As I mentioned yesterday, I am a fantastic baker once I’ve adjusted a ‘recipe’ for Canadian ingredients and the latest oven. I was taught to bake by Ruth, who was my grandmother. As she was my mother’s step-mother I only ever knew her as Ruth.
I wonder sometimes why nobody ever suggested that I call her something different. However, as my grandparents were a complex situation with my father’s side of the family rarely maintaining contact, aside from my Aunt Wendy, and my mother’s side involving some pretty complex relationships. It was only years after his death did I understand that my ‘Ganda’ was my mother’s father. He was only ever referred to as Ganda and as I also had Paddy & Frankie who I knew were unrelated I just didn’t connect it. My stepfather’s parents ignored me as did my step-brothers’ deceased mother’s parents. Anyway, I digress.
Ruth certainly fulfilled the role in my life as my grandmother and I spent a lot of time with her when I was young. However, the reason that I struggle with the different ingredients in Canada is that she taught me to bake by eye. We rarely measured anything. Which still works fine when cooking the main meal but doesn’t work quite so well when baking.
As a result I have happily cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner, including vegetarian options, for 30+ people in my own home. In my first marriage I was frequently cooking for 4-6 men as my husband’s friends often stayed with us and we took holidays together on canal boats.
So complex dinners, soufflés, baked Alaska etc have never fazed me.
However, for some reason plain boiled rice, creamy fudge, and fried eggs used to completely elude me.
It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t cook rice. I couldn’t even cook riceroni, which my second husband introduced me to, and I loved. I can’t eat them now though due to the high salt content.
However, a few years ago I was introduced to the concept of a ‘rice cooker’! So I now have an older version of this Cuisnart rice cooker.
It’s extremely simple to use. You simply add the number of cups, using the cup provided (that’s important) fill it with cold water until you meet the numbered line that matches the number of cups of rice you put in, and turn it on. If you forget about it, it automatically switches itself to warm, rather than cook. I’ve even been able to cook risotto in it, as well as a variety of different kinds of rice. I plan to try quinoa at some point too.
Quinoa is a great substitute for wheat as it is gluten-free. Though there is an older study that suggested that true celiacs’ may still have trouble with it, more recent research has demonstrated that it doesn’t stimulate the celiac response. Quinoa is great for those of us on restricted diets as it provides us with both protein and fibre at the same time.
Anyway, with the help of my fantastic rice maker I can now make rice! Perfectly, every time.
The second item that I always struggled with was frying an egg! Again, it didn’t matter what I did it; either turned out undercooked which made me feel ill, too burnt for my tastes or became scrambled!
So while I’ve been sick I decided that I was going to set this as a goal for myself. Something that takes little time or energy, but would be really useful to be able to do well as I really like fried eggs, over-easy. Like quinoa, eggs are very healthy for us. They are a good source of protein, vitamin B2, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc, iron and copper.
So I googled how to fry an egg, specifically looking at over-easy eggs as I’m not a fan of even a little bit of the egg white not being fully cooked. Consequently, over the past few weeks I have tried a number of different recipes and cooking instruments.
I’m therefore delighted to announce that I’ve finally cracked it (pun intended).
Now this may not work for you, but it has now worked for me two days running!
- Use a non-stick frying pan or similar (I use a wok!) add a little butter to the pan over the highest heat setting until the butter is fully melted, which doesn’t take long.
- Then crack an egg into a cup and pour it slowly into the pan. Do the same with a second egg if wanted.
- Immediately turn the heat down to the lowest setting.
- Move the pan around over the heat so that the butter runs underneath the egg as it cooks.
- Once the bottom is solidifying, using a slotted fish spatula/turned carefully flip each egg over.
- Watch closely, and as soon as the runny egg white starts to solidify remove the wok from the heat and let it rest for 30 seconds.
- Serve & eat! (Don’t forget to turn the burner off).
I have no idea why this works for me, but it does! So the only thing left on my list of things that I just could never cook, is proper English fudge. However, that not only takes a long time to make but as I now have to avoid dairy in my diet I’m not that sure how well my ‘recipes’ would work using dairy alternatives.
Time to google recipes!
Once I find one that could work, I then just need to get well enough to try it. Or at least have a day with enough spoons!
At which point it will be time to remember that while perseverance can, and does pay off that there are times when just accepting that I did the best that I can, and that’s OK, is the healthy thing to do!