Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island?
I grew up in Kuala Lumpur and I like city living. The thought of being stranded on a desert island fills me with horror.
Once in a while, though, I try to imagine what pared-down living might mean for my kitchen. If I could only have one kitchen gadget it would be the Thermomix.
What I really think of as a luxury is a day spent in the kitchen tinkering with ideas for good things to eat. Sometimes I start from scratch and sometimes I return to old favourites to change the recipe a little.
With Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce simmering gently on the stove, I made a Fresh Chilli Sauce, a staple to eat with Chicken Rice. This made me feel a bit sad because I would normally eat chicken rice with a group of friends or family, making it worth the time poaching a whole bird. Now we are in a literal no-man’s land because households are not allowed to mix. Junior 2 is vegetarian, Junior 3 is at university. The sauce went in the freezer for cold storage.
For lunch I made a Pea and Perilla Leaf Soup. Earlier in the year I was given some perilla plants, which have thrived in our VegTrug. This served us well when the weather was warm enough for barbeques, as the leaf is used in a wrap with barbequed meat. Those sunny days are over and I am thinking of novel ways to use up the leaves.
Follow the recipe for Pea and Mint Soup, replacing the fresh mint leaves with 12 – 18 large perilla leaves. The amount depends on how much you like the aroma of perilla leaves. Remove the centre vein of the leaves and cut into smaller pieces before using in the final stages of the soup.
For tea we had a Honey Citron Cake. Using the Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe as a template, reduce the amount of butter and sugar and replace this with honey citron jam. There is no need for the lemon oil. So for the cake: use 175 g self-raising flour, 100 g soft unsalted butter, 100 g caster sugar (50 g for the lemon sugar and 50 g in the cake), 75 g honey citron jam, 3 large eggs and 2 tablespoons milk.
Dinner was rice and pan-fried halibut. The recipe I use most in the Thermomix is for stir-frying vegetables and so we had stir-fried carrot and broccoli.
The end to quite a productive cooking day was nowhere near perfect. Sadly, having spent a lot of money on some bergamot lemons and a lot of time preparing it to make marmalade, I burnt the whole lot as it was really difficult to control the temperature in a pot over a gas stove. Yes, I really wished I had used the Thermomix but I had not made marmalade in it before hence my hesitation. I took some lovely photos in anticipation of a recipe and will write about this catastrophe in the next post, minus the recipe.
For many people, island living and getting back to nature is such an idyllic dream. I am thinking: if I can’t even control the gas stove without burning something, what hope do I have with cooking over an open fire? Then I remember that the Bible promises that when our old world with all its sins and faults is destroyed, there will be a new creation and a perfect world where believers will live in harmony with each other. We were never designed to live a desert island life, because the Christian God is a relational God. What this means is that our God made humans to be in a relationship with him. This explains the paradox of why we can feel empty when we are in a large crowd of people, and how we are able to not feel lonely when we are alone by ourselves.