Tuesday, February 12, 2013
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?
HAPPY ST. VALENTINE'S DAY!
I intended writing about love; and, I guess it could be suggested that in a roundabout, convoluted way I am fulfilling my intention. With me, one thought invariably leads to another, and then, a few more pop up; the roaming begins; and, like happy wanderers, my itchy-footed thoughts decide to join in as I skip along my mind’s highway. I’m consistent, if nothing else!
A couple of Sundays ago as I was gently stroking the digits of Edgar, one of my great loves, while simultaneously gazing lovingly into his eye suddenly, with little warning, the lights went out; and Edgar shut down! Romantic candlelight doesn’t turn him on!
Edgar is my beloved computer. We are more than kissing cousins; more than a one night stand; more than besties. Speaking on behalf of us both, we’re the centre of each other’s universe. On my part it’s a hands-on relationship; but there’s no hanky-panky! Ours is a pure, platonic love. However, I’m sure there was a lot of hanky-panky going on during the extended power outage in some quarters! Maternity wards come October will be very busy!
Getting back to Edgar and me - as our relationship blossomed he introduced me to his associates, both of whom became great loves of mine, as well. I fell hard! My heart was theirs for the taking and keeping. Fortunately, Edgar’s not the jealous type. He doesn’t mind not being the sole recipient of my affections. The other parties close to Edgar’s heart, and now mine, are - Mr. Google - I’m lost without Google; and, of course, the wickedly seductive Wikipedia.
When planning what to write for Valentine’s Day all that came to mind were lights going out and Edgar & Co; and then, out of the blue, I remembered a riddle from my childhood. The joke floated about our home for years. I never “got it” – ever! Today, thanks to my sweethearts, Edgar, Google and Wiki, I discovered I wasn’t as dumb a kid I thought I was because I never “got” the joke! It’s taken me until now to learn the answer/s to the riddle.
The answer we received to the ridiculous, riddling riddle when we were kids was incorrect! No wonder we never got it! The blank stares of my brother and I when we heard the joke brought laughter to Mum and Nana; much more than the joke itself! Eventually, after hearing the riddle a million times my brother and I began laughing at its answer; just to humour our elders; and also to disguise our ignorance, no doubt!
The riddle: “Where was Moses when the lights went out?” Answer: “Under the bed looking for the matches.” Wrong!
With dear Google’s help I’ve discovered when the lights went out Moses was in the dark.
Also, the next time you’re asked (if you ever have been) where Moses was when the lights went out - you wouldn’t be incorrect if you replied: “Down the road eating sauerkraut!”
There’s more – in Tennessee Williams’ 1944 play, “The Glass Menagerie” the joke was referenced; and numerous times the question was asked in the 1934 movie, “The Richest Girl in the World”.
And that, dear friends, is why I love Edgar, Google and whacky Wiki!
It’s true! There is no point my denying it - I’m not the monogamous type!
In the words of Crosby, Stills & Nash: “Love the One You’re With”.
Have a fun Valentine’s Day!
Easy Sauerkraut: Grab a cabbage, approx 1kg in weight; remove core; cut in half; shred finely. Place in large bowl; sprinkle 1tbs sea salt on top. Using hands, knead salt in, squeezing firmly to help release liquid, until it begins to break down; when volume has reduced by half, add 1tsp caraway seeds; work them in. Pack cabbage into large sterilized jar in layers; firmly press down each time; press down firmly so liquid bubbles over jar surface. Cap loosely; place in cool, dark spot. Check every other day; remove any bloom; press down each time (it will be stinky)! After 2 weeks, taste; leave longer if you prefer stronger taste; then refrigerate.
Pork Chops with Fresh Sauerkraut: Heat 1tbs veg oil in pan over med-high heat. Season 4x175g pork chops; sauté until browned, about 3mins per side; set aside. Lower heat to medium; to pan, add 1 thinly-sliced onion, 1c coarsely-chopped carrot and 2 sliced garlic cloves; sauté until onion is softened; add 1c dry white wine; bring to boil. Stir in 6c shredded cabbage, 1 bay leaf and 3 cloves; cover; simmer on med-low, 20-30mins. Stir in 2tbs white wine vinegar, 1tsp sugar and salt to taste. Add chops; cover; simmer until chops are cooked, about 10mins.
Baked Moses Perch: Combine 1/4tsp basil, 1/2tsp each shrimp powder, turmeric and chilli powder and half a fish stock cube; set aside. Chop ¼ a tomato, ¾ onion and one garlic clove; throw in blender; blend to very fine paste; add powders to paste; blend again. Place in small bowl; add 1/2tbs vinegar and 2-1/2tsp sugar. Catch, scale, gut and de-fin a Moses Perch, approx 40cm – or buy one! Cut criss-cross slices in the fish sides with sharp knife; place whole fish on foil; coat fish with paste. Chop remaining tomato; slice remaining onion; add to top and sides of fish; wrap fish well in the foil. Bake in pre-heated 220C oven, 30-40mins; turn fish parcel halfway through baking process.
And chocolate is a must for Valentine's Day in whatever form you choose!
St. Valentine's Day Chocolate Hearts:You will need six 10cm (4in) heart-shaped cake tins. The number of cakes this makes will depend on the depth of your tins. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Brush insides of the with melted butter; dust with 1 tbsp plain flour, tapping out any excess. Melt 200g (7oz) chopped dark chocolate, either in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave on low setting. Stir until smooth; set aside to cool slightly. Cream 150g (2/3rd cup) butter and 150g (5-1/2oz) sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Add 4 egg yolks (retaining whites); stir until combined; add the cooled melted chocolate; stir again. Mix 2 tbsp plain flour with 75g (2-3/4oz) ground almonds, 2tbls freeze-dried raspberries (if using) and a pinch of salt. Add to the chocolate mixture; mix thoroughly. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks. Stir one quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen; and then, using a large metal spoon, fold in the remainder.
Line bases of the cake tins with baking paper; divide mixture between them. Arrange on a baking-sheet; bake on the middle shelf of oven for 20 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then carefully run a small palette knife around the edges and turn the cakes on to a cooling-rack and leave until cold.
To make ganache: Melt together 200 (7oz) dark chocolate (70%), 75g (2-3/4oz) unsalted butter and 2tbls thick cream either in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave on a low setting. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly. Using a palette knife, spread the ganache over the top of each cake; leave to set before decorating with fresh berries. Stored in an airtight box or cake tin, these will keep for about four days.