Monday, September 28, 2009

Something to Nibble on..

It's a hard life working in a kitchen. Especially when that kitchen happens to be the size of my bedroom with four anxious, sweaty chefs crammed in-between the bench and burners and the ginormous decorative plant that sits in the middle of the pass. It's an open kitchen which means we're in full view of every customer and person who walks by on the street from the moment we enter until the moment we leave. The presence of my boss in the public eye is a reminder too that our actions are constantly scrutinised, even outside of work. Perfection is always the goal, especially when it comes to the food. Taste, season, taste, adjust, taste, taste, taste!

I loathe to say it but yesterday on my day off, I ate two minute noodles for dinner. Spicy Beef Flavor with dehydrated vegetables and MSG. Don't lie, I know you do it too! While everyone else sits down for their meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, time does not unfortunately afford us chefs this luxury. Breakfast is my only regular meal and always consists of the same thing - fruit with yoghurt and cereal. At lunch time you'll often find me fishing a chicken wing out of the stock pot to nibble on in-between prep jobs and for dinner I just scavenge what I can from the nights service before it goes into the bin.

It's funny, the grazing. Even when I'm not working and tasting, I feel like I should be. I seem to be perpetually on the lookout for a little something to eat here and there - an apple, a handful of nuts, a wedge of cheese.. This is a recipe for crackers to nibble on with all of the above. It's terribly easy to make and doesn't require any skill whatsoever.

Pepper Crackers
adapted from Spice by Christine Manfield

240 g flour
2 g black pepper
2 g sea salt flakes
4 g castor sugar
50 g lemon juice
100 g water
50 g olive oil
Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl.
Combine all wet ingredients in another bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until it forms a cohesive mass.
Wrap in clingfilm and rest for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 160ÂșC.
Divide dough into 6 pieces.
Roll each piece through a pasta machine from widest setting to no.6 (where 1 is the thickest and 9 is the thinnest).
Cut into desired shapes and place straight onto a heavy-based steel tray.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway.
Cool on tray for a few minutes then move to a wire rack to complete cooling.
Store in an airtight container.

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