At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


Upon returning from Marin County the other night I really wanted some pork hash with salt fish. But, since I had spent all day among the savage Waspy types, and having eaten lunch from a place that reflected their Protestant tastes perfectly, I seriously needed some flavour. Extra flavour.

I was dreaming of steamed pork patty with salt fish. And, for good measure, a side dish of green chilies, as well as some stir-fried bitter melon.

The great thing about bitter melon is its crunchy greenness combined with that bracing herbal taste. Fun stuff. But it does need a little heat. So does anything nice and porky.

Steamed pork patty with salt fish is easy enough to prepare. Ground pork smooshed flat on a plate, some thick slices of salt fish (鹹魚 'haam yü') on top, plus shredded ginger, thinly slivered green chili optional. Steam for about ten minutes and it will be done, nice and fragrant.

The bitter melon needed only a little cooking. Nothing added, fine as is.

To pre-prep the chilies, I dumped a dozen in a pot of boiling water to blanch, then chopped and seeded them, and stirfried them with a little abalone sauce (鮑魚汁 'baau yü jap') and a splash of stock added.

By that time the rice was ready, so I briefly rinsed out the saucepan in which I had blanched the chilies and put it aside.

Not a festive and elegant meal suitable for company, especially seeing as most company would be aghast by the flavours unless they were fellow Dutch pipe smokers like myself with an Indonesian food background, or Cantonese with a serious jones for piquant (yes, such people do exist), but nevertheless epicurean, and fit for royalty. Especially if royalty wanted some real food for a change.

My ex would have been fine with two thirds of it. She's never really understood what my chilipepper thing is all about, and as a person of Toishanese extraction she cannot help but think that in some ways I've got a few screws loose. One of the dishes would not have found favour.
Salt fish, pork, and bitter melon; no problem. Chilies?
All yours, crazy white man; go ape.
Keeps you regular.

When I did the dishes later, I completely forgot about the saucepan.

I boiled the water for my breakfast caffeinated beverage in it.

A hot cuppa is quite essential early in the morning.

Strong tea, with milk and a little sugar.
Plus a hefty dose of capsaicin.
Quite the waker-upper.
Sweet Jayzus.

In some ways I am a monumental cheapskate, so the idea of throwing it out (such a waste!), scrubbing the saucepan, and starting over, never crossed my mind till I was already on the bus to Marin.
By which time it was a little too late.
I won't mention why.

The rest of the day only got better.

Chili-cheese pie for dinner!

Oh boy!

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