Annie Bananie en Europe

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The art and science of cooking, part 5

I haven’t had time to organize my photos from my trip to Italy with my dad, so here’s something while that’s on hold – the 5th part of the “The art and science of cooking” series. After all, everyone likes some good food during the holiday season, no? ๐Ÿ˜‰

As usual, if you want to check out the previous editions, go ahead and read PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, and PART 4.

Ever since I saw my friend Stephane’s post about the most perfect rack of lamb he made, I’d been itching to try it on my own. Then Florence showed me a mouthwatering photo of a rack of lamb that she made. That was it. I was going to make it. With a huge kitchen and a lovely oven at my disposal in Louvain-la-Neuve in October, there was almost no reason NOT to give it a try. And it worked magically. Stephane’s suggestion was so simple yet so perfect – 40 minutes at 400 degrees F, no prior marinating required. I had doubts when I was cooking but when I bit into the juicy, tender meat, I felt like my life has been completed. Thanks Stephane and Florence for the inspiration!

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The art and science of cooking, part 4

Within the past few months, I’ve realized that I like to cook more than usual. As the thesis-writing and defense season draws near, I find that I generally prefer to cook at home rather than eat out. True, I get lazy sometimes and I don’t want to cook EVERY day, but I am cooking a lot more than I had anticipated before I entered the “thesis dash”. Even if I get home late, I’d prepare some home-made goodies and enjoy it with a bowl of rice. After all, what’s better than a freshly made Chinese meal served hot on a plate? Sometimes when I’m very tired, I just make something very simple that would be ready within half an hour. No complicated procedures or recipes, simple is the best!

Of course, I am living alone and almost always cooking only for myself, unless I invite friends over. The advantage is that my experiments are allowed to NOT work, and I’ll figure out what’s wrong and make it right when I DO invite my friends over! And I do love doing that. Watching friends enjoy eating food that I’ve prepared is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. Actually, two of my bucket list items involve cooking, one of them being “Cook a full dinner for my family at home” and the other “Invite my university friends to my house and cook a meal for them”. Europe, then, has certainly been my chance to hone my skills and prepare for the big days when I complete these challenges!

Well, without further ado, let’s get onto part 4 of this series. Interested in the previous posts in “The art and science of cooking” series? Check out PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3. And now, ร  table!

Spicy chicken is one of the typical dishes in Sichuanese cuisine. When they say spicy, theyโ€™re not kidding โ€“ the chicken should literally be buried in the chili peppers so that you’d have to dig out the meat. One day I spontaneously decided to try making this chicken dish as part of a dinner invitation. I knew my Hunanese friend would appreciate it and might even challenge the spicy tolerance of the Sichuanese, so I decided to give it a try ๐Ÿ˜‰ My recipe involved marinating, deep frying, re-frying, and a final stir frying. Seems complicated, but much less work than I had anticipated. Though I didn’t bury the chicken in chili peppers (although I already put as many chili peppers as I thought I could tolerate without burning my stomach), I gotta say my recipe worked out quite well!

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