Kawak kawan, what do you do when you’ve got yourself soooooo excited about cooking a particular dish that you forgot the only thing that you needed to make that dish work?
A friend and culinary soulmate lent me a recipe that always works, so he says, if the temperature is at 65 degrees C. For that I will need a meat thermometer, kawan kawan and at present, I don’t have any. Rien!
So off I trot to BHV, Paris’s famous home-ware store where one can find everything home related, including beautiful underwear. That was when I got distracted, kawan kawan. My eyes spied a beautiful soutient-gorge from Calvin Klein which led me to inspect it for boob support functions which led me to dream about how good it’ll look under a new blouse I’d just bought which led me to stray from my intended purpose of buying this darn thermometer. I caught myself all too quickly and turned left toward the escalator for the kitchen ware department. There, I got distracted again, this time by knives. I’ve coveted a good kitchen knife for ever so long and my eye caught the glimmer of a sabatier blade. It was too tempting, kawan kawan and I had to have it. I pictured slicing onions with this blade, I imagined what my julienned carrots would really look like as a result of this blade and I knew that I had to have this masterpiece.
It was only on the métro home when I remembered that darn thermometer. So there, I returned home sans bra and worst of all sans thermometre!
I had to resort the plan B, my friends. Luckily for me, I always have a couple of packs of minced beef in the fridge, if not in the freezer. I had sent manny Ted shopping this morning and he had come home with the two staple packs of minced beef moins 20 % fat.
I quickly resorted to seasoning the minced with a dash of soya sauce, a sprinkle of sugar, a guzzle of sesame oil and a good glug of shoashin wine. That I set aside to let the marinade soak in whilst I chopped up a red onion, minced a couple of cloves of garlic, make that 3 cloves, I think. I was thinking on my feet, kawan kawan all whilst marvelling at how my chopped onions were looking at the end of my sabatier blade.
I took out a bunch of basil, thinking that if it was a bunch of sweet holy basil, I could make a Thai inspired dish. But then I thought, who am I kidding? I live in Europe. Sweet holy basil?!? I have to improvise, create and re-invent the wheel here. So I chopped the basil up into strips, again with the coveted knife that is now all mine, to sprinkle into my minced beef creation later.
I needed greens and what better vegetable can there be when one needs to throw everything together than green beans chopped finely. Yes, again with my sabatier. 😀
Out came the le creuset frying pan with lid. In went a glug of huile de colza, rapeseed oil and the chopped up red onions and minced garlic. Under a low heat, (remember temperature is everything, here) I sautéed the onions and garlic until the onions are almost caramelised and importantly, not burnt. I thought that if I were to bring out the sugar in the onions, my beef would be sugar coated and would therefore taste dishy. Remember, I am still on the creative path here and it’s whatever goes, since I forgot that darn meat thermometer.
Well, it is important to note that the chopped green beans went into the frying pan when the minced beef was still pink in parts. This is to ensure that when the beef mince is done, the greens beans are still al denté. I wanted to keep the greens crunchy. There is nothing worse than overcooked vegetables, in my books.
I added more shoashing wine, juice of half a lemon, a good dash of fish sauce and a sprinkling of brown sugar. That should bring out the subtle flavours of sweet and sour. I then added the chives which I had cut into 0.5 cm strips and gave the pan a good hearty stir. When the mince was cooked through, I added the slices of red onion that I had kept aside with a pinch of freshly minced garlic and lowered the fire to allow the red onions and garlic to cook a little in the releasing steam . To that I also added the thinly sliced basil.
This dish was received by both RN and SS with whoops of delight. I served it over a bed of fluffy rice, made from both white and red grains. Needless to say, the girls gobbled up their dinner with relish and even asked for bis. I was a proud mamma tonight! SS requested the same for lunch tomorrow. Double proud!
Since I had recently learnt about wine pairing in Asian cuisine, I cracked open a bottle of red. Light and fresh, this red is perfect for summer and the dish that I’d just invented. Santé!
Kawan kawan, I didn’t get that darn thermometer but I was saved by the packets of mince and this red.