Author: The Incurable Cook

Same-Same-But-Different

Very few foods love you back the way a burger does. It smears sauce over your face as you bite into it. It spills and drips over your shirt. And it can sometimes even make your eyes roll back and your toes curl up. However, my last brush with a burger took this lovin’ back a tad too far. It all started with me feeling peckish at the airport. I weighed all the options and decided to go with greed and the Zinger burger from KFC. The first bite of the burger was familiar. It smeared my lips with sauce. The chicken piece hiding inside was plump and crispy. I even dropped a few lettuce leaves over my shirt as I brought the burger towards my mouth. Expecting every bite to be the same, a quick service restaurant motto, I dug into the burger for a second bite. But instead of my teeth gliding through the soft, crispy inner, it stopped midway when it hit something hard and plasticy. To my horror, it was a plastic cap of the …

From foe to friend: Spaghetti Carbonara with Poached Egg, Shiitake and Button Mushrooms

The last time I had a spaghetti carbonara was at the Sheraton in Bangkok after a long day at work. The thought of a hearty bowl of piping hot spaghetti with eggs, bacon and cheese was rather comforting. As it arrived, I looked longingly at that beautiful bowl. It seemed to have the right colour. I could see the flakes of crispy bacon. I had the server crack some black pepper over it. It looked perfect. But as the first fork full reached my waiting mouth, I was suddenly reminded of every bad run in with the carbonara. While most had been either too runny, smelly or gloopy; this one was drippy and had the distinct taste of raw eggs. Since then, the carbonara and I have been foes. And thats a sad thing for me because I love eggs; the runnier and eggier the better. I love bacon (who doesn’t). I love cheese. And only a few things are more satisfying to me than a bowl of warm spaghetti. Now, having started this blog and having declared my love for food, it just didn’t feel …

I. Love. Food.

Cooking it. Learning about it. Experimenting with it. Exploring people and cultures through it. And relishing every bite and taste of every morsel that enters my mouth. For me it is a love like no other. My first memory is of me as a 2 year old feeling happy about my bottle of vanilla favoured eggnog, virgin of course. My mum thought it was nutritious and I supposedly thought it was yummy. Growing up, no amount of bribing could get me to read the Famous Fives or Hardy Boys lining the shelves. But my mum’s copy of Tarla Dala’s cookbook got me to read my first book cover to cover. I made Hakka noodles when I was 12. I baked a pound cake in my grandfather’s vintage Wee Baby Belling when I was 13. Every inch of my expanding waistline, at that time, was testament to my love of food. But at 17, when I had an opportunity to do something more with this love, I gave it up. I gave up on an opportunity to …

A sudden afternoon: Caramel and Peanut Butter Choco-Pies with Sea Salt

Last evening I was chatting with M, a very dear friend who recently moved to Germany. During the course of the chat she sent me picture after picture of Easter eggs that she and her husband had spent the day painting by hand. They were beautiful, but strangely, all those pictures left me with a strong craving for something sweet. By the morning, the craving escalated to me wanting a very specific kind of sweet – the kind that you can taste and feel at the back of your throat even hours after you’ve devoured it. I wanted caramel. So while I thought about what to do about this craving and my next blog post, I put a can of condensed milk in a pot of boiling water . 2 hours later with the condensed milk having turned into golden brown caramel, I knew what I was going to do. I was going to make Caramel and Peanut Butter Choco-Pies with Sea Salt (inspired by Choco-pies, but nothing like them). My version was going to have a thick layer of caramel and chunky peanut butter (because nothing goes better together) …

The comfort of a Fried Egg

I adore eggs. I could eat them any way. But my favorite has to be a warm oozy runny fried egg. Having said that, its a love I’ve grown into. Growing up, a runny yolk would make me squirm. The lingering eggy smell (especially around the rim of a glass or mug I was sipping milk or tea out off) would make my stomach churn. But now, if its a fried egg, I can’t have it any other way. It has to be runny and it has to be oozy. This love was taken to a whole other level when I discovered Nasi Goreng many years back on my first trip to Indonesia. For the first time, I saw my beloved served without toast. It sat atop a steaming pile of sweet and spicy rice, with a side of sambal ulek, fried onions, cucumber and krupuk kulit. I squished the yolk into the rice, let the gooey mess run in and coat every grain. I scooped it up with the crispy krupuk and mopped its …