Latest cooking experiments


Not recipes per se, but my latest escapades…

Tomato sauce: was cooking ravioli, and quickly throwing together a tomato sauce from 210g of tomato paste. Which, of course, tastes horrible. I followed H’s advice and put in a tablespoon of sugar, but it still didn’t work. Mmm, time to get creative… I had a jar of dried tomato paste in the fridge, so I threw a heaped teaspoon of that in the mix; taste the thing, still wasn’t satisfied. It lacked… umami, for want of a better word? I swear I reached for the bottle of nước mắm, but the thought of having a fishy-tasting tomato sauce stopped me at the last minute. Fortunately, I had fermented soy paste in the fridge–you can see where this is going, right? Threw in a little more sugar in addition to the teaspoon of soy paste, and pronounced myself satisfied. I then very carefully asked the H what he thought of the tomato sauce before admitting what I’d put into it… (he liked it, but his enthusiasm wavered a bit when I explained the composition process).

Bò bún: it helps if you think of bò bún (and other bún dishes) as a giant salad–yes, there’s meat in it, and warm rice vermicelli, but it’s not really a hot dish (and please please don’t microwave it, as I’ve seen a number of takeaway places do. It tastes horrible, and the soy’s gone all limp). So, accordingly, I made my bò bún with honey-dipped beef & shallot for the meat, and salad, soy and the remnants of a cucumber for the veggies. Mmmm… (also, it’s not real bò bún in my book unless the rice vermicelli are swimming in a ton of nước mắm–think of it as vinaigrette, except that it’s not a dribble you put on the salad, but several tablespoons…)


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