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Goals and experiments

Let me make one thing very clear about cooking: knowing how makes eating more fun. Knowing how to cook means you can read food you try somewhere else, identify just what you like about it (“I love the blend of squid ink and paprika!”) and work out ways of having that fun again.

If I can just take a second and drag you protesting politely into the past: I learned to cook after school, by Mumini leaving instructions on the kitchen fridge, which I would then execute to the best of my interpretation and have dinner at least prepped, if not ready, by the time the rest of the family came home. This led to some eccentric cooking habits, based on an overly-precise interpretation of written instructions (such as “cut potatoes into small cubes” leading me to near-mince spuds for years), but on the whole it worked well. Experimentation has always been a no-worries proposition.

This isn’t to say I haven’t had my moments of unrestrained rage at cooking failures (and I think the less said about the 2009 Pavlova Incident, the better), but that hasn’t hampered my enthusiasm for experimentation.

Tonight’s experiment: eggs baked in a celery cream, plus buns. The eggs were spotted on an episode of a travelling/fooding show featuring Alton Brown, Atlanta, and that guy who wrote Kitchen Confidential (whose name will come to me shortly). They visited a fine-looking restaurant which served these eggs. And hot dog, they’re tasty. If you like eggs, especially softly-poached ones, you’ll love this. If you’re a bit uninterested or even deterred by eggs, there ain’t nothing for you here. Come back when I write about something else (hint: beer).



Essentially, you infuse cream with some beautiful savoury flavours, pour the warm cream over an egg and bake it briefly. BAM. Amazing. If you strike a good balance of pace and temperature, you end up with a soft, creamy, flavoursome egg that you sponge up with crusty bread. It’s a very mature and stylish incarnation of soft eggy soldiers. If you don’t strike a good balance, you end up with a layer of hot cream over a hard-cooked egg, but then you just kinda scramble it all up with some black pepper and you’re good. (Anthony Bourdain, that’s the dude.)



Experimenting in cooking is how you learn: you can follow recipes your whole life and cook millions of delicious and satisfying repasts. But once you start experimenting, that’s when you can really start to churn the butter, know what I mean? You get an idea in your head and you manifest it. No longer beholden to the written word, the tools of the kitchen and the foods therein are yours to command and rearrange as you see fit because fuck being hungry and bored. I never thought to infuse milk with these kind of flavours, but it works really really well.



I also made buns because I wanted buns. That’s the awesome bit: I’ve fooled around with breadmaking enough now that I can get an inkling about what I want to do with something and MANIFEST it. GO ME! Yay cooking!

Alright, enough motivational speaking: let’s talk beer.

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