desire to improve yo' baking skills and put this baby in yo' mouth.

 Caution: let it rest, if you try (as I did) to cut into to it when hot out of the oven, you will regret it. Wait for at least 15 min. and then indulge. Serve with a fresh green salad and become a better person. Guaranteed!  

Oh, Russell, you understand me. It's just that I miss a lot of things these days. I miss my bedroom, my boyfriend and my cat. My big kitchen, my closet space and all that. But most of all, I miss you, dad. 

Until the next one, happy eating! 

S01E08 The one with the shrimp ravioli

(Steve and Monica leave on the tour and Rachel goes to follow them but Phoebe stops her and drags her into the kitchen.)
Rachel: What's up? Phoebe: (whispers) In the cab, on the way over, Steve blazed up a doobie. Rachel: What?
Phoebe: Smoked a joint? You know, lit a bone? Weed? Hemp? Ganja?
Rachel: OK, OK. I'm with you, Cheech. OK. Do you think it’s going to be cool or…?
Steve: (from the living room) Is it dry in here? (licks his lips)
Rachel: Let me, let me get you some wine!
Monica: Yeah, I think we're ready for our first course. (Steve sits, Monica brings over a tray)
OK, um, these are rock-shrimp ravioli, in a cilantro ponzu sauce... (Steve starts to eat them one by one, quickly)... with just a touch of minced (he finishes)... ginger. 
Steve: Well, smack my ass and call me Judy! These are fantastic! 
Monica: I'm so glad you liked them! 
Steve: Like 'em? I could eat a hundred of them! 
Monica: Oh, well... um, that's all there are of these. But in about eight and a half minutes, we'll be serving some delicious onion tartlets.

This recipe called for rock shrimp, apparently a type of shrimp that tastes lobster-like. I could not find it in my area, so I decided to go loco and replace it with Dublin Bay Prawns. And by loco, I mean local. But, you know, either way. It was almost 12 noon when I arrived in Howth, the place where the fresh fish is. 

Lovely view, sunny day, all seemed well in the world. Little did I know! This day began wonderfully and ended with me in a metaphorical puddle of shit. After buying them crazy prawns, I headed for the store to buy some stuff for the ponzu sauce that I couldn't find at the close-to-home-stores. Here begins a journey that took way longer than expected and that tired the hell out of me. I get home at around 16:00 or something equally ridiculous. I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm peeing my pants! It's late, it's getting cloudy, even though it has been a perfectly sunny day so far. Frustration begins to show its ugly head. I decide to take care of my needs. You know, empty the smallest bladder in the world, drink some water, eat a sandwich. Gather some energy and get this mission on the road! 

I barely get to take a first bite out of that sandwich, when I receive the lovely news that instead of a package from back home, we'll be getting a mother from back home. My boyfriend's mother. At 1 a clock at night. I absolutely adore impromptu, unannounced visits in the middle of the night! Understandably, I was bursting with excitement and anticipation of what the busy, overwhelming week before we leave for Italy will be. I got so absolutely exhausted by the mere thought of this great surprise, I had to lie down for half an hour. You know, so that I could bask in the utter joy! Take it all in baby! The silence, the peace, the freedom. It's all so precious when you're about to lose it. Breathe in, breathe out. Gooosfraaabaaa!

And if not,

L040951

I slowly begin to measure ingredients and try to get my head in the game.

Things and stuff:

Rolling pin, pastry cutter/ pizza cutter/ your teeth (!), a couple of bowls, lil' ol' spoon, a pan, pot, nothing fancy.

It was this big:

450 gr. pasta dough/14 ravioli (fat ones), a big ass bowl of shrimp filling (I still had about 3 tablespoons left), and way too much sauce for this amount of ravioli (half the quantities if you don't want leftover sauce).

It took this long:

Forever. Peeling – half of my life, preparing the shrimp filling – 10 min, making the pasta dough – 20 min (first stage), 30 min in the fridge and then... 40 min. to convince it to be thin (damn society) and shape it, 5 min for the sauce, 7-10 min to boil the ravioli. About 1h and 30-40 min . Depends on how fast you peel them fuckers. Or maybe buy them all done and ready. I did not have that option.

Ingredients and quantities

The Process 

THE PRAWN FILLING

Pre-step: First play with your prawns. Arrange them as if they are racing each other. All the while listen to Townes Van Zandt - Shrimp Song. Trust me. It's just silly enough to work.

Step 1: Release the prawns from their bitchy armour. Peel them. This proved especially long. And hard. Get your mind out of the gutter. At the end of this process my hands were red and my heart was thirsty for revenge. Pain has been inflicted on me and I wanted to inflict it right back. Don't do it, the prawn is stronger then you. Or least more equipped. I looked up the official method to tame these armed bastards. I even made a video for you to witness my suffering.

What is supposed to happen: The shell has 6 individual segments. The objective is to hold 3 segments between each thumb and index finger and then we take the tail and twist it and break the join at each side of the shell. Then turn the langoustine belly up and with the thumb of your right hand push the meat forward, grip the shell, pull the tail out of the shell, trying to leave the vein connected to said shell (must de-vein them because eew). Then we need to remove what's left. It's supposed to just come off easily. Did not work for me.

Notice how methodical and clean the first part of the process is. Notice how I completely lose it by the end and go ham on it. Ouch, you cute pink motherfucker. Ouch.

Step 2: Finely chop them.

Step 3: Mix in a bowl with the ginger, green garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and basil.

Step 4: Shallow fry them. Pan, a bit of olive oil, hot flame, 2 min. Just so that they are not raw, but not completely cooked either. That's done! Set it aside.

PASTA DOUGH

Learn from my mistakes, I certainly try to.

 A. 00 flour is the best for the job. I didn't have it in the house, tried it with normal flour and ended up with a hard disk of non-cooperative lump. Had to go hunting for the last 00 flour at the Italian place and re-do it. That's how bad it was.

B. Patience and endurance. It takes time and muscle to get those sheets thin without a pasta machine. So be ready to pay with sweat and tears. I did.

Step 1: Sift the flour onto a work surface, forming it into a volcano-shaped-mound with a well in the centre. Like so: 

Step 2: Break the eggs into the centre. Add salt.


Step 3: Poke the yolk to release them. Incorporate the eggs into the flour with yo' lovin' hands, gradually drawing the flour into the egg mixture. 

If the mixture is too soft or sticky, add a bit more flour. Before kneading the dough clean you work surface and your hands.

Step 4: Lightly flour the surface and start to knead with the heel of one hand. Work it for 10-15 min until smooth (Jamie Foxx smooth) and elastic (Mr. Fantastic?)

Step 5: Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 min. 

Step 6: Start rolling, babe! Lightly flour you working area (yes, again!) and gently roll out the dough. Roll it till about 3 mm thick (or at least aim for that). 

Step 6: Cut the edges to make them nice and even. 

Step 7: Put heaped teaspoons of the filling near one of the edges. Not too near the edge, just not really in the middle.

Step 8: Now fold it over. Press gently with your fingers all around the filling to seal the ravioli shapes without air bubbles.

Step 9: Cut the pasta into squares. Or aim for that. Cover them with a tea towel while you do the rest, to avoid them getting dry and unmanageable. Like some people. 

Step 10 : Cook the pasta in salted boiling water. If they are the right thickness it shoud take 5 min. Mine were thicker, so it took about 7-8 min.

THE SAUCE

Step 1: Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. The end. 

Will the original Ponzu sauce please stand up? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponzu. 

Ladies and gentleman, I presesnt to you Shrimp Ravioli with ponzu sauce and a touch of ginger:

Feedback: Making pasta is not as easy as advertised. At least not for a first-timer. I must keep at it, try different recipes and get a sense of what the proper consistency is. So to sum it up, not easy, not fast. Delicious. But not sure it was worth all the blood and tears. The pasta was not thin enough, and I could feel that around the edges of the ravioli. That annoyed me. A constant reminder of the “not-quite-there” thing I have going on. Should celebrate the fact that I made to the end of this recipe. You must know it took two days. Because night ambushed me. Because I had my very first blog-down, which is a melt-down but blog related. Well, and life related. Blog is life! Oh my God, I did it, I exaggerated all the way to the moon and back. Just did it again! Seriously hard to stop.  

This recipe was made in the midst of pressure, frustration, and oh, so many other feelings. I yelled, I cried, I hit things, they fell, hit me again. But hey, I did manage to get through it.

P.S. Don't slap your dough. She's innocent. Also, it hurts. Ouch inside and out. 

RavYOLO!

Let's try and keep it together, people! Until the next one, happy eating!