Monday, November 17, 2008

How to cook to the kids

Looking after the Bratii Sunday afternoon. The initial thought was they'd bring sandwiches, but I said "Hey I'll just do a simple stir-fry for them" which they thought wouldn't go down well with Major, "Tough", I said.

Anyway Thursday I get a call inquiring if indeed I can cook for them, I agree wholeheartedly. So come Sunday I instruct Minor as to the location of the tablecloth and mats - "Behind the chair, second drawer down" there is only one chair at this point and only one set of drawers. Comes the cry "I can't find them!" I instruct Major as to the location and the table is duly laid.Minor plonks himself down in a chair at the table "What are you doing?" I ask. "Waiting for dinner" he returns. "You don't get fed unless you help with the cooking" I joke. Still he gets down and we troop into the kitchen.

"Okay the thing to remember about stir-fry is that it doesn't take long to cook so you need to get things ready before you start. Wok" I flourish a wok (okay really a funny shaped sauce-pan) and put it to one side. "Bowls, turn the oven on to keep them warm, stick them in". "Chicken, oil, soy sauce, vegetables [pre-packed I'm afraid], and noodles"
Minor chimes in "Can I have it without the noodles?"
Major laughs "Have you ever had noodles?" he asks.
More laughter
"Well you've got a choice", I say "You can have noodles, noodles, or noodles"
Minor thinks about it "Hmm"
"Okay", I get out two chicken breasts. "You cut these up small, do your think they'll be enough there?"
"Hmm looks okay" muses Major
"Right I'll cut them up small. While that's happening the hob goes on high. That means it's really hot" I aside to Minor. "In goes some oil [a flavoured version with some garlic] in, not too much, and we wait until you can see some steam coming off it" I cut the chicken into small pieces.
"I can see something" cries Minor all excited
"Yep well done. Now in goes the chicken, back up this'll spit a bit"
"A bit" dead-pans Major [hey it wasn't that bad]
"See how it's changing colour? You just keep turning it like this. Okay do you want to add some soy sauce?"
Major takes the bottle "How much?"
"A few glugs, seeing as you don't like exotic things I'm not doing a sauce so the flavour's going to come from the soy"
He sprits barely a teaspoon in.
"A bit more like this" I take the bottle and glug some in, steam follows
"Woah" from the pair of them "It's all bubbly" says Major.
"Okay vegetables" stir those around. Pak choi, beansprouts, peppers, onion; a nice mix.
"Now noodles, you [Major] can stir this while I open the noodles"
He pushes the concoction carefully around the pan and still manages to lose some out the sides
"Try and get the stuff on the top to the bottom and then keep doing that"
He proceeds with a bit more enthusiasm and even keeps it all in.
"Okay in go the noodles" yeah I know straight-to wok noodles, but it's just a bit easier.
He stirs some more.
"Want me to take over?"
"Yes please"
More stirring. "Needs more soy sauce"
More stirring "Okay, I'll move that over now and get the bowls out. Watch it that [the hob] is still hot"
On go the oven gloves and out come the bowls.
"Those are hot?" says Major
"Yes" I reply and then take off the gloves and separate them bare-fingered to Major's amusement.
"Okay let's see how much you can eat"
I spoon out roughly equal portions with a little less for the kids. Pass it through to the table and hand them a fork. They dig in.
"This is much better then raw" pipes up Minor.
"You what?" queries Major.
"Doing it from raw".
"We always have it from raw, you just don't see it", Major laughs. "It's the soy sauce, really makes the chicken taste good. I'm eating all the chicken."
"I like the soy sauce"
"Do you like the noodles" I ask and get a nod in return "I don't want any noodles" I mimic and get a chagrined look from Minor and laughter from Major. "So you'd be happy to have this again?" more nods "Next time I'll do it with a sauce if that's okay with you [looks at Major]"
"What type of sauce?"
"A slightly spicy tomato?"
"Hmm sounds okay"
"Well I could do it with rice", blank look from Minor. "Or perhaps a curry instead, with some lime pickle and mango chutney?"
"Ummm better stick with the tomato"

And that was that, oh except Bratii Mater is now going to get a request for soy sauce whenever they do chicken and queries as to the location of their wok.