Best Served Cold

I realised with some shock that it’s almost a year since I last wrote anything for my blog. In fact, when I went back this afternoon to see what was the last thing I wrote here I was confronted with a rather disturbing photo of me without a beard towards the end of last November. It’s strange to think that this time last year I was still waiting with baited breath to see if enough people would rise to the fundraising challenge I’d set to ensure that I would have to endure Movember.

Anyway, having finally been struck with sufficient inspiration to write another post, I should strike while the iron is hot…

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold.

It turns out that it isn’t the only one.

Yesterday I decided to cook myself a Spanish-style tortilla (i.e. basically an omelette with potato and onion) for dinner, and also to make my first apple crumble of the season with some apples that a friend has kindly given me (and also with custard). There was too much of both to eat them all at once and I knew that both can work successfully as cold dishes as well as hot ones, so I decided to have a bit of both for dinner and save the rest for lunch.

I came to the conclusion that although both were very tasty when they were freshly cooked, they were even better today as a cold lunch (including cold custard with the apple crumble). I’m not sure how much it was due to the different temperature and how much it was due to the flavours having had more chance to develop, or possibly even the fact that I was quite tired last night after a busy week and somewhat more refreshed this lunchtime after a nice relaxed morning.  Whatever the cause, the effect was one of the tastiest lunches I’ve had for a while.

Incidentally, I was pleased to see that while it’s probably been nearly as long since I last cooked an apple crumble as it has since I last updated this blog, I haven’t entirely lost my touch. Probably more through luck than judgement I managed to cook this one at just the right combination of time and temperature to get the apples nice and tender but with a bit of bite left in them, with about the right amount of sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice to complement the taste of the apples nicely, while the crumble topping (including my usual addition of a few oats for texture and a bit of mixed spice for flavour) retained just a hint of gooeyness, exactly the way I like it.

Doubtless I’ll be cooking up another crumble (possibly with one or two variations – maybe apple and raisin next time?) pretty soon as I still have a few more apples to use up. It may be a while longer before my next post, but hopefully not another 11 months.

And, in case you were wondering, I’m not planning revenge on anyone for anything. It was just a line (from an old Sherlock Holmes film, as I recall) that sprang to mind as I was thinking about the delights of cold apple crumble and custard.




Green eggs (but no ham)

I mentioned yesterday that I was intending to do some more noodlesprucing for dinner.  That, indeed, is just what I did – with quite interesting results…

The starting point was a packet of spicy prawn flavoured instant noodles.  For vegetable content, I had some left over (uncooked) red cabbage and a spring onion that needed using up, so I chopped them up fairly finely and fried them in the saucepan before adding the spicy prawn flavour sachet and boiling water, followed by the noodles themselves.  I also lobbed in a handful of caraway seeds, as caraway is generally a good accompaniment to cabbage.

Having written yesterday about poaching eggs in baked beans as a way of noodlesprucing them (to use the term in its more general sense), it occurred to me that an egg could also be poached in the broth in which noodles are being cooked.  Since I happened to have an egg to hand, I decided to test this theory, putting the egg in about half way through the simmering of the noodles (i.e. about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time).

When I transferred my noodles into the bowl for eating I was initially somewhat dismayed to discover that the egg had turned a somewhat unpleasant, mouldy-looking greyish green colour.

I then remembered an exciting food chemistry factoid that I learned from a book several years ago, which is that red cabbage juice reacts with egg white to make it turn green.  As far as I recall, there is some enzyme in the cabbage juice that reacts with a protein in the egg; as far as I know, it only works for red cabbage juice.  I remember doing some experiments frying eggs with red cabbage juice and discovering that the result was not a particularly attractive shade of green.  Still, it doesn’t seem to have any appreciable effect (positive or negative) on the taste of the egg and it was comforting to know that this colour change was an expected chemical reaction and not an indication that I’d accidentally used a bad egg or something.

The idea of poaching an egg in my noodle broth seems to work very well and I’ll doubtless try it again in future.  I assume that if (as is usually the case) I’m not cooking up red cabbage with the noodles, the egg shouldn’t come out green.  Who knows, though, what other interesting colour changes I might discover.