soy division

I remember reading the Sunday Star Times at a cafe earlier this year, turning to the Escape section first, and saying to Tim that my blog would be ideal for it. You know, I could be that person they ask to write down what they eat over the course of the day (do people really tell the truth in those things?) or feature as an example of the general excellence available on the web these days. The thought left my mind when I flicked over the the column where Annabelle White compares various brands of organic muesli. That sort of fortunate occurrence only happens to established, famous-enough-to-appear-in-a-local-reality-show kind of people. It was Cafe Cubita on Courtney Place and I had an extremely pleasant lamb salad.

Turns out that, with a frequency just high enough to keep you trusting in mystical forces, if you put it out there, the universe can provide. It worked when I said I wanted Tourettes to come do a gig in Wellington – and lo, it was so. While I always feared it would be unlikely that Idina Menzel would come to New Zealand, the utter randomness of Patti LuPone making a tour stop here reaffirmed my faith in the world.

Oh my gosh, anyway, enough of my chatter: the point is, this blog, this very blog, was mentioned by the editor of the Escape section of the Sunday Star Times, a national newspaper. Favourably. And not just in my head – it really happened! I feel like Mark Cohen in RENT, when his footage of the riot after Maureen’s performance gets on Buzzline. I feel like Elphaba in Wicked when she finds out she’s going to see the Wizard – “he asked for me? Personally?” I feel like Jeff, Hunter, Susan and Heidi in [title of show] when they get a good review in the New York Times. I feel like…I’m so excited and self-pinching right now that all I can do is project my feelings onto pre-existing characters. If there are any new readers who have solely appeared here because they looked me up after reading the lovely things Angela Walker wrote about this place in the Sunday Star Times; Kia ora! Welcome! Kindly stick around.

Just when you thought I couldn’t bring any more excitement, I’d like to announce that I am on a massive soy kick right now. If you’ve been keeping an eye on my twitter (@HungryandFrozen) then this will be no secret, for some reason expressing my love for soy in 140 character bursts is my idea of a good time these days.

I realise tofu is as maligned and practically as unsexy as lentils. Just because it has a bad rep doesn’t make it intrinsically bad though. Like Michael Jackson jokes, I feel that wrinkling one’s nose at tofu is not only easy, it’s lazy. Anyone can do it. Takes temerity of spirit to actually try this surprisingly delicious stuff. (And no, I don’t get a kick out of Michael Jackson jokes. Ooh, make fun of a brilliant but deeply troubled dead man. Aren’t you quite the sparkling wit.)

Tonight I stir-fried a few cloves of chopped garlic in a non-stick pan, sprinkled over fish sauce and mirin, and added a block of firm tofu, which almost braised in the bubbling liquid, slowly taking on colour and absorbing the flavours of the sauce. While dealing with the edamame though, the liquid quickly reduced and the considerable sugars in the mirin caramelised on the spot, creating a thick, dark sauce. In places it actually had reduced down into a kind of brittle or toffee, disturbingly good with its salty, sweet, garlicky crunch. This is what happens when I turn my back – it gets all Heston Blumenthal up in here. I believe this is what the cool kids describe as umami – a deep-toned savoury flavour. The deliciously sauced tofu teamed with the mellow, impossibly buttery edamame made a wholly satisfying dinner, so good that I quickly snapped it and wedged it spontaneously into this blog when I was really going to write about something else altogether.

Currently on Shuffle whilst I type double time thanks to the power of soy:

Calling All Angels, by Alice Ripley at the Kennedy Centre, 2003. Say what you want about her – I personally adored her speech for winning the Tony – but I think she’s utterly brilliant. And, and, she writes the kind of songs I would want to write if I was a singer-songwriter. This is one such example.

I’m Going Home by the Sacred Harp Singers from the Cold Mountain soundtrack. The only reason we even watched the movie is because Jack White was in it, I don’t recommend it – it’s relentlessly brutal and violent although the joy of Jack White provides some respite. But the soundtrack is pretty wonderful and this particular song is astoundingly beautiful and like no other sound I’ve ever heard before. And you know, this is 2009. We have mash-ups and stuff.

All I Really Want by Alanis Morisette from Jagged Little Pill. Delightfully mid-nineties and talky as heck but still brilliant stuff to throw yourself around the room and sing along to. I actually saw her live at the Supertop in 1996, was possibly the only 10 year old in the audience. She’s always cool to me. If you like this album, it’s not too much of a stretch to hope that you’d like Minuet by Idina Menzel from Still I Can’t Be Still

This blog title is bought to you by: Joy Division. And so obviously, this song.

Next time: I was going to write about ice cream in this one but frankly soy was more exciting right now, not to mention a large chunk of space was occupied by my bragging. As Rufus Wainwright sang in his tribute concert to Judy Garland, “you go to my head”. This week Sunday Star Times, next – who knows. Possibly the same level of mild obscurity. Various whanau members are coming down to Wellington this weekend so I am currently browsing Menumania to narrow down some cool places to take them for lunch and dinner. And definitely going to talk ice cream next time.

17 thoughts on “soy division

  1. Anonymous says:

    This blog sums up what I enjoy about your writing. A great food blog surrounded by humor and random theater references.

    Congrats on the write-up.



  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Laura, congratulations on the high praise via Herald piece.
    Here is a recipe for Tofu balls that might appeal to Livi.
    I used it heaps over 20 years ago.
    Tofu “Balls”
    In a food processor put…
    1/2 cup chopped peanuts, (or whizz them first)
    1 onion finely chopped
    2/3 soft wholemeal breadcrumbs, or rolled oats.
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    2 cloves garlic, or 2 teasp of bought crushed garlic.(a good standby)
    2 tablespoons Shoyu or Soya sauce.
    1 block Tofu, chopped roughly.
    Mix altogether in processor.
    form into balls, brown in pan with small amount of oil.
    Peanut butter sauce, mix peanut butter, lemon juice, and water. Bring to boil, slowly, stir till thick with wooden spoon (spatula is better for stirring pots)

    Your Nana!!!


  3. Laura @ Hungry and Frozen says:

    Jill: Thanks πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Scott: THANKS! I didn't see Outrageous btw! Missed one episode and decided I'd wait for the DVD. But I hear it was MADNESS.

    Livi: Stupid comment-deleting blog! Yeah I was a little wary of tofu but I dunno, I just really like it. Will check out the blog πŸ™‚ and I LOVED the milk tooth blog, too cute.

    Nana: I'm going to try that, sounds nice! Maybe needs a better name though LOL. Very sophisticated sounding stuff πŸ™‚


  4. JenniS says:

    kyou for your welcome! That is indeed how I found you, though threw out the paper and searched for Hungry and Cold without success πŸ˜‰ Good looking tofu recipe. Edamame are morsels of the god's and the tofu looks good along side them. Also as a wise japanese lady told me 'Soy good for lady parts' so here's to good lady parts all round! yehaar


  5. millie mirepoix says:

    Not to be all stalker-ish but I've been a casual follower for a little while, recently dug through your old posts in a fit of procrastination and found your cinnamon-date ice cream… DIVINE. And coincidentally, I also live in Wellington… gosh, this is making me sound like a total creep. Anyway just spurred to comment to say congrats on the much-deserved mention in the Sunday Star-Times!

    I am intrigued by the double dose of soy here: tofu AND edamame… looks fantastic, though. I guess you can't have too much of a good thing!


  6. Sarah says:


    Firstly, congratulotions!

    Tofu rocks.

    And haha, “I believe this is what the cool kids describe as umami”.

    Oh and finally, Alanis Morissette in 96 was sooooo super awesome. I saw her live too! Before she went all thinky and mellow and boring, lol.

    xox Sarah


  7. Millie Fullmer says:

    Hi Laura, I read about you blog in the Sunday and rushed to check it out. I'm now overwhelmed – clearly lot to catch up on from 2007, but just want to say bravo for if ever a blog was going to persuade me it would involve food and shared musical taste! Just had a quick peak at 2007 and ever so impressed by Nigella's Pomegranate cake (also big fan, though Nigel Slater comes first equal). Thanks for the entertainment and inspiration, (how exciting – to post this message I had to create my own blog account) Millie Fullmer


  8. Kay says:

    I guess “Soy to the World” was too obvious, huh?

    Have just joined MenuMania in recognition of its “Wellington on a Plate” sponsorship…and the Kohu Road ice cream competition.

    Looking forward to sampling Wellington this weekend.


  9. jaygirl says:

    Laura, I have just spent the last hour reading through your blog, what a lovely writer you are, I was sad when I came to the bottom. You deserve every bit of your recognition. Well done you. I'll be back. XX


  10. Laura @ Hungry and Frozen says:

    JenniS: Haha! Will defo carry on eating the soy then, that's awesome that you found the blog through the newspaper.

    Millie Mirepoix: Heya, love your name, was thinking it was bout time I got a stalker. Prepare for a bit of counter stalking because seriously how did I not know about your blog earlier? Am now furiously reading through your archives. Yay for Wgtn bloggers!

    Sarah: THanks! Yay for old-school Alanis.

    Mum: LOL. Maybe closer to Christmas. Looking forward to having your guys here this weekend!

    Jaygirl: Ah, thank you! There's always the 'older posts' button πŸ˜€ so glad you enjoy the blog.


  11. Anonymous says:

    Huge congratulations on hitting a national newspaper Laura! So cool! I've got my fingers crossed that a hard copy is winding it's way down here today for your pick up in a couple of weeks. Enjoy the weekend with family. Tim's Mum :o)


  12. George says:

    I just love reading your blog Laura. All too often I read the email alert and forget to come comment though, I'm sorry! Please forgive me πŸ˜‰

    Congrats on the lovely write up and gorgeous food as ever.


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