HAPPY ENDINGS IN THE KITCHEN: Episode 19 – Ricotta and Blueberry Muffins

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The Elephant in the Room

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion?  Tired of swiping right to disappointment?  Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was Mr Wheezy.

Yes, Mr Wheezy.  I was fresh out of university and in my first year of working as a nurse.  It had been a shock to the system.  10:30 pm clock-offs and 7 am starts.  Collecting mucus specimens, and inspecting prolapsed orifices.  I survived on coffee, bed-time port and an essential warped sense of humour.  And my newly acquired sisters.  All of us living the crazy life together.  So every now and then we needed to cut loose, and if anyone knows how to have a good time it’s an apron of nurses.  No, a better collective is required.  A hoot of nurses. 

On one particular summer’s night we gathered at a local Latin themed bar to drink our cares away.  We were a howling clutch of hens, under-slept and overstimulated, impregnated with alcohol, gossip, and mutual affection.  And as we relaxed into our second or fifth beverage a rather handsome couple of young men innocently wandered past. And so we heckled them into flirtatious conversation.  One rooster in particular caught my eye.  It was Mr Wheezy.  He was slight yet appealingly athletic, a trained gymnast with startlingly blue eyes, and a smile that would begin shyly at the corners of his mouth and spread slowly across a beautifully chiselled countenance.  Note: Even though he was well and truly legal he was a generation gap younger than my 31 year old self, so I attempted to quieten my hormones.  But as I gawked shamelessly our eyes met and a virtual message was exchanged.  We were swiping right in the flesh.  My temperature was rising.  Mr Wheezy and his friend retreated slowly, perhaps overcome by such a resplendent rabble of nightingales.  As I watched my new crush slip away into the peopled street I gushed uncontrollably.  I desperately wanted to kiss those slowly spreading lips.  And so my gang of sisters urged me to catch him up and lock lips.  Injected with a large dose of lust, emboldened by sangria and with very own cheering squad roaring, I tipsily pursued.  And upon reaching him I breathily expressed my desires.  Mr Wheezy consented.  There in the unflattering fluorescent street light with an audience of rowdy unknown restaurant goers, he kissed me.  And he kissed well.  His hand cupped my face and pulled me in closer.  I was gone.  Lost in the moment.  High on the ecstasy of the risk worth taking.  We exchanged phone numbers and I danced the air back to my now shrieking brood of nursies.

And so, it was seduction via sangria.  Within a few minutes the first text message was received.  And as my bevy and I danced into the night the message relay gained momentum and temperatures continued to rise.  I had to kiss those lips again.  It was as though the sangria had possessed me.  I had become ravenous for his gymnastical  body.  A crazed, horny, slightly stupido senorita.  Si.  So when I received a message  saying that he was exhausted and heading home, and that I was welcome to join him, I couldn’t contain my drunken libido.  Farewelling my knot of nurses I tumbled into the back of a taxi and headed to the address that Mr Wheezy had so kindly forwarded.  I was overflowing with happy excited excretions, my blood vessels dilating, my body lighting up like a pin ball machine.  I had visions of him lying naked across his bed while I sponged him into a state of delirious intoxication. 

When I arrived at his address I was surprised to discover a very dark and rather uninviting house.  I clumsily removed my hot and sticky self from the taxi and nervously sent a message to my host.  A screen door creaked and I saw the outline of my beckoning orgasm maker.  The symphony in my body returned with even more passion and I plunged into the darkness after him.  As I followed him he motioned for me to stay quiet.  “My parents are sleeping” he whispered.   My hormones screamed silently.  I ignored them.  He led me to his room where one candle glistened provocatively.  We fell onto his bed and started rocking and rolling and dipping and crashing….it was a water bed.  This time my stomach protested.  I ignored once more.  As the waves swelled our bodies paralleled the transformation, opening up to each other, ready to discover the ocean within.  But as I whispered in my not altogether stupid Sangria bitten state “Do you have a condom?” and he replied with the negative his ship was refused entry to port.  The thrashing waves lulled almost immediately into a disappointing ripple.  Mr Wheezy hadn’t thought ahead and neither had I.  This certainly did seem unfortunate.  A few frustrated caresses were exchanged as the weight of our alcohol induced exhaustion settled over our unsatiated bodies.  He blew out the lonely candle, whispered goodnight, kissed my lips once more and a hush entered the room.  There was a quiet pause.  But as my eyelids drooped I was suddenly interrupted by the most resonant and industrial snore I had every heard.  As it continued I gently nudged Mr Wheezy.  This only prompted the snore to become an incredibly high pitched wheeze, only to then transform into a whistle, then a rasp, a grunt, a snuffle, followed by a periodic stretch of teasing silence.  And then repeat.  What a disaster.  My fantasy had become an apnoeic nightmare.  I felt my nursing conscience tempted to wake and educate Mr Wheezy on his need for a sleep review but self preservation at this point was paramount.  I hatched a plan to escape the bellowing blackness.  A taxi would be my saviour.  But as I reached for my phone I discovered that it had like me also run dry.   

I lay there bobbing and pitching, an insomnolent island, as the remaining hours passed.  At the first kiss of the sun’s rays I roused Mr. Wheezy from his thunderous slumber.  As he dialed for a taxi I heard the creak of trodden floorboards.  Apparently the nightmare wasn’t yet over.  Bleary eyed and probably smelling like a moulding vineyard I accompanied my failed fantasy to the front door, only to be intercepted by his mother.  If ever there was a moment to define awkward.  I could feel her gaze burning through me, assessing my hungover, cradle-snatching self.  After a quick introduction I followed my toes to the front door and freedom.  As I gulped down the cool morning oxygen I vowed never to touch sangria again.

I sometimes think of Mr Wheezy and wonder if he still spends the night on a construction site in the middle of a raging ocean.  I hope for his sake that he is safely strapped to a CPAP machine atop a latex mattress.  Reliving this hot summer flunk has left me feeling dehydrated and low in blood sugar.  So enough tossing, heaving, hurling, deoxidising, rumbling, and wheezing!  Time to make a hangover fix.  And after that a nap on my very comfortable bed in my own peaceful house.

Blueberry and Ricotta Muffins
 

Ingredients:
Blueberry Muffins
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose or wholemeal flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup ricotta, preferaby freshly made, at room temperature
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 125 g unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose or wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3-4 tbsp soft unsalted butter
Instructions:

Bring the eggs and ricotta to room temperature.  Melt the butter and set aside.  Combine all the topping ingredients.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Grease a muffin pan with butter.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, and then the butter.  Add the dry ingredients and the blueberries to the wet ingredients and fold them through gently without over working.

Divide the batter into the muffin wells and then top each with the crumble topping.

Bake for 5 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius and then lower the heat to 180C for another 10 to 13 minutes. The muffins should  be golden on top and a knife that goes in and comes out cleanly.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on a rack.

 Oh my happy days.  The crumble and blueberries are playing a symphony on my tastebuds.  These disappeared before I could even think about taking a photo of one escaping into my cakehole.  No disappointments here.  Just orgasmic flavour.  Yes, yes, yes!

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HAPPY ENDINGS IN THE KITCHEN EPISODE 18 : DARK CHOCOLATE & RASPBERRY BROWNIES

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Some day my Prince will cum

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing? 

Well then there was PorntobeAlive.

Yes, PorntobeAlive.  It was back in the day.  Back in the day when mobile phones were the size of a small dog and the internet was not yet a thing.  Back when happy pants and MC Hammer were a hot combination.  When I believed in the archetypal love of Juliet and Romeo, and Cinderella and her Prince Charming.  I believed with no shred of doubt in the existence of unicorns.  I was fresh out of a strict Christian upbringing, where “friggin’” was regarded a swear word and Harry Potter was the spawn of Satan.  A virgin to almost everything.  While all the cool kids were watching Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I was watching Anne of Green Gables, attending progressive dinners, and learning bible verses.

But all of that changed when my first year of university and first taste of alcohol coincided. For a fledgling singing student who sang Kumbayah for her entry audition, I very quickly became acquainted with a world I had never known.   A combination of new friends, ideas, expressions, beliefs, tastes, sounds, and feelings had me in a heady spin.  I was in love with life.  Completely born again.  Baptised by the arts.

By my second year of university my eyes were well and truly open, my skin shed, awakened from my slumber.  And there in the second row of my first class awaited my Prince Charming, PorntobeAlive.  He was dashingly handsome, confident and self-assured, and wickedly humorous.  A 6 foot 6 footballer turned operatic baritone with an affinity for puffing the magic dragon and knocking back bottles of whisky, he was the life of the party I had never been to.  And within weeks the party had truly started and it was wild.  And I had never experienced wild.  Long nights out with even longer mornings in.  We just lived and breathed each other.  Our long limbs entangled in a new and intoxicating language.  It was the closest I’d ever come to tasting rainbows.  Perfect harmony.

And so, it was true love. 

And it was the first true love.  The first in every sense.  I’d never “been” with a man or exposed my privates to anyone.  So for all I knew Porntobealive was a god in the bedroom with the sex drive of a flipping dolphin.  The truth was that we would roll around for approximately 20 minutes in a charged and increasingly excited state, after which he would spend about 2 to 3 minutes poking around with his love tool, and then, and then, and then…..…well that was it.  And I didn’t know any better.  At that stage I was indifferent to the existence of the clitoris.  All I knew was that he made me feel warm and fuzzy in my lady bits and I ignorantly thought that was enough.  Ha!

So within months we were living together.  Life became a little more subdued as we worked, studied, and discovered the more mundane things.  Friday night football on the box tv as he gesticulated wildly and I stared blankly at the tiny shorts running after the funny shaped ball.  Videos hired from the corner shop and ordered in barbecue chicken pizza.  It was our little heaven in a two and a half room cream brick.

On one particularly lazy evening PorntobeAlive was watching an episode of ‘The Footy Show’ whilst I picked at my toenails and extracted fluff from my belly button.  One of the featured stories was an interview with a female porn star promoting her latest Penthouse centrefold.  My inner church girl recoiled at the sight of her wasp stung lips and flotation device breasts.  I knew nothing of this culture.  PorntobeAlive also showed obvious disdain, declaring her “a turn off”, amongst other less eloquent things.  So imagine my surprise when I came upon a freshly purchased Penthouse hidden not so inconspicuously amongst a pile of sheet music.  And there was “turn off” lounging also not so inconspicuously across the centrefold in all her plastic glory.  Well I never.  Seriously, never.  All of that skin.  All of that bursting breast.  All of that hairlessness.  All of those neat and tidily nipped lady bits.  Sex and flesh slapping me rudely and unashamedly across the face.  I was shocked, repulsed, yet strangely curious.  This was another new world that I had stepped into.   Was this the kind of woman PorntobeAlive favoured?   Were vaginas supposed to look like that?  Should I book in a XXX wax asap?  Could I tuck my flaps in to make my vagina look like that?   So many questions.  So many insecurities.

When questioned regarding said Penthouse PorntobeAlive simply stated that he had bought the magazine out of curiosity.  In fact he hadn’t even looked through it and was surprised as to how it even ended up fraternising with his collection of Schubert art songs.  (Said Penthouse was in far superior company.)  According to him I was foolish and untrusting to suggest that he would be interested in such a thing.  Somehow I was at fault.  I mean I should have just been happy with my 2 to 3 minutes of penetration and zero climax, right??

Holding tightly onto my slippery Cinderella story I attempted a return to normality but a number of events that followed saw my palace come crashing down.  Firstly, on return from a weekend choir practice I discovered a wad of semen soaked tissues lying like a little gift atop my dresser.  How delightfully thoughtful.  Clearly PorntobeAlive had been thinking of me.  Hmmm.  That same day during a cleaning frenzy brought on by his little gift I noticed a number of dirty fingerprints on the wall leading to more dirty marks at the manhole.  Peekaboo.  My heart racing, my insecurities compounding, I made a dangerous ladder out of unsteady furniture and poked my head through with pocket torch in hand.  There!  In the dusty corner lay a guilty pile of magazines.  I precariously made my way up and grabbed the dirty hoard.  And after making it down with my neck intact and my dignity shattered, I perused the not so freshly purchased pages and reeled at the images of nude ladies in countless compromising positions.  So many exposed orifices, so little decency.  And as I tore through his mecca of quick fix pleasure, pink bits flying, I felt like I was choking on the growing silt cloud of our falling kingdom.

Well PorntobeAlive had some explaining to do.  And long story short, he admitted to his weakness for porn, begging for my forgiveness and promising to never use again.  In a state of bewildered and pathetic insecurity I stayed.  But true love had changed.  There were intruders in the bedroom.  Dozens of big bosomed women were amongst the bedsheets performing lewd acts whilst PorntobeAlive pointed his 2 minute tackle at them and sprayed forth like a hose to a fire.  At least that is what was happening in my mind.  Intimacy was dead.  The taste of rainbows gone.  And when I returned home one evening to discover the ceiling surrounding the manhole had caved in I realised I was in a battle that wasn’t worth fighting and was never to be won.  I abandoned the scene of the crime for a corner store chocolate fix.  As I was paying at the counter the owner mentioned that PorntobeAlive had a long overdue video that needed to be returned asap.  Upon asking him the title he looked up from the loans notebook with a smirk and uttered the unforgettable words “Debbie does Dallas: The Next Generation”.  As I consequently inhaled the chocolate I realised my prince had turned back into a frog, and felt a strange longing for a world of Anne of Green Gables and  Kumbayah.

Now these days I am a little more wise of the world and realise that porn is a very present theme in many people’s lives and I have no judgement of that.  I also have a much better understanding of a man’s penchant to fiddle with his fiddle.  But wouldn’t it save a lot of time and emotional wastage if people were upfront with their desires and sexual habits?  If PorntobeAlive had come clean about his need for 30 second intimate moments with naked paper ladies it would have for me.  But enough of this pencil pulling, seed spilling, smut hoarding, early ejaculating, clitoris failing, unicorn slaying, fantasy obliterating fool.  Time to put him and all of his demons to sleep for an eternity.  He shall be ‘Sleeping Ugly’.  In the meantime I will set to constructing a palace to dizzy my tastebuds and create a real and satisfying foodgasm.

 

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies


Ingredients:

300g Green and Black’s 70%  dark chocolate broken into pieces

250g salted butter

400g light brown sugar

4 large eggs

50 g cocoa flour

140 g plain flour

200g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20 x 30cm baking tray tin or line with baking parchment. Place the chocolate, sugar and butter in a saucepan over low heat, and stir through once melted. Remove from the heat.

Beat the eggs and slowly stir into the melted chocolate mixture once it’s cooled. Fold through the sieved flour and cocoa. Stir in half the raspberries, empty mixture into the baking tray, and then scatter the remaining raspberries across the top. Bake for 30 mins on the middle shelf until the edges are looking crunchy and the middle is still moist.  Cook a little longer if you prefer a brownie that is firmer than moist.  Allow to cool before cutting into slices.

OH GOD, OH YES, GIVE ME MORE.  These are so good that I’m tasting rainbows whilst  flying through the sky on the back of my very own unicorn.

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Happy endings in the kitchen episode 17:Brazo de Reina

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Preach not to me

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing? 

Well then there was LookingforRecruits.

Yes, LookingforRecruits.  We met online.  A tranquil Sunday afternoon with nothing better to do than shop for a boyfriend.  His picture caught my eye first.  Cheeky smile, three day growth, dimpled, playful dark eyes.  And the conversation flowed like cheap easily drinkable champagne.  Within an hour a first date of pub beers and live metal was arranged, with the odd request that I wear flat shoes.  Height envy alert.  But the date was locked in and I arrived comfortably wearing a vintage sequinned mini and tee with my newly acquired pair of Mexican flat-heeled ankle boots.  He was funny, sweet, a little wicked, Colombian in background with a fierce determination to teach the greater community to spell Columbia (ie Colombia) correctly, a tanned and dishy Latino with a ridiculously sexy accent, he was a musician who had traveled through Melbourne and couldn’t bring himself to leave, and now worked in construction fitting music in around the edges, and his slightly shorter stature was negligible considering the electric energy he exuded and the buzz that vibrated between us.   Two or three jugs of beer, many hysterical laughs and increasing flirtatious banter later we moved on to the next pub for a two person thrash band and a couple more cold ones.  Ecstatic, full of yeast, slightly deaf, and lustfully clinging to each other we finished the night in my bed making thrash music of our own.

And so, it was beer and music fuelled infatuation.  The following morning, groggy and dry-eyed, we recovered with a fatty breakfast and strong coffee.  Good conversation, affectionate touch, and sugar replacement.  Bliss.  Within a couple of days he was again at my abode and this time for dinner.  We listened to music for hours while he strummed his guitar, we danced to bachata, and fell asleep entwined in the summer heat.  Our third date was a lazy Saturday afternoon of couch lying, sorting through favourite musical tracks, and discussing all sorts.  During the afternoon LookingforRecruits broached the topic of conspiracy theory and it soon became clear that it was more than a casual interest to him.  In his world such phenomena as the Illuminati, fluoride mind control, chemtrails, and the possibility of hanging with Elvis and Princess Di were more real than reality itself.  Being a little naive on the subject I agreed to watch a documentary recommended by LookingforRecruits.  It was fascinating if not a little far-fetched and led to many more discussions on a number of occasions, interspersed with copious amount of music, food, laughter and mutual like.  But as the weeks passed by there seemed to be less flirtation, less affection, and nearly zero mattress dancing.  A little confounded I decided to bring up the ‘what is this?’ subject the next time we met.  And when I did I became even more confused.  LookingforRecruits suggested that we move in together.  And when I asked under what circumstances we would co-exist he replied “good friends that have fun”, expressing a really vague position on commitment.  Even though it was foolish, part of me entertained the idea.  Clearly I was crazy about this guy as my brain had ceased to function.

A little perplexed on what to do next I accepted an invite to join LookingforRecruits and his friends on a Saturday night out.  It was a blast.  And I felt like his girlfriend.  He held my hand, we danced together, he stroked my leg as I sat beside him, regularly checked in to see that I was ok and happy to stay, and ended the night entangled once again.  But then on the next few occasions there were again mixed messages.  A cuddle here, a handhold there, but no more kissing or clotheless sleepovers.  A consistent theme did remain however.  Conspiracy theorising in conversation abounded, and LookingforRecruits seemed on a mission for me to become more of a believer.  I knew the time was approaching to put an need to this non-relationship as it was ripping my heart out and Romeo was leaving me so unsatisfied.

On our final meeting we met at the beach together with a couple friends of his.  It was unbearable.  His friends were all over each other in love and there we were with a proverbial pillow wedged between our half naked bodies.  I felt ridiculous.  Time. to. quit.  But when I poured out my heart to him, revealing my inability to friend zone him he didn’t seem upset.  Just disappointed.  And not a ‘disappointed to see you go’ kind of disappointed.  It was more of a ‘I’m disappointed in you’ kind of disappointed.  And then it dawned on me through my infatuation drugged haze.   I had failed him as a student.  He believed himself the messiah and he had lost his disciple.

But enough of this conspiracy preaching, intimacy abusing, accent flirting shortass. Time for a real Columbian, I mean Colombian treat.  I’m going to whip and beat and smear and bake and create.  Ah, the religion of food.  The divine.

A taste of Colombia

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Brazo de Reina

Ingredients:
4 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour
400 mls cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
10-15 strawberries, sliced
1 tsp honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a buttered lipped baking tray with baking paper and grease the paper.
Separate the eggs into two small bowls. Beat the yolks until pale and then slowly add the sugar whilst beating. Then beat the whites until stiff. Slowly add the flour to the yolk mixture and combine. Now fold through the whites. Spread evenly across the buttered pan. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Leave to cool.
Whip up the cream and icing sugar until thick. Slice the strawberries into a bowl and drizzle the honey over the top of them.
Spread the cream over the top of the cooled sponge and scatter with the strawberries. Slowly roll the sponge from one end to the other. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

I served this cake with fresh fruit tea. To make the tea boil 3 cups of water in a saucepan and add a cup of fresh strawberries, half a cup of blackberries and 15 fresh mint leaves. Let the concoction simmer for a few minutes and then take off the heat. Add honey to taste.

Deli!  I’d consider worshiping a strawberry if it preached to me.

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My housemate, who has an insatiable appetite, gourmandised my Colombian treat before I had the opportunity to take my food porn selfie.  Oh well, another strawberry will do me just fine.

happy endings in the kitchen episode 16: Sichuan Pepper Chicken with Noodles

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You Like?

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was AfternoonHandDelights.

Yes, AfternoonHandDelights.  We met at a dress up party with a bad taste theme.  I was wearing a virgin stained wedding dress.  He was wearing red fishnets and a dead animal jacket.  Good conversation starters.  It was a boozy fun-filled night with plenty of raucous inappropriate behaviour and neighbourhood complaints, and within a few days following I found myself in a relationship.  He was a construction worker, looked damn good in a dusty paint-spattered singlet, loved hiking, rock climbing and being outdoors, had a thoughtful mind and enjoyed a good debate, idolised the poetry and music of Tom Waites, had traveled extensively through and loved North-East Asia, and cooked the best stir fry I have tasted to date, and could always be found at a his favourite city pub at 5 pm on any week day with a cold pint in hand surrounded by fellow dusty paint-spattered friends.  A stereotypical Australian guy with a soft edge.  Note: After a few weeks of dating I became increasingly aware that during intimate moments AfternoonHandDelights didn’t seem to enjoy spending time in my nether regions, ie. discovering my pearl, having a boxed lunch, kneeling at the altar, dining at the Y….let’s just say he told no climactic tales with his tongue.  Ah, you win some, you lose some.  But apart from that he was an Adonis in the bedroom and I felt very lucky all wrapped up in his bronzed, sun-loved limbs.

And so, it was love with one less benefit.  Breakfast in bed, weekends away camping, games of beery pub darts, and summer afternoons of lying in front of the fan listening to Tom Waites drawl whilst deep in each other’s minds.  We even had family visits  only 5 months in.  It was all very serious, picture perfect, and just fantastic.

One evening not too long after meeting the parents I was invited for dinner at AfternoonHandDelights’ abode following a long day of online study.  I had a few documents that needed printing and as I had no printer of my own my bronzed tradie kindly offered that I use his.  When I arrived the heavenly smell of some delectable Chinese broth was pervading the air and with my tastebuds tingling I sat down at his computer to finish my work.  He set everything up for me and left me to print away while he attended his delicious concoction.  Now, having never used a MAC before that moment I went to click on the icon that I imagined would enlarge the screen.  Incorrect choice.  It was instead the icon which unfurled a long sordid list of recent downloads of the pornographic kind, and their rather descriptive and transfixing titles.  “Bare-backing”…”ladies with balls”…”my well hung girlfriend”.  Waaaaaaaaah!!  And as I goggled, unable to look away from the detailed captions I noticed an alarming theme.  Each involved transexuals of the Asian male kind who had not yet committed to sex reassignment surgery.  Coincidence?  Perhaps he had just a momentary afternoon curiosity?  I lost all feeling.  This wasn’t how I imagined the evening beginning but it also potentially explained his lack of attachment to my lady parts, his love of South-East Asian cuisine, and those red fishnets.  And each to his own taste but unfortunately being intimately involved with this man made me wonder if perhaps he might prefer if I came with a dingdong.  Hurt, confused and somehow strangely relieved I discussed my findings with AfternoonHandDelights.  Even though in a state of awkward denial, it became clear that the Asian transsexual fantasy was his thing.  And thus apparently to me, I wasn’t.  A sayonara was in this case the only option, my only grievance being that I also had to say goodbye to dinner.

After some reflection I considered myself lucky to have discovered that I wasn’t the fantasy that AfternoonHandDelights ordered.  Imagine if I was to have gone along for years without ever knowing.  And I understand the fear that he must have had at revealing his innermost desires but also found it sad that he couldn’t express them and perhaps live them out a little more openly, and honestly.  And even though I wasn’t comfortable with his preferences I reckon there would most definitely be someone in the world who would be just A-OK with it.  But enough about this wang tugging, broth spoiling, vulva fearing man in tights.  Time to create a broth and fill my kitchen with a heavenly smell all of my own.  A taste fantasy that I am willing to share.

A taste of North-East Asia

Sichuan Pepper Chicken with Noodles

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Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts
2 cm slice of ginger
2/3 cup light soy sauce
1.5 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
2 star anise
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp sesame paste
3 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1.5 tsp caster sugar
Egg noodles to serve
3 Lebanese cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Coriander leaves to garnish

Place 1/2 cup of the soy sauce, ginger, 1 tsp peppercorns, star anise, chopped spring onions, and chicken in a pan.  Add water to just cover, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave to poach in the broth for half an hour.  Then take the chicken out and reserve a cup of the broth.
Slice the cucumbers and salt.  Set aside to drain a little for 10 minutes or so.  Rinse and pat dry.  Add the rice vinegar.  Combine the black vinegar, sesame paste, caster sugar, remaining 1/2 tsp peppercorns crushed, and reserved broth.  Toss through with the noodles and place sliced chicken over the top.  Garnish with cucumber, coriander leaves and sesame seeds.

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Once again I ate everything in sight and only had some dry noodles left over.  Well satiated.

happy endings in the kitchen episode 15: Pizza!

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Pleasure me not

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was Badpickupline.

Yes, Badpickupline.  Now I’ve heard some pick up lines in my time but this one really takes the prize.  It was a regular kind of Friday night and a group of friends and I had ended up at our favourite local Italian eatery, ravenous post university.  Our boisterous, hungry behaviour seemed to catch the attention of one of the baristas.  A particularly cute barista.  And when I approached to order a second round of drinks he made sure he was there to take my order and flirt with an abundance of charm and sweetness.  He indicated that he had seen me many times previously and had hoped to get to know me better.  Dinner arrived but our eyes often met across the room whilst I was stuffing my face with pizza and laughing operatically over second glasses of wine, and by the time dessert arrived I had been invited on an after dinner digestiv.  Now while it was bordering on inappropriate first date conditions I decided that 9:30 pm was just acceptable and what harm could one more alcoholic beverage really do?

And so, it was a cosy glass of getting to know you wine.  He was of Italian background, born in Australia, came from a large family, loved his soccer and his mamma, worked as a tradesman when he wasn’t playing the charming barista, enjoyed festivals and any music that made him want to dance, and embraced any opportunity for travel and adventure.  Note: He also said ‘fully sick’ and ‘ohmagod’ at regular intervals.  We shared a particular love of Italy and spoke at length about our travels there.  Some of Badpickupline’s family still resided in Naples and he coyly hinted at taking me there for a holiday.  His eyes sparkled like the waters of Porto Vecchio as he talked of his nonna, endless days of sun and sea, giant plates of home cooked pasta, and family together under one happy roof.  The memories played out lovingly over his fine face and I was swept away to the Italian coast.  It was all very lovely, relaxing, and a little bit romantic.

So when it came to midnight and the clock struck twelve I regretfully murmured that it was probably my time to go.  Looking a little forlorn he offered to drive me home to save on the taxi fare but I declined, thanking him for the offer.  He then attempted to coerce me into another drink with all the charm and persuasive tone he could muster.  Even though I was wildly tempted, I resisted.  And as I reached forward to pick up my purse he took my face and kissed me, softly at first but then with such an intense passion it put my head into a disorienting whirl of joy.  I was still spinning when I realised he had spoken just after our kiss and I giddily asked him to repeat himself.  I noticed something new was lurking behind his eyes, as though he was an animal approaching it’s prey, and as he repeated himself it looked as though he was about to pounce.  “If you give me a head job, I could pleasure you” he said……..I beg your pardon??  I was speechless, mystified, clueless.  I silently wept as I saw the tide wash over the promise of my romantic Naples holiday.

I was confused.  In what world had that line ever worked for him?  And how could it immediately go from a passionate kiss to a sexual business proposal?  And why in that proposal was I having to do the job first?  Ladies pleasured first.  Please.  But I’m certainly not taking any favours from such a sweet-talking, prey hunting, slang dependent, romance dispelling mamma’s boy.  Time to pleasure myself…..in the kitchen…in a completely non-sexual way.

A taste of pizza

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Napoletana dough with topping of choice

Ingredients:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
230 mls water
olive oil for work surface

Directions:

Add all the dry ingredients and mix to distribute, with a spoon or electric mixer with paddle attachment.  Add water and stir through until all the flour is absorbed, for 1 to 2 minutes.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes and then mix for another minute.  Add a little more water or flour as needed.  It should feel soft and tacky to the touch.

Rub your work surface with a little olive oil.  Scrape out the dough mix on to the surface.  Imagine the dough as a square shape.  Take one corner and stretch it out and away from the centre of the square and then fold it back into the centre.  Repeat with each corner, so it becomes a ball.  Take the bowl and place it upside down over the dough and leave it for 5 minutes.  Repeat this process of stretch and folding and resting three times.  Each time the dough should become firmer and less sticky.  After the fourth stretch and fold return the dough to a bowl and cover until it doubles in size, for approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees centigrade.  Once ready take a third of the dough and turn out on to lightly floured surface.  Stretch the dough out carefully using the backs of your hands and turning in a circular motion, manipulating the edges of the dough outward with your thumbs.  Let it rest a minute or so once it starts to feel tough to stretch.  Continue until the dough is approximately 25 cm in diameter.

Take your pizza base and carefully lay it on a pizza stone or an overturned baking tray.  Cover it with the ingredients you so desire and place in the oven and cook until golden brown at the edges, for approximately 15 minutes.  Delizioso!

Topping suggestions: As a base for my first pizza I used a tomato sauce.  I whipped it up in a saucepan using a little olive oil, half a clove of garlic, a tin of tomatoes, 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar, a sprinkle of dried oregano and basil, and salt and pepper.  I smeared the sauce (not too generously) across the pizza base.  For the topping I used a combination of bacon, tomato, mozzarella, kalamata olives, onion, and roast capsicum.

For the second pizza I smeared cream cheese across the base (goats cheese would be yum too).  For the topping I mixed a little olive oil, a crushed garlic clove, and chopped mushrooms in a hot pan.  I then added some spinach until it wilted and seasoned to taste.
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Um, this is the kind of flavourful favour I enjoy!

happy endings in the kitchen episode 14: Beef Panaeng

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In control

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was MyOwnPersonalSlave.

Yes, MyOwnPersonalSlave.  I had been traveling though Europe and had found myself on a train from Milan to the soul of Germany, Berlin.  The sky was endless blue and the view from my lowest class window was spectacular and ever-changing.  At some point I became aware of the gentleman sitting opposite me who was partially committed to reading the book in his hand between taking frequent glances at the same accelerating landscape.  At one point our captured glances met and a timid but fascinating conversation ensued.  “Your strongly featured face is really quite captivating, I’d like to paint it” he said shyly.  It makes my gag reflex spring into action when I say it out loud now but at that moment I was flattered and intrigued to know more of my traveling partner.  He was of Thai background but had lived in Europe since the age of four, an artist resident in Berlin, he was a painter and photographer with a passion for mixed forms and the animalistic representation of the human body, in love with nature and untamed environments, he was articulate to a tee, with beautiful eyes that held a gaze so intensely, a smaller frame that suggested kindness and gentility, and expressive, creatively driven hands.  Note: I wasn’t entirely sure if his hair was real or if he was wearing a hairpiece and felt an uncomfortable urge to tug at his hairline for most of our conversation.

And so, it was curiosity.  We ordered bad train coffee and delved into each other’s minds, discussing our love of travel and culture, the smell of rain on freshly cut grass, our mutual excitement at lightning storms and cracking thunder, and our shared delight of custard tarts and anything that comes with pastry.  It was sweet and engaging and never once crept into flirtatious or suggestive territory.  And as we chattered on he once again referred to being captivated with my ‘strong’ face and requested to paint me if I would so do him the honour.  I was inwardly glowing at the offer and gave him my phone number so we could arrange a time to meet once in Berlin.

But from that moment on the conversation seemed to take a different direction.  It felt disconnected and tangential, as though he was pre-occupied with other thoughts.  He asked questions about Australian wildlife, expressing his fear of spiders, snakes and most of all crocodiles, whilst pointing his toes and waving his hands fearfully, suddenly turning Broadway.  His voice seemed to have risen in pitch and volume and he was gesticulating all over the place.  I wondered if it was the coffee or perhaps something else had made him nervous.  But after a slight pause he posed a rather brash and altogether unexpected question.  “I have to ask, are you a domina?”…”I’m sorry, a what?” I queried.  “A domina, BDSM?, dominatrix?”  When I responded with a quick negative he looked thoroughly downcast.  “Why?” I asked, slightly aghast.  “Because you look like one and you would be so good at it, and I would like to be your slave”.  I laughed and spluttered a little coffee spit, and felt my gag reflex spring into action.  Excusing myself immediately I rushed to the bathroom and hid there for the rest of the journey until it was safe to disembark.

My mind boggled.  At which point did the mood turn from custard tarts to chains and bondage?  Was my face betraying my emotions and was it constantly set in a steely, whip-yielding countenance?  I certainly had trouble looking in the mirror for a few days following the strange encounter.  But thankfully he never called and I escaped any further contact with someone who only envisioned me in latex, thigh highs and ready to deliver a world of pain and suffering.  My slave indeed.  Although, I still do find myself wishing that I had given that hairline a good tug, so perhaps there is a little domina in me after all.  Enough said.  The only thing I’m interested in dominating is a knife, some delicious ingredients, a couple of pans, and the hand that feeds me.

A taste of Thailand

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Beef Panaeng

Ingredients:
1 kg beef oyster blade, beef cheek or chuck steak
4 cups coconut milk
3 cups coconut cream
1 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 to 3 long green chillies, deseeded
3 kaffir lime leaves
Thai basil leaves to garnish
Paste:
4 tbsp peanuts
7 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked & drained
1 tsp finely chopped coriander root
1/5 tbsp chopped galangal
1 tbsp chopped lemongrass
2 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped red shallot
1/2 nutmeg, pounded and roasted
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Slice the beef and rinse in cold water. Pat dry. Bring 4 cups of coconut milk to the boil and add the beef and reduce to a simmer. Leave to simmer for two hours until tender.
In the meantime get the paste done. Boil the peanuts in a saucepan of water for about 30 minutes. Combine with all of the other ingredients in a food processor and blend to a paste.
Once the meat is cooked heat the coconut cream in a deep pan and add 4 tablespoons of the paste and stir through. Once fragrant add the sugar and fish sauce. Now add the braised beef. Add a little of the braising coconut milk to taste and season with salt, palm sugar and fish sauce to taste. Add the chilli and lime leaves and leave to heat through for another couple of minutes. Add vegetables that you might like to accompany the beef. I used red and yellow capsicum, and broccoli. Serve with a garnish of thai basil leaves, roasted peanuts and a bowl of jasmine rice.

Exotic flavours in my mouth.  Love you long time Beef Panaeng!

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This recipe is a take on David Thompson’s Beef Panaeng

 

 

 

happy endings in the kitchen episode 13: Cinnamon scrolls with bacon and maple syrup icing

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Secret Mission Fail

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was SecretAgent.

Yes, SecretAgent.  I had been traveling around the world and had recently arrived in Toronto, Canada to visit and stay with a close girlfriend, her husband, and two small children.  They were situated outside the city in a beautiful log cabin nestled by trees of every glorious colour, and surrounded by bulbs bursting forth with happy flowers.  We spent a relaxing few days or so catching up, talking life, drinking hot chocolate, and being entertained and exhausted by small children.  But on the last day of my stay we weren’t to stay in by the fire.  My girlfriend’s husband was an army officer and I had been invited to join them in Toronto for the annual army ball.  It was a big, posh event with fancy food, flowing champagne and visiting English royalty.  Dressed to the nines in borrowed black velvet that clung to every part of my terrain I was feeling excited for the night ahead.  And I had a pre-arranged date.  He was the best friend of my friend’s husband, personable and charming, attractively sharp and debonaire, looking like a newly initiated member of the rat pack in his his freshly pressed Italian suit, he worked as an undercover agent and had just returned from a mission in Afghanistan, his disguise beard shaven off only that day, and his liveliness and vigour for life was infectious to everyone around him.  Note: He was also married, and had left his wife and newborn baby at home for the evening.

And so, it was nothing.  The night started with all of us sharing a glass of champagne, engaged in great conversation and eating any of the hors’d’oeuvre that wandered past temptingly on a plate.  But as we sat down at our designated table and found ourselves next to each other SecretAgent unveiled his secret agent.  He was full of wild stories, devilish humour, and the energy he was giving out was anything but that of a taken man.  He paid keen attention to my wine glass, making sure to refill it if it started looking thirsty, always keeping his focus entirely on my person. And as we started on dessert his focus only intensified.  “Where did you come from?”, “you are breath-taking”, “where do you travel to next? Maybe I could meet you there?”.  Thinking that SecretAgent was being a little forward and perhaps forgetting the existence of wifey I had a quick word of concern with my friend.  She expressed surprise at SecretAgent’s bold manner but was convinced that his intentions were friendly, and promised to keep an eye out for any frisky naughtiness in the meantime.

By this stage I was feeling very tipsy and slightly euphoric, so I decided to relax and keep having fun.  But at some stage not too long after I went from feeling tipsy to drunkety drunk drunk.  Perhaps I hadn’t been paying attention to how often my glass had been refilled.  And from then on the details of my memory become a little sketchy.  Although I do recall SecretAgent running his hand down my back whilst whispering “I can’t wait to take this dress off you…”.  Frisky naughtiness indeed.  But from there my memory fails me completely.  It’s a black hole.

However, thankfully my friend had been keeping an eye out as promised as she happily informed me of the missing details the next day.  Apparently her husband had come to the rescue and man-handled SecretAgent and I away to the safety of the shared hotel room that we were all intended to sleep in.  I was put to bed and SecretAgent was banished to sleep on the other side of the room.  But when the lights were out I proceeded to remove my top and attempt to climb “like a tiger” on all fours across the obstacle of each bed, including one containing two small children.  My mission was to get to SecretAgent.  Word was that I put on ‘quite the show’.  Perhaps there had been something other than wine fuelling my obscene antics?  Never before had I behaved in such an uncontrolled lascivious fashion after a glass of wine or five.  And I can’t help but speculate that SecretAgent may have had a ‘briefcase’ of antidotes that could assist on such occasions.  But by the next morning the only thing in my head was a will to survive the most incredibly painful hangover I had ever experienced.  That and the feeling of relief to have avoided being poked by such a danger seeking, drink spiking(?), marriage faking, ingenuine, non-valiant, similarly short but not so attractive try-hard version of Tom Cruise.  Time to put this one to bed, with a clear head.  I’m getting me some maple syrup and bacon and turning up the oven.  This one has to be tasty, for sure.  And this time I’m going to remember every moment of it.

Further note: I was lucky enough to have had a friend looking out for me on this particular occasion but drink spiking is no laughing matter and certainly can’t be forgiven with a plate of fatty goodness accompanied by a story shaming.  If this happens or has happened to you the best course of action is to seek medical advice and emotional support, and report any suspicious goings-on to the police.  I have no proof if I was a victim to such foul play but am so grateful that I didn’t fall victim and become his foul prey.

A taste of Canada

Cinnamon scrolls with bacon.jpeg

Cinnamon scrolls with Bacon and Maple Syrup Icing

Ingredients:

7 g package dry or instant yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup white sugar
76 grams butter
2 eggs
4 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
76 grams butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
5-10 pieces middle bacon, thickly sliced
Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
50 grams butter
3 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:
Combine your dry yeast with the warm milk and leave for 5 minutes.  If using instant yeast you can just add it to the flour.
Beat 76 grams of butter with the white sugar.  Add eggs and whisk.  Add in flour, yeast and milk and combine.  Knead the dough until it’s a good consistency, so it’s not too tacky to the touch and it binds smoothly.  Place in bowl, cover, and leave to rise until dough has doubled in size, for an hour to an hour and a half.  Make sure the room is at a suitable temperature for this to occur, around 27 degrees if possible.
In the meantime cut up the bacon into strips as you like.  You can either pre-cook to make sure they are crispy or leave to cook inside the scrolls when they go into the oven.
In a separate bowl combine the other 76 g of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  When risen adequately roll out your dough on to a floured surface until it’s approximately 20 inches by 16 inches.  Once rolled spread the cinnamon butter evenly across the surface.  Now scatter the uncooked or pre-crisped bacon over the dough.  Carefully roll the dough until it is a log.  Cut into 2 inch pieces with a hot knife and place side by side on a well greased baking tray.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until risen and golden.
Prepare icing mixture by combining icing sugar, butter and maple syrup.  Add maple syrup to taste or if you prefer your icing a little runnier.  Spread across the top of each sweet, cinnamony, bacon loaded treat.

Um, think I may have cardiac issues if I keep eating these but right now I have no conscience.  This is a taste memory worth keeping.

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