When I lived in New Zealand, cooking was my way of getting to know the (then Boyfriend, now) Husband’s family and friends. Three of his sisters lived nearby in Christchurch and they, together with a boyfriend and various cousins, were regular visitors to our house. When I look back on the recipes that I gathered in those days, they rarely were for dining à deux; instead I cooked roasting tins full of Chicken with Garlic and Lemon, made overflowing pans of Beef and Chorizo Pie and baked large dishes of Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding.
I have become a cast iron convert. A Thursday night dash into a post-Christmas sale at Kitchen Compliments on Chatham Street in Dublin led to me becoming the proud owner of an oval “Racing Green” enamelled cast iron Chasseur casserole dish (the Chasseur range is like Le Creuset but a little cheaper). Well, I started off being proud until I realised how heavy it was and that I had to drag it – with the Boyfriend’s help – to an opening at an art gallery, all the way round the (very large) exhibition, to the after-opening drinks in a local pub, and into a bad Mexican take-away on its way home to my kitchen. It survived its eventful night out in Dublin and, since then, has been put to use on many occasions, some of which have, again, involved trips across town.
Before I left Ireland in 2004 I heard great reports about a new Vietnamese restaurant in Dublin’s Temple Bar. As it happened, the Boyfriend and I were hoping to visit Vietnam while either journeying to or from New Zealand but this never happened. Since my return, the regular mentions of in the cookbooks, magazines and websites that I read have piqued my interest so I jumped at the chance to take the Boyfriend to dinner in Hô Sen last night.
We were having five people over for dinner on Saturday night and, as I was digging through the cookbooks looking for inspiration, the boyfriend asked if I had ever cooked an Indian curry from first principles. Well, with a challenge like that it didn’t take me too long to dig out a few recipes that I’d been wanting to try for a while.