Tuesday, June 11, 2019

My (cable) television is still out of sync with Real Time – is that because I watched something on Netflix yesterday? 5:15 is just right for Pointless – dividing the afternoon from my (brief and unproductive) evening. 6:15, which is what it amounts to in Real Time at the moment, is not so good.

Therefore no Calcutta Cup knitting, although I had a good session, earlier on, with the Spring Shawl this morning.

I spent a happy afternoon making kimchi, for the first time in a while. It’s pretty easy. Three elements: (a) brined Napa cabbage (b) seasoned gloop (c) chopped veggies. There is a good deal of leeway in each.

This time, unlike last year, I have added an optional glue of rice flour and water to the seasoned gloop. Brad Leone puts it in his kimchi.

Do any of you make kimchi? I can’t now remember what recipe I started from, but it had me chopping the cabbage into bite-sized pieces (fairly large) before brining. A Real Korean divides the cabbage into four, still attached to the root, and salts the leaves one by one. And then, after brining, and rinsing, proceeds in the same way, smearing the gloop over the leaves one by one and then folding the whole thing and putting it into the fermentation jar.

That looks like an awful lot of fuss. Chopping in advance seems so much easier. Where can I turn for advice?

Andrew and Andrea today – I tend to forget, which makes their every-second-Tuesday appearances all the more welcome. John and Juliet Arbon were today’s principal interview – all the more interesting for me, because I had so recently visited the Jamieson spinnery on Shetland. What wonderful yarn! How little time! to knit it all.

I finished “No Name” today. (Spoiler alert: everybody lives happily ever after.) I’m glad I persevered. It feels much earlier than all of Trollope. Is that true? There’s lots I don’t know and would like to learn about the 19th century.


  1. Hi Jean,
    I have made Kimchi; taught by a Korean friend. We did it the Korean way as you describe, salting the cabbage leaf by leaf and leaving it for a while to wilt, then rinsing and smearing the kochujang made with lots of red pepper powder and also tiny fish which I referred to as minnows. This was stuffed into jars. We then waited for fermentation little bubbles) before putting it into the fridge. The red goop had tons of fresh mashed garlic. this was traditional cabbage kimchi, so only cabbage and no radish or other vegetables.
    Now, since I have a good Korean grocery in Manhattan, I can buy pretty good kimchi. My Korean friend has promised me some of her recent batch.
    When we lived in Seoul for a year, in the fall a group of women would teach kimchi making in a public park in Insadong, trying to convince young women to learn. Huge tables were set out with piles of cabbage. The women wore rubber aprons and rubber gloves. The kochujang was in big plastic tubs. It was quite a scene as the older women were quite bossy showing the young ones how to do it.
    I am impressed that you are making it.

  2. This is fascinating, Sarah: thank you. Although I still don’t know why to keep the cabbage whole rather than cutting it up in the first place. I used lots of garlic but also mooli which had to be ordered in.

  3. What a fascinating scene that must have been, Sarah. Jean I applaud your experimental undertakings in cooking. I have a large crop of sorrel and you told me about sorrel soup and I can't find it. Can you direct me?

  4. Well I should say I have found soup, mostly with heavy cream, and I think yours was not the creamy sort.

  5. Anonymous11:32 AM

    Could you not record Pointless and watch the episode next day at your chosen time? I do this, then my husband and I can play along with the quiz at home, at a time which suits us. The greatest benefit is that we can pause the recording to concentrate on the answers and skip any bits we don't want. This is useful for the weekend Celebrities programmes. I do so agree that the modern cult of 'The Celebrity' is generally overrated. However some of these people have interesting things to say and the fast forward button deals with the others!

    On the whole, pointless has done wonders for our knowledge of geography.
    Helen (anon)

  6. Perhaps the time zone has been changed on your tv or cable box. Not sure what you have. Could Archie look at it? Or perhaps check online ? It’s odd but you have mentioned it before. One thing to try is to turn off and unplug from the power everything. The tv and then the cable box and then plug them in in reverse order.

    Good luck

  7. Kudos to you for making kimchi again! I speak only as one who has eaten her share of kimchi, not as any expert in the making of it. I made it once, when my mother was visiting me when I was living in Sweden and unable to find any Korean food. We couldn't find the right kind of anything, except cabbage, but we pressed on and made something edible. My first and so far only kimchi-making experience.
    Sarah, I love the scene you describe. Well I know the bossiness of older Korean women. When we moved to NY, there was only ONE Korean grocery store in all of NYC!