No, not an itinerary for an upcoming trip, but I have, these past two Fridays, made first a Peruvian dish and then a very typical French dish: so a little culinary journey I guess!
A student of my lover(he teaches the sax and the oboe and sometimes the clarinet) told him about her recent trip to Peru where she had something called Lomo Saltado. So we looked up the recipe(good old google). I was a bit er, put off by the concept: strips of beef, marinated in soy sauce and lime juice and cumin and garlic, stirfried with red bell peppers and a hot pepper or two, served on rice: so far so good: here’s the put-offy bit: add to that potato chips! Nevertheless, since I am quite adventurous and willing to try at least everything once, I made the dish, step by step: I cheated with the potato chips, using frozen oven chips in stead, and presented my lover with a plate heaving(or so it seemed) with rice, the stirfried beef and peppers, and chips on top!! We both decided that the dish will not become a favourite of ours… of course it’s the chips which jar the senses..so that was the night of Lomo Saltado..
This past Friday it was the night of Sole Veronique: that lovely old fashioned French way of cooking sole: poached and served with a creamy vermouthy sauce, intensely flavoured with the reduced fish cooking liquid, and green or any muscat type grapes. No jarring of the senses here: creamy mashed potato made by my lover, baby marrows ditto: he caramelises them in a mix of lemon juice and honey and a touch of brown sugar: crunchy still on the inside and sweet and sticky almost on the outside: unusual and highly recommended.
Earlier in the week of the Peruvian dish, I had a first tango lesson, so it almost felt a bit appropriate that I should be cooking something from South America: not Argentinian though, which is the style of tango I am learning. I have since then had another lesson, in proper dancing shoes. Yes, I even bought the shoes, at a little dancing and theatre accessory shop run by an ex ballerina. At the age of almost fifty I found myself trying on tango shoes, handmade from soft black leather, twirling around in front of a full length mirror feeling fifteen, surrounded by shelves and racks stuffed with ballet slippers, pink and black, their silky sheen and satin ribbons still as fascinating to me as when I was a child, and rails of tutu’s and swirling Spanish skirts and drawers full of theatrical make-up and glittering strings of sequins.
I never “did” ballet as a little girl: though I always wanted to. A cousin of mine used to, and I was so envious of the pink tights, and leotard and oh those pink ballet shoes, and the little tutu which was slipped on over that. My dad did not want me to do ballet. He does not remember that now, of course. But I remember clearly crying my little heart out at his “No!” In stead I had to take piano lessons, like my sister, which I hated. It was safer to sit stiffly upright at an upright piano with an uptight piano teacher who whacked me over the knuckles into silent submission to the correct hand position, than to let me experience my sweet young body lost in music and primitive rhythms. My sister was a genius at the piano, so she sailed through it… while I ached to dance and sing…
I’m too old for ballet of course, but never too old to tango! And never too old to sing… I’ve been taking singing lessons too, so I’m doing everything that I used to dream about doing One Day When I Grow Up!! My love for cooking came much later, in my early twenties, but here I am: Cooking Writing Singing Dancing: quite a journey to get here though!