Chocolate Socialist (braisedbywolves) wrote,
Chocolate Socialist

Food trauma.

A friend who went from 0 to being able to cook a bit recommended a series of cookbooks that let her achieve this, published by the Australian Woman's Weekly. I got Beginner's Simple Meals, and the even simpler Cooking Class Basic. They're very well laid out, photos of various stages (like the holy grail of technical documents, the Lego manuals), and even I can see how things should go. So yesterday I decided to try the second recipe from CCB, French Omelette with Ham and Cheese (the first one is Bacon and Eggs, which is hard to muck up).

2 eggs, 1 tablespoon water, 2 teaspoons butter. Status: Check
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives & 1 tablespoon small fresh basil leaves. Status: Clearly fannydangle, ignored completely. Plus I'm not sure where I would even get chives around here.
1 small tomato, halves, seeded, 1 slice ham, 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese. Status:Check. Seeding via running my finger through the guts and scooping it out, and the hamd and cheese are smoked and extra mature respectively, but who'll tell?

Step: Heat 20 cm frying pan over high heat for about 1 min. Action: Grand, set it on and turn to the rest of the recipe, clock a-ticking.

Step: Make filling. Cut tomato flesh into strips. Cut ham into strips. Combine tomato and ham in bowl with cheese; mix lightly. Action: Start to cut the tomato like you see on TV, by placing the half-tomato on a flat surface and making lots of up-and-down cuts. Wonder how long this ancient tomato has lain in wait in the Caledonian Road Co-op, waiting for someone to take it home and attempt to puncture it's scaly skin. Turn attention to ham, which slices more readily, though to an extent with an mind of its own. Next try and find cheese grater, locate some sort of such with a handle on one end, and attempt to grate cheese. After some time, realise that this is just a burger-flipping type thing with some grater-like holes on one end, and look around some more. Find a proper grater (like small metal dish, but with grater holes) in another drawer, grate sufficient cheese.

Step: Break eggs into medium bowl; add the water. Use fork or whisk to mix only until yolks and whites are blended. Action: Dump in eggs, have at them with whisk, realise after 10 seconds that one of the yolks is refusing to break. Give it some more welly, and then start hacking the yolk with the point where the tines of the whisk converge. Bit more of a workout, and we're done. Remember the water, and realise that an eerie silence has descended from the saucepan, which had been making heating-up noises for a while. Take restorative nip of cheese.

Step: Add butter to pan: it should sizzle and foam immediately if pan is not hot enough. Do not allow butter to brown. Tip pan so butter covers base and halfway up side evenly. Action: Search fridge for butter (the only ingredient I didn't go out and specifically buy), wonder about Flora for a bit, find proper butter at the bottom of the fridge, brand says it's "the caterer's butter" (advantage of sharing flat with chef). Put two teaspoons into pan, where it instantly browns and starts to disappear. Panic, and put in two more, tip pan so brown mixture covers evenly halfway up the sides of the pan.

Step: Pour egg mixture into hot pan; it should begin to set around edge of pan almost immediately. Use wooden spoon to pull edge of omelette away from side of pan, allowing running mixture to reach hot pan and cook. Omelette is cooked when mixture no longer runs freely, but top still looks creamy. Omelette should only be browned lightly underneath. Action: Egg mixture poured in (though one of the yolks appears to have an Ahab-like grip on the whisk). Mixture begins to set immediately, enormous bubble rises in the middle of the pan. Spoon utilised to both pull edge of omelette away from pan (one side immediately starts to crumple), while beating down the hellmouth in the center. Liquid obligingly reaches hot pan and cooks on three of the four compass points, though on the fourth it gathers in the now pronounced ripples in the terrain.

Step: Spoon filling over half of the omelette, opposite handle; this way, it is easier to slide omelette onto plate when cooked. Use egg slide to fold omelette in half, covering filling, and slide onto serving plate; serve omelette immediately, sprinkled with herbs. Action: See above Re where to sprinkle your herbs. Filling spooned onto omelette, egg slide (?) hunted for, burger-flipper found and utilised instead. Large hole corresponding to underside of previous hellmouth becomes visible, big chunky tomato pieces refuse to be fully encapsulated, but with some patience (and more cutlery that expected), the entire thing is consumed. Incredible rush after first bite that this is recognizably food, creation has actually happened. Spy egg slide out of corner of eye, smile wistfully.

Then the washing up:

Obviously the first step next time (as presciently pointed out by dubdobdee) is getting the timing right, in this case that = doing the filling and eggs first, and only turning on the heat when there is actually 1 minute to go.
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