Pantry Update #13: Semolina and Farina

Terminology around foods across languages and cultures is so confusing.

In Canada, no one would know what you meant if you said “farina” which is, apparently, the English term for what I have only ever called Cream of Wheat, which is a brand name. It’s the same coarseness as what is called semolina, and I often wondered about the difference. I gather from various sources that the difference is the variety of wheat, with semolina being yellow and made from hard wheat and farina is white and made from soft wheat.

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Pantry Update #10: Everyday Chinese

I’ve finally built up the pantry and experience to throw together a Chinese-inspired light meal with little to no planning or need to consult a recipe.

Dish #39: Chili oil

Having a great tasting chili oil around is key. A great chili oil can make almost any vegetable into a cold salad, or make any noodles a meal. Throw cilantro on there and boom: you’ve got a meal.

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Dry-fried salt & pepper vegetables

So. When you get salt & pepper shrimp at a restaurant, they serve it on vegetables. I have successfully made the shrimp, and I’ve made dry-fried beans, so when I realized I had onions and green pepper to stretch the few green beans I had into enough for two people, I applied my collected experience into making the vegetables they serve under salt & pepper shrimp.

It was easy. And it was glorious.

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Postpartum shout-outs

Three plus years and two babies later, it’s time to get back to this. My last post was twelve days before my oldest was born. (Hello, spicy bean burgers!) I thought I’d start back with a shout-out to the folks who provided Sebastian and I with much welcomed food in the first days and  weeks after each baby was born, freeing us up to marvel at our newborns.

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Pantry Update #9: Fish curry

I decided to do a pantry update with just one dish, so I could write down all the details of a highly successful experiment. Although I was working without a recipe, I was following tips from the colleague who recommend the brand of fish curry masala, and cross-pollinated those tips with the instructions from the side of the box of masala. I was very happy with the result: a flavourful sauce and perfectly cooked fish.

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Pantry Update #7: And then I got the flu

A week ago, Fronx was over having the flu, and I didn’t have the flu. I made a tasty Thai red curry with loads of shrimp and mushrooms. Tuesday I ate out with Morgan (liver and onions, mmm) but before I got home that night I was completely run down, coughing, and my neck hurt.

And then I was the sickest I’ve been for ages. My body ached a lot, and constantly. I barely got out of bed. I did manage to make food for myself here and there. And then, just as I was getting well enough to at least leave the house, Fronx got sick again. Today, I worked from home as he rested in bed, and I made us a big pot of vegetable broth and some wontons.

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Post Script to Pantry Update #6

The name for rice paper that has sesame seeds in it is bánh tráng me. Check this out!

So I tried it!

Dish #27: Sesame rice crackers

As shown in the above video, they can be heated in the oven until they are puffed, though it seems most people puff them up by cooking them in the microwave for 2 minutes  According to one page I found, they would have gone perfectly with the nước mắm pha I made, but I ate them plain this time.

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Sesame rice paper, before and after toasting in the oven


Items partly used: one