Bon Appétit

One thing I absolutely love is cooking, especially all things Asian. I’m not sure where that interest comes from, but it could be the fact that as a kid all the food in our house was pretty bland and, when I finally flew the coop, discovered that the world had more things available to eat than just meat and boiled vegetables (more or less). My parents came from Finland and so the most exotic spices in the 1950s were salt and pepper. Mind you, anything related to baking was usually delicious.

Karjalan piirakka - potato and rye goodness (source photo: Wikipedia)

Karjalan piirakka – potato and rye goodness (source photo: Wikipedia)

I also developed a life-long disgust of anything made with or containing cabbage. But despite the fact that I loved the pastries, breads and other baked foods, I never became interested in baking. It was my time in the Air Force that introduced me to Asian food (lots of returned cooks from Penang, Malaysia) and which created a love for spice and flavour. It doesn’t matter what the style, Malaysian (my favourite), Thai, Indian, Vietnamese etc, I love and cook one or the other at every opportunity.

Thai inspired chilli muscles

Thai inspired chilli muscles

Sometimes my best meals are made when my wife is away and I get to experiment with ingredients and styles, to see if I can come up with new meals. Another reason for experimenting is to find new meals to take away when on our trips or camping. I used to take canned food and the like when going on our High Country trips, until I finally had enough of the awfulness. I now prepare meals in advance, vacuum pack them and simply reheat them by boiling in a billy; simple, minimal effort or cleaning and delicious food.

Simple cooking - Howitt High Plains Victoria

Simple cooking – Howitt High Plains Victoria

And with the availability nowadays of some truly excellent spice mixes, not those pour out of a jar ones, there’s no reason not to eat well wherever you go. I’ll go into more cooking tales later on.