Saturday, March 13, 2010

In the mix

...and that makes it the longest blog absence in four years. For those who haven't been being worried by my facebook jargon-based ditties (it seems that a reasonable number of people think I've truly lost it), I've been attempting to condense my thoughts over the last couple of weeks into just a few lines of semi-nonesense poetry which end up as facebook updates.  Work has been busier than ever with a project which so far has taken many many late nights and several thousand lines of mathematica code to get going. We're getting some interesting results and hope to have something out in the next few weeks. This will be a slight change of direction for me, and one that I'm enjoying a lot. It's a real pleasure to be doing something analytic, rather than struggling with numerical instabilities for once!

On top of work I've been getting back into the swing of cooking for reasonable numbers of people, with a a hotpot meal on Tuesday and a Korean/Chinese combo on Thursday for a group of Shock-household initiates. I tried a new dish on Thursday which worked pretty well, though sadly no photos were taken.

I made a huge batch of kimchi a couple of weeks back, though that is now fast disappearing, and, as usual some of the paste was left over, after having liberally coated the cabbage. The paste doesn't take too long to make, consisting of rice flour, korean chilli flakes, fish sauce, garlic, onion, ginger and a little sugar and I've found that the combination of heat and umami compounds (of which fish sauce is high) add hugely to just about any dish you may want to add it to.

Combining the previously made kimchi paste with gochujiang (a fermented, sweet, extremely firey Korean chili paste with quite a different heat to the kimchi mix), salt, a touch of brown sugar and cumin I marinated a rack of spare ribs for an afternoon before cooking them at 150C for 3 hours and finally giving them a ten minute browning at the end. The results were pretty decent and I'll definitely be experimenting with this some more. The mix of cumin and spiciness is reminiscent of the Beijing take on Xinjiang cooking and the huge quantities of garlic are well worth the pain of peeling the cloves en masse for the kimchi paste. On top of this my mapo dofu is being to resemble the versions I tried in Sichuan, thanks mostly to the aquisition of a tub of fermented soy bean paste. Walking round for a couple of hours on Thursday afternoon I discovered that it's almost impossible to get tofu in Santiago and so will continue to make my own when I get hold of some more of the solidifying agent.

Anyway, for now I have a week's worth of Chinese vocab to catch up with and some Young Tableux to ponder....

No comments: