I hadn’t planned on making so much stuff over the weekend, but once I get started cooking and making, it’s kind of hard to stop. The start was breakfast. I thought about making the usual scrambled eggs and toast English muffin, but why take the easy way out? The week before, I had caved in and bought myself a fancy cookbook, How to Boil an Egg (my first cookbook, ever, which might be kind of weird for someone who likes to cook and try new recipes?), so I thought maybe I should start trying some of the recipes. The book is egg-centric (and no, not eccentric with a pun), and it teaches me how to poach an egg, something I love to eat but never had any idea how to do. Why I never googled it, I don’t know — maybe I thought it would require me to be clever or use fancy tools. But it doesn’t! All I have to do, or have boyfriend do, is create a frenzied whirlpool in a pot of boiling water, crack an egg in it and watch it cook until I want to eat it. Then place it atop half a toasted English muffin with some mustard and fried spinach, sprinkle with sea salt, et voila! A simple yet delicious breakfast.
After breakfast, I wanted to bake something, but I wasn’t sure what. I had some green onions left over from when I made cong you bing earlier in the week, so I focused on the curry, leek and cheddar scones. Scones are really biscuits, which I never knew until boyfriend told me that biscuits are “kind of like scones” and that English muffins aren’t actually the English version of muffins but also “kind of like scones”. Rose Carrarini, the British author and owner of Rose Bakery in Paris, helpfully explains this cultural difference in the book. I digress. Scones are biscuits.
So while boyfriend was catching up on House of Cards (or Zhi Pai Wu), I began grating some cheddar, cooking the leeks and making the dough. In China, there is no such thing as all-purpose flour (unless it’s right in front of me and I just don’t know what it’s called), but there are a whole bunch of specialty flours, such as bread flour, dumpling flour, self-rising flour, and whole wheat flour. I use whole wheat for most everything; it doesn’t ruin my recipes but it does tend to weigh down everything I bake. Likewise, these scones came out a bit dry and dense — certainly not fluffy and buttery like any good Southern biscuit — but the smell and flavor were deliciously spot-on.
After my biscuits were done, I moved onto spinach gnocchi. I’m pretty sure I screwed this recipe up — I couldn’t find ricotta so I substituted with cottage cheese, which may have been a big mistake — but there was no way I was making a pliable dough with just 4 tbsp of flour. I added loads more, and the result was kind of bland, but still edible. It looked like spinach gnocchi, at least.
By the time I had eaten everything and stopped making food, it was almost 10 p.m. If I hadn’t had to work today, I would’ve tried to bake a dessert. Having so many recipes right there conveniently in front of me — it was like a drug. If we lived in my dream world, my pantry would always be stocked with fresh ingredients that I could whip up anything that sounded delicious at a moment’s notice. Alas, my pantry is rarely stocked and most days I am too lazy to make anything because I have to do other things. Reality :(