Thursday, 11 October 2007

And now for something completely different

Why yes, now that you mention it, I am under contract with Yukata

The lull in blogging activity is a pretty accurate reflection of the recent lull in knitting chez Boffcat. Never mind second sleeve syndrome, I seem to have second-half-of-knitted-item syndrome: whenever I get beyond the 50% mark on something my fickle mind abandons it and wanders onto the next project. (This may explain why I've never quite finished making anything larger than a cushion cover.) So in an attempt to reinvigorate my attention span a bit - not to mention providing blog fodder on sadly knitting-free days - I've decided to take on a different sort of project. As you may have guessed from the picture above, it's to do with cooking.

In the normal scheme of things I love to cook, and, though my knife 'skills' would make a trainee chef avert his eyes in embarrassment, I'm generally not too shabby in the kitchen department (a friend of my boyfriend's once opined that I "could cook sh*t and make it taste good," which I assume is the sort of elegantly-phrased compliment which Gordon Ramsay bats away all the time). However, being in Berlin means that I'm roughly 900 miles from my ridiculously well-equipped kitchen. (Just to give you a bit of an idea of the difference, there's a four-shelf cupboard in my Edinburgh kitchen crammed full of spices, with a large box stashed away in a second cupboard to take care of the considerable overspill. By contrast, my Berlin kitchen - which in its entirety is only marginally bigger than the spice cupboard - contains a pepper pot. The pepper pot is empty.) As you might imagine, cooking here presents a bit of a challenge, and it isn't one I've risen to with flying colours so far. Over the last few weeks my diet's basically consisted of a) museli and b) Thai red curry.

Inspired by the wonderfully titled Sarah Discovers How to Eat, though, that's set to change. The eponymous Sarah (whose current blog is over in the sidebar to your left, and well worth checking out) used this site to record her progress as she cooked her way through every recipe in Nigella Lawson's encyclopaedic How to Eat over the course of a year. While I'm not sure I'd want to take on that much of a commitment (not least financially), I really like the idea of expanding your repertoire this way and cooking recipes you'd never normally give a chance. So I've decided to try something (very) broadly similar. To save myself from stocking up on a vast and expensive array of ingredients, this year I'll be sticking to one type of cuisine, namely South East Asian. All right, I know that that's hardly a single category, encompassing as it does all sorts of different countries, but at least many of the ingredients and cooking techniques overlap. I've cooked Asian food before, obviously (if you're in the market for a Chinese hot pot or a batch of wontons, I'm your man!) but in a fairly limited way - hopefully sticking with it for such a long time period will force me out of my comfort zone a bit. I'm not promising to be totally monogamous - I'm much too fond of hearty British soups and Indian dahls for that - but insofar as specialist ingredients are being bought and new recipes experimented with, it's Far Eastern all the way.

I feel a rice-cooker expedition coming on...

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