Sammy’s back and she has beef… bok choy, lentils and red chilli.

I’m feeling an Asio-Italian inspired hotpot coming on….

 

Firstly I think I want to reiterate a point just because this is my soap box or milk crate or whatever, and I can do whatever I damn well want with it.

 

There are certain guidelines you will learn in a professional kitchen, and when I say that I actually mean that 10-15% of the people who work in professional kitchens will grasp these guidelines. The rest? Well they’re the jilted ex-lovers of this industry, and end up at the local fish and chip shop, or retirement home, pumping out less than average food and not enjoying life in general. Definitely not getting laid, that’s for sure.

 

So there are guidelines, and if you have even a small brain, you learn the guidelines; certain flavours like to hang out, others despise the sight of each other. Some stuff you do, some stuff you don’t. There are techniques that will prevent you from chopping your finger off, and rules to prevent you from poking someone else in the eye with your knife…

 

And in a restaurant kitchen there are certain guidelines and rules that you cannot break. Maybe bend a little, but not break.  You need to have order and organisation. You tend to need to have some consistency in your food, cos old matey aint gonna keep comin’ back if you can’t make his food quality each time, is he?

 

But at home you can certainly free-ball a heap more. Yeah, not wear any undies, and also get a bit loose with recipes. Not Friday night loose, but you can certainly relegate them to the role of hired help and a general guideline. Ingredients can be substituted. Flavours changed. Fly by the seat of your pants sorta stylee.  So play around a little if you don’t have all of the ingredients for a recipe. Cooking is fun. So have some fun damn you. Now!

 

Asian-Italian Beef Hotpot… Who Would’ve Thunk It?

500g braising beef, cut into big pieces

1 brown onion, peeled, sliced into 6-8 pieces

1 carrot, cut into 6-8 pieces

1 red chilli (plus more if you need it hotter), deseed and chop

1 star anise

1 cinnamon quill

2 bunches bok choy, cut 4-5 times along the length and washed thoroughly

1 tin lentils

1 tin tomatoes

1 cup stock, yeah the stuff you have in your freezer, non?

3-4 tbls light soy

 

  • In a pot or your pressure cooker get some colour on the beef and onion
  • Add all other ingredients except lentils and bok choy. Cook for 1hr or so, or 25 minutes depending on cooking method
  • Add lentils and bok choy and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  • Add a heap of cracked pepper, taste, adjust seasoning, etc
  • Num num num

 

*Let’s also remember food is a subjective thing. It is relative to your environment, personal experience and tastes. A great metaphor for your life in general. But, unlike your life, food has personality and character (yeah I know. Call the help-line) that is subject to the opinion of each individual judge. Or consumer… you.