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Rien

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  1. I'm not certain about other dishes which use coriander in this way, but I do know that ground coriander seed is common in Egyptian cuisine. If I'm not mistaken, caraway and cumin are also very common in Egypt. Roden grew up in Cairo, so it would make sense that she's putting an Egyptian twist on the recipe though she doesn't call out the region in which this is "authentic." rien
  2. One follow up to my previous post. I recently came across the Congo Cookbookwebsite and was quite impressed. rien
  3. Africa, other than the north, has been neglected in this discussion. In many ways I feel like African cuisine - again the north and, to a lesser degree, the west excepted - is fairly unknown. Perhaps a single dish is known here and there ... a peanut stew perhaps ... but whether this is hiding wonderful unknown treasures or is simply the cream rising to the top, I don't know. But I digress ... I recently came across a reference to "Sauce Cany" - a "Wolof Pepper Paste" - in the Senegalese section of Jeffrey Alford's "Seductions of Rice." He describes it explicitly as a relative of harissa. I ca
  4. Rien

    Singha Beer

    I find Singha highly variable. Some bottles taste a lot worse than others. If you've only tried it once and strongly disliked it, perhaps try again. This may have to do with freshness ... and, perhaps, with the actual variables in the product. One thing to be said for Bud and other Macro-Brews, they have skilled enough brewers that they've got consistency down ... you could give them a bucket of raw sewage and stale wonderbread, and they'd turn it into Bud. Hell, that may be their secret. I also find Singha, like a lot of beers from countries hovering around the equator, benefits from an icy
  5. This sounds great. Can you provide additional details? Do you cook the bulghur first, moisten it with hot water, or just use it dry? I suspect the second. And, as for the onions, to you cook/fry them first? Thanks, rien
  6. I have cooked new crop rice and I'm not really a fan. Here's the lowdown, heavily indebted to Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's excellent book, The Seductions of Rice. First, brokens. Yes, it's considered a low grade. However, as with many ingredients (such as olive oil), lower grades are appropriate, even preferred, for some preparations. While brokens are undesirable for "eating" rice they are preferred for preparations where you want the starches to come out into the water, "binding" the grains and/or thickening the mixture; think rice puddings and various porridges, such as jook/congee/et
  7. So, based on this article I'm inclined to believe that the olive tree came to Italy from Tunisia and that perhaps later, during the expansion of empire, the Romans returned to use the olive orchards as a form of "peaceful" conquest. The article did remind me that, along with North Africa, the Romans got a lot of olive oil from Spain. I remember coming across the phrase "porto food" in a cookbook, though the cookbook escapes me. The intention was to create a category of foods that circulated around Mediterranean ports via trade and travel, creating slightly different versions and, quite litera
  8. If I'm not mistaken, the Romans turned Tunisia into their oil amphora as well as breadbasket. I can't say for sure that the olive was introduced to Tunisia by Romans but I believe the mass of orchards and the early olive oil "industry" in North Africa was part of the Roman Empire's attempt to keep itself fed and fueled. My reference for this is Toussaint-Samat's and Bell's (caveat: often inaccurate) book, The History of Food. rien
  9. Sounds like Baharat ... which has perhaps as many recipes as people making it. Recipes often include black pepper, clover, coriander, cumin, cardamom, paprika, ground dried lemon/lim, rose petals, etc. Any number of cookbooks have recipes. I also found a number of variations here. Version #3, "Syrian Style Baharat," sounds like what you're describing. It's also like Clifford Wright's version. rien
  10. I'm not sure this is the right thread on which to ask this question nor am I sure if the question has been asked before. But, here goes. How should one age beers? Seeing as there's often no cork to deal with, does orientation matter? It seems that capped bottles would be better stored vertically than horizontally. Should corked bottled be stored horizontally? Does anyone have general guidelines for years to age? Of course, I imagine that keeping them away from light is a good idea. It doesn't seem, however, that temperature is as important since the number of years the bottles will be aged is
  11. What? For real? I've seen Molokhiya (or one of the seemingly infinite variant spellings) referred to in many a cookbook as jew's mallow. Off the top of my head, I believe both Clifford Wright and Claudia Roden refer to it as such. Is this one of those pernicious mis-information memes? Seems like this can create a couple odd effects: 1) people are using mallow thinking it's Molokhiya; and the inverse, 2) Molokhiya is being labeled as mallow. I feel like I've seen frozen packages with both the words molokhiya and mallow on them. Interesting. rien
  12. Rien

    The Sidecar

    It definitely does change the nature of the drink. However, it's still a nice drink. I've passed Gran Gala "sidecars" off on some "experienced" drinkers and they've immediately noticed the difference but ackowledged it as a nice alteration ... though I'm sure it won't replace a true Sidecar in most people's pantheon of great cocktails. rien
  13. The Campari Group owns Cinzano, so why not use Cinzano vermouth? I actually use Cinzano sweet vermouth all the time ... with the perhaps dubious rationale that sweet vermouth was, to the best of my knowledge, originally an Italian thing. I believe dry vermouth on the other hand is French in origin. Might Noilly Prat be, more or less, the originator of dry vermouth as a mass produced product? The history on their site claims they're the original, since 1813. Anyway, for that also dubious reason I use Noilly Prat as my "house" dry vermouth. Ciao, rien
  14. Quality product is great. With French Press coffee, it pretty much gets you there. The only big variables left to work with being grind and water which are easy to "solve." Storage is a lesser concern. Espresso and espresso based drinks, however, are another story. Technique and equipment are far more crucial. How do you "solve" these in a dining environment where the turnover is very low in comparison to a cafe. Foaming milk to a perfect velvet consistency takes a lot of practice and pretty high turnover as does pulling perfect shots. Are you considering having a true barrista or at least so
  15. Aren't "seville" oranges bitter oranges? I see them around at specialty markets. You may want to ask specifically for Seville Oranges from a grocer that you suspect might be ok with special orders. rien
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