I’ve just watched “Julie & Julia”

As a foodie-in-training, you’d think I will have rushed to a theatre to watch Meryl Streep (spell check isn’t liking that name, apparently). Alas, even though by 2009 the mustard seed had been planted in my head, I did not go. The film was, eventually, pushed to the back of my conscience and kept there by the whole university experience: lectures, parties, exams, learning how to take care of a house, and all those other life changing experiences.

Now, I am moving out. I have had to scrutinise my possessions (so much clothing…) and decide what to keep and what to bin. That last sentence isn’t the most relevant, and if you thought it was going to lead to some epiphany on materialism, you’re wrong. I decided to watch “Julie & Julia” because it would be procrastination.

Thank God I did.

It, predictably, struck a chord. Julie’s story more than Julia’s. It’s the whole idea of using cooking as an escape and suddenly decide to write the whole thing down in a very public forum. It sounds daft (and, by now, cliché); I can tell you this: the internet is a scary place. But I digress.

This all put me thinking about little cooking projects I’ve always had in mind. Spending a day with my aunt making jams and preserves; fulfilling my self-appointed destiny as the culinary heir (of both sides of the family); have a one day bake-a-thon… One idea that’s always whispered in my ear was getting a bunch of food bloggers together and collate recipes, then log my experiences cooking everyone else’s stuff. I think the funnest part would be trying to decode different styles of recipes. WebNoms, I’d call it. Eventually (once I got a job) I’d be able to upgrade it to some sort of flogger (food blogger; could this be a thing?) exchange programme. I’d travel to visit different floggers and take some in as well to share cooking experience. Communicate those little things that can only be done in person, like showing someone exactly how the marinade needs to smell like.

Luckily for me, there have been a few flogs that have liked and commented on this blog, which means this could be possible one day. To any of those who are reading this: I promise to read your stuff. All the packing and procrastination really fills up my day!

So here’s to moving away and dreaming of new pots and pans.

PS: The scene where Paul Child brought Julia a pestle and mortar actually made my eyes well up a little. I don’t know why; it just did.

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Spinach Puff Roll

Right, I think by this point I’ve got shortcrust pastry down. Butter; flour; fork until crumb-like; drip water; minimum mix; got it. It might also come out better in winter because that’s when my hands go ice-cold and apparently that helps. Shortcrust is fine.

Moving on, it was decided that I should try puff pastry next.

[insert gay pun joke here] (See what I did there?)

This is the point where I admit bad judgement. See, my ego had been, by this point, inflated by the success of tarts and meat pouches. I was the God of pastry, able to knead, mold and fill the floury paste with my bidding. All I touched would be golden and deliciously crumbly!

Alas, this journey into the land of the “thousand leafed” pastry would end with me sitting down and having a slice of humble pie (pun intended; you should expect this by now). Turns out puff pastry is difficult to get right; difficult enough to be impervious to beginners’ luck. Nevertheless, I plan on someday mastering it. Especially if I intend on making these* one day. Continue reading

You say like you’re sneezing

You know what I’ve discovered is irritating? Having a post ready, but not publishing it because there’s something else that just has to be released first. I’ve had something ready for weeks, but it’s just sitting there, in my drafts, because of this very post.

“So, what is this about?”, I hear you ask. To this, I can only cower, cringe, and whimper “something I’ve already written about”.

The indignity of it all! Recycling material? Sure, the great minds of past and present have done so, but I am nowhere near great enough to get away with such a feat.

Ah! But I have not un-cowered, de-cringed, and (firmly) stated that I wrote about this in another language. That’s right! Let us remember that I had warned you all about non-English posts (mostly in Portuguese, but there might be the occasional French). I also said that all non-English posts would either be rewritten or translated into English. Turns out I’d rather rewrite things, which leads to many procrastination possibilities (I have exams! I can’t write for my blog when I have exams… that would be… nuts…).

If you can understand Portuguese (or have a lot of patience and access to Google translate), you’ll know this is about Achar, an Indian pickle, typical of the once Portuguese state of Goa. Nowadays, achar seems to be used as a blanket term for Indian pickles. Also, even though I always heard it being pronounced “ashar”, I always imagine it as “atshar”. Hence, the post’s title. Continue reading