The cooker came yesterday, as scheduled, and it is all hooked up and works wonderfully, despite the fact that it is the tiniest thing I have ever seen. It has four burners, yes, but the oven is so small that you can only fit a half cookie sheet in it! The manual says it has a weight capacity limit of 18 lbs! ha! I am really starting to realize that everything is huger in the US. Vera remarked “no wonder Europeans are so skinny, they can only make 5 cookies at a time!” The craziest thing is, it’s a gas cooker, so the burners are gas, and the oven is too. Which means there are flames INSIDE THE OVEN. Yes, flames. It’s a virtual campfire in there. And to top it off, the heat settings on the oven aren’t even in Celsius, they’re just numbers. Yup, 1 through 9. WTF? There’s a handy little chart in the manual that gives the corresponding temperatures for each number. One is like 225 F and 9 is like 460 F. Now, a normal oven in the US would range up to 500 F, and then after that you have the broiler option. Our “grill” (ie broiler) is actually a separate compartment in the cooker, so that means my oven won’t get any hotter than 460 F. Normally not an issue, but I’m pretty sure it’s part of the reason my pita didn’t puff. Yes, overcome with oven enthusiasm, I set out to make pita bread from scratch, following a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who has yet to lead me astray. But, we don’t have any measuring devices here, except for a 40 mL beaker a la chem class that we found in the attic. So, I had to use the beaker to mark off 50 mL increments on a plastic tub that used to contain hummous (yum!) and then do some math to figure out about how many millilitres are in a cup, etc etc and use an actual table spoon to approximate a Tablespoon. Soooo I had fairly low expectations for this recipe, what with the jimmy-rigged measurements and less than adequate heat options. But despite all the possible pitfalls, the pita turns out delicious-flat-but delicious. And lately I’ve been reading recipes from Jamie Oliver (AKA the Artist Formerly Known As the Naked Chef) because he’s English and I’m in England and it seemed like he might have something to offer me. Ben and I have a new food agreement in our house: I cook something and don’t tell him him what it is and he eats it, fully trusting me to make a good decision about our dinners. He’s a brave, brave man. So I came across this recipe for like Indian spiced salmon on naan (Indian flatbread) and I thought I’d try it. But things are so expensive here and frankly I’m not up for buying an ingredient if I’m only going to use it for one meal so I kinda improvised a few things but it still turned out pretty well. Here’s about what it boiled down to:
cod with Indian curry paste smeared on it, fried quick on the hob
home made pita, need I say more
cucumber and tomato, diced up
yogurt sauce (plain yogurt+cuc+garlic+salt and pepper)
squeeze of lime
Really wasn’t sure I was going to go for the whole curry fish thing, but it was definitely a gestalt kinda meal.