Teriyaki Sauce From Scratch and the Romantic Sledgehammer

The first day of school for Posy today, who had a terrible, horrible, no-good morning. Her silly putty fell in her milky cereal, she choked when she tried to drink out of her water bottle, and the zip of her jacket attacked her, all before 8.30am. Luckily her day got better from there - this afternoon her new class and teacher were pronounced 'totally awesome'.

And me? Oh, the serenity! I realised today that over the whole summer I have had a total of three hours home alone, when all the girls went to a movie together. So this morning I looked around at a considerably less than pristine house, ignored it, made a cup of tea and sat down to watch Poirot. Ooh, I do love the first day of school.

On the no grocery shopping front, yesterday morning I had two appointments, three quarters of an hour apart, right near the supermarket, wholefood shop and bakery. Normally, I would have grocery shopped, but yesterday I was forced to sit in the car and read my book. Oh, the trials of my life.

I am reading Food First by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins. I know that the production and distribution of food is a highly political enterprise, predicated on keeping power and wealth in the hands of the few. I want to eat and feed the family outside of that system, and I think this is the book to describe that system, and make me even more irritable about the state of our, erm, civilisation..

...it is a single system, supported by governments, corporations and landed elites, that is undermining food security both in our countries and the Third World. The forces in Africa, Asia and Latin America cutting people out of the production process and therefore out of consumption turn out to be the same forces that have converted the food system into one of the most tightly controlled sectors of our own economies.
Food First, prelude

The other book I am reading is a jolly dalliance in the garden - collected Independent gardening columns by Anna Pavord. Unfortunately, the issues of unsustainable globalisation and the horrible propensity for our luxuries to be paid for by other, faceless people who live far, far away, seem to follow me whatever I am reading.. here is the first February entry:

I've gone off red roses in a big way since a trip to Ecuador this time last year. Vast tracts of the country were covered in polythene tunnels filled with bushes of red roses and further vast tracts of native wildflowers were being bulldozed to prepare for yet more of this rapacious monoculture.
Production was just coming to a peak for St Valentine's Day. The compounds were guarded by blockhouses and sub-machine guns. From the barbed wire of the perimeter fence, you could see girls picking the flowers, the air in the tunnels (and outside) thick with the acrid smell of sulphur. It's burned to destroy pests and disease. It does a good job on lungs too.
The Curious Gardener, A Year in the Garden

Her pick for Valentine's Day? The tulip. Of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, our gardens are full of roses, and hopefully, so are the farmers' markets. But for true romance, take a leaf out of my neighbour's book. He texted me last night, 'Can I borrow your sledge hammer? It's my wedding anniversary..'

They are at the end of a landscaping project, and he still hadn't knocked down the other half of a brick wall which was on the end of his rather long list, and at the top of his wife's list. So that is all she asked for for their anniversary. I can hear the wall coming down as I write. So romantic.

So, to dinner. Tonight we were going to have Korma curry. I could have sworn there was a tin of coconut milk left, but no. So dinner changed to teriyaki chicken stir fry. Over the summer I borrowed a Japanese cook book from the library. I only tried one recipe, and it was brilliant: teriyaki sauce. This apparently does not come in a jar in Japan!

Teriyaki Sauce
2T mirin (or sherry)
2T tamari (or soy sauce)
2tsp honey
Add anything you like to this sauce. I added grated ginger and garlic.

Stir all the ingredients together. Saute your meat with a little oil. Remove from pan. Pour in the sauce and bring to the boil. Let it reduce a little, return meat to pan, and coat. If you want to turn this into stir fry, add vegies (that is the broccoli, beans and spinach used up), and a little water to stretch the sauce. If you want to thicken the sauce, mix a half teaspoon of corn flour with a spoonful of water and tip into the pan. Add more half teaspoons of cornflour until the desired consistency is reached. Never tip dry cornflour into hot liquid or you will get lumps!

This is delicious and divine, and even certain children who were completely wedded to the idea of Korma curry and naan, were convinced that this was an acceptable substitute.


Heather said…
The first day of school is such a nice day for moms. I'm glad you enjoyed it and let the housework wait for later.
Anonymous said…
I remember the first day of school. The collective sigh of relief can be heard bouncing off every interior car space as the final door slams shut..."Ahhhh" :)Being able to turn a korma into teriyaki is an art ma'am. I am impressed that your progeny actually eat curry. Mine are very tenuous even as adults (unless it is Korean of course and then we get it in buckets ;) ). I, too, am reading. I wish I could find enough time in the day to sit down and actually finish my book but alas, something always seems to crop up. Today I read! (even if I have to hide under the bed with a thermos and a torch to accomplish it! Cheers for the teriyaki recipe. I am going to make some and serendade some chook for Steve with it's unctuous allure. Here's hoping Mr Korma enjoys it ;) keep sane and cool as Friday brings us back to another blast of heat. Don't you love it when Summer adores us SO much that it can't be away from us for more than a week? I am trying to think of ways to make Summer sad so that it cries a little bit...a bit of Summer sadness is called for about now don't you think?
Jo said…
Heather, oh yes, first day of school we love you:)
Fran, yes the joys of summer. And this weekend we won't be able to get in the pool as we are having a new fence built right next to it. So don't make summer cry while the builders are here. Next week, you can be as mean to it as you like!
Tanya Murray said…
A charming read once again. At a pinch if you run out of coconut milk for a recipe (or rather get halfway through the cooking and go to the cupboard and find it bare!) my mother used to soak desiccated coconut in water or milk for a while and then add to the curry etc. Please tell us about your reads at the next meet up too.
Anonymous said…
I had a feeling that imported cut flowers were probably toxic and exploitative. Sigh. Your teriyaki recipe is timely! I tried one earlier in the week which didn't go down very well, so I will try yours next time.
Jo said…
Tanya, thanks for the coconut milk save - I will give it a go.
Exacting life, the problem with reading is you find out things you don't want to know. And then you can't unknow them. Yes, sigh. Soon the only thing I will be morally able to eat is what I can forage from hedgerows..
Sorta tempted by the teriyaki sauce, thankfully I'm full from dinner! Otherwise :p I made my own sweet chili sauce a little while ago, I was very chuffed with myself :p

Congratulations for surviving school holidays!
Unknown said…
Oh Lordy, i feel such a heathen among you lot. Im reading too but nothing so worthy as your selection. Ive been reading mountains of novels since Christmas and enjoying myself greatly. Such a variety. From Matthew Reilly's Ice Station (action plus) to an amazing Australian story from Colleen McCullough - Bittersweet(A+). I can honestly say that i have never been at home without someone to look after. I cannot imagine it. Even if its only a few hours after drop off and pickup, it would be so lovely. Not whinging as im very greatful to be employed (hubbby lost his job again) but it would be nice to "play house" on my own. That sauce sounds divine - its on my list.
Jo said…
Sarah, I love sweet chilli, and it is on my list of things to make one day. Did you post a recipe? I'll have to search! Do try teriyaki, it is good (especially as this time rather more honey than I intended fell into the bowl!)
Lynda, I haven't listed all the other books I'm reading, which include Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett!
And I hear you on the alone thing. It is like gold. I have absolute admiration for all of you who bring home the bacon, as well as cooking it, and in your case, growing the veg to go with it. You are a goddess! Maybe you could persuade the boys to go out this weekend for a bit of male bonding?
Unknown said…
Oh that's funny Jo, male bonding. I have two Aspies in the house, one 16 the other 53 and both of them believe themselves to be "King" and so im lucky at the end of each day to come home and find the house standing now that Hubby is home full time and they have no escape from each other. Unfortunately the referee must go to work but the phone calls come all day. Dont tell me to switch my phone off, LOL, they will call me on the work line as if i can somehow fix the issue while 20 km away and running 3 companies at the same time (which is of no consequence since i "sit on my arse all day drinking coffee". Breathe In... Breathe Out...Breathe In... Breathe Out...
Jo said…
Lynda, now I begin to understand your Zen post. Keep breathing sweetie:)

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