Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Pork Chops and the Pursuit of Happiness

Before Nigella, and after Elizabeth David, there is Delia Smith... mmmmmm... Delia, of Delia's Complete Cookery Course and her tv shows, which came well before the era of the celebrity chef. I loved watching her make mashed potatoes. She'd always add cream and butter (or was it creme fraiche?) and say, I'd rather have mashed potatoes only once a month but have them done properly. Anyway, tonight I made Delia's pork chops with sage and breadcrumbs, topped with some sizzled apple and onion rings. I think the aroma has infiltrated my entire head cavity and will stay there for several days. I sure hope so. Better that than this cold/allergy I'm still trying to shake. Last night I made a glazed lemon pound cake from The Silver Palate Cookbook. It's been years since I made it but it's my mum's favourite and my parents arrived today so... well, it's pretty much half-way gone!

My folks are currently watching a DVD of The Pursuit of Happyness, which we saw last week. Such a good movie and Will Smith is moving and inspiring. Remember him in the 80s as a rap star? He's done it all and he still looks so young. I love him as an actor - he has old-world charm, lanky handsomeness and wit and can be vulnerable at the same time. Kind of like a modern day Gary Cooper. Will for President!


Ra Ra said...

According to one of my kitchen bibles, "The Making of a Cook" by Madeleine Kamman, whose illustrious family, I might add, is described as a French "clan of epicureans who could spend a whole Sunday discussing food and wine" and amongst whose members was included "the chef and owner of L'Hotel des Voyageurs at Chateau-la-Valliere, a Michelin-starred restaurant" where was I?

Oh yes, Madame Kamman's tips for perfect mashed potatoes.

These include: peeling the potatoes prior to boiling, and putting them in a pot of cold as opposed to warm water to begin with, as this "allows the starches to swell little by little."

When you cut the potatoes into pieces prior to boiling, take off any sharp angles with a paring knife. "If not removed, these angles overcook, fall off in the water, become mushy, and coat the potatoes with an unpleasant layer of starches."

She also recommends that the cream you add to make the mash, be scalded.

In fact, "any liquid--stock, milk, cream--that is added to a puree cotaining a small or large amount of potatoes must be warm, or the finished preparation will acquire a definite taste of stale potato starch."

There you go!

p.s. --- starting off the boiling in cold water is recommended for eggs as well, so as "not to shock them". The poor little things!

Blog Princess G said...

Wow, cutting off the little potato corners! I had no idea and strangely no intention of doing so. The other tips sound v good - thank you! I'd love to peruse that kitchen bible next time I'm over at your place.

I have not heard of cooking eggs like that before. It seems a little cruel doesn't it? (The following to be recited aloud in a James Mason voice:) "Now, my little oval shaped victims, who are all coincidentally named Francesca, you shall not be plunked viciously into water to immediately end your yolky existence. Instead I shall immerse you in a chilly bath and then start to heat the water, slowly, slowly... so that you have no idea what is happening until you feel your fragile whites being to cook and you look up at me, my maniacal eyes widening to see the water around you simmer, my slotted spoon at the ready, the toast buttered, as I laugh with anticipatory joy! MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!

Ra Ra said...

James Mason.....mmmmmmm, one of the all time greats of cinema. I loved him in North by Northwest, where he played to perfection the role of Phillip VanDamm, a devastatingly handsome underworld figure who dealt in stolen state secrets and murder, but was redeemed by his impeccable good taste, dry wit, and love of fine art. His commanding on-screen presence and suave delivery of lines in that fabulous accent! Not to mention his architecturally dazzling home just behind Mount Rushmore.

Among his best lines in the movie were:

Roger Thornhill: "Not that I mind a slight case of abduction now and then, but I have tickets for the theater this evening, to a show I was looking forward to and I get, well, kind of *unreasonable* about things like that."

Phillip Vandamm: "With such expert playacting, you make this very room a theater."


Roger Thornhill: "Apparently the only performance that will satisfy you is when I play dead.

Phillip Vandamm: "Your very next role. You'll be quite convincing, I assure you.


Phillip Vandamm: "Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Kaplan?....Seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the F.B.I. and a little more from the Actor's Studio."


Leonard: "You're not taking her on the plane with you?"

Phillip Vandamm: "Of course I am. Like our friends, I too believe in neatness, Leonard. This matter is best disposed of from a great height, over water."


Phillip Vandamm: "That wasn't very sporting, using real bullets."

Ra Ra said...

I've always actually boiled my potatoes with the skins on. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the skins act as a barrier to keep the potatoes from absorbing too much water, thus making the mash too watery.

I shall have to try boiling sans skins next time.

Blog Princess G said...

(doing voice of Homer) mmmmm.... tasty flakes.....