Sweet & Sour request

Does anyone out there in the internets have a good recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce from scratch; like using fresh tomatoes and pineapples, rather than cans of tomato (or god forbid, ketchup) and pineapple?

This is something I'll be experimenting with once tomatoes come in season.


The sidewalks of Brazil

I'm a big fan any society/ culture that considers the aesthetics of the mundane.

Everywhere I went in Brazil -except Brasilia, which is a 60's modernist fantasy- there were fantastic mosaic sidewalks. It's called Portuguese Pavement and found, obviously in Portugal, as well as the prior colonies.

bird sidewalk

flower sidewalk

wave sidewalk
Ribbon Waves (note that anyone with money had security)

Sidewalks of Brazil

Intersecting designs

brazil 350
Famous Copacabana waves

Hearsay has it the white tiles represent European immigrants, the black tiles represent Africans brought as slaves, and the red tiles represent the native population; in sidewalks and life it looks like the natives got screwed in representation.

How great would it be if all our steps were on public art?


Pão de Queijo

These delicious cheesy doughy balls were everywhere in Brazil- every meal included them and the airports smelled of them.
Even more than the endless amounts of charred cow, Pão de Queijo will always remind me of my first trip to Brazil; I knew they'd be the first thing I tried making after getting home (and almost everything else was just seared meat anyways...)

Pão de Queijo
  • 500 grams- about 3.5-4 cups Tapioca flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated/crumbled cheeses
  • few pinches extra salt
  1. Measure Tapioca flour into a heat-proof, large (it will hold everything) bowl
  2. Boil milk, oil and salt together
  3. Pour milk/oil mixture into the tapioca flour (you may not need all the liquid) and stir until it becomes a big pasty mess, similar to choux
  4. Set aside the mixture to cool while you grate and/or crumble your 2 cups of cheeses- I used 1 cup Greek feta, 1.5 cups Parmesan and .5 cups sharp Irish cheddar
  5. Preheat oven to 360 degrees
  6. Beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, then add 1/2 the cheese
  7. Beat in the 3rd egg, if it's looking too watery omit the 4th egg, if not, beat it in too, stir in the remaining cheese
  8. You should now have a thick, smooth dough
  9. Spoon heaping spoonfuls of dough onto lined cookie sheets, keeping in mind that Pão de Queijo will grow close to 25%
  10. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt and bake at 360 degrees for 15-20 minutes
  11. Pão de Queijo is best served hot fresh from the oven, but good reheated too.

The recipe I've posted is slightly tweaked from the one I used- my batter was a bit too liquid* and my dough-balls flattened too much as a result, see above; if anyone tries making these let me know how Pão de Queijo turns out for you!

*UPDATE- on a second making it turns out mine was liquidy just because the milk/oil mixture cooled too much before I added it, pour it into the flour while still boiling and you'll be fine.


Kimchi Noodle Soup

I promise I'll get to the Brazilian recipes soon, but for now it's last night's dinner.

I'd had some kimchi fermenting in the fridge for, oh, 5+ months, and decides it was time to clear up space and use it up. Since kimchi is pretty potent stuff I needed a recipe that would survive adding 3-4 cups of kimchi, which isn't exactly something you can top a delicate salad with. A restaurant near us has kimchi soup on the menu, and I decided to try a variation on the idea.

Warning: there is nothing at all, in any way authentic about this soup, it came straight from my palate-brain connection.

Kimchi Noodle Soup, serves 2-4 depending on hunger levels.

For the soup:
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3-4 cups kimchi
  • 4 cups broth
  • Udon noodles for 2
  • 2 eggs beaten with some water
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. In large stock pot heat sesame oil, then saute onion until fragrant, but still green
  2. Add kimchi and broth to pot ( I had chicken on hand, but imagine fish, mushroom or a mild vegetable broth would all be good, and easily adjustable to any dietary restrictions), season with black pepper and turn off heat
  3. Let the flavors marinate at room temperature while you make your own noodles, or for 1/2 hour or so to mellow out the kimchi
  4. Turn stove-top to high heat and bring soup to a rapid boil
  5. Add noodles and reduce heat slightly
  6. When noodles are almost done add egg mixture to soup and cook one minute
  7. Let soup cool ever so slightly
  8. Serve steaming, garnished with red pepper flakes and Brag's amino acids or a drop of soy sauce.
Unfortunately, we ate all this up before I took a picture, but it was good.

If you're feeling ambitious, or like planning ahead for several months, here are the complete steps.

For kimchi:

You could use store-bought kimchi, but the stuff made at home has more personality. I know there are many many variations on kimchi, since I'm allergic to shrimps I leave them out, and make it as follows.

In large, seal-able glass or ceramic bowl combine:
  • white vinegar
  • rice wine vinegar
  • lots of chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp + red pepper flakes
  • fish sauce
  • thinly sliced Napa / green cabbage, as for a slaw
  • mung bean sprouts
You'll want to taste the sauce as you go, making sure it's not too vinegary, is very spicy, and has plenty of fish sauce. You don't need to cover the cabbage and sprouts completely as they'll wilt over time, and a thorough tossing once in a while ensures even flavoring/ fermentation. I keep the bowl in the back of the fridge, using bits of the kimchi over time, and adding leftover sprouts and bits of cabbage from other recipes. I'm not sure of the real use-by timeline on this as I'm partial to pickled and fermented food anyways, but I think it lasts a long time.

For noodles:

I also attempted to make my own noodles for this soup, what I made turned out pretty good for a first try, but you might just want to stick with store-bought udon or rice noodles.
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • .5 cup AP wheat flour
  • water egg mixture as needed
  1. in large bowl combine tapioca and wheat flours, making a well in the middle
  2. start moistening the flours with water, no more that a 1/4 cup to begin with; be warned that tapioca flour is just like cornstarch- it melts when you're not touching it and crumbles when you apply any force
  3. once you have a slightly sticky but coherent dough ball, knead the hell out of it
  4. let dough rest a while
  5. using AP flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, roll sections of dough out to as close to 1/8 an inch think as you can get- in full disclosure I always fail at that part, and am lucking for a chunky 1/5 inch thick noodle.
  6. let noodles rest/dry for at least an hour before using.
  7. If unlike me you're not pulling a recipe out of your back-side, I suggest using that instead.


Isn't this enough?

Storm, a 10-minute poem/story by Tim Minchin


Home again, again

More details forthcoming.