Great cooking disasters of 2008 – No. 1

Rick Stein made it all look so easy when he demonstrated Chinese red cooked meat dish using wild boar meat on his BBC programme, ‘Food Heroes’.

But when I decided to follow suit in honour of the Chinese new year my problems came early. Not surprisingly I couldn’t find wild boar in Wokingham the day I wanted it. Nor the dried tangerine rind either. But the dish works with pork and I bought an orange and harvested my own peel which I set to dry on the kitchen table.

But the real problem started when I couldn’t find Rick’s recipe on the BBC website. Nor was the programme offered for replay or download on its new iplayer service. So it was to Google I went and found a recipe on the web.Great rejoicing; but unknown to me there was a hidden trap.

My suspicions were roused when I tasted the stew halfway through the cooking. It was very very salty.But I hoped for the best, added the final ingredient of carrots assuming that the final product would come out right.

But no! Lorraine was high in praise of my efforts but I could see she was struggling as we ate. In the end, to her immense relief I mentioned how salty it was; and she was free to agree.

What had gone wrong? Lorraine scrutinised the print out of the recipe. How much soy sauce had I used she queried? Two cups I replied, because it is ritten use two or three cups of saoy sauce. Oh no it doesn’t she pointed out. What it means is two-thirds of a cup. And that was the whole disaster – in an ambiguous number. Because what was written on the recipe was 2/3 cup of soy sauce; but I read it as two or three cups!

It was long thirsty nigh that followed. I felt as thirsty as I do when I’m on holiday in Greece in late July. Every couple of hours we each awoke to drink from large glasses of water at the bedside.

Only by lunchtime the next day after several more glasses of juice and cups of tea and coffee did we stop feeling thirsty from the overdose of saltiness.

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