Fried Rice ~ Basic Recipe

IMG_9565_2For several months one year, we had two young women staying with us through the Canada World Youth Program; one was a Canadian university student from Sherbrooke, Quebec, and the other, an economics student from Jakarta, Indonesia. Language was one of the key components to their stay here, as well as volunteering in the community. While I struggled with Indonesian, finding it difficult to separate the words, as the language is so fluid, I did find my high school French coming back to me so quickly. The three of us would laugh, quite often pointing, or drawing pictures to communicate. But slowly it all started to happen. Often just a quick sentence, but the intent was picked up on.

Besides language, food was a huge part of us getting to know each other and our cultures. Our household became used to the scent of rice in all its cooked forms. During Ramadan, the two of them would get up before dawn, and start cooking the early meal. Usually it was a simple assembly of fried rice. A few pieces of garlic, onions, and hot peppers, fried with leftover rice from the evening meal. Other bits of vegetables or meats would be added, and served with sambal oelek and ketjap bentang. This meal would last them right through until the late meal. Our Quebec guest found it very hard to manage the long days of fasting, but did it to experience her counterpart’s religion. Our tiny, Indonesian friend explained to me, that if you eat less, it is far easier to make it through the day, as she watched with glee as our young Canadian friend wolfed down a bagel with cream cheese following her fried rice.

Frying the rice before cooking it (instead of frying leftover rice) gives it a nuttier flavour. The recipe still uses small amounts of vegetable, meats, and egg to make it a complete meal. Be creative with this, as it is a very simple meal, using what is at hand. It can easily be fully vegetarian, or just use the egg if you like. Continue reading

Pea Soup with Ham

IMG_2734A hearty bowl of pea soup can turn a day around.  Working outside during the month of February can be bone chilling cold.  We do get the odd “day lent”, when the sun pours down and reminds us of the spring that’s right around the corner.  Usually though, it’s wet with the occasional snow flurry.  The ground is saturated with a winter’s worth of rain, and it’s the perfect time to pound in fence posts before the ground dries up for another year.  Wire to be stretched, staples to be hammered, all working towards a hard day’s work.  When we come into the kitchen, and know that we are about to have a hearty bowl of soup, we feel looked after, cossetted even.

This is so easy to make, and the vegan version is great as well.  Enjoy big bowls full with fresh scones on the side as a fabulous supper.  You’ll be glad we’re in the depths of winter.

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