Monthly Archives: June 2008

Fried Rice II

Whilst I have previously posted a generalised recipe for Combination Fried Rice, I am forced to admit that I have never, ever been one hundred percent – or even eighty five percent – satisfied with my fried rice.  Oh it tasted yummy enough but it was inclined to be sort of mooshy, and didn’t have the interesting balance of flavours that I’ve found in really great restaurant fried rice.

Some of my lack in the fried rice department was put down to my zero MSG tolerance policy; but I was pretty sure I was missing something, all the same.  Then the clouds opened, and heavenly golden light poured into my grey mooshy fried rice world, because lo! I discovered Jaden of Steamy Kitchen.  Quite how and why I hadn’t found her before is beyond me; all the food blogs I read and I missed this truly amazing one?

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Fried Rice II [Recipe]

As discussed in the above post, here’s my take on The Great Fried Rice, using key principles from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen.

I’m a convert to her key principles – cold cooked rice; fish sauce; lap cheong / char siew.  I’ve then done my own thing to a certain extent – I mean, fried rice is still fried rice.  Unless you’re on Top Chef or something equally m,ad and pretentious, the most pleasurable thing about the dish is it’s simplicity and tastiness.

In this house we like to add shredded cooked chicken, vegetables, sometimes even small prawns if we’re feeling extravagant, and shredded egg omelette.  We also like it spicy, so lots of chilli and ginger, or the use of one of my chilli pastes, as well as sloshes of rice wine and just a bit of soy sauce.  Oh and we’re garlic freaks too …

My humble apologies for the lack of times [stir fry 2 minutes, et al]; I’m more of an intuitive cook and go by taste and smell for how much longer something needs to be cooked at what temperature adjustment.  Also this dish is – like other stir-fry dishes, noodles, etc – a continuous process of adding, stirring, combining.  Trust the nose and taste buds – and tummy rumbling and drooling. 

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Char Siew [Chinese BBQ Pork]

Char siew aka cha siu aka xa xiu [in Vietnam] is a truly wonderful creation.  A cut of pork, preferably belly pork but you can also use shoulder or fillet, is marinaded in brown sugar, rice wine, five spice powder and other condiments / flavourings then roasted until done, with a slightly charred, caramelised crust and deliciously tender, melting meat and fat within.

The wonder of char siew is that as well as being utterly delicious – addictive even – is it’s versatility.  It can be used in fried rice and noodle dishes, over rice cooked in stock a la Hainanese Chicken Rice with sauce dishes of sweet chilli sauce and soy-ginger, in rice paper wraps with salad and herbs, and of course on it’s own as a snack or additional dish in a larger multi-course meal.

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Horse riding as therapy

You know, I had a couple of non-horsey, food-related posts lined up, but couldn’t get excited enough.  Sure, finally finding The Secret to the most amazing, never-fail, heavenly fried rice [with char siew aka Chinese BBQ Pork mmm] is quite exciting, but my head is full of horseyhorseyhorseyhorsey and nothing aint gonna get done nohow until I clear some space in my brain.

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Beauty and the beast: Hair today gone tomorrow

 … we wish!  [with abject apologies for really AWFUL pun]

Hair and it’s removal is a topic fraught with implications, decisions, terror, and financial burden.  Obviously I’m not referring to the plain old hair on the top of your head – although cuts and colours and treatments and styles can be equally panic-attack-inducing [which is why we females are always, ALWAYS cringingly nice to our hair-dressers/stylists – only imagine the damage they could do if they had a grudge?].

Nope, it’s all that extraneous and culturally unattractive hair elsewhere – underarms, forearms, legs, pubes … even, for some ladies [and blokes, but I’ll get to that in a bit] backs and bums.  Shade, coarseness and density differs for every single individual but we all, at some point, ask the same questions.  How?  Where?  And for bloody fuck’s sake, WHY?

I won’t get into the whole gender-political debate, and the cultural implications of being hair free vs hairy just now [although feel free to go wild in the comments section].  Let’s assume for the sake of this post that the need for hair removal is on your agenda.  Appearance is the main reason for most folks;  comfort is another. 

Appearance:  Satin-smooth legs and arms are sexy, there’s no doubt about that.  Neanderthal uni-brows and lady-‘staches are not.

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Gosh it’s been such an age since I had a good long horsey post – let’s not mention the lack of posts at all which I’ve explained [see previous post, blah blah blah].  I feel ashamed to admit it but horse riding was not going well for me there, for a while, but I got through it.  I was frustrated and blue in the process though.

First up, I missed a couple of lessons here and there due to being totally banjaxed – my horsey time is precious and screaming pain is such a waste of time.  Talk about tedious.  Then I had a couple of bad lessons, for a variety of reasons …  After the second atrocious lesson in a row I dismounted, put the horse away in his stall and tried to hold back tears of sheer pissed-offedness – please let me add, at myself, not the horse.

The lessons were bad, went nowhere.  And the coach didn’t really help matters. I was all over the place, my stirrups were uneven and no matter how often the coach adjusted them they stayed uneven, and having uneven stirrups when your balance is up shit creek to begin with is not helpful.  She put toe clips on which made things worse for me, and refused to take them off even when I fucking begged.

I hesitate to pass blame on the coaches because they are mostly absolutely fantastic; this particular one is a trainee I think, and has a LOT to learn.  She shrieks “Trot! TROT!” instead of giving constructive criticism or advice as to get the horse going.  She has us going around and around and around the outside of the arena, no 20 metre circles or serpentines or bending that might, you know, get the horses listening to us …  And when I untacked the horse after the uneven-stirrups fiasco, I counted and they were still two holes different.  How can a coach not know the difference between one buckle at hole 9 and the other at hole 11?  SHEESH.

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Soup & sandwich entry

 Life has been rather slow and tedious around here lately, but the general state of affairs is fortunately improving.  My life is one case of “this too shall pass” after another!  April was a good month; I was full of energy, getting back into exercise, and whimpering-in-pain was at a minimum.  Just as well, given the whole moving-house thing; being laid up then could have been a minor disaster.

May pretty much sucked, mainly due to the fucking atrocious weather.  Most soft-tissue / rheumatological conditions are exacerbated by changes in weather / barometric pressure, and I’m a perfect example.  In fact, I’m better than the Met. Bureau, I can predict a weather change a day or two in advance, just “feeling it in my bones” [said in quavery nana voice].  This means trouble; lots of pain, swollen inflamed joints and muscle spasms galore – on top of the “usual” snafu. 

So, May.  Barometric pressure swooping UP and DOWN every six hours; daily temperatures bounding from min to max in huge leaps [eg, 6C in the morning, with a top of 26C? … fuck me], lots of rain, insanely high humidity, thunderstorms.  Crazy.

The result being I spent most of May in bed, yelping pitifully and shovelling in handfuls of painkillers and muscle relaxants with the occasional totter to the microwave to nuke my heat pack once again [which is another bummer; it’s full of fucking WHEAT and I’m allergic to wheat and the smell makes me want to puke, le sigh].

[And then there’s the fact that I haven’t been eating, like ANYTHING, because I have no appetite and I puke at the mere thought; oh and did you know that morphine makes you constipated?  Wheeee!  My mid-section feels like it’s made of concrete.]

. . . . . . . . . .

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