Monday, September 19, 2005

Japanese Essay? What Japanese Essay?

Before I get to decribing tonight's dinner, I'll just tell you what happened today.

Right now we're on a two-week break from classes - time which I should be spending writing my 1100-character Japanese essay, due this Friday, or perhaps my 2000 word essay in Agricultural Economics, due next week. So, as you might have expected me to do, today I got up at 11:30, watched some TV and just generally lazed around for a bit. And how crap - my brother ate my lunch! He ate my bloody lunch. I'd planned to eat our leftover rigatoni-with-random-sauce-from-a-bottle from last night's dinner, but my brother had beaten me too it. GRRRR. Anyway, I microwaved some frozen beef braised in beer, and cooked basmati rice for my own lunch. And Daniel and I both decided that he owes me a meal.

Well, after that "ordeal" I was obviously in no state to study, so I went with my dad to Box Hill to buy some ingredients, went to the gym, then came home, and cooked. And still no progress on either essay was made... oh well...

127. Tomato and Rice Soup (Fast Food)
128. Pea Soufflé (One & Two)

Now, the pea soufflé is "intended to be supper in its entirety" for two people, so for three of us, I didn't boost quantities, but served prosciutto alongside, and added a first course of soup.

The soufflé is a bit fiddly to make, in that there are a few stages. Firstly, cook some peas in butter and puree them with gruyère cheese. Then, make a white sauce. Then, whip up some eggwhites. Combine the white sauce, egg yolks and pea puree, before folding in the egg whites and baking them in a dish which has been greased and dusted with grated cheese.

Peas + White Sauce

I chose to do them in individual ramekins - simply because I don't own a "dish of about 600ml capacity", and to make it easier to serve. In fact, I don't seem to own a lot of these dishes that Nigella keeps using for this type of food - 600ml soufflé dishes, 1 litre china bowls and so on. Hmm... I dunno if I should bother investing in some, because I quite like the dinky individual ramekin thing.

So, while the soufflés were soufflé-ing, I made the soup. This one, from Fast Food is just a bottle of tomato sauce with a handful of basmati rice thrown in. I wasn't exactly sure what type of "tomato sauce" Nigella meant, because in Australia and in Malaysia, "tomato sauce" can mean tomato ketchup, it can mean that stuff that's used on pizzas, in pasta, or any number of things. I ended up using a bottle of cheap-ass, low rent "Dolmio Tomato Onion and Basil Chunky Bolognese Style Sauce". And it was fantastic.

Tomato Soup

And after 26 minutes of cooking - out came my puffy little Teenange-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle-green soufflés!


My mum actually bothered to tip hers out and wrapped prosciutto around it...

She still loves that restauranty presentation!

But my dad and I just dug straight in...


This soufflé rocks. I love the fresh taste of peas, and the gruyère cheese tastes and smells divine. The proscuitto is a perfect accompaniment, but if you choose to forgo the piggy accompaniment (and up to about a month ago, I would have), then you'll need more salt.

I'm not sure about you, but from the way it tastes and smells, I think of this dish more as rustic home cooking than fancy restaurant food. Think grandmère in the French countryside rather than Phillipe Mouchel.

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