The cover of the June issue of Delicious featured a Scandi Pavlova Cake. Normally, the librarycook is a fan of all things Scandi, with Scandi Noir series The Eagle, Unit One, The Killing, The Bridge, The Lawyer, Borgen, and Beforeigners* all amongst her top series of all time. But a Scandi Pav Cake? What even is that, as the younger folk say, and when she spotted that it included honey, which sadly is a no go in the librarycook household, she removed it from further consideration.
And, as it turned out, any other form of desserty goodness**. This month, the librarycook’s thoughts were focussed on the main course, with two dishes, a Nyonya Chicken Curry, and a Baked “Paella” with Prawns, Chorizo and Salsa Verde.
First up, the “Paella” – its quotation marks due to its being baked, not cooked on the stovetop, a technique which could never meet the librarycook’s requirement for a decent amount of reading time. Baking, however, meant that once some preliminary chopping, blending, and, one of the librarycook’s least favourite kitchen activities, peeling prawns, had been completed, the recipe basically cooked itself, providing a good 30-40 minutes of almost undivided attention for Steven Conte’s The Tolstoy Estate, an enthralling read based on Germany’s ill-fated attack on the Soviet Union, and the temporary use of the estate as a military hospital. Nowhere near as long as Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which clearly the German military hadn’t read, or they’d have realised the Russian winter is a foe all by itself, it’s highly recommended by the librarycook.
And the “paella”? Despite the quotation marks, it was deliciosa – and will be a welcome addition to the librarycook’s culinary repertoire.
Nothing if she’s not multi-cultural, the librarycook’s next cooking adventure was the Nyonya Chicken Curry. Nyonya cuisine is an early form of fusion cooking, and stems from the inter-marriage of Chinese sailors with Malaysian women, beginning in the 13th century. A fine heritage, and, if this recipe is anything to go by, an outstanding contribution to world cooking. And even more pleasing to the librarycook, the recipe allowed a good hour of (almost) uninterrupted reading time – this time, devoted to a contemporary novel set in Sydney’s Jewish community, The Covered Wife, by Lisa Emanuel. Gripping and involving.
*Beforeigners – highly recommended, and available on SBS on Demand, and on ClickView. Mysteriously, groups of people from three different historical periods (Stone Age, Viking Age and 19th century Bohemians) emerge into the present, where they’re treated as time migrants, and helped to integrate into society.
**Not the 100%, unvarnished truth. The librarycook admits to the baking of some extremely excellent Ganache Thumbprints – chocolate cookies with a splodge of chocolate ganache in their centres. She’s only human, after all.