Sunday, November 03, 2013

Yen's Kitchen: What Transpired Between the Love-Hate Relationship with Chicken Pies...

It is very simple to make a chicken pie. You go to the nearest farm, chase after a chicken to ensure that the chicken is in good health to run a marathon with you around the coop, get a ready made pie shell, slaughter the caught chicken, pluck out the feathers and sit the chicken on the empty pie shell and shove everything into an oven. Viola~! You have the best chicken pie in the whole entire world. And whoever says that it's easy to make a chicken pie is a real liar. So I started the story with a lie... I apologize for not being honest. So, let me start again and give you a real picture of what transpires within the four walls of my kitchen.
It started a month back when the hubby was suppose to pick the menu for our daily lunch and he, of all things, he picked chicken pie. Since chicken pie wasn't a normal meal for lunch, in my opinion, I started making a list of who to send the chicken pies out. You don't expect me to roll out 7 chicken pies just for us. Since it's going to be a lot coming out, I don't know how or why or what, but somehow or other, the kitchen is capable of multiplying in numbers. The first batch was a hit with everyone EXCEPT for my eldest who said it was horrible and terrible. My first thought was, "Wow... EVERYONE LIED STRAIGHT IN MY FACE SAYING IT'S DELICIOUS AND TASTY." The first person I wanted to yell at was my kitchen angel coz' I thought he deceived me when I always think he will give me an honest answer. The second person I wanted to release my bomb at was the hubby, of course. And I was aiming my verbal machine gun to the rest of the gang. But before I sent everyone my venomous verbal attack, I took out the second batch of chicken, I always have back up in my refrigerator for such event, and whipped out a better chicken pie filling and sent all out without reserve. My kitchen crew offered to help out and I'm forever grateful to these wonderful teenagers.

Do you know that the recipe that I stared at would give you such dry chicken pie that before you could swallow a spoonful of them, you would have choke on your dining table, not to mention that the dry fillings literally sucked up your saliva, so you would be left with nothing but a mouthful of sand-like chicken pie. I can share with you the recipe because it's in my head. 400gms of chicken, cubed, 1 carrot, 1 potato, cubed, and onions. That's all. Nothing else. Let me share with you what I have understood after all these years of reading recipes. Everyone lied. The expensive cook books that said they would reveal to you the best secret in the kitchen, they just shared with you part of the truth. Those in the Internet, it was half-truth as well. So, let me share with you something about the tedious work of creating delicious chicken pies.
Mixed vege. You don't mix in the mixed vegetables thinking that those chopped up peas would be delicious. Those green peas were the number one chokers and spoilers of all taste. Oh, well... if you love green peas then go ahead. I know I don't and my girls don't like them as well so it took me half an hour to sort out 4 kgs of mixed vege. Someone asked me to buy carrots and cubed them myself. Hahahaha... very funny... by the time I cubed the carrots, the sun would have gone down and came up again. Might as well ask my rabbits to cube the carrots for me.
Secondly, those potatoes must be cubed as well. 1 potato the recipe said. I'm not that naive to believe that. I have 24 potatoes to cube. Peeling potatoes wasn't hard work but cubing potatoes was the one giving me blisters on my palm and I was cursing high and low. Kitchen helpers you say? I never have kitchen helpers and my girls can't even pick green peas. They were out cycling while I was cycling in the kitchen. 

Did you just ask me why am I so crazy to give so many people chicken pies? It has nothing to do with craziness. Number one, to make let's say 2 chicken pies just to give away, that's craziness. You can't just make 2 chicken pies, or 3 or 4. If you want to do, do it all at one go then you can forget about it next time. So I have a list of 113 chicken pies to be given away so that I don't leave anyone out of the loop. The hubby was asking for more, Judz wanted them and the kitchen angel as well. Everyone else just appeared. I don't say no to people neither do I give sparingly. I give generously... shouldn't that be the way in giving?
Marinade round 1... don't guess... there are more than 10 ingredients in there...
Marinade round 2... guess if you really want to torture yourself...
Marinade round 3... you will never know... come out with your own concoction
Now, continue with the easy but tedious work. Marinate the chicken pieces. No recipe will tell you what to marinade them with other than salt and pepper. I don't use salt in my cooking. Have never use salt for 10 years so don't blame it on the salt if you can't get the perfect taste. It has nothing to do with salt. The chicken pieces went through 3 rounds of marinate but I have to admit that this time round, the kick wasn't there. I couldn't remember what I marinade them with in the earlier version. Kitchen angel ain't helping coz I never ask for his help in the first place. The hubby couldn't help because whenever I prepare, I am all alone in the kitchen. I don't write down because it's not my habit to write anything down. And honestly, I don't share recipes because I would rather keep it to myself and die with it. Every kitchen holds its own secrets. And not everything can be taught. You understand now why no one will share recipes 100%? My kitchen holds the most secrets even my hubby doesn't know how to make McJu burgers. 
Then you need eggs in the chicken pies which was not stated in the recipe. The best chicken pie that I have eaten was from Dave Deli's. Then, cooked the filling in the rice cooker... nah, that's a total lie. You need a big wok unless you are seriously trying to make only 2 chicken pies. I think I almost sprain my back frying those mountainous heap of fillings. They were heavy, heavier than dumb bells. You will grow muscles just cooking in the kitchen. You're suppose to make them creamy and I added a lot of stuff after that which I am very sorry, I can't share it with because it's after all, my signature chicken pie to bless my family and friends. If it's the same with the ones selling outside, might as well you buy from outside.
What? Already 8pm? Buck up we don't have the whole nite... 
I sacrificed my Thursday morning swimming in the kitchen instead of the swimming pool. I was nearly having a mental breakdown and I did ask myself what the heck was I doing. Oh, well... I'm already almost done but to make the pastry skin. Oh, that left me speechless with completely numb wrists and I have a piano class to attend to later which I have not even touch the scores and I got a better surprise at the music school. Let's not discuss about that now, will talk about that later. If you say it's very easy to make a short crust pastry, I'm going to throw the whole lot of pastry in your face. Try making 20 dough and see.... 4 dough can only produce 30 pies.
Love you people to the max~! *muacks muacks muacks*
So my kitchen crew suggested that they come earlier which I'm okay with by all means. They were really wonderful. They sat there from 2pm until 10pm, not moving anywhere. If you ask them to study, they couldn't even sit still for an hour without walking in and out of the kitchen to rummage for food. So, they were saying that they wouldn't do it anymore for the time being. Yeah, for the time being but they didn't know that the one here preparing the filling, and writing this blog now, refused to do it till Kingdom comes. Halfway doing it, we were all staring at the big huge flan tin nestled there. And hey, all of us were thinking the same thing at the same time... why not just dump everything there and give to different families then let them cut it up. Good and wonderful idea~! 

What transpired between the love-hate relationship then? It's the arduous, energy draining and lengthy process of preparation. I stood in the kitchen in total of more than 15 hours... no joke... 15 hours yet I don't even have time to go to the shopping mall to get fennel seeds for my up and coming lamb briyani tryout~!!! But I have 15 hours to stand in the kitchen. You see, when you love to do something, you will find time doing it. I was both loving and loathing it. It's a very very difficult feeling to express. I spent the next day on the bed until 12 noon to recuperate from my breaking back and aftershock of everything.

My kitchen angel seems to understand my taste of food. Thank you... I was still in the kitchen until way past midnight waiting for all the pies to be baked. My kitchen angel bought me big huge sausages and bacons and my eldest prepared my early breakfast. We have lots of extra chicken pies... none of us could swallow the chicken pies, not even the kitchen crew who loves the pies. I was enjoying myself chewing into my garlic pork sausage while staring at the whole table full of chicken pies. 

I do love chicken pies... okay... do love them... love them but not wanting them at the same time. My precious tried to rescue my pies. I'm really sorry that this round of mass production of pies did not meet the standard. But my precious managed to do some adjustment according to my instructions. We made that one huge one and yes, even the kitchen crew wallop the whole thing the next day. Fourth batch still waiting... the last of the last... till kingdom comes... 

I'm having nightmares with the failed curry puffs... and I think I need to upgrade with what we're eating everyday. My life is just about food? You can say so... it's either work or cook... I'm house bound because of my job. I'm always at home, either this house or that house or the other house. Two things that I promise myself and repeatedly tell myself not to be when I was in my schooling years: I don't want to be a teacher and I will never want to step into the kitchen. Hahahhahaa... Laugh all you want. I'm teaching 7 days a week and I'm always in the kitchen. What went wrong along my life's journey... I don't know... I've always wanted to be either a lawyer and then later on in life, I want to be an accountant.  


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