If you want to learn to cook, go some place beautiful where there is no food

I guess it could backfire, but it has worked for me. I’ve enjoyed figuring out what to eat and trying new recipes to expand the menu. The other day, I wanted something different to drink and made a batch of ginger ale. It was a little nerve wracking because it carbonates and makes its fizz in the sealed bottle. If you let it go too long, the bottle explodes. I found myself testing the plastic bottles for fullness a lot. The recipe came from a Google search and worked well.



My techniques for making bread, yogurt, bagels, pizza and english muffins have been refined and perfected over the past three months. And I have had a good workout to boot. I don’t have any power appliances, so I knead, stir, cream and mix all by hand. Sometimes, I even work up a sweat. How nice if you could burn off the calories before you actually ate the food!

Often, I just look at the provisions and figure out what I have a lot of and need to cook. So I made gnocchi from potatoes; creamy tomato soup, sloppy joes and lots of sauce from tomatoes; oatmeal cookies and scones from oatmeal, chicken curry from the large tin of curry powder; beet soup, carrot cake, semolina pudding, and risotto.

P2110134.JPG P2140118.JPG P2140119.JPG P2160122.JPG

Things really become interesting and unpredictable when I have to substitute ingredients. The other night, I tried to make an icing from yogurt and thought I would counter the acidity with baking soda like you do when baking. Instead, I had an acid-base reaction in bowl and inedible icing. I tried again without the baking soda and it was fine.


Now where is that recipe for roast goose?

8 thoughts on “If you want to learn to cook, go some place beautiful where there is no food

  1. Me and Liz just made the first (of many) banana bread in my apartment. Liz says it was the best it had ever come out for her. I told her it was because I kept checking on it instead of just blindly following the allotted time (which was about 30 minutes to short in my shotty oven). However, Liz did do something strange: she melted the margarine before placing it in the mixing bowl. I said this step was unnecessary and the margarine would assimilate fine as is. She refused to listen to logic and stated that whenever margarine or butter is listed, it is implied that it must be melted. I worry that melting it would cause too much of the volume to evaporate. I think shes crazy. However, it did not affect the taste. Can’t wait for you to come see the new apartment, and I think you took some of my pots when you moved. Any recollection?



    • Congratulations on the banana bread. We ran out of bananas a couple of months ago. I don’t melt the margarine but I guess in a cake or bread it wouldn’t matter. I never melt it when I make cookies, when you need the aeration of the butter.

      I may have a large fry pan, I’m not sure. Do you need baking pans?? My favorite piece of cookware is now a Le Creuset type of cast iron pot that is in the caretaker’s cottage. I use it for everything, distributes heat well and cleans easily.

      I am excited to see your new apartment and you. Did you know you live near one of the best knitting shops in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn General Store on Union?


  2. I’ve loved reading about your time on Deal. I will look at it with new eyes when I fly over it in a few weeks’ time!

    My dad used to make ginger beer in a similar way (a recipe I’ve continued to play with over the last ten years), and told me about the time he kept all the bottles under the house, where they exploded (as they do). This time, though, there was enough pressure to embed the glass shards on the underside of the jarrah floorboards (and jarrah is one of the hardest, heaviest timbers I know of!).

    Ever since hearing that story I’ve brewed my ginger beer in plastic lemonade or coke bottles πŸ˜‰

    Looking forward to catching up with you soon! Let me know when you’re back on the big little island.


    • Thanks, I will. We’re tentatively scheduled to return to the little big island, or big, little island on March 15, depending on the conditions of course. I’ll definitely touch base when we know. I’m just finishing up the last bit of fleece, light fingering weight organic merino, that I plan to dye with onion skins. Since you enjoy some home brew, any chance you could use 40 plastic pet bottles with screw caps? Or several boxes of chamomile tea? Careful when flying through the air!!!


      • Plastic bottles will be welcome here, either for brewing into or making juggling clubs with! Chamomile tea isn’t a favourite of mine, but I know several people who do drink it πŸ™‚

        I’d love to see what you’ve made whilst on the island πŸ˜€


      • The bottle supply dwindled but we still have about ten left, unfortunately only 6 still have grog. I’ll post photos of my knitting and spinning! You were a fairy godmother. Let me know if you want an item. My last project will be a tea cozy for the house, either a penguin or flower. Please admire the tracks and all the freshly mown green grass when you fly over Deal Island.

        And I should have said fly through the air with the greatest of ease!


  3. It’s a bit concerning that I like a bit of negative ease, then.

    And I really must get a wriggle on with my dragon. I’ve been a bit distracted by jumpers and gift knitting! I do have yarn picked out for lizard socks, though πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.