01 March 2012

Averting Disaster in the Kitchen

We have been living in Singapore for 14 months and it has taken me 13 months to find a good meat supplier. Don't even say butcher, I may as well leave my credit card with them because meat here is extremely expensive. It's mostly Australian import. And where are they anyway?

Having a car in Singapore is incredibly expensive so most people don't have one. That makes food shopping a challenge. Between my meat supplier and condo mini-mart I make do, get creative when required ingredients are non-existent and am getting exceptionally good at substitution.

Today I was looking forward to making another regular recipe in my household. Nothing fancy, just the good ole' chicken roast and chicken soup.

I have been cooking for about 9 years, pretty much when John started his MBA and went MIA on me, except for dinner time. What we did for food before then is a mystery given that I have never been fond of fast food. Anyway, in the last 9 years I must have made chicken roast at least 35 times so it should be a no brainer but brains is just what I needed to use.

It all started as expected. The chicken was defrosted and dropped in a pot of water with vegies to cook as I always do. Then I dropped it on the tray ready for crisping.

My first wave of disappointment was tasting the stock, which I had hoped to turn into a clear chicken stock and vegie soup with dumplings. Imagine my surprise when the stock turned out completely tasteless. How could this be? I am no beginner with this recipe. Now what? This would be a good time to draw on all my culinary skills but really I am no expert. So I go into problem solving mode and out comes the chicken stock cube. I dropped in one, nothing. Dropped in the second one, a bit of flavour is developing. What the heck, throw in one more and finally the flavour has kicked in. Now I can make the dumplings and finish off the soup. Not quite what I had in mind but it'll have to do.

This one got saved thankfully.

Once the soup was finished I moved on with the crisping and partway through the power short circuits and my oven switches off. John messes around with the switchboard trying to get the oven going again without much success. After a few tries we almost conclude that we need to eat the chicken only half roasted. I am grateful that I cooked it first in the pot so I was only crisping in the oven.

We turned everything off and then gave the switchboard another go and ho and behold the oven is on again. We finished the crisping served the meal and sat down with a lovely bottle of white only to have our first bite and find that the chicken is completely tasteless. Let me ask it again. How could this be? Is it the chicken? Is it my out of practice cooking skills? Is it the chicken? I really do want to blame the chicken.

Well the salt came in very handy.  The roasted eggplants and corn on the cob were very nice, the chicken well.... it tasted just like chicken, somewhat bland and quite boring.  Some chicken gravy would have really saved the day.

Did this experience mess with my confidence? Absolutely. Will I try it again? Definitely. I need to know what went wrong, so I can really blame the chicken if it falters again.

Looks good doesn't it.
Oh if it only just had flavour.

On a final note, a word of advice to me from me:

Cooking like life is a journey
The delicious can't be appreciated without the unpalatable
Repetition creates perfection with the occasional snag along the way
Getting back in the kitchen in order to practice, practice, practice
Is the only way to overcome unfavourable dishes