You’ve been known tell people that’s Nutella on your English muffin. It’s always brownie batter.
When the weather is dreary as it’s been in Sydney lately, I always feel like something warm and hearty. Comfort food. Growing up, my momma would always make us delicious soupy things in winter like chicken and dumplings and split pea soup with ham. Tonight, I decided to make the latter.
I used bacon bones to provide flavor and a bit of meat. I love that I live in a universe where these are a thing! If you can’t find bacon bones, a ham hock will do nicely, as will any other smoked, meaty pork bone. Of course, if you’re veg*n or don’t eat pork, you can leave it out - you might need to add a bit of salt and/or more herbs to compensate for the lost flavor, and definitely use stock for at least some of the liquid instead of water.
This recipe is extremely rough. It can change drastically. The only necessities are split peas and water - everything else is up to your discretion!
Split Pea Soup
500g (about 1 lb) split peas - green or yellow, take your pick
3 bacon bones or 1 meaty ham hock
2 stalks celery, chopped (including leaves)
2-3 carrots, diced (depending on size)
1 large potato, cubed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 bay leaves
3t herbes de provence (or other herbs and spices as desired)
9-10 cups of a combination of chicken or vegetable stock, white wine and water (I used approx. 4 cups chicken stock, 1 cup white wine and 4 cups water, plus more water as needed)
Pic taken before I realized I hadn’t added enough liquid!
I recommend eating this with a nice crusty bread. Or on its own. That works, too.
Note on the wine: If you’re like me and can never finish a bottle of wine but like to cook with it, I recommend buying the tiny little airplane-sized bottles of wine to cook with. You may get a funny look at the check-out, but it’s better than wasting booze.
Aww, chibi wine!
When I was learning to cook from my mother, she told me to chop things as I went along. I could chop the garlic while the oil was heating, for example, or beat the eggs for a frittata while the filling was heating.
Now, I’m sure this method works great for my mother, who is an excellent cook who is quick to prepare her ingredients. When I cook this way, on the other hand, it leads to burnt food and a stressed-out Dina.
In the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that when making sure everything is prepared ahead of time - mise en place, as they call it in the culinary world - my cooking experience is much happier and safer for everyone involved. With few exceptions, I always make sure everything is ready before I start cooking now.
Plus, it can be really pretty sometimes!
I love Korean food. It’s one of my very favorite cuisines. Why? Because it’s so delicious! It’s always so full of vibrant ingredients that combine in wonderful and surprising ways. (And I love how they always bring out so many mini side dishes at Korean restaurants!)
I’ve always been a little reluctant to cook Korean food myself, though. I don’t know why - I’ve attempted Japanese food many times, with varying levels of success. Same with Indian and Thai. So why the fear around Korean food? Maybe I’m too afraid to screw up something I love so much? Who knows.
Today, though, I broke through! I decided to make some bibimbap, using this recipe from YouTube superstar Maangchi. (Side note: “maangchi” is Korean for “hammer.” It was originally her username on City of Heroes. Even though I didn’t actually play CoH, this makes me love her EVEN MORE.)
While watching the video Maangchi made, I was a little apprehensive. There were so many things to cook! But she made it look easy, of course, so I decided to give it a go anyway.
I forgot about the part where I’m useless at trying to do lots of little fiddly things in the kitchen. It was a mad rush to the finish, I admit, and we nearly had vegetarian bibimbap because I forgot to cook the meat. Mad skills, Dina. Mad skills.
But when I put all the ingredients in my too-small bowl and added some gochujang and mixed it all up… you know how on Daily Grace when she cooks something amazing and she puts it in her mouth and is reduced to a vocabulary of swear words because it’s SOOOO GOOD? That was me today. Because it. was. so. good.
(Pre-gochujang and mixing up, of course.)
So next time I find myself balking at some cuisine, I’m going to remember this. Because it was so worth the stress. And I can’t wait to have my sister-in-law and her other half over to eat some! ^_^