Test Pilot Cooking and Crespillos

I was impressed to know that Neil Armstrong was a test pilot before he became an astronaut. It made sense. To go to the moon, one had to be ready to handle all sorts of situations in uncharted waters, well, actually in “uncharted space”.

There are times when one needs the skills of test pilots to navigate through life’s challenges. Once one has acquired the basic skills, one can apply them to different situations. They come in useful when one has to cook a new dish for the first time, or to have to salvage a dish which has gone wrong. The latter is particularly important when it comes to not wasting a large amount of food.

This week I found myself in the “test pilot seat”. I was boiling rice for nasi lemak (rice with coconut milk) when it refused to cook. I had to add more water and it became too soggy. The solution was to add cooked rice to it. It was a bit too starchy. Someone said, “It looks like glutinous rice.” That gave me an idea. I used it to make a dessert: Mango with rice, coconut milk, topped with sugar.

On the same day, I had to make a Spanish dessert called Crespillos, made of spinach. I had never made it before and I wasn’t sure if it would turn out well. I had the help of a student who followed the simple recipe to make the batter:

150 grams milk

200 grams flour

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

We washed and dried 250 grams of spinach. Dipped the leaves in the batter and fried them in hot oil.

We sprinkled sugar on the crispy spinach leaves before serving. We were lucky this dessert turned out well at first try. (A sigh of relief!)

Anastasia, who is the student who helped me, made the following comment:

When I was first told that there was spinach in this dessert, I was definitely intrigued. I’ve never heard of vegetables in dessert before! When I did try it, I was pleasantly surprised – crunchy and sweet, the mix of the fried batter and sugar kind of reminded me of a doughnut! Knowing that this dessert was a traditional recipe that the mother of Saint Josemaria* made, it was truly an interesting experience having a taste of history!

*St Josemaria is a Spanish saint.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 28 March 2021

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