Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cooking with Jamie

A series of kitchen events: Part 2
I finally gave this baby a try.  And boy it was so easy!

I tried the recipe I posted earlier and it was so easy and delicious - my test audience (my kids) LOVED EVERY SINGLE BITE.  I write in CAPS because they have started to develop a taste of their own and do actually dictate what kind of ingredients go into their food.  "Nothing greeeeeeen Mama" or "nothing bumpy".  So yeah - I am thrilled when they like a dish I make.

The ingredients are pretty basic - but the end result is perfection.  Thank you Jamie Oliver.  I won't go into the details (recipe here) but basically you need: aubergines, garlic, basil, dried oregano, canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar (I was out of white), pasta, olive oil, and salt'n'pepper.

You start by chopping the aubergines (I can easily see this recipe work perfectly with zuchinni or even bell peppers or mushrooms). 

Then you sprinkle in the oregano and drizzle the olive oil.  Mix well and make sure the aubergines are evenly coated.  Set aside.

In the meantime, switch on the cooker and set the timer as per the instructions (175C).  It was extremely easy to operate, and be sure to read the manual because their tips really are useful.  For example, let's say you need to use it to boil water to cook pasta.  You won't need the stirrer in yes but you still need to switch the swivel on (bottom left button) to heat it up.  Might not make sense but once you use the homecooker you'll know what I mean.

I also loved how in the manual they specify the temperatures according to what you need to do.  Very useful!

While the cooker warms up, go ahead and chop the garlic and fresh basil leaves.

Also, start prepping to cook the pasta. Boil a pot of water till it's frantically boiling.  By frantic I mean this:

Salt the water and pour the pasta shells in.  Once the pasta is al-dente, remove it from the heat.  Scoop out about a cup of pasta water (this will help loosen the sauce if it's too thick - you may or may not need this but keep it in case). Strain the pasta and set aside.

Now comes the fun part.  Make sure the stirrer is on and rotating.  Throw in the coated aubergine and set the timer to 15 minutes.  The recipe calls for splitting the aubergines into 2 batches with 20 minutes each.  I opted for one batch at 15 minutes because, kids were starving.

Around 8 minutes later, the aubergines are visibly softer and golden.  The smell is divine.

After the 15 minutes, I added in the garlic and basil and set the timer to another 5 minutes.  The reason you add the garlic later is to avoid it from burning and turning bitter. By this time my kids started scrambling to the kitchen want to be fed NOW.  The wonderful aroma filling my kitchen got to them and got their taste buds ready.

Fast-forward 5 minutes, I added the canned tomatoes with red wine vinegar.  I used more vinegar than the recipe called for because vinegar really adds a zing to any tomato sauce and I didn't want the taste of aubergine to overwhelm the sauce.

You will have to excuse the skip in chronological photos - I was in a rush to serve dinner and immediately started pulverizing the sauce. This was because at this point my kids began nibbling on their own t-shirts.  I also pulverize to mask any 'green' stuff so my kids won't pick at them - ain't no shame in a little deceit.  

And even with the rush, you can tell from the beautiful color below how delicious it looks and how perfectly the vegetables cooked.

I stirred in some cheese to make it a bit more creamy (Pecorino).

Dinner is served.  My kids LOVED EVERY BITE.
My verdict: this was so convenient and easy to operate.  I was able to set the timer and do other things while the homecooker gently cooked and stirred my food.  The smell wasn't so bad too (sorry but the strength of food smell that lingers in my house is important to me). The taste was delicious. It does require some time due to the fact that the heat is lower than your conventional gas stove - so make sure you set aside some time to cook the food.  This is not a half-hour meal, but what it does allow you to do is cook and sit back and relax as the food prepares itself.  I can't wait to use it again.

Product Details:
Name: Jamie Oliver HomeCooker
Available at Mohammed Fakhroo & Bros on Old Palace Road in Gudaibiya.
Also available at hypermarkets.
Showroom Number: +973 17 25 35 29
Retail Price: BD159
Warranty: 2 years

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