Preparation and cooking time: ~4 hours
So, here I am – back again from my hiatus and boy do I have some nice recipes lined up but before I go diving into those let me tell you a little about what I’ve been up to during my time away. Are you holding on to your hats people? Brace yourselves… I’ve been doing…
…Not a great deal at all. I’ve been eating fast food, I’ve been watching movies and I’ve been playing absolutely terrible, but incredibly addictive games on my cellphone. Yep – living the dream baby! Of course, that’s not all I’ve been doing – I’ve had a chance to spend some time with my wife and son and part of the “joy” (ahem) of eating fast food is that it frees up time normally spent on cooking and washing up so we can all be together. All in all a relaxing time! We’ve gone for some walks, taken some photos, one of which, taken by my wife, is shown below. I love the expression on my son’s face in this one – he just looks so happy!
My son was sick with bronchitis a couple of weeks ago which wasn’t pleasant at all. Poor little guy couldn’t lay down at all because he was too stuffed up so we had to sit up with him for a couple of nights while he slept upright in a sling strapped to us. He soon fought it off and went back to being the strong little trooper that he is though. I had a freak out when I discovered that my “contrôle technique” – a two-yearly examination which your car has to undergo in France – was actually due in January, not March as I’d thought. Managed to get an appointment for the test on the 29th of January – phew!
It snowed here, and then it melted away a few days later but on one of the most chilly evenings I noticed a rather worrying smell of gas inside our apartment. Heading out to our balcony I noticed the smell even more strongly. I even went down to the basement to see if I could figure out what was going on (note that this was at 2am!). In the end I decided that the safest thing to do would be to call the fire department who were very nice and told me not to worry, “it’s normal, there’s a gas cloud passing over Yvelines right now”. Ehm… a what? In any case, I found out the next day that there had been a leak in a factory in Rouen of the additive gas which is added to natural gas to give it the familiar odour and this gas cloud had been drifting all over the place – Paris, London – thankfully no need to evacuate our apartment in the middle of the snowy night though! That would have been very uncool – or rather very, very cool indeed, but not in a fun way – just in a toe-freezing, shivery way!
I promised you a brief write-up of the Secret Santa gift exchange as well! We had twelve participants and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. There are a few “crinkles” to be ironed out for next time. Mainly that postage to some areas of the world is really, really expensive, and delivery of the gift isn’t even guaranteed so delivery costs are going to be something I’ll have to look at closely next year. People were didn’t give me quite as many cool gift photos as I’d hoped they would, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that some cool stuff got exchanged, and I hope that the gifters/giftees can maybe chime in below in the comments and write a bit about their experiences! Thank you to everyone for taking part – I really enjoyed it! I will post a photo of my gift – as I mentioned before, a gift absolutely breathtaking in its generosity. Please excuse the poor photo quality, but pictured below is the gift of candies, Turkish delight, a fantastic hand-painted bowl, spice mixes and ingredients often used in baking in the middle east, tea, freekeh, photos from Jordan, a fridge magnet, coasters made from little mosaics of tile, sand art in a bottle, the ma’amoul mould (not shown) and a dead sea mud mask! Sawsan – thank you once again. I hope to post some recipes soon using the fantastic ingredients and spices you’ve sent me too!
That’s a little write-up of the last month. I’ve missed you all a great deal during my time away, and I hope you haven’t forgotten about me. I’ve been popping in here and there on peoples’ blogs in my absence, but haven’t commented a great deal, although I hope to get up to speed with that again very soon. A notable event which I thought I’d share with you is that during January, my YouTube channel topped 100,000 views. While relatively low compared to many channels online I see it as a fairly phenomenal achievement and really motivates me to try and create quality content for my followers through that medium.
As a thank you to everyone for helping me reach this milestone I’ve decided to run a little contest – with a difference. Each month I will post a photo of something which can be found in a kitchen. It might be a utensil, it might be a gadget, it might be an ingredient. Here’s the tough part though – the photo will be taken in such a way that will not make identification of the item easy. The fixed prize per month is a €20 Amazon voucher (or the equivalent in your currency and locale). Here’s the nice part though: if no-one wins one month then the prize will be carried over to the next month. Some terms and conditions apply – please refer to these before entering, but in the meantime please expand the box below to view the photo, the terms and conditions and the entry form. The answer (and winner, if there is one) will be announced when the next photo is posted in March!
Expand here to view the contest
Terms and Conditions:
- Only one entry per person
- Please guess only one thing
- The winner will be the person who gets the exact name correct
- In case of more than one correct entry, the winner will be randomly selected using Random.org
- Any entry not submitted using the submission form below will not be counted
- If you win but live in an area which isn’t served by Amazon then I’m open to suggestions for providing you with a voucher for an online store near you
On to the recipe though, and I thought I’d ease back into things with something very simple. I’m sure you already know how to make it, but since this is supposed to be an archive of things I make it would be remiss of me not to include it here. Besides – it’s a key ingredient or something I’ll be posting next so it all ties in nicely. Caramelised onions are fantastically good to eat – chock full of flavour and natural sweetness.
The only sad thing is that one huge sack of onions yields barely a handful of the final product, but onions aren’t expensive – at least not around these parts – so when you compare it to the cost of buying caramelised onions from a store the cost is pretty negligible.
I’ll be back in a few days with something tasty using these – until then, take care everyone!
- ~40g Butter
- ~4tbsps Olive Oil
- Lots of (~15-20 or more) Onions
- Start off by peeling and chopping the onions. You may find that using a mandoline is the easiest way to do this.
- In a large pot heat the butter and the olive oil together on high and when hot, add in the onions and stir well to coat the onion in the hot fat. Sauté the onions at this temperature for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until they start to turn translucent.
- Turn the heat right down quite low (a bit above the minimum setting) and leave the pot on the stove. Stir the onions every 20-30 minutes or so. They will reduce in volume a lot and gradually start to turn more and more brown.
- Once they reach this stage – which normally takes a good couple of hours – you’re in the final leg. You’ll need to stir the pan more regularly as they will now start to caramelise quite quickly, although it can still be up to another hour or so from here.
- Finally, the sugars will start to burn on the bottom of the pan and the onions will be a deep golden brown. Taste the onions – they should have a rich sweet flavour. I actually slightly undercooked my onions because of what I wanted to do with them (see my next post), but the colour shown below, or a bit darker is ideal. Enjoy!