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pasta puttanescaWatching Iron Chef has become more than just an after dinner sport – in fact, it’s been an inspiration for dinner. Take the episode featuring sturgeon: the boy has a “oh-I’m-so-going-to-make-that” moment as Iron Chef Symon whips out a sturgeon puttanesca (check out wikipedia for its etymology: a quick dish to be made between turning tricks). The lovely photo is from the boy’s version 2 rendition, served when his mum was up visiting. Relatives with a cars mean having a chance to explore places that we would’ve unfortunately missed otherwise (not exactly bike-able or bus-able to beyond the corners of London) : one stop at the Arva flour mill in Arva, and one to White’s Cider Mill in Lambeth. Too bad we didn’t have a chance to meet Mike at the flour mill – the owner is a friend of the chefs at The Only. Oh well, perhaps we’ll meet him at one of his frequent trips to the restaurant and chat bread. Purchases his store included a 10kg bag of flour, some semolina, local eggs and the most wonderful caramels. At the apple cider mill: pressed apples for drinking and cider making, cherry juice, and goodies to ferment cider.

With a lack of capers in our kitchen (something I’ve yet to learn to appreciate), the puttanesca tomato sauce featured olives, anchovies and chilli flakes, with catfish (yum!) thrown in at the end. The semolina was smooth and elastic, much easier to work with than all purpose flour and resulting in thinner hand-rolled sheets (our next kitchen purchase, after a sharpening stone, may be a hand operated pasta machine). Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.

Earlier this month, I mentioned that the boy has taken on a homebrewing project of making cider. Unfortunately, I still haven’t figured out the science of the art (or the art of the science?), but I’ve been promised that more brewing is to come in the fall. A larger apartment awaits us when we return to Montreal in September (yes, I’ve finished my finals for the semester!), so I’m hoping we’ll manage to vent the system for beer (which will give off fumes more potent than those innocuous ones from the cider).

The cider bubbled incessantly for the first two days or so, and was quick to clarify – you can see the progression of quick change between days two and five:

 

This is what the cider basically looked the next day when the boy syphoned it using a rather ad hoc set up. I quickly learned the beauty of bleach and tubing (kept straight by attaching to a large chopstick). And realised yet another use for mason jars. 

The stuff still tasted acrid and sharp, but is exponentially mellowing. Now, we wait. It’ll be worth it (hopefully) if we just forget about the bottles for a few months before ‘rediscovering’ the brew.

For four days now, I have been bombarded with fermentation-related jargon. 

With it being the season of final exams and all, my scholastic apathy was forced, 180, into sudden studiousness, so unfortunately, I’ve been unable to digest too much of the boy’s babble. I did, however, happily capture photos of his new one gallon carboy, currently housing his first batch of cider. Stay tuned for updates, and the how-to’s of it all.

Anyone else find the airlock mechanism phallic?

 

Look at the yeasties go!

 

Staring at his new pet: