Favourite Things

There is nothing I like more than to share my love of food.  I know I am fortunate, that although my days are busy, that there is always a lot of work to do, I have the luxury most days of time.  Time to prepare food, time to seek out the ingredients I love to use, time to cook.  Straight away, coming to LA, I have had the opportunity to cook for my friends.  Pitching up in their kitchens, cooking, creating, and enjoying the pleasures of great company, a nice bottle of red, and some good home cooked food.

One of the great things about being away is the opportunity to eat out more, discover new places for food, as well as revisiting old favourites.  This trip has been no different.

So far, we have been to our favourite sushi place, Blue Fish as well as a very old favourite place, Stanley’s on Ventura.  I totally forgot to take pictures of the food in both places, such was my excitement at eating in both places again, but this just gives me more excuses to go back and try the amazing salads and sandwiches, the the melt in the mouth spicy tuna rolls, and seaweed salads.

I LOVE supermarket shopping at the best of times, but I find it fascinating shopping over here.  There are so many familiar products, side by side with different fruits, vegetables, and grocery items.  It makes me want to challenge myself, to pick an item at random, create a recipe, discover new taste sensations.

On Monday, I created an onion and mushroom Risotto, taking time to cook the onions on a low low heat, stirring in ladles of good chicken stock and letting the rice absorb all the flavours.  I love cooking Risotto, watching how the hard rice absorbs the liquid, swells, becomes creamy eventually resting on the plate, full of good natural flavour.

After dinner on Monday, O (more family than friend) mentioned she had a bag of apples in the car.  This became a good excuse to show E (more godson than friends son) how to make an apple crumble.  E is already a great cook in the kitchen.  A few years ago I showed him how to make Shortbread, and already this trip he has treated us to a banana and chocolate chip loaf, which again was eaten before pictures were taken!

Here is E in the kitchen, chopping up the apples for the crumble.

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A lot of debate occurred in the kitchen during prep time, do we like the apples soft and mushy? Should there be a higher ratio of crumble to fruit?  Do we add cinnamon and if so how much?  What I love is rather than being a typical teenager, with the “I don’t know” answers,  he was quite direct with what he wanted.  Even during the cooking process, it was up to E to decide when the crumbles were ready, and how much longer he wanted the crumbles to cook for.  I have to say his natural instinct was spot on!

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After what seemed like an age, with the kitchen being filled with the smells of crumble, cinnamon (yes it was added) and apples, the crumbles (we made 2) were ready for tasting.  They were absolutely delicious.

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What I loved, I asked E if he would do anything different and immediately he decided slightly less cinnamon, and more butter in the crumble.  It helped me realise something as well, I love to teach people how to create good food!

Well, another sunny day has started over here in California, so I guess its time to go search for some more ingredients and more food delights.

 

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