Monthly Archives: January 2010

Improvisation

Have to get my fix somehow...

Having left my cafetiere at Buster’s house after high tea (Ryan, please to post pictures!), I’ve had to improvise a way to make coffee this week.  A jug and a sieve have worked perfectly, probably because I have coarsely-ground Peet’s coffee at the moment that my mom brought from California at Christmas.  I love Peet’s.

– Anna

This is why you’re fat

42% of Americans eat three or more snacks every day.  That seems crazy to me.  Am I alone on this one, or do most people snack between every single meal they eat?  Revelation courtesy of the NYTimes.

– Anna

Seasonal eating

If one of your resolutions this year is to eat more seasonally, here’s a handy chart from Leon to help you out.  PDF version here.

– Anna

Hot, cheap and saucy

Recent meals have been conjured up to combat a few sad truths: January malaise has set in, it’s freezing out and we have a LOT of root vegetables around. And did I mention it’s freezing?

Last Thursday I hit upon a winner, a perfection of a basic curry I’ve been trying to get right for a long time now. The trick was moving my sauce to North Africa by adding harissa. Who knows if I’ll get it right again, but with any luck the act of blogging it will help cement it in my brain.

I started by slicing an onion and slowly caramelizing it over a medium flame in a little olive oil. The trick is to let the onions sit undisturbed for minutes at a time, but without burning them. Take your time with this. It took me 30+ plus before mine were browned and totally limp.

To this I added a hunk of sliced ginger – I used shoestring thickness slices for no good reason – and two cloves of garlic, also sliced. Let these cook for 10 minutes or so, until the ginger is nice and soft. Turn down the heat if you’re worried about the garlic burning.

I then added a teaspoon/teaspoon and a half each of cumin, cinnamon, tumeric and corriander, a few grinds of black pepper (add a little water if there isn’t enough oil to absorb the spices), and a big spoonful of harissa paste. Harissa varies a lot from blend to blend, so the amount you use depends on how hot yours is, and how hot you like your food.

So now the flavors are developed all that’s missing is the liquid to actually make it a sauce. I added spoonfuls of plain yogurt and water until I was happy with the texture and flavor. To finish it off I stirred in a whole bunch of chopped cilantro and squeezed a lemon into the pot, and turned off the heat.

What did I do with my magical sauce? On day 1 I poured it over roasted carrots, potatoes, parsnips and cabbage (weird, I know, but weirdly good), and some couscous. Day 2 I added it to some good chicken stock I’d livened up with some fresh ginger and more harissa, and added my leftover couscous and veggies for the cheapest, most warming supper I think I’ve ever made.

-Eve

Enquiring minds want to know!

By far the most exciting feature of our blog stats is seeing what search terms people use to find themselves here on cheezcloth. It’s an extra-special glimpse into the collective psyche.

But often I feel sad for all the questions people have searched for and our blog was not able to answer. I’m sorry sir, I don’t know why there was a cheesecloth on your ham. Did you put it there, perhaps? And as for the foodophile who searched ‘handisnack phallus’, I sure hope you found what you were looking for.

Today we had two (two!) searches for: “does cool whip have condom lubricant in”.

I’m guessing no, but any chemists out there want to do a little analysis and get back to us?

-Eve

Watch it toast!

Is it weird that I want one of these? Only £160 from John Lewis!

See through toaster! (Photo from telegraph.co.uk)

The response has been phenomenal.”

-Eve