Indonesian Menu for this week:
- Sweetcorn Cakes with Fruit & Vegetable Salsa
- Soto Ajam – Chicken in Broth with Noodles
- Mackerel with Green Beans & Cauliflower in Spicy Coconut Sauce
- Lotek with Petjil sauce (vegetables with peanut sauce)
- Bananas, Ginger & Cream with Sesame Cookies
It is World Book Day and where better to spend it then in my local bookstore, Palas Print. Caernarfon is lucky enough to have this excellent independent bookshop.
For me, as a wanderer, it is a lovely place to browse through the selection. I feel strangely old fashioned to go into a bookshop and wanting to discover the next book I will be reading. Instead of knowing what I want and ordering the cheapest copy through the internet.
Today I have cooked some dishes out of cookery books which are currently on the shelf of Palas Print and serve them in the shop for lunch. Most intriguing for me is a Ploughmans Pie from the Fabulous Baker Boys. My cooking is described as imaginative but I have never thougt of cooking cheese & chutney in a pie.
The evening menu this week is Indonesian, a cuisine which is to the Dutch like Indian to the British. In the Netherlands most Chinese takeways serve a mix of Chinese & Indonesian cooking adapted to Dutch taste. Take away favourite Babi Pangang for instance is Char Siu pork with a sauce which seems to be a mix of Chinese Sweet n Sour and Indonesian Satay.
Since my childhood I’ve eaten Nasi Goreng. But I didnt connect the dilluted Dutch version with the spice islands. The image I had of Indonesia (evoked by stamps I collected as a child) was of a far flung exotic place, where deep and dark forces are at work. Smouldering heat, rice fields and waving palms. Parts of that image I found back when I started to cook more authentic Indonesian food, heavily spiced and aromatic dishes as Nasi Rames (beef) and Soto Ajam (chicken).
A famous Dutch novel set in colonial Indonesia is called ‘The silent force’. It is to you to discover to nature of this force working through all these spices, when I put the food on the table this weekend.