So it’s become an on-running joke amongst friends that my other half doesn’t cook. In the whole time we’ve been together – 4 years next month – I have never seen him cook. Although on occasion when I’ve not been up to cooking, I know he is capable of throwing some rice into the rice-cooker and steaming a ‘lap cheong’ (臘腸) sausage or two on top. He can also cook instant noodles however I am yet to taste any which have been prepared by him. On the flipside though, he will always do the dishes no matter how many I manage to use and they come out absolutely sparkling clean.
I’ve mentioned before, I’m sure, more than once here the fact of Monsieur Poisson’s culinary aversion. I’m surprised that for someone who enjoys the variety and nuances of food as he does, that he takes absolutely no interest in investigating his own cooking ability. So when I was contacted regarding a cookbook written by Bobby Jewell – a former English swimmer, a chef and owner of Tharen's – aimed at guys, it got me to thinking about whether this could be the nudge to get the husband into the kitchen to do some cooking rather than washing the dishes.
Admittedly I kind of sprung the cooking thing on him one evening. I was sent three recipes – pea and ham soup, mushroom risotto and apple rhubarb crumble – and ruled out the crumble immediately as baking can be quite intimidating for a first-time cook. Between the soup and the risotto, well, we happened to have mushrooms in the fridge so that was the decider.
It was most interesting watching Monsieur Poisson cook as I am so used to tasting and adjusting things along the way when I cook. When making risotto, the variety of rice and how fresh the rice is both affect its liquid absorption qualities. I had to keep reminding him to check on taste and texture whereas when you start out cooking you just want to follow recipes word for word. We actually doubled the amount of rice and stock used as we didn’t feel it would be enough – being Asian, we're used to consuming copious amounts of rice – but ended up finishing it all in the end! (Click on the picture below for the original recipe and quantities.)
Dinner was ready in around 30 minutes from start to finish and it was great to have dinner cooked for me for once, even if it did involve a little supervision. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t fancy because the dish was wonderfully comforting for more reasons than being a warming bowl of risotto. I wonder whether it’ll happen again anytime soon…?
Mademoiselle Délicieuse was supplied sample recipes from Bobby Jewell’s upcoming cookbook, The Lad’s Chef Cookbook, courtesy of Justine McKell from Roar Publicity. The Lad’s Chef Cookbook is available for purchase Australia-wide from 1 October 2010.