Mushrooms in Ginger Shred Soup
from The Vegetarian Table: Thailand, Jacki Passmore, Chronicle Books, 1997.
Thai food is wonderfully tasty but, frequently, the flavours are enhanced with items such as fish sauce, shrimp paste or oyster sauce. It is, therefore, difficult to find vegetarian Thai meals so it was great to discover this book of vegetarian Thai recipes.
This soup had a variety of mushrooms in it: black fungus, dried mushrooms, canned straw mushrooms, fresh oyster mushrooms. All should have made a very tasty soup.
I had a few reservations about the quantity of ginger to be used but it was, after all, a ginger soup. Nevertheless, I cut back the quantity. However, when it was all complete the taste was far too strong. It overpowered everything so that the mushrooms were hardly noticed in the brew.
It would also have helped if it had suggested cutting up the straw mushrooms. Not having used these before it came as I surprise on eating the first one to find that it was hollow and filled up with the liquid—and it was hot. Instructions were given for cutting up the other mushrooms so I expected that the straw mushrooms were to be eaten whole.
All in all this was a disappointing result for my first attempt from this book. I do hope the next one will turn out better.
I set myself the task of cooking each night from recipe books. After three weeks perhaps I should take stock of what I have achieved.
* I have found some different ingredients and methods to add to my cooking repertoire. That, in itself, I guess is a small achievement. Partly this was occasioned by the fact that I had set myself strict rules for how I chose a recipe from a book. I knew that if I was going to browse through the book until something that appealed came to light then I would keep cooking the same sorts of things.
* I have developed a strong hankering for the standard simple meals that I did occasionally cook. In fact the recipe cooking each night may have to give way at times to satisfy the desire for the old.
* Cooking new recipes each night is not easy. I cannot imagine how Julie Powell managed to cook something new nearly every night for a year (524 recipes in 365 days)—in fact, I find it difficult to believe.
* Some new cooking implements have been purchased. None of the old have been disposed of so kitchen space has become extremely tight.
* Too much money was spent on new cookery books.
* I keep querying myself as to why I am doing this and I get answers like ‘self satisfaction’, ‘amusement’ and ‘pleasure’. These, I guess, are sufficient to keep going. One side issue that has happened is that I have, of necessity, had to write. I used to do lots of it at one time and it was always reasonably easy to do but, not having written for some time, it had become something of a chore. Writing is becoming easier again.
Looking back over what I have just written it seems that I have been steadily talking myself into continuing a bit longer.