Monday, 15 March 2010

today I'm craving...

the taste of home. My parents and sister visited us last weekend. It was lovely to see them - we don't see each other often enough. My parents made Chinese dumplings and brought a big bag of them for the freezer - whilst I will love eating them, they will mostly serve to make me jealous of my Dad's cooking and access to things like Chinese (garlic) chives, and his superior seasoning skills. He is one of those chefs who will actually taste, by licking, his pork mince mixture whilst the meat is still raw. I haven't crossed that boundary yet, nor do I think I will soon.

They love to bring me food, as if I live in some backwater where things like fish and oranges are a rare sight. My mother has a way of slipping odd things into my cupboards whilst I'm not watching, so as well as a papaya the size of a house (presented to me with much pride by my sweet Dad), we have ended up with all the chocolate and biscuits that no-one at my parent's house will eat, two random boxes of cereal and some Chinese herbal junk that I will never consume (I think it's ginseng).

What I really want, though, is a big batch of zongzi. Even better, I would love to learn how to make them. Sure, I've wrapped them at home with my parents before, but I was never taught how to make all the bits that go in the filling. Zongzi are glutinous rice parcels stuffed with wondrous things like mung beans, chicken, pork belly, dried sausage, salted duck eggs... all manner of things. You wrap the parcels in fragrant banana leaves and boil them in batches, then stick them in the freezer for those important times when you want a huge lump of stodge that will make you (or me at least) weep with nostalgia and homesickness. Eaten with a good slug of both dark and light soy sauce, they are the perfect comfort food, if a little on the heavy side. Have one of these and you'll not want to eat again for a week. (Image from Wikipedia)

Again, I am delighted by the food parallels that can be drawn right across the globe: one of the foods that I would love to try, but simply can't be found easily in England, is Mexican tamales. I have watched and drooled over Jamie Oliver (the food, not the man!) in Los Angeles being taught how to wrap them by some Mexican immigrants, but they have never passed my lips. One day!

Posting has been light here - we've not been particularly interesting people, nor cooked anything mind-blowing. Just the usual assortment of pasta and rice things, and a bit of junk too.

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