Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Belated New Year!

It's 2013, finally. Even though I love the holiday season and I had a wonderful first christmas here in Canada, I'm kind of glad it's over. Actually I'm glad 2012 is over. This was a crazy year. Wonderful, definitely, but also crazy busy. I got married, moved across the world and traded city life for the country-side.

We had a giant new years's burn pit fire. My father-in-law even pushed one of our little shacks into the pit!

Therefore forgive me my lack of posting lately. After the holidays I felt the need to take a little break and focus more on job hunting and easing in to my new lifestyle. The last weeks have been fun, exciting but also quite frustrating at times. Once the coat of new and excitement of living in a new place washes off you get confronted with the things that you don't like because they are more difficult or simply just different from the things you were used to in your former life.

I don't mean to complain. I'm just a bit overwhelmed by the impact and the magnitude this all has on me and my life. With 2013 entering, however, I feel like I can face my new challenges of living a life in a foreign country.

So what have I been up to cooking wise the past weeks?
    Well, Wil and I created our own little German christmas market on our property where we served Grünkohl (kale with goose fat, bacon and sausages), Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes/latkes), Glühwein (mulled wine) and Gebrannte Mandeln (candied and caramel-glazed almonds). Everything was homemade and absolutely delicious. We served everything outside, made a big bonfire and blasted some christmas tunes. It was wonderful!
    I made my first whole duck filled with apples quince jelly, cinnamon, star anise, parsley, onions, thyme and rosemary. It turned out pretty good. But I think there is still some room for improvement. 

For christmas Wil gave me Julia Child's "Mastering The Art Of French Cooking" (Vol. 1 and 2). 
One of my first projects out of that book was to roast a perfect succulent and juicy chicken. 
That chicken turned out fantastic! I'm not the biggest fan of chicken breast. It's always too dry and doesn't really taste like anything. Especially when you roast a whole bird the breast tends to dry out quicker. Therefore I'm always curious to learn different methods. The one in the Julia Child book suggests to turn and baste the chicken with melted butter every few minutes while cooking. It's definitely more time intensive but the results are phenomenal. That was the best plain roast chicken I ever had!

We made tons of beef stock, and I decided to make a "glace". That's an extreme reduction of stock. You reduce the stock you have to a tenth of the original amount, so that it is almost like syrup. When cooled it turns to jelly, due to the gelatine in the bones. It's perfect for sauces and soups because all it is in the end is concentrated meat flavors.

(and of course I accidentally erased the photos on my camera of yeah, no glace)

Last but not least, on New Year's Eve Wil ordered a whole bunch of oysters from our new favorite seafood dealer. I'm not the biggest fan of raw oysters. I can eat them, but they don't really thrill me. Nevertheless I had the most fun chucking them. I even got so obsessive and competitive with those little suckers that I had blisters on my right hand the next day.

That was pretty much it. Now I just need to figure out what to cook next...