About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, January 30, 2006
Shopping Trip
I had a plan.

Fish stock in the fridge, paella rice in the cupboard, throw in some baby squid, there's a nice Arroz a la Banda. Squid was all that was wanted, so after work off to my favourite fishmonger. Closed. Never mind, there is another one not far from where I live. Open. No squid.

Change of plan.

A few stores up from the fish shop is a Noodle Hut. That looks good; fessed up in a previous post that my Asian cooking skills may not be up to scratch, so somebody else doing it, is just great. Before we go any further, it's not that all my Asian skills aren't up to par, it's noodle dishes I have trouble with. For instance, Thai green curry, Tom Yum soup, no problem. I suspect the problem I'm having with noodle dishes is related to heat, or more correctly, lack of heat.

Several years ago, Victoria's main gas supplier threw the wrong switch and blew up the terminal. Everyone, with certain exceptions, was ordered to turn off their gas supply. No cooking, no hot water, nothing. At this time, I was friendly with Andrew of Hing Shing, a Chinese takeaway in Moorabbin. Rather than close his business, Andrew hired gas bottles with burners, To this he added what essentialy looked like a chimney, which the wok sat on top of. Andrew explained that the chimney was to draw the gas and air up together, giving more heat than the burner could provide unaided, because intense heat is what is needed in wok cooking.

While I was in Andrew's shop, the phone rang, it was his mother from Hong Kong, so he sked me to take over the wok with the fried rice. What the hell. I can tell you that tossing a wok full of fried rice is hard work. Andrew needed to do something else, so he handed me the phone; I spoke a few words of English, his mother a few words of Chinese, then we both paused and laughed, a few more words, a lot more laughter.

Back at the Noodle Shop I decide that a glass of wine would be nice, saunter off to the bottle shop to pick up a crisp chenin blanc. It's hot, so over to the vending machine for a cold drink, put the correct change in, press the button, nothing happens. A woman sitting on the bench next to the machine, half sings, half cackles to me,

"You didn't put enough money in, you didn't put enough money in."

Push the button again, no response.

"You didn't put enough money in, you didn't put enough money in."

Step back from the machine to have a better look, a light blinks on, the machine must be feeling the heat too. Push the button a third time, triumph, my cold drink arrives. The woman cackles again,

"You put the right money, you put the right money."

"I did too," I laugh.

"Yes, you did."

Go back to the noodle shop, pick up my order and head back to the car. Walk past an arcade, where the busker Cowboy Bob has just set up. There on a bench next to him, listening to his country and western set, is the women from next to the vending machine.

I bet Cowboy Bob was mighty pleased to have her there.
  posted at 11:23 am


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