You know, I never thought I’d see an EVE cooking contest. The closest thing I’ve heard of in the past has been Ainsley Hariott giving his meat a good old rub in meme videos; not quite the same is it. I also never envisioned that I’d actually take part, but then here we are. I spent four hours cooking tonight and I’m still not quite sure if it was worth it.
Long paragraphs and exposition aren’t why you’re here though, is it? Instead, scroll down for pretty pictures, recipes, and a window into my suffering.
So maybe I was a little overambitious with this project. My total ingredient list (as you can see below) came out to about £40 including a new roasting tray. I believe most, if not all, of these ingredients are within the guidelines of the challenge. To reiterate, those rules are “EVE Ingredients include all that are conceivable as having been brought through the EVE gate by colonists, such as: common livestock, poultry and fish.” Such as…
– All staple grains and vegetables.
– All the major spices.
– NO COMMERCIAL or BRANDED products.
– Soy sauce, olive oil, main vegetable oils.
– Spiced wine.
I know the challenge states no commercial/branded products, but I’m not about to start growing all of my own spices and making my own olive oil. Buying a cow for unbranded milk is bit far, too. There’s one exception a bit later down, but I think you’ll like it. Generally anything specific that I’ve used can be easily made at home from simple ingredients, too.
My idea here was to create a three-course meal wherein each course was EVE themed with an additional after-dinner cocktail. I tried to make as much of a variety as I could and came up with the following dishes: Fried Fedo, deep-fried lemon-marinated calamari rings with garnishes and homemade aioli. Leshak Lasagne, a lasagne in which each layer of meat and sauce ramps up in heat. Jellied Quafe, because New Eden’s most popular soft drink has been experimenting in dessert products recently.
To finish it all off we have a cocktail of my own design that I like to call The Quafe Smartbomb. It’s like the officer modules but Quafe sponsored and definitely very purple.
Tip for following the recipe: A list of ingredients is at the top of each section. Follow the main bolded instructions if you just want the important parts. Double amounts if needed.
Starter – Fried Fedo
[Fedo, Fried] 250g Fresh Squid 400g Plain Flour 2 teaspoons Paprika 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper 200ml Whole Milk 300ml Vegetable Oil 100ml Lemon Juice 5 Spring Onions
[Dip, Fedo's Modified Aioli] 150g Mayonnaise 1 clove Garlic 1 teaspoon Paprika 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper 1/2 teaspoon Chives 20ml Lemon Juice 15ml Olive Oil
Make sure to only use female Fedo’s for this recipe if you’re far from a freeport. Males are too useful as ship cleaners and I doubt you want Dominix-gunk in your meal. I’d also love to say that this one wasn’t so hard to make, but I don’t own a deep fat fryer. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The first step here is to cut the Fedo/Squid into rings. This is a lot easier than you actually think. Just slice the raw squid about a centimetre and gently lift apart into a ring shape. These little rings can now be gently dropped into a bowl of lemon juice to sit for 30-60 minutes. While they swim around you can prepare your oil and batter. Heat the oil in a pan to about 190°C and set up three bowls. Pour 200ml of milk into one bowl and then halve and combine the flour, Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper in the remaining bowls.
Once ready to cook you need to dip the rings in the following order: Out of lemon and into spiced flour, into the milk, into the second bowl of flour, and finally the hot oil. They will cook safely in batches of three and will take as many minutes to cook. I personally used this time to coat my kitchen in a nice soaking of boiling hot oil while fiddling with a gas stove. You’ll notice they’re done when crispy and deep-golden brown. Drop them onto a paper towel to drain and hit them with salt and pepper quickly.
The aioli is surprisingly stupidly easy to make. My ingredient list up there is a bit precise and in reality I just threw everything in a ramekin and whisked. You can do the same! Just combine mayo, chives, garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil and whisk until it stops looking like the picture. I recommend going a bit heavier on paprika since than the cayenne since that’s what really makes things pop here.
See below for a gallery of Fedo pics. Final meal images are at the end.
Main – Layered Leshak Lasagne
[Leshak, Layered Lasagne] 400g Lean Beef Mince 1.5 White or Red Onions (chopped) 1.5 sticks Celery (chopped) 2 cloves Garlic (chopped) 1 Vegetable Stock Cube (optional) 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes 5 Bay Leaves 0.5 Bell Pepper (chopped) 1 Romano Pepper (chopped) 1 tablespoon Mixed Herbs 1-2 tablespoons chilli flakes 5 Birds Eye Chillies (chopped) 2-300ml Red/Spiced Wine Oil for frying 500ml Whole Milk 60g Plain Flour 80g Butter 4 Cloves 1 pack Pasta Sheets (or make your own) 1-200g Mozzarella Cheese 50g Parmesan Cheese
If you’re actually cooking this then you probably want to start with the lasagne right after you marinate Fedo. That will give you enough time to prep and you can fry Fedo while the Leshak cooks. I advise also getting your onions, chillies, and celery chopped as finely as you can be bothered and laid out in bowls. You won’t have time later.
Start by oiling a frying pan and cooking up your celery, one of your onions, peppers, garlic, and whichever other veg you want to throw in. They’ll take about 10-15 minutes on a medium heat. Save half an onion for your white sauce later! Once the veg is ready and looks like my photo you can pump the heat up to max and drop the beef in; season then fry this until brown.
Once browned things start to get really fun. Add 200ml of wine, the stock cube, two bay leaves, the tin of tomatoes, and one teaspoon of chopped chillies. You can let these cook at a gentle boil for the next 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, while you make some white sauce. Honestly don’t skimp on the wine though, it’s not worth going expensive but my bottle of Shiraz went a long way in helping create a tangy, complex flavour.
My version of a white sauce, you’ll notice, is quite different to how it’s meant to be done. I’ve never made it before but I’m convinced my way works so there we go. Start by melting 80g of butter in a pot. Add the 500ml of milk and 60g of flour and bringing slowly to a boil. As it heats up you can drop in two bay leaves, the cloves, and your final half of an onion. I used a white onion personally. Once boiling turn the heat off and allow to infuse withbay leafy clovey oniony goodness for 20 minutes. When ready you should strain out all onion/spices and use a blender to combine it properly and thicken.
The meat is probably ready by now so go ahead and remove two thirds from the pan into a bowl. Back in the pan you want to add most of the remaining chillies (not all) and your chilli flakes. You want this to be the hottest layer right on the bottom! You should cook this third for 4-5 minutes and stir to make sure to get those lovely chillies spread out. If the mixture seems dry at all then splash a bit more wine in to help things out. Once ready, place the meat-mixture into the bottom of a 2lb loaf tin. Coat with a layer of pasta sheets, some white sauce, then more pasta sheets. If you’ve got more food then simply use a bigger pan at this point.
To finish you need to repeat the above step with the next two thirds of meat and different heats. You want your middle layer to have the last few chopped chillies and maybe a tiny sprinkle of flakes. The final third doesn’t need any heat so just make sure it isn’t too dry then drop it in. You should finish with pasta, white sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan. To help determine the order please see the handy dandy diagram below which isn’t suitable for colourblind people. Your Leshak can be now be baked at 190°C (Fan) for 30 minutes until cheese starts to turn golden brown on top.
Dessert – Jellied Quafe Cubes
[Quafe, Jellied!] 1/2 head Red Cabbage 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda 7 sheets Gelatin (or equivalent powder) 200g Blueberries 200g White Sugar 500ml Water
Here’s where things start to get a bit weird with the ingredients. Gelatin comes from the connective tissues of animals so that’s easy. Baking soda is a mix of carbonic acid and
sodium hydroxide with extra steps, but I’m just using that for food colouring so sue me. It took extra work to make a natural-ish blue food colouring!
Making the actual food colouring for your jelly is quite simple. Start by boiling half a head of chopped cabbage in a pot until the water turns a nice purple. It should take about 20 minutes but you can go as long as you like the flavour of cabbage water… Once purple-y, strain off the water into a jug and put the cabbage to one side. This can either be eaten with the lasagne or just thrown away if not wanted. Our purple water needs to now go back on the heat and should be reduced down over an hour. The end result will be about 1-150ml of concentrated purple. When cooled, this can be combined with a tiny tiny tiny bit of baking soda at a time to make it a lovely blue colour.
Now to make some jelly! First you need some flavoured sugar syrup though. This is a simple case of combining 200g of sugar with water at a boil until dissolved; finer sugar will dissolve quicker and easier. Set this aside to cool while you blend 150g of blueberries and strain out the bits. Use a teapot, sieve, or some other mesh tea-strainer type tool to infuse your blueberry puree in the sugar syrup for about 3 hours. When the time is up you can mix this red syrup with some of the blue food colouring to reach a beautiful Quafe purple.
To finally make the jelly, I recommend soaking 6-7 gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Bring a third of your Quafe syrup to a simmer and drop in the gelatin. Stir to combine then pour in the rest of the syrup. I should have noted that you actually want to do this first before everything else. You’re going to need to let this cool, pour it into an ice cube tray and leave overnight to set. Easy
After Dinner Drinks – The Quafe Smartbomb
Phew. Almost there. Luckily for anyone who has reached this point, we’re just dealing with a simple cocktail here. It has some pretty eclectic ingredients and the only exception I made is that we have a base of Brennivín! The Vermouth is a bit like a spiced wine, and hibiscus flower can be grown so I think we’re still good with challenge requirements. Here’s your list of stuff:
[Cocktail, Quafe Smartbomb] 12.5ml Brennivín 7.5ml Sweet Vermouth 5ml Hibiscus Flower Extract 300ml Lemon Quafe (Tonic water + juice of 1 lemon)
Making this is easy. I suggest mixing tonic water with lemon juice in a Quafe bottle, making sure it’s chilled well in advance and set aside. Mix the Vermouth, Brennivín, and Hibiscus in a shot glass as a deep-blue liquid. Bonus points if you have skull shaped shot glasses like me. Prepare a glass of lemon quafe and drop the shot in. It should all turn a lovely purple and you’ll see how it got the name!
The taste of this cocktail is something I could really recommend for new Brennivín drinkers. It masks the heavy flavours quite well with the vermouth & lemon adding just the right sweetness to make it very drinkable. You can also skip the hibiscus flower next time and prepare in a regular glass with ice. It’s only really there to act as a pH indicator for the flashy blue to purple transformation.
I bet you’re wondering how any of this actually tasted. Well unfortunately for me I only got nibbles as I went along since it took four bloody hours! The Fried Fedo was lovely, though, just make sure you deep fry them for long enough. I’d love to make it again if it weren’t for the mess everywhere.
The lasagne itself is something I’ve still got in the fridge for dinner tomorrow evening. It worked surprisingly well and, if you stay near the top, you don’t get so much heat but it’s absolutely delicious. Digging further down though really does ramp up the spice a lot while retaining the same great flavour.
My jelly perhaps wasn’t so great here to be honest. When I actually made it I used less gelatin that my recipe needs (used about 4 leaves) and ended up with something a bit too wobbly and barely held together. I would also highly recommend an actual colouring instead of cabbage if you aren’t trying the challenge. The flavour is decent but you definitely get a hint of cabbage in your dessert.
I’ve already described what I think of the Quafe cocktail and it’s probably my favourite of them all. Probably because I’m lazy, maybe because I drink too much. Who knows! Regardless, here’s the final photo of the EVE-themed meal for my entry in the #EVECOOKOFF.