A quick glance outside is revealing a Wonderful Winter-Wonderland these days. Finally, I might add – the last couple of Decembers have been depressingly warm, way too warm to really appreciate the festive groove town decorations and christmas markets were struggling to spread. Yultide season around 15-17°C? Excuse me, when did I move so far south? I know it’s a clichée, but winters have to be cold to count around these parts of the world!
Unlike last year, we had a couple of good things waiting for us when we got home from Madeira this time. Really good things. Like the newly released GW2 Path of Fire expansion and – let’s hear it for careful planning – another week off from work~! Of course, hubby and I parked ourselves in front of our screens and went on a gaming binge until we both developed that tell-tale sitting-in-the-same-position-for-days headache, square and bloodshot eyes included. And this is where the other really good thing comes into play~!
When Hubby gave off a somewhat strangled noise, skirting the edge of panic last weekend while giving his weather forecast app a disdainful glare, I knew we were in trouble.
“34°-38°C each day and not much cooler during the night for a week straight… I don’t even want to know how this is going to turn out in August, when it’s actually supposed to be this hot” he said, and went ahead reading reviews of high-powered fans and mobile ACs. I, on the other hand, experienced a sudden pang of panic too, a food-related one rather than a fear of melting in the heat.
Ugh… the dark side of spring just popped me a good one… normally, people catch themselves a cold when the temperatures are on their way down the scale. I on the other hand, evidently unable to stick to the norm in this area, have to take the gravelly path and go down with a case of the nasties when the first wave of warmth is rolling across the country.
Every so often, the simplest ideas presented to me by the Tyrian Chef’s Guild send me way, way back in time in my headspace. This time, a seemingly nondescript dish, a Poultry and Winter Vegetable Soup, reminded me of a certain dish I haven’t cooked up in years for… well, no apparent reason, really. This dish has been a well-loved, classic winter dish in our family ever since I can remember.
You guys didn’t really think I’d go to a fantastic place like Madeira and come home empty-handed when it comes to food-related things! I know, it took a few weeks, but you can’t rush a delicious meal, or the recipes for it, right? Anyways, during the first couple of days on that wonderful island, I really thought I’d return without showstoppers in my recipe notebook – not because the food was bad, mind you, almost everything we had was absolutely delicious – but because the traditional Madeiran cuisine we indulged in is a very no-nonsense one.
As my november’ly share of the flu is slowly fading, my poor nose turned-glow-in-the-dark finally isn’t visible from out of space anymore and my tastebuds are picking up their work again, I think the right time has come to kickstart my system as well as my kitchen with something healthy and quick to make, something seasonal and packed with enough aromas to bring back the last stubborn tastebuds from their goo-induced slumber.
Here we go again~! Another one of those Tyrian recipes that instantly make one of this side’s culinary world’s most classic dishes pop up in my head… Canard à L’Orange. Well, usually I’d jump at the chance to follow the rules for once, but I tried this one at home and at various restaurants time and time again, just to be disappointed… for some reason the Duck-Sauce-Potato’y Side-Combo never got better – not that it’s a bad dish in itself, mind you, the classic composition just turned out not to be my cup of tea after all.
One fine day, around lunch time, about 2 years ago, I spotted the Poultry and Leek Soup recipe in the list at the Chef’s Guild and felt the sudden urge to have a bowl of something along those lines on this side of the screen. Pronto. Somewhat blindsided by this unexpected assault on my carefully laid-out lunch-plans, I dashed over to the store and grabbed everything I could possibly need to bring chicken and leeks together in a delicious dish.
I never know whether to laugh or to cry when I read or hear about some airhead chef trying to sell Thai cuisine as the quickest way to prepare food known to humankind. That’s true… to some extent. After you’ve finished chopping, grinding, cleaning, slicing and all that jazz… yes, after all that, everything’s a quick-fix. Must be nice to have hordes of kitchen underlings to do the prep work for you…