My love for food has always been my true passion, it pretty much runs my life. I’ll be sitting at my desk at work eating my lunch, (well I say lunch, to be fair, it’s usually some tiny piece of chicken I managed not to polish off from the night before, chucked in a tupperware aka sistema container with about 13 spinach leaves, and voila chicken salad!!) wondering and getting excited about what amazing dinner Claud will be cooking for us. (Secretly hoping that it will be pork belly)
Poor mum used to have a hard time trying to please me, I’d often call her from work at my first job when I was 18 and ask her how she was, followed by “what’s for tea?” and unless she said chicken kiev and chips ($2 of chips from the local fish n chip shop) then I’d pretty much crack the shits, end the phone call abruptly and say goodbye. Mum still gets nervous telling me what’s for tea when we go over each Monday for the family dinner.
Thankfully my tastes buds have had quite the development in the last 15 years.
Now that I am a grown up and get to cook my own teas, I can choose whatever I want EVERY night. I know this sound silly, but sometimes I still can’t believe that I am old enough and grown up enough to wander through the supermarket and if I feel like buying a chook from the Deli and just eating the wings and skin for tea that I can, or have kievs three nights running, or the biggest possible piece of scotch fillet with blue cheese sauce and a mountain of mashed potato (and no vegies, yes mum, no vegies) or if I’m feeling really loco (listen to that Spanish naturally rolling of my tongue) then I’ll just smash a bag of cheese and bacon balls, followed by a wagon wheel for desert and that’s tea done.
I sometimes smile to myself as if I’m Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and think “how good is this? every night a beautiful tea!” I no longer have the fear like I used to when I was walking home from school praying for a good tea (kiev) only to discover that mum has made cold meats and salad for tea (cold meat meaning a couple piece of stras, chicken loaf, ham and silverside ) or if mum’s really spoiling us a ham steak. Accompanying these gourmet meats is a “salad” which consisted of half a boiled to the shithouse almost grey egg, some grated carrot, a piece of Kraft singles cheese, 3 cucumber slice and maybe a slice of beetroot.
So after dropping in to the local to pick up just a few ingredients for the nights tea ($87 later), I can now create (attempt and normally fail) a delicious tea. It’s funny because I start off with all these delicious ingredients spread across the bench just waiting to be turned in to something that half resembles a dish from master chef, but for some reason what I imagine in my head at the beginning doesn’t match the end result.
Me: Get 2 fry pans out (couldn’t possibly cook a Bassa filet and piece of Salmon in the same pan), get saucepan and boiler out for steaming vegies, realise after pouring water in the first saucepan that it was too big for the boiler, get saucepan number 2 out. Use three chopping boards, one for each fish, one for the veggies, get two peelers out because you hate one of them, but can’t remember which one and never throw out the shit one, then get a second teaspoon out because you couldn’t possibly put the same spoon back into the minced garlic you just used, you need a fresh one. Get every condiment out, pretend I’m Nigella, literally trying to be all sexy as I dip my 7th teaspoon into the minced garlic and start commentating (talking to all my viewers) on what ingredients I’m adding to flavour the fish, all whilst bunging on an English accent. (salmon and boiled broccoli & cauliflower, how sexy!!!).
The end result a sinkful of unwashed dishes, cumin, minced garlic and olive oil spread from one side of the bench to the other, burnt on the outside but slightly raw on the middle fish and poor little veggies that have been boiled to death, so as soon as your fork touches them they crumble to pieces.
and then there’s Claud’s version
In comes Mr Technique ( he says this EVERY time he cooks “watch the technique”, ..technique shmecknique, just pull every ingredient and every pan out and start chopping), Mr Clean as he Goes (who has time for that? I’m trying to create a play list – “Krit’s Cooking mix”, set a timer for the fish, boil water for the vegies, as if I have time to clean). Mr Magic, pronounced ma-shick (it drives me mad when he says says “watch the ma-shick” – it’s not magic, there’s no white dove flying round the kitchen after you’ve finished.
But maybe I’m wrong because after he’s finished and I look at the table and see the set up for The Last Supper, it’s true, HE IS A MAGICIAN!!!
Perfectly cooked pork belly, fluffy hot rice (not having to worry about the possibility of hitting the bottom of the pan and scraping up a spoonful of black crusty rice), pebre (salsa type thing made from scratch), tomato salad (although I call bullshit on this salad, slicing tomato and onions and placing them nicely on a plate doesn’t equate to salad) and perfectly sliced bread (Bakers Delight sourdough, mind you he does bake his own bread sometimes…. seriously, who has time for that?) placed on a cute little wooden chopping board.
And as I peer my head around to the kitchen bench to see if he has managed to “Clean as he goes” there is not not a single pan or utensil left unwashed, a perfectly wiped down bench and not a single splash of food up the wall. I’m unsure as to whether I’m mad that he can create such deliciousness without no mess whatsoever or secretly happy as I’m in charge of cleaning up
Here is a 15 second video I sent across to Claudio when he was recently in Chile, you will notice that I still haven’t mastered the old “clean as you go”. (Please let my voice sound better at Karaoke than it does in this clip)
Images above from Left to Right:
Left: Nigella is that you?
Left middle: Just a simple Thursday night dinner for two (made by Claud)
Right middle: The magician (not only in the kitchen but also at our nephews Art Show at Kinder…where is the dove?)
Right: Turns out you don’t need to slowly cook smoked ham hocks in the oven for 3 hours. (probably no need to explain who cooked this tea)