I was supposed to post this last week but somehow never around to it. I drafted, edited but somehow the entry was never to my liking. So I just let it stewed in the dark halls where incomplete stories lay in repose.
Anyway, I added more content to the original draft.
But first, we need to backtrack to last week.
In my previous post, I wrote about last Monday dessert, last Wednesday breakfast and dinner.
This will be about last Thursday’s and last Friday’s dinner.
I’ve always like fried rice and it’s a comfort food for me. Making fried rice is easy as the dish is very versatile. Just throw in any leftovers, add some oil and fry everything.
For such a simple dish, it’s also very easy to get it wrong.
The most important thing is leftovers.
Fresh ingredients are not completely banned. You can use fresh veggies and eggs (I hope your eggs are fresh) and any kind of meat (but I prefer to use Spam). But your rice strictly needs to be leftover.
I cannot stress that part. Your. Rice. Need. To. Be. Leftover. The first time I made fried rice, I made the rookie’s mistake of using freshly steamed rice.
I spent the next one hour suffocating on sticky, hard-to-swallow fried rice.
When you eat fried rice, you can feel the individual grains on your tongue. This texture is achieved by using steamed rice that has been left overnight in the refrigerator. This helps the rice to become dry and making it easier to separate the grains. Rice left in the refrigerator for two to three days is the best, although you don’t want to leave the rice in there for too long or you’ll have tough, crunchy rice grains.
You’re not eating fried rice cereals.
There’s a fine balance to strike, too much moisture or too little moisture in the rice can sink your dish
Anyway, I love fried rice and I love Korean cuisine and one of my favourite Korean dish is kimchi: the spicy, fermented vegetable dish.
So I decided to combine the two and had this for yesterday’s dinner:
The Leaning Tower of Kimchi Fried Rice. The tilt was accidental.
The kimchi fried rice tasted great, although I wanted it to have a more “kimchi” kick. I went over to the wikipedia site and it stated that using over-ripened kimchi is better than using fresh kimchi. Hmph, didn’t know that. Probably that’s why my fried rice didn’t have that intense kick I was going after. The drink of the meal was plain water.
I had a surplus of mashed potatoes after last Wednesday’s dinner so I decided to do something special to them for last Friday’s dinner:
Deep-fried mashed potatoes with pan-fried pork sausages seasoned with sea salt and black pepper. Drink of the meal was Ribena.
I haven’t had sausages in a long while and they went nicely with the deep fried potato balls. I don’t have a griller so pan-frying was the way to go. However I didn’t expect so much smoke and even with the exhaust fan on and the balcony window open, the smell of fried sausages still lingered in my apartment for a good few hours. But other than the smoky atmosphere, the sausages were a success. They were a bit dry, but still juicy nonetheless.
The deep-fried mashed potatoes, on the other hand… was a near disaster. Well, they did come out edible but I almost screwed it up right from the start.
I made the mistakes of putting the mashed potato balls in a bowl before leaving them in the freezer for two hours so they could set. After two hours, they potato balls did set, but instead of the perfect balls that I wanted, they set into a mass of unrecognizable shape.
According to the law of gravity, the potato balls at the top compressed the potato balls at the bottom. So while I still had some spherical potato balls at the top, I had to remake the potatoes balls once I got to the bottom of the bowl.
That was the first mistake.
The second mistake was the size of the balls. I decided to ignore the recipe and made my potato balls palm sized when it called for the balls to be golf ball sized. A minor error that resulted in a grave consequence. The batter that covered the potato balls was too thin due to the large size of the balls.
The third mistake was the temperature of the oil. As I don’t have a deep fryer, I used a large wok with a liberal amount of canola oil in it. The first batch of potato balls took a long time to cook because the oil was not hot enough and even after I removed them from the wok, some were slightly undercook. The second batch was just perfect (they are featured in the pictures above) while the last batch was almost burned.
This is my first time deep frying food and I’ve always thought it was easy since my grandma makes it look easy. But I’ve forgotten that she has years and years of experience. Controlling the heat, the amount of oil in the wok and the amount of time deep frying the oil is no easy task.
But overall, the potato balls tasted okay and at least it was not inedible. So my leftover mashed potatoes did not go to waste.
So that concludes last week entry.
I went to a Christmas Eve party last night at a friend’s place. It was a gathering of friends with food, drinks and presents (I mean, what’s Christmas without the gifts?). For the party, most of us brought food along to share. I brought my mashed potatoes, with some slight changes. I added a lot more Italian Parsley, five gloves of garlic and two large handful of Parmesan cheese. It gave the mashed potatoes some kick.
And being the chocoholic, I baked brownies from scratch, which means, instead of using those box brownies, I measured out every ingredients, hand mixed and baked them.
Unfortunately, that’s the only picture I took. The frosting didn’t really turn out what I wanted it to be, but I managed to spread it across most of the brownie.
It got rave reviews and I was asked for the recipe. I wanted to say it was just some age-old secret recipe handed from generation to generation but I decided to tell the truth. I got it off from the Internet. The brownies were really easy to bake and taste much, much better than store bought brownies.
All in all, last night dinner party was very enjoyable and although it was the first time spending Christmas Eve alone without my family, I still had fun.
After the dinner, the host gave out the presents from the secret Santas. I got the coolest present from my Secret Santa:
An old book with parts of the front cover torn off
But wait for it…
That’s right, people, Isaac Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage II. But the best thing about the book? It’s the 1987, first edition book. My very first Isaac Asimov book and I get a hardcover first edition. I mean, how fucking awesome is that?
This is the note from my Secret Santa:
Since you knew that scifi about the names of god (referring to the Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke. I told this story to a couple of friends, so I kind of figured out my Secret Santa), I figured you’re a fan of old scifi. I hope you like this.
I do enjoy classic science fiction like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke but most of the stories I read were either from books I’ve borrowed from the libraries or from websites. So the fact that my very first science fiction book is this hardcover first edition makes it more awesome.
Merry Christmas everyone.