Sunday, 28 August 2011

日本の玄米のジャンバラヤ - Japanese Jambalaya

Purloined from Cafe Blo, which is a very peculiar name. My Japanese is, well, to call it beginner's is generous. I will be using liberal use of Furigana Injector which will enable me to see how everything is pronounced in hiragana. Hiragana is one of the two Japanese syllabaries (a bit like alphabets), kanji are the "Chinese" characters used in Japanese (they are Chinese in origin, but many have changed meaning over time) and furigana are hiragana used to show how a kanji is pronounced. Wikipedia will help you here. This online reading tutor is really useful; it gives dictionary definitions for all the kanji. I only know about 25 kanji, so this is pretty near essential.

I don't know why I put mushrooms on top.
ジャンバラヤ Janbaraya Jambalaya
材料 Zairyō Ingredients
  • 玄米 Genmai brown rice 2合 ni gō 1.5 cups (one  is equal to about .75 cup, or one tenth of a mountain. I'm going for the former)
  • 野菜(なんでも)yasai (nan demo) Vegetables (anything/whatever) 300g
  • ガーリックオイル gārikkuoiru garlic oil 大さじ1oosaji 1 big spoon
  • トマトジュース(有塩) tomato jūsu (yū sho) tomato juice (savoury) 500ml
  • 水 mizu water 220ml
  • 塩 shio salt 小さじ1 kosaji 1 small spoon.
  • チリパウダー chiri paudā chilli powder 大さじ11 big spoon
  • カレー粉 karē ko curry powder 小さじ11 small spoon
  • コーン kōn sweetcorn 大さじ6(約60g)6 big spoons (yaku about 60g)
作り方:tsukurikata method
  1. 玄米は洗ってザルに上げておく。野菜をフードプロセッサーでガーする。genmai-o aratte zaru-ni agete oku. yasai-o fūdopurosessā-de gā suru. Wash the brown rice in a sieve. Whizz up the vegetables in a food processor. I don't know what agete oku means, but I think it could be translated as well or thoroughly in this context. Gā suru is confusing, it seems to mean guard, but this does not make sense to me. It's written in katakana, which is used for foreign words and onomatopoeia, so I think it means make the food processor go gaa, which might be another way of saying use it. The first reference I found on teh Googels was in reference to a dryer going gā gā gā, so I think it's some kind of "machine in use" noise. 
  2. 圧力鍋にガーリックオイルを熱し、下準備した野菜をサッと炒め、洗った玄米と●を加えてよく混ぜる。atsuryoku nabe-ni gārikkuoiru-o nesshi, shinbo junbi shita yasai-o satto itame, aratta genmai-de-o kuwate yoku mazeru. In a pressure cooker, heat the garlic oil, gently cook the prepared vegetables, add the rice into it and stir well. 
  3. ふたをして強火にかけ、圧力がかかったら弱火にして、25分加圧する。火を止めて20分蒸らす。ふたを開けよく混ぜる。Futa-o shite tsuyobi-ni gake, atseryoka-ga kakatta ra  yowabi-ni shite, nichi-jū fun assuru. hi-o tomede nichi-jū fun murasu. Futa-oh ake yoku mazeru. Cover and put on a high heat, pressurise and put on a lower heat. Keep pressurised for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and steam for 20 minutes. Open the cover and stir well. Kakatta is just a word I don't know. It seems to mean something like took, but ra makes it plural I think. Or not. I don't know. Unless it mean now add all the rest of the ingredients I don't think it matters too much.
以上です! ijyō desu! That's it!

Culinary Notes
I would add the spices to the oil when cooking the vegetables.
I imagine the tomato juice goes in just after the rice, and gets stirred in and the corn goes in with the vegetables. They are in the ingredients list, but not the method.
My vegetables of choice were marrow and celery.
Being English, I have three things that could be called curry powder, and my chilli powder is nothing but chillies, so a big spoonful would knock me dead. I settled for a teaspoon each of garam masala, madras, cayenne pepper, paprika and half a teaspoon each of chilli and cumin.
Salty garlic paste and oil substituted the garlic oil and salt (obviously).
I don't have a pressure cooker, so it's all just going in a big pan.
Partway through cooking, I found it very sharp and acidic, so I added half a cup of mushroom stock.

End results: I thought it was bland, Ollie thought it was too spicy. You win some, you loose some.

Linguistic Notes
  • Gārikku oiru? Karē pauda? Kōn? Fūdopurosessā? Come on Japan! That's not even trying! It's like they've outsourced their new words division to the English-speaking world.
  • Sutto looks like a borrowing of subtle, which is strange, again. 
  • I asked, and ガー mean vzzzhhh or whatever noise a food processor makes. Whizz is probably a good translation.
  • よく means both well and often.
  • I don't know whether this is in note form or not, but there seem to be few ands and thens. Japanese verbs are something I have only a vague awareness of, so they might give some information as to the sequence of events. Or maybe they just aren't used as often as in English.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Courgette Chutney

If you have a vegetable patch, you're probably wondering what you're going to do with the eight thousand courgettes/zucchini that are growing right now. Rather than have chopped courgettes stirred into pasta again, I decided to do something a little different.

  • 1kg courgette
  • 500g onion
  • 500g apple
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • half a teaspoon of cloves
  • ditto peppercorns
  • ditto juniper berries
  • a teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 750ml vinegar
  • 250g sultanas
  • 500g soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot
  1. First, wash and finely dice the courgette. Dice the onion. Peel and dice the apple. This will take a while, so put the radio on or get help. It's fairly dull. Chop into half-centimetre blocks, or whatever your willpower permits.
  2. Put all the diced bits into a large saucepan, then add the sultanas and stir it through to mix it up a bit.
  3. Mix the sugar, arrowroot, ginger and salt (on the scales is fine), and add this to the pan, stirring it in again.
  4. Pour over the vinegar, and stir it around again.
  5. In a cloth bag, put the juniper, pepper and cloves. Crack them under the flat of a knife/wooden spoon.
  6. Throw the spice bag in with everything else and put it on to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  7. Keep the lid off.
  8. Wait two or three hours. Taste occasionally. When it tastes like chutney and not vegetables in vinegar, it's done.
  9. Put into sterile jars (stick a few old jam jars in the oven with a bit of water in each one for 20 minutes on a reasonably high temperature).
  10. Allow to cool, and put it somewhere out of the way for a few months…
Or, more succinctly: chop everything up that needs chopping. Mix it all together. Cook the funk out of it.

No picture yet. It won't be ready until October.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Tiramisù vegano

This one came from the Italian Wikibooks site.

You gotta love tiramisu.
  • Caffè - 4 tazzine Four teeny weeny cups of coffee
  • Panna di soia da montare - 300 ml Soy cream (panna is in panna cotta, which is a kind of cream I think)
  • Zucchero - 100 g sugar (or courgettes, probably sugar)
  • Farina di mais - un cucchiaio I teaspoon of cornflour
  • Tofu - 500 g (lamb shanks. Not really! It's tofu)
  • Latte di soia - un cucchiaino A teaspoon of soy milk
  • Limone - una goccia A dash of lemon
  • Biscotti vegan - 400 g Vegan biscuits (I'm guessing something Italian)
  • Cacao in polvere - q.b. Cocoa powder
  • Scaglie di cioccolato nero al 100%- una manciata A handful of chocolate chips
  1. Preparate il caffè e lasciatelo raffreddare. Prepare the coffee and let it cool. Raffreddare, I guess, means cool back down or something, with the ra- being like re- in English. Freddare, I would guess means cool, as it looks like French froid
  2. Lavorate lo zucchero e il cucchiaio di farina di mais con qualche cucchiaio d’acqua. Mix the sugar and the spoonful of cornflour with a few spoonfuls of water. well, lavorate means work, related to labour, but I think mix makes sense here. You work X into Y, but you mix X with Y. That's my logic, anyway.
  3. Frullate il tofu con una goccia di limone e un cucchiaio di latte di soia fino a ottenere una crema senza grumi e unitelo alla farina di mais. Blend the tofu with a dash of lemon and a spoonful of the soy milk until you get a cream without lumps, and mix in the cornflour. Frullate just looks like it means blend. I mean, if I told you I was going to go and frullate some tofu, what would you expect me to do? Common sense is a powerful tool in learning a language - things usually don't say something completely unexpected. It wasn't going to say "take the tofu out dancing with a dash of lemon". Grumi just looks like lumpy as well. Maybe it's related to crumb and crumble.
  4. Montate la panna e unitela delicatamente al tofu. Mount Whip the cream and delicately mix in the tofu. Montate looks like it's going to be related to mount. While I'm sure I am perfectly capable of mounting the cream, I am not sure this would be conducive to the recipe. Whipping cream makes the cream into little peaks - or mountains - so I'm guessing this is the logical choice.
  5. Immergete i biscotti, che dovranno essere ben imbevuti ma non completamente zuppi, nel caffè. Immerse the biscuits, which should be well soaked but not completely falling apart, in the coffee. Che dovranno essere I would not have got without a knowledge of French, as it's similar to qui devraient être, which means which should be. Imbevuti looks like imbibed kinda, so the biscuits have "drunk in" the coffee, as in they soaked it up. Zuppi is another wonderful word. Italian is awesome.
  6. Stendete in un recipiente uno strato di biscotti, stendeteci sopra uno strato di crema e spolverate con il cacao la superficie del tiramisù. Seguite lo stesso procedimento per gli altri strati. Put in a dish a layer of biscuits, then put on a layer of cream and sprinkle the cocoa over the surface of the tiramisu. Follow the next layer with the other layer (alternate them). I like the idea of putting the strata in a recipient, but realistically we are putting layers in a dish. Spoleverate is the best work for sprinkle I have ever seen, but it contains polver, which looks like it means powder. The last sentence I just couldn't work out, but I think it basically means that. Still, one sentence being off is not bad for someone who is making up his translations as he goes. 
  7. Terminata questa operazione, aggiungete una manciata di scaglie di cioccolato. Finish the operation, adding a handful of chocolate chips. Okay, that was deliberately bad, but it amused me. 
  8. Riponete in frigo per qualche ora per far compattare il dolce. Put it in the fridge for several hour to set the cream. Compattare I guess means compact, which is near enough in meaning to set I think. 
Culinary Notes
Firstly, I admit that I varied from the recipe a little. I used soya cream instead of water or soy milk, thinking that it would taste better. I think I was right. This tastes like tiramisù! Flavour-wise, it was a success. A little sweet for me, and perhaps lacking depth, but undoubtedly tiramisù.

Texture-wise, as we can see in the picture, it was a failure. The tofu did not whip into peaks. Tofu just does not do that in my experience. Maybe tofu works differently in Italy, but in England, it just quivers weakly. It was a little lumpy, too. I think it calls for some more industrial-strength thinkener than cornflour; maybe flax seeds or Irish moss gel with a cashew cream would have gone better.

Linguistic Notes
This was a set of instructions "chop, wash…", unlike my first Italian recipe which was kind of a story "I chopped, I washed…". Almost every verb ends with -te, which I would bet my best pants on being used to form the imperative.

Nel caffè means in the coffee, and in the previous recipe we saw nella padella, meaning in the pan. Using my astounding powers of deduction, I suggest that nel is probably the masculine form, and nella is the feminine. 

The word lo caused me a little confusion. I thought that masculine the was il, but here we have lo. My theory is that sugar is a non-count noun, so this sort of means some of the or something. *checks* How wrong I was. It's just the form used before a Z or an S followed by a consonant. The plural form is gli. Before a vowel sound, it's reduced to l', like in French. So, we have masculine il, lo, l' in the singular and i, gli in the plural, and feminine la, l' for singular and le for plural. Hours of fun. 

    Wednesday, 27 July 2011

    Penne ai fiori di zucca

    I really need to learn to take better food pictures
    This recipe was found at


    • 3-4 fiori di zucca 3-4 courgette flowers. I first thought this was spoons of sugar. It's clearly not.
    • 1/2 zucchina ½ a courgette. Zucchina? Like zucchini! That's American for courgette.
    • 1 cipollotto di Tropea Neither I not my dictionary have any idea what this is. It's an onion of some kind. Google image search indicates that it is a small red onion. That seems like something you'd put in a pasta dish, so it is probably right. 
    • Specia a piacere Spices of some kind. Piacere means pleasure or delight. Like placate, I guess. So this either means delightful spices, or whatever spices you think would go with it.
    • Olio Evo Olio is fairly transparent; it means oil. Evo is a bit of a mystery. My dictionary puts it as meaning age or epoch, which is a fairly unlikely translation. It could either be an Italian brand name, an abbreviation for something or a typo. A spot of light googling reveals two things; firstly, I'm not the first person to ask this, and secondly, it's extra-virgin olive oil
    Fresh from the garden
    1. Ho lavato, pulito e tritato il cipollotto, tenendo anche la parte più verde del gambo che è molto profumata e fa anche bene, e preparato un soffritto con un filo di olio d’oliva. I washed, cleaned and choped the onion, wait, this is in the past tense. I wonder if that is normal? also taking the more green bit from the stem (gambo, had to look that up) which is (very perfumed is odd, so I'll go with very tasty) and also goes very well, and I browned the onion and spices (English does not have a work word for soffrito, but that's what internet says) with a (spoon? Hah, no, my dictionary says thread, so a little bit. Let's go for drizzleof olive oil.
    2. Poi ho aggiunto mezza zucchina tagliata molto sottile. Then (makes sense) I added (like ajouté in French, or adjunct in English) very thin slices of halved courgette (I had to look every word up - although tagliata is clearly like tagliatele, strips of pasta. Mezza means half).
    3. Ho lavato i fiori, ho tolto il pistillo, li ho tritati e uniti alle verdure. I washed the flowers, I removed (tolto means either except or removed but this looks like it is a verb) the pistollo (the… the… I don't know the word in English and neither does the dictionary. I think it means the bit inside the flower that is probably its sex organs or something), chop them (or possibly mince them) and unite all the vegetables (against their vegan overlords?).
    4. Aggiungete le spezie che vi piacciono di più, io ho messo curcuma e un mix di pepe. Add the spices that you love (piacc- looks like it's related to placate, so "add the spices that placate you is a literal, but awful translation) the most (aww). I mixed put in turmeric (curcumin is a chemical found in termeric that may have anti-cancer properties) and a mix of peepee pepper. 
    5. A questo punto buttate la pasta corta che vi piace di più e una volta scolata fatela saltare un minuto nella padella assieme al condimento di verdure. At this point, throw the pasta (well, you ain't gonna grill it) that delights you the most you want to use and (okay, I had to look almost every word up here. Nella means in the, padella means frying pan which is cute because it is paddle-shaped, but I think it basically means into the pan with the vegetables and stir through)
    6. Se il soffritto si asciuga va aggiunta un po’ d’acqua (o un goccio di latte di soia se vi piace un effetto “pannoso” nella pasta). If the fried onion goes dry, add a little water (or a dash of soy milk if you delight in like a creamy effect in the pasta).
    I fiori di zucca cuociono abbastanza alla svelta quindi non vanno tenuti troppo sul fuoco. The courgette flowers cook very quickly, so should not be on the heat too long.

    Culinary Notes
    The delightful spices I chose were saffron and smoked paprika, but I think a bit of basil or something would have gone well. I used one small onion from the garden, with a bit of red onion as well for some colour. 

    Cook your pasta first. Where it says that the flowers cook quickly, that ain't no lie. I put them in with the pasta at the "stir it in" stage, and they were were fine.

    Oh, and wash your courgette flowers really well. Two of mine had a veritable eco-system operating inside of them, and I basically turned on the tap on full and blasted the little buggers off.

    Overall, it was a pleasant light supper. It might benefit from some spring onion, or a sun-dried tomato or five, to add a bit of flavour. It was also lacking in any kind of protein, which bothers me (as a manly man), so maybe a handful of pine nuts or some veggie bacon would solve that problem.

    Linguistic Notes
    For a first attempt, I think that went well. I don't speak any Italian other than sono vegano, so this was a gentle challenge. It's rather like French, once you get over the difference in how they are spelt. 

    I knew a lot of it was written in the past tense, because it's similar to the Spanish past tense, and while I can't really speak any Spanish either, I know what it looks like. 

    The biggest problem with Italian is the spelling. Once you have it cracked, it all starts to unravel. Che is pronounced /ke/, not /tʃe/ as I think is the obvious pronunciation for an Englander. This is similar in pronunciation to Spanish que, which has the same meaning of that or which. -ci- is pronounced /tʃ/, wheras -(c)chi- is /ki, with the h acting as a 'separator' between the consonant and the vowel, preventing the change from /k/ to /tʃ/. This is like the linking u in Spanish, (cf cecear /θeθear/, cuece /kueθe/). Likewise, -(g)gi- is /dʒ/, with -gghi- is /gi/.

    Piú means more, which is fairly transparently related to plus. Likewise, fiori being related to flora makes a lot of sense, so at some point during the transition from Latin to Italian, consonant-L-vowel became consonant-I-vowel. Piazza and plaza are another obvious pair.

    Ho verb-to seems to mean I verb-ed, with io ho verb-to as a variation. I'm guessing io means I, as it looks related to Spanish yo. Like Spanish, this seems optional. 

    i, le, il all seem to mean the. I'm guessing it's a singular-plural thing like French le, les. i is only seen before fiore, which I'm guessing to be the plural of fiora, so I'm going to take a leap and say that that is the feminine plural. *checks* wrong! It's just fiore, which is masculine (cf French le fleur), so i fiore is masculine plural. il is singular masculine the. And le spezie  is plural of la spezia, which is feminine.

    il fiore - i fiore
    la spezia - le spezie

    vi seems to mean you - vi piacciono means "you like" or "delights you". In le spezie che vi piacciono and latte di soia se vi piace, there is a different verb ending. Spices is plural, so piacciono is probably a plural verb, meaning that vi is likely to be a reflexive or the object. Piace is logically the singular, as soy milk is a singular noun. 

    So far, so easy. I wonder what I'll make next…

    A Taste for Languages

    Buongiorno! Salut! Moin! ¡Hola! 你好! こんいちは!

    You can call me Gug. I'm a bit of a geek. Particularly about food and linguistics. So, what better than to combine the two and talk to myself about it on the internet? Well, lots of things. But that's not important right now.

    I speak English (because I am English), and French and German (in very broad terms). I can sort of understand Spanish and Italian when they are written down, and Old English, for some reason. I have studied Japanese, Chinese, Welsh, Icelandic, Quenya… and basically everything I thought was pretty for half an hour. The trouble is that I never actually need to use these languages, so it all feels a bit pointless.

    This is where the challenge comes is: how much can I learn from recipes? Recipes are an easy choice, as they are

    • repetitive - chop, chop, dice, stir, fry, boil, bake, leave to cool. Sugar, flour, onions, garlic. Should be fairly easy.
    • short - rarely more than a page, with pictures.
    • delicious - as long as I don't cock it up too much, I get a meal out of it. 
    So, what am I waiting for?