Tuesday, May 19, 2009


...because I'm a lousy cook and had abso-fuckin-lutely no chance of cooking an edible meal except for kibble and chicken soup for the dogs. (And even that I mess up occassionally)

Until now.

I believe cooking is like intelligence, style, personality and perhaps writing ability. You either have the talent or you don't and no amount of Master's degrees or studying with the masters will make you a great cook.

Unless you are Russian. I told my hairdresser today that cooking is a talent and he said except if you are Russian because they can serve a buffet from literally nothing in the refrigerator.

I have trained my maids to do everything but cook. In that department, I can't even tell them how to make tea or boil water. When God was giving out cooking demonstrations, I was still browsing the home decor and fashion departments while getting sidetracked by a scarf tying demo.

However, everything changed last Friday when I hired RICARDO SILVA (mailto:biotico2003@yahoo.co.uk;%20+852 6894-2582), a Portuguese chef to teach my maids and me how to cook. Nora and Monica can cook well. In fact, they said they didn't need any more potato recipes because they know so many. (Maybe they are secretly Russian)

They have also mastered the art of juicing because they have to serve me some kind of fresh juice combination everyday.

What they wanted to learn was a fresh pesto recipe and a salad dressing recipe which I, who only knows how to pay (not even choose something in a jar) thought would be a good idea. I also wanted them to see that there were people who ate vegetables other than salad and stir fry.

Chef Ricardo is a vegetarian who specializes in (what else?) vegetarian dishes but since arriving in Hong Kong, he has expanded his repertoire. He has trained the staff of several prominent HK families and also prepared food for their dinner parties.

Part of Chef Ricardo's extended repertoire is lamb which I decided to make an exception of because I don't eat any meat except chicken and it is hard to find good lamb in HK. (Not that I have had first hand experience but that's what many people say!)

I plan on using his recipe when I cook in Europe where local lamb is always available. (Now I just have to learn how to use the grill) It also works with chicken but the strong flavour really goes better with lamb.

His lamb's strength lies in the marinade which we used to marinate the meat overnight.

What's in it? Right now, I don't know. I just had the recipe printed out and passed it to Nora.
At some point I will read it and panic because I will not know where to get the ingredients or what they look like. Obviously this will happen in Europe where I will look like a fool.

He also taught us a great pesto sauce made of basil (which might be like saying a cake recipe with flour) and pine nuts but he said we could substitute the basil or blend it with parsley, coriander and/or rocket).

To keep the rich green color of leftover pesto, pour some olive oil on top of it before putting it in the refrigerator.

Then there was the dressing whose formula was 1/3 acid (balsamic vinegar or bleach if you want to kill your guests), 2/3 olive oil, lime, salt, mustard or whatever you want to put in such as pureed raspberries or strawberrries, honey, etc..

Next month, Chef Ricardo returns to Chez Sutherland to teach us how to make tiramisu and sabayon with champagne.


Anonymous said...

I actually have made pesto using only coriander leaves. It has a wonderful, refreshing taste. I also make malunggay pesto -- my ex-wife would always make me prepare malunggay pesto when she was breastfeeding our son (they say eating malunggay aids in the expression of mother's milk).

Sam said...

This is a fun piece. I was reading your post and the trailer for "Julie and Julia" came on!!! Imagine your wicked humor with Julia Child's sly take on French cuisine. It would be some weekend piece for the IHT or FT, don't you think? Go ahead, deprive me of your posts as you do fun work that actually pays! Pray that I do not miss my deadlines for homework, too!! Life is a bitch but I am learning to roll with it!!LOL!!!