6.11.13

coq au vin

Two weeks ago me and my best mates got together, which is quite rare, but always results in fun times. It was up to me to cook something, as I invited them to my house.  First of all, I wanted a little challenge for myself, which might as well have been a disaster. I like French cooking, so I decided to go for coq au vin. Fairly easy, but I hoped this would be a little different to what they usually eat.

I was browsing the interwebz to find a good recipe, but that was a bit confusing. Hardly any of the recipes were the same, some said I should marinate the coq (or chicken). Others stated I should poach the chicken in red wine stuff. And then the other confusing thing...what to put in there a part from wine?

Oh my, what to put in there?

All of the mentioned ingredients? What would be the best combination? I chose to take some of the ingredients from one recipe while following the recipe from the other and hope for the best!

It resulted in these ingredients >>>>

I marinated the chicken in more than half a bottle of red (Cotes du Rhone) with mashed garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, vinegar, shallots, honey and fresh thyme and left it in the fridge overnight. 

And the next day I slightly baked the (now purple!) chicken in a pan, I started boiling the red wine sauce and added the leek and carrots to that. I sauteed the mushroom and bacon in another pan. Near the end, I put the chicken back in the pan with the red wine, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

[Meanwhile I roasted potatoes in the oven with fresh rosemary, and prepped a lollo rosso/iceberg salad with grilled peppers, tomato and a dill & red wine vinegar dressing]


Ha, these pictures might as well have been taken with a camera phone. But sadly enough, they're not. My photography skills are a little over mediocre, but I can do better than the above, really. This has something to do with hanging over a red wine infused pan all day long. And the guests kept moving (eating)... I'll keep trying to improve myself. 

What I love about cooking is that you can create your own recipe from a classic. There's always a discussion around classics such as salad Nicoise (is potato part of the most original traditional recipe...or is it not?). Anyway, I think it's always good to improve upon an existing recipe, unless it's a winning recipe, then you shouldn't change it. 

But you know, it's all about the end product, and in the case of coq au vin, there just are several ways to get to that end. Really depends on the cook to come up with a winning combination of ingredients and preparation method. 

For me, these ingredients combined really nicely, and I really liked marinating the chicken the day before, gives it a really sweet red winy-flavour. If you would poach the chicken in red wine, you'll probably end up with a pan full of chicken bits, as it tends to fall apart (or at least that's what happened to me the last time I cooked chicken in stock). But I should work on cooking chicken, it was a bit pinky near the bone (aahhhhhhrghhh, hate that).

If I ever share a recipe again, I'll try to keep notice of the measurements of the ingredients (and cooking time). Because I kind of just cowboyed my way through this dish. 

30.10.13

graduation

There are no words to describe how relieved I am that I finally graduated. Relieved, not necessarily proud or pleased with myself. I am truly, honestly very relieved that I'm out of the educational system. On the 18th of October, the good news arrived. I was too scared to open the e-mail, so Onno had to do it for me. The immediate twinkle in his eyes made me realize that I passed! I PASSED! I MADE IT! I am now a graduated International Music Manager!! Whatever that means!

Oh yes, it's over, finally.


And yes, I'm not particularly proud about this accomplishment. You know why? Because the school I was in doesn't have a very good reputation. And although this only came to show to everyone in the last two years. I guess I have known this ever since I started. All in all, it was quite a disappointing education; the courses only briefly covered important and interesting subjects such as finance, economics, marketing and legal stuff. 
Most frustrating part was that in the end...they realized their level of education was below the standard, and they started changing things around. I was in the middle of graduating then and had to adapt to these changes accordingly, which was hard. Hardly anyone seemed to know how exactly to continue. And it still is very weird, graduating at this school is vague, unclear and unguided. For all of those that still need to graduate; be critical towards yourself, because that's what a lot of students lack. We think we'll manage, because we easily passed all courses and minors, but it's really different. It takes some effort, and really, be honest, is your thesis really good enough for a HBO diploma? Common, put more time and effort in it! 

I feel I have passed with hardly any guidance, but by mostly being critical towards my own work. 

I sincerely hope for all students and teachers (who are not to blame here), that things are going to change for the better. I hope the whole curriculum of International Music Management gets a proper upgrade, because it has potential to be an interesting education. Right now, it sounds nicer than it really was.

Of course the past years weren't a complete waste, I am happy with a few things! What I am happy with, is that throughout these past five years I have experienced a few key moments that gave me a certain baggage to work in the professional field. It's a combination of my internship in London at PIAS, an external minor I did at another institution (International Marketing) and just keeping myself entertained with books on the subjects I wanted to know a little more about (music marketing, digital marketing, wine, screenwriting). 

And now what?

Well, I want everything. So if someone has that? Yes please, I'd like a bit of everything. 

I'm planning to focus on improving myself as a creative in the fields of music, film and food. On top of my list is finishing Enkytown; our over-ambitious but very entertaining project, with great potential. Second to that, I'm planning to develop my knowledge on wine. I have created a little wine-tasting sheet, I will probably write something about this in the near future. Thirdly.... Ah well, you know, I might as well stop this list, because it would be going on for a long time. There's loads of little and bigger projects coming my (and Onno's) way. 

EXCITING!

Our pretty Enkytown-pictures (taken by the journo that interviewed us a few weeks ago), 
sadly none of them made the edit, haha. 


7.5.13

little citytrip - gent

We went to Gent on Saturday and stayed there for a night in a Bed & Breakfast. I always feel slightly uncomfortable about B&Bs, because you never know what they really look like, and what the host is like and those kind of things. It makes me feel weird to be in someones home, even if its only for one night, and I get a bit nervous beforehand. We were very lucky this time! Our host was a very lovely lady, who kindly and very enthusiastically shared some nice spots in Gent. This B&B felt quite unique; an old (almost medieval) building, nice features (fireplace, amazing kitchentiles) and bright colours on the wall. And, very convenient, the location was great, only a few seconds away from the Gras & Korenlei.

We didn't really do anything specific, no museum or boat trip or city tour. We just walked around all day, shopped for a bit, drank an Amber Gruut in Brasserie Pakhuis. A Blond Gruut at the Stadsbrouwerij Gruut and a Leffe Blond at some touristy joint which wasn't very nice actually. 
After that we headed to a restaurant called Le Petit Restaurant. Which was a very cosy little restaurant with simple classic food. 

Gent has a great annual jazzfestival, so I thought, there must be something jazzy going on on a Saturday night! I looked up a couple of places, but in the end we only found one; Hot Club de Gand. There was no live music unfortunately, but it was a nice little bar and they did play jazz music, which always sets a good mood. 

We were planning to do a little shopping on Sunday, but all the shops were closed :/. So we left after an antipasti-lunch, dropped my sister off in Amsterdam and headed home. Where I was in time to enjoy a few hours at the Landje van Pop-festival!