Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The most enjoyable pastime

Alright, admittedly the second most enjoyable pastime, but cooking definitely is unimpeachably on place two.

As I'm currently in the situation most people may call «unemployed», however which I prefer to dub «extended application period» [1], I have plenty of time for (a) applications [2] and (b) the creation and refinement of dishes. By the time I eventually get my studentship I could probably hire as a chef.

So yesterday's dinner was *ahem* «Pork chops in a mustard-white wine sauce severed with fresh parsley potatoes and seasonal vegetables [3]». As far as one can refer to anything shopped in Sainsbury's as «fresh» - well, the temperatures are for sure «fresh» [4].

To the recipe. We need: Pork loin steaks (preferably with bones, as it keeps the meat juicy), salt, pepper, flour, thyme, marjoram, white wine, Dijon mustard, cream, waxy potatoes, butter, parsley, carrots and leak (our «seasonal» vegetables).

Pork chops and white wine sauce:

  • Season the pork chops from both sides with salt and pepper, then flour one side. Start frying at high heat in some oil with the floury side down until nicely golden. Depending on the thickness of your steaks this takes 2 to 3 minutes per side. You should have a close eye on it, as heated flour tends to stick even to non-stick pans.
  • Put the steaks on an ovenproof plate, cover with tin-foil and transfer to a preheated oven (80-100 centigrade will do).
  • Now pour a glass of white wine into your frying pan (do not clean in between!), add a tea-spoon of mustard, some thyme and marjoram. Let it simmer until the alcohol is evaporated, then pour in a small cup of cream and leave with an occasional stir at low heat until the sauce thickens.

And our side-dishes:

  • Peel the potatoes (unless you want to make mash you should use a waxy brand), cut into reasonable chunks, place in a pressure cooker with a tiny amount of water (5-10mm high) and heat until the pressure-meter reaches the second ring. Turn down the heat and leave at high pressure for seven minutes. Since I've never boiled potatoes normally, I'm afraid I can't advise you on this. I suppose if the boiled potato slides off a fork easily it's done.
  • In a pan/pot melt some butter, add chopped parsley and sway the potatoes gently in the mixture until they are covered in a tasty butter-parsley coat (they shouldn't be green though!). Season with salt.
  • The rest is even easier: Chop carrots and leak into little wafers and rings respectively and fry gently in some butter until soft-ish.
  • If you are eager, also boil some green-beans in salted water. Alternatively, peas, sugar-snap or any imaginable vegetable will do as well (okay, I wouldn't recommend aubergines as they tend to sponge up all the grease).

Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery. You'll have to use your imagination for the looks of the dish.

[1] My BHF application failed on the project, so I'm on the market once again.
[2] Cover letter or CV anyone? I am a pro by now!
[3] Hooray for globalisation! Wonder where they are in season right now.
[4] For anyone who's now confused due to a lack of delightful British shopping experience: the refrigerating units don't have doors and thus supermarkets turn into a cold-distribution centres.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, if you fancy a move to Asia, my homeland just came up with this scholarship thingie....

NUS is actually not that bad in terms of world rankings, while most NUS's PhD students are doing their lab-work in the A*STAR institutes....

And besides, I think you would be a shoo-in for this scheme!

Have a nice day!

:> Alvin

1:43 am  
Blogger Mike said...

I thought about Singapore, but I was more considering it for a PostDoc. I have a flat, friends, girlfriend and everything here in London, so I'm reluctant to move away now.

I've secured a job for the beginning and applications keep running. Sooner or later I'll have something suitable in the UK.

How's your PhD hunt going btw?

12:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me? I've got a thesis seminar on thurs, and then I will become a free man....... for about 2 months, but hired on to finish up honours work (like you!)..... Then it's off to the army for two years... note that I'm being dragged in by the law, rather than going in willingly....

So yeah, I shall put my PhD hunt on a super-duper long hiatus (ie, by the time we meet in person again, you would be pretty much sticking the letters 'PhD' behind your name, while my scientific skills would have been so rusty!). Basically, I do have offers to go back to Australia for a PhD, but without a Class (I) for my honours grade, it will be hard to secure any scholarship....

Meanwhile, aren't you thinking of going over to DFKZ-Heidelberg for your PhD anyway? If so, don't you have to do a Masters to get in?

:> Alvin

11:16 am  
Blogger Mike said...

Oh yes, I completely forgot that you are quite the youngster and still have to do your military service. Half bad, you'll probably end up as an officer and I heard there's tiger bear for free. ;-)

DKFZ, that's a story on it's own. I had a telephone interview, I set up a demonstration to illustrate my research to the group which invited me, but as soon as I wanted to book my flights, the contact in Heidelberg played dead and ignored my emails...

I'm expecting to have an interview at the institute of child health very soon though, which hopefully ends my PhD draught-track.

Gook luck with your honours!


12:49 pm  

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