So today I did cooking, how difficult can it be? Those
that know me understand that the cooker and I have been estranged for some time,
but there has been a veritable welter of well-meaning women in my life who have
made encouraging comments, which can be summarised as “you’re going to have to
learn how to cook sometime…”
I didn’t really see the logic of this, one look at my
tummy shows I’m not exactly starving, but I thought I ought to make the effort
given the upcoming 3 weeks of distance from restaurants and deliveries. So
recipe books were consulted, notably St Delia whose book has been staring at me
for months, and a pressure cooking website (we need to use this invention to
save gas and have a pot that has a fixed lid on the ocean). Beef Bourguignonne
was selected, and I made various interpolations between the two recipes.
Anything boiled in wine is going to taste good isn’t it.
So with trepidation I approached the meat counter at
“HyperDino”. Given the respective lack of English and Spanish we resorted to
sign language, and I departed with almost 1 kg of red meat, together with
various vegetables (might as well get all 5 in one hit). Helpfully the bag had a
description on it and later, as the meat browned off, dear old Google provided
the translation. Never mind, I’m sure “stewing mutton” will be OK.
Delilah’s recipe calls for Thyme and Bay leaves. I do
own a Bay tree, but sadly it wouldn’t fit on the boat. “Add the herbs” says
Dehlia. I have an extensive spice and herb shelf here, and I’m sure I’ve heard
of Paprika being used with beef before. Put in a good shake I thought; nothing.
The jar is sealed. Take seal off. Wonder what this smells like? I’ve never
sniffed power before, and perhaps some addicts could handle it, but streaming
eyes just makes this cooking lark even more troublesome.
Now I like gadgets, so the pressure cooker is right up
my street. Put stuff in, add bottle of wine, Dahlia specifies Burgundy but
that’s in short supply here too. So time to heed the experts and get creative
again – Rioja will add a certain local tint. Add flame, pressure builds, hissing
is normal, but I had to refer to the instructions about the pan bulging. No
reference to it at all so it must be OK.
I had to interpolate the cooking times too. Dahlia
specifies 2 hours and then another hour after some unnecessary, in my opinion,
late additions. I couldn’t see why the bacon and mushrooms shouldn’t go in at
the beginning. The pressure cooker website talked about 40 mins, so I went half
way. It’s very brown.
I’ve got lots left over, I might even invite the
neighbours in. Maybe best to stick to the Germans though, the French ones might
smell a rat.
Delia now has a moustache.