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eG Foodblog: Mjx (2012) – Elderflowers, Strawberries, and Game

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#31 Mjx

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:06 AM


(‘The fish man is here today’)

Do you eat much fish? I remember from Sweden a long time ago that rodspette is very nice.


Actually, as I was walking away from where the fish guy wasn't, I realized I wouldn't have got anything, anyway: fish is currently proscribed, because my boyfriend's father hates the smell of it cooking!
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#32 Mjx

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 11:11 AM

Dinner was penne and cannellini, with pheasant, porcini, lovage, and thyme:

DinnerMon.jpg

I'd love to say the lighting is meant to be atmospheric, but I just forgot to turn on the light.
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#33 Smithy

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:36 PM

I'm loving this blog! Your photos are great, with and without contortions.

The pasta dish from directly above this post looks delicious, and strikes me as similar to the kinds of things I throw together from whatever happens to be on hand. Was it an improvised dish on your part? Do you tend to be more of an improvisational cook or a follow-a-recipe cook?

Pheasant sounds very exotic to me. I've had it and enjoyed it, but it isn't commonly available here - at least not in northern Minnesota, unless I go hunting for it myself. Is it easy to find there? I hope you'll follow through on the "game" part of your title, and discuss how one comes by game there!

I envy you your apparent fluency with Danish, Italian and English - and who knows how many others. Do you consider yourself to have one "mother tongue" that comes most easily?

Any insights to Danish culture that you can throw in will also be appreciated. For instance, the "honor system" shop surprised me only a little; the security cameras surprised me more.

Oh, finally (for now) - I just acquired lovage in my garden. I like its flavor but have only begun to explore its uses. Any hints you have about when / how your use that herb would be appreciated.

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#34 heidih

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:45 PM

Their is a lovage synchronicity going on! I looked for it when touring 4 big plant nurseries on Saturday - none available. Panaderia Canadiense mentioned it as a factor in the flavor of Maggi sauce in the Banh Mi topic. The hunt is on.

The pasta dish looks and sounds delicious. Did you do a salad or vegetable with it?

#35 Smithy

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:35 PM

What type of chocolate is the bread chocolate? Dark chocolate? Milk chocolate? Sweet, semi-sweet, or a variety?

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#36 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:18 AM

I'm loving this blog! Your photos are great, with and without contortions.

The pasta dish from directly above this post looks delicious, and strikes me as similar to the kinds of things I throw together from whatever happens to be on hand. Was it an improvised dish on your part? Do you tend to be more of an improvisational cook or a follow-a-recipe cook?

Pheasant sounds very exotic to me. I've had it and enjoyed it, but it isn't commonly available here - at least not in northern Minnesota, unless I go hunting for it myself. Is it easy to find there? I hope you'll follow through on the "game" part of your title, and discuss how one comes by game there!

I envy you your apparent fluency with Danish, Italian and English - and who knows how many others. Do you consider yourself to have one "mother tongue" that comes most easily?

Thanks! :) The pasta dish was improvised (I improvise a lot of the time), but it's the sort of thing that doesn't really need a recipe. I saw these (frozen) pheasant breasts in the supermarket, and thought they’d be a nice element in the pasta and bean dish I had in mind; the porcini came into the equation when I realized that I did not have a litre of stock in the refrigerator as I thought, in fact, I had none!

There are quite a few recipes I use fairly often, but I usually make some changes to them.

Pheasant (and various other frozen game) is usually available at this particular supermarket chain, and I'm fairly certain that it’s a by-product of canned hunting. You have to watch out for shot when you're eating it, or you can do really expensive things to your teeth. Also, my boyfriend's father hunts (of course, that’s seasonal), and right now there is some venison, some wild duck, and (I think) a pheasant in our freezer. Fresh game in shops is really expensive (so is rabbit, when it come to that).

My Danish is best described as ‘entertaining’; it’s relatively fluent, but patchy and unreliable, and I still make some epic mistakes. I grew up bilingual, but we left Italy when I was young, and I haven’t spent any lengthy blocks of time there since, so my Italian is not as strong as it was, making English my strongest language.

Any insights to Danish culture that you can throw in will also be appreciated. For instance, the "honor system" shop surprised me only a little; the security cameras surprised me more.

There are a lot of security cameras in Denmark! In this instance, a few security cameras are probably the most cost-effective option for minimizing theft, almost certainly cheaper than hiring someone to stand there (even minimum wage is high, here), and the odds of anyone stealing a bunch of vegetables aren't that significant. Plus, there is a bench nearby, which is usually occupied by at least one eagle-eyed resident from the senior housing centre next door, which is a sort of deterrent to anyone wanting to stroll in and nick some strawberries.

Oh, finally (for now) - I just acquired lovage in my garden. I like its flavor but have only begun to explore its uses. Any hints you have about when / how your use that herb would be appreciated.

I especially like lovage with game, chicken, and mushrooms, and usually include it when I make stock from these. Sometimes, I add the leaves to the mix when I'm deglazing a pan for a sauce. I find it works nicely with thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and juniper berries (not all together!).

Their is a lovage synchronicity going on! I looked for it when touring 4 big plant nurseries on Saturday - none available. Panaderia Canadiense mentioned it as a factor in the flavor of Maggi sauce in the Banh Mi topic. The hunt is on.

The pasta dish looks and sounds delicious. Did you do a salad or vegetable with it?

Lovage is one of my favourite herbs, and I'm currently in luck: there are a couple of extremely vigorous plants of it right outside the kitchen window, so I've been using it with a pretty free hand.

Thanks! We had the cherry tomatoes you see in the corner, and that was it. I've been tending towards very compact, simplified meals since we've been staying with my boyfriend's parents, usually just a main dish and a (usually raw) vegetable.

What type of chocolate is the bread chocolate? Dark chocolate? Milk chocolate? Sweet, semi-sweet, or a variety?

The Danish bread chocolate (the square-ish sheet on my boyfriend's bread) is plain/dark chcolate, and it's also available in a milk chocolate version that I've never tried. the Dutch bread chocolate (the things that look like cake decorations, on my bread) is both kinds: the ones on the left side of the bread are plin, the ones on the right are milk (the difference in these is mostly textura, though).
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#37 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 02:34 AM

Today’s plan was to collect elderflowers and make elderflower drink concentrate, one of the very traditional Danish things I like most. I noticed some great shrubs a couple of weeks back, and figured this would be the perfect week to do it. However, a friend has just informed me that I’m kind of late to the party, and most of the elderflowers are finished, and he did his... a couple of weeks back. Erm.

Well, I’m going to take a look, anyway. Right after breakfast.

Two takes on breakfast:

My boyfriend's preferred chocolate/sugar bombs:

ChokoCrappies.jpg

and cold pheasant and rucola with balsamic vinegar:

PheasantRucola.jpg

Part of the reason I usually skip breakfast, or have something that is not traditionally regarded as breakfast, is that I handle most starches fairly poorly, so many of the conventional Western breakfast choices don’t make for the greatest start to my day. Fortunately, the alternatives are fairly attractive (and they can out-do my boyfriend's breakfast in the 'You can't be serious factor', by several orders of magnitude, e.g. a Ritter Sport).
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#38 gfweb

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:53 AM

Great blog!

For me breakfast is black coffee. Anything else isn't attractive unless I've been up for a few hours. Unless I'm in Europe and there's a big spread of meats and cheese.

#39 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:13 AM

Great blog!

For me breakfast is black coffee. Anything else isn't attractive unless I've been up for a few hours. Unless I'm in Europe and there's a big spread of meats and cheese.


Thanks! And I know what you mean: I watch people eating solid breakfasts at the crack of dawn, and cannot figure it out. Even in Europe :wink:
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#40 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:24 AM

I went down to the water, where there are quite a few elderflower bushes growing, to see whether there were any elderflowers left.

Hylde1.jpg

It's been a bit overcast today.

I needed 40 to 50 flower-heads, or, according to the one recipe that gave weights for everything, half a kilo.

Eventually, found some bushes that still had flowers that were reachable, if I didn’t mind pawing through nettles and thistles. I’d dressed accordingly, and forged ahead.

Hylde3.jpg

I foraged further, and eventually managed to get 50 flower-heads, although some were a bit small.

Hylde4.jpg

Fortunately for me, when I scrambled out of the shrubbery and onto the main road, my hair full of twigs, the various passers-by didn’t give me a second look; the bag of flowers I was clutching told the entire story.

The next job was to pick all the florets off the main stems, since the stems supposedly make the concentrate bitter. My haul weighed 320 g, and took about an hour to pick through:

Hylde5.jpg

I really love the way elderflowers look, I find them incredibly frothy and festive, the way excellent champagne would look if it was a flower.

I used 2 L water, 500 g sugar (half the traditionally called-for amount for this amount of water and flower-heads), the zest and juice of 3 limes (I find their flavour more interesting than lemons’), about a tablespoon of citric acid (the scale died on me while I was weighing it), and a pinch of salt.

Hylde6.jpg

I boiled the water, dissolved the sugar and salt in it, then added the flowers, and the lime juice and zest:

Hylde7.jpg

Hylde9.jpg

It’s supposed to steep for 3 to 4 days, but I can’t find any explanation of why so long; the flowers go into nearly-boiling water, and they’re both fresh and very small (no more than 0.5 cm across, and many are smaller), so a long steep seems unnecessary. I’ve decided to taste it tomorrow morning, and if I like where it is, I’m going to filter, regardless of precedent.

At this point, I realized that I needed to get going with dinner, and since there wasn’t much time, I went with larb:

DinnerTues.jpg
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#41 kayb

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:28 AM

Fascinating blog. I know next to nothing about Denmark other than where it is and some vague bits of WWII history. Does its cuisine resemble any of that of its neighbors across the Gulf, or are there German influences from the south?

Interesting that you can eat spelt bread and not wheat. A newly diagnosed celiac who is having to rethink the entire baking world, I thought spelt was, like wheat, banned. Is it not? And does it approximate wheat in taste and behavior? If you tell me it's safe, I'm off to the bulk store to load up on spelt flour.
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#42 C. sapidus

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

I really love the way elderflowers look, I find them incredibly frothy and festive, the way excellent champagne would look if it was a flower.

I love a nice turn of phrase, and finding one in a foodblog is a double bonus. :smile:

At this point, I realized that I needed to get going with dinner, and since there wasn’t much time, I went with larb:

A commendable approach. Larb is always appropriate.

I am enjoying this very much, please carry on!

#43 Kouign Aman

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:00 PM

Very interesting to see the concentrate made. I've never had the patience to pick the tiny flowers off anything for cooking.
Does no one mourn the loss of elderberries due to the harvesting of the flowers? Or is all the good flavor in the flowers?
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#44 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:49 PM

Homemade elderflower cordial, how cool. I can't help it but the Monty Pythons come to mind whenever I hear about elderberries. :wink:

Did you say what part of Denmark you are in? I had a chance to visit Copenhagen last year and had a great time.

#45 weinoo

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:59 PM

Did you say what part of Denmark you are in? I had a chance to visit Copenhagen last year and had a great time.

I think Mjx is here per the OP:


But I’ve have been spending a lot of time in the Danish city of Århus over the past several years, and this is where I’m blogging from, so... welcome to Denmark!


One of the owners of Cafe Katja, here on the lower east side of NYC, is from Austria, where his family has an elderberry farm. There's often an item or two on the menu containing them, usually a cocktail, sometimes a food course - always delicious.
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#46 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:44 PM


Did you say what part of Denmark you are in? I had a chance to visit Copenhagen last year and had a great time.

I think Mjx is here per the OP:


But I’ve have been spending a lot of time in the Danish city of Århus over the past several years, and this is where I’m blogging from, so... welcome to Denmark!


Thanks. I need better glasses :-)

#47 Shelby

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:14 PM

I went down to the water, where there are quite a few elderflower bushes growing, to see whether there were any elderflowers left.

Hylde1.jpg

It's been a bit overcast today.

I needed 40 to 50 flower-heads, or, according to the one recipe that gave weights for everything, half a kilo.

Eventually, found some bushes that still had flowers that were reachable, if I didn’t mind pawing through nettles and thistles. I’d dressed accordingly, and forged ahead.

Hylde3.jpg

I foraged further, and eventually managed to get 50 flower-heads, although some were a bit small.

Hylde4.jpg

Fortunately for me, when I scrambled out of the shrubbery and onto the main road, my hair full of twigs, the various passers-by didn’t give me a second look; the bag of flowers I was clutching told the entire story.

The next job was to pick all the florets off the main stems, since the stems supposedly make the concentrate bitter. My haul weighed 320 g, and took about an hour to pick through:

Hylde5.jpg

I really love the way elderflowers look, I find them incredibly frothy and festive, the way excellent champagne would look if it was a flower.

I used 2 L water, 500 g sugar (half the traditionally called-for amount for this amount of water and flower-heads), the zest and juice of 3 limes (I find their flavour more interesting than lemons’), about a tablespoon of citric acid (the scale died on me while I was weighing it), and a pinch of salt.

Hylde6.jpg

I boiled the water, dissolved the sugar and salt in it, then added the flowers, and the lime juice and zest:

Hylde7.jpg

Hylde9.jpg

It’s supposed to steep for 3 to 4 days, but I can’t find any explanation of why so long; the flowers go into nearly-boiling water, and they’re both fresh and very small (no more than 0.5 cm across, and many are smaller), so a long steep seems unnecessary. I’ve decided to taste it tomorrow morning, and if I like where it is, I’m going to filter, regardless of precedent.

At this point, I realized that I needed to get going with dinner, and since there wasn’t much time, I went with larb:

DinnerTues.jpg


This is awesome. I'm enthralled.

#48 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:25 PM

Fascinating blog. I know next to nothing about Denmark other than where it is and some vague bits of WWII history. Does its cuisine resemble any of that of its neighbors across the Gulf, or are there German influences from the south?

Interesting that you can eat spelt bread and not wheat. A newly diagnosed celiac who is having to rethink the entire baking world, I thought spelt was, like wheat, banned. Is it not? And does it approximate wheat in taste and behavior? If you tell me it's safe, I'm off to the bulk store to load up on spelt flour.


Denmark isn't very focused on food culture, which makes it difficult to find anyone who knows much about anything more then the currentlty widely available dishes. Germany and Denmark seem to share certain things (prevalence of sausage/pork, potatoes), but most of the Germans I know have complained loudly about Danish food.

I don't tolerate spelt. But I don't have celiac disease, either; I don't know what the problem is, but it seems to be a generalized inability to handle a lot of starches. However, spelt is delicious (it's a form of wheat, and tastes like it, only more so), and handles like wheat (it's fairly high-protein, about 11 or 12%, according to the bags I buy)

Very interesting to see the concentrate made. I've never had the patience to pick the tiny flowers off anything for cooking.
Does no one mourn the loss of elderberries due to the harvesting of the flowers? Or is all the good flavor in the flowers?


My recollection is that elderberries are mostly seed, and not that much in the flavour department, but whatever the reason, no one seems to worry about it much (quite few elderberries do show up, since the bushes are often really tall, and the topmost flowers are pretty much always left).

. . . . I can't help it but the Monty Pythons come to mind whenever I hear about elderberries. :wink:
. . . .


I was wondering whether anyone was going to bring that up!
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#49 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:26 PM

This morning is a coffee and a sprint out the door to do some shopping, so, pictures later.
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#50 Mjx

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:33 PM


Did you say what part of Denmark you are in? I had a chance to visit Copenhagen last year and had a great time.

I think Mjx is here per the OP:


But I’ve have been spending a lot of time in the Danish city of Århus over the past several years, and this is where I’m blogging from, so... welcome to Denmark!


One of the owners of Cafe Katja, here on the lower east side of NYC, is from Austria, where his family has an elderberry farm. There's often an item or two on the menu containing them, usually a cocktail, sometimes a food course - always delicious.


I'm pretty sure I've eaten there, and I'm racking my brains to remember what I ate. I'm pretty sure I missed the elderflower options completely, though. Are these all from the flowers, or the berries, too?
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#51 Kerry Beal

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:09 AM

Michaela - I notice in your teaser that you put a picture of your Rosle food mill (which I'd probably have twigged to had I seen it) - are you getting a lot of use from it and does it work well for you?

#52 Mjx

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:36 AM

Kerry, I'm impressed that you recognized it as a Rösle from the small part of it that showed in the image. The mill is brilliant, I love it! I use it most for tomatoes, but hokkaido, potatoes, and quinces also pass through it pretty often (my boyfriend's mother borrows it, too).
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#53 Mjx

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:19 AM

On Wednesdays and Saturdays there is an outdoor market at Ingerslevs Boulevard, and since I needed a hokkaido, I figured I’d head out and see whether I could find one.

On my way, I passed this shop, which sells bread trugs that I seriously covet:

Ceramics.jpg

Since today is both rainy and in July (possibly the most popular holiday month in Denmark), the market was a bit sparse, both in terms of vendors and shoppers:

MarketLongView.jpg

A lot of the vendors are simply retailers of many of the things you find in the shops (this stand sells only organic produce):

Organic.jpg

He had hokkaidos, which I haven’t seen in the supermarkets or health food stores at this time (middle row, far right):

OrganicClose.jpg

Some of the vendors are very specialized, like the man who sells honey and a few other bee-derived products:

Honey.jpg

I’d hoped the salt man would be there, but he’s probably on holiday. I’m a big fan of his smoked salt, which I initially thought silly and gimmicky, but now put in everything (including hot chocolate).

Some are here to sell their own produce:

Vegetables.jpg

Herbs in pots:

HerbsPots.jpg

The cheese truck:

CheeseTruck.jpg

CheeseTruckClose.jpg

Fish, fresh and smoked (koldrøget is 'cold smoked'):

FishFresh.jpg

FishSmoked.jpg

And finally, the potato tank, to keep the peeled potatoes from turning brown:

Potatoes.jpg

PotatoesClose.jpg

After this, I went to the Asian shop, so... a few more images to follow.
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#54 rotuts

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:28 AM

thanks the market is very interesting. Ive never seen peeled potatoes for sale. Is that unique to Denmark?

#55 liuzhou

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

Ive never seen peeled potatoes for sale. Is that unique to Denmark?


Nope. Pretty common in China, too

#56 mkayahara

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:42 AM

Thanks for the pic of the "hokkaidos". As far as I knew, Hokkaido was an island in Japan! To me, those look just like winter squash. :wink:
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#57 Shelby

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:44 AM

thanks the market is very interesting. Ive never seen peeled potatoes for sale. Is that unique to Denmark?


I've never seen that either. Wish they did that around here because I hate peeling 'taters!

#58 liuzhou

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:50 AM

As far as I knew, Hokkaido was an island in Japan!


And a breed of dog. But I don't think they usually eat dog in Denmark. And if they do, hokkaido would be an expensive choice!

Edited by liuzhou, 11 July 2012 - 06:50 AM.


#59 gfweb

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:06 AM

And finally, the potato tank, to keep the peeled potatoes from turning brown:

Potatoes.jpg

PotatoesClose.jpg

After this, I went to the Asian shop, so... a few more images to follow.


That's one big bacterial culture! Is it refrigerated?

Edited by gfweb, 11 July 2012 - 07:07 AM.


#60 rotuts

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:08 AM

good point on the 'culture' and why not eat the skins? Pretty tasty I think.





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