One of my first food memories is of homemade smoked trout pâté, affectionately known as ‘gingiboat’. Ms Red has questioned our parents on the origin of the word gingiboat, and the response is always ‘I have no idea, you just started calling it gingiboat, and it stuck’. So no real insights there. To this day I have a soft spot for a well-made smoked trout pâté and have been known to make a bee-line to the relevant stall at growers markets muttering ‘gingiboat, gingiboat…’.
My Mum went back to uni while I was in primary school, and so was home a lot more. One of my main memories of this time is of mum cooking pikelets for afternoon tea, after school. I seemed always to be able to put away a scarily large number of pikelets for a 6 (or so) year old. On one particular occasion I managed to eat more than 20 in one sitting, and I regretted it pretty soon after. And now, I’m one of those weird people who don’t really like pancakes (although I make an exception for poffertjes).
3. Chicken with mustard sauce
One particular semester of Mum’s degree, she had a late afternoon/evening lecture. Ms Red and I used to go to my best friend’s house after school, then Dad would pick us up and make my then favourite dinner - mustard chicken with mash and veges. Every week without fail, the three of us had chicken with mustard sauce. And, while it might have been my favourite when Dad asked for suggestions at the start of the semester, I got over it pretty quickly. I asked Dad if we could have a break and have something else next week, and the look of hurt on his face was obvious even to a 7 year old, but he relented, and sadly chicken with mustard sauce has not made an appearance since.
This was one of the first things I learnt to cook solo, possibly because it doesn’t require an oven, just a microwave – you might have seen my previous post on microwave puddings. I have numerous memories of whipping this up in Mum and Dad’s old kitchen after dinner. It has now become a staple last minute dessert at our house, as well as at Ms Red’s. Although, sadly I don’t think Mum and Dad have continued the tradition...
My dad is one of those cooks who finds something that works and sticks with it (see above). Lasagne is one of these dishes, and it has outlasted all others. Dad’s lasagne makes a regular appearance whenever the four of us get together, and is often requested by extended family when they visit. I’m sure it’s totally not traditional, and that any self respecting Italian would disapprove, but it is the best lasagne I have ever eaten, with perfect bolognaise to béchamel sauce ratio. He has passed his skills on to Ms Red and I, but neither of us can ever get it quite right.
I remember very clearly my first Vietnamese food experience. Near the end of my last year at school, Dad drove me to Wollongong for a scholarship interview. The night before the interview, we walked to the mall to find dinner. Not surprisingly, the mall is not really the best place to find food, so we kept walking and ended up on Keira St, in front of a Vietnamese restaurant, Monsoon (which I later discovered was a Wollongong institution), luckily, they had a table and ushered us in. Neither of us had any idea what to order, so a very energetic waiter sat with us and helped us decide. I can’t remember what we had, apart from the best fish cakes I have ever eaten, and that I had never had anything like it before. Once I moved to Wollongong, Monsoon became a regular lunch (and dinner) spot, and I almost always order the signature Vietnamese beef noodle soup, pho bo, regardless of the temperature outside. Pho has become my measure of a Vietnamese restaurant, and is my first choice when trying out a new place. I am so in love with pho, that I convinced FH Alphie to spend three weeks in Vietnam earlier this year, just because I wanted an excuse to eat the delicious noodle soup for three weeks straight.
I had two food revelations in my first year of University, the first was my introduction to pho (above), and the second was an introduction to Lebanese. This happened around the time FH Alphie and I first got together. He was working at a Lebanese restaurant, and regularly brought things back to college to supplement the appalling food Eurest provided us. Also, FH Alphie’s Mum (FMIL), is Lebanese, and loves to cook, so she helped to open my eyes to Middle Eastern food – to think I once hated felafel! To this day, kibbi, hummus and baba ghanoush are some of my favourite foods. Oh, and flat bread! how could I forget that gloriously soft and stretchy flat bread!
8. Mum’s home grown lamb
Growing up, we didn’t have lamb much at home; the occasional crumbed cutlets were about the extent of it. Then, about four years ago, Mum started raising her own sheep, and lamb became a hot commodity in our family. I now eat lamb at every opportunity (only Mum’s of course), from roasts to stir fries, slow cooked shanks to meatballs, and casseroles to those familiar cutlets.
9. FH Alphie's pizza
This has already featured here, but it deserves another mention. FH Alphie first started making pizza about 3 years ago, when we first started living together. Initially he didn’t make the bases, and it was an infrequent event. Then it became more regular, but he still wasn’t making the bases. After a couple of tries at making the bases, he finally settled on a recipe from Good Living and it became a Friday night feature. Even though I’m in Perth at the moment, the tradition is continuing with Mr & Mrs Pink, but I really miss my Friday night pizza hit.
And, last, but definitely not least, macarons! Who would have guessed! As regular followers (all 9 of you...) will know, I’m suffering from a macaron addiction at the moment. And after a number of attempts, I think I’ve finally perfected them using a recipe, and am now getting excited about creating my own flavours.
So, now that I've shared, what would be in your food biography?