Cooking lessons for the holidays
It´s a holiday in Spain. A very long weekend to spend frying torrijas and squinting at processions through clouds of incense. Or flopped on the beach. Or being lazy in Madrid and enjoying the empty city.
We´re having a tad more activity than that, however. My sister María has decided to learn to cook, and so we´re having a Karate Kid Holy Week, with myself in the role of Mr. Miyagi and she as Daniel San.
I´m a very stern pedagogue and have insisted from the first that she learn to hold a big knife properly, keep it sharp, and chop all the onions. So far we´ve done tomato sauce, both normal and Thermomix-cheat; chicken curry; sauteéd greens; beef stew; and a salmon escabeche for tomorrow.
Today we´re onto the rice for the curry, more vegetable stuff and roti. We´ll also cover buttermilk biscuits and possibly some form of cookie or cake as the week progresses, if my pupil´s patience holds.
How does that sound? I think it´s all stuff that isn´t hard to do, or complicated, and the skills involved are pretty similar, so confidence grows.
It´s not the usual Spanish canon, and I bet I will get many a raised eyebrow for not starting out with bechamel sauce for croquetas, with albóndigas (meatballs) or with cocido. I love all these dishes, but I find them too fiddly to be sprung on a novice.
Tomato sauce will always be the true test of a beginner, not the proverbial fried egg. From tomato sauce you can jump to curry, or to baby squid in ink, to pisto or to a quick cheat´s potaje. Fried eggs will only lead you to cholesterol, and besides, I don´t know how to do them, so there.
I´ll be back next week, all rested from not having touched the computer in days. Have fun.
And if anyone has a suggestion for something that´s an absolute must for a beginner, please let me know; I´m all ears.