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Adam Balic

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  1. Rice goes with traditional recipes like blanquette de veau (not "veau de blanquette"), and various dishes involving chicken in a sauce (poule au riz, poulet au blanc, poulet basquaise, poulet au curry — French-style curried chicken, much older than it sounds), or fish or shellfish in a tomato or cream-based sauce like armoricaine or dieppoise.

    Apart from that, the traditional uses of rice are not many in the Northern and Western half of France, and quite numerous in the Southeastern part (Provence and Nice), though rice has been known for centuries all over the country. Some relatively ancient use of rice is recorded in Brittany, probably because of the abundance of seafood products and the importance of the sea trade that also brought spices, teas and coffees.

    Rice with bœuf bourguignon = never. The usual side dish is potatoes, preferrably boiled or steamed. In some regions beef stews will go with pasta-style dishes like gnocchi, polenta or fidés (pasta cooked by the absorption method). In France there is no history of rice with beef stew that I can think of.

    Large scale rice growing in the Camargue seems quite recent (mid-20th century?). Any new-tradional recipes for rice and beef developing?

  2. Just to add, I dont remember seeing enything in this article about the research facility in belgium who has been doing quite a bit of research themselves (mainly through genetic modification and test tube growth) have significantly supported african banana populations.

    But still, from what I have read about the goldfinger is it isn't creamy like the gro michel or cavendish, so it may not be as popular as these people hope it to be.

    You can get them here in Australia. Less creamy and a different flavour. Still banana, but not nearly as strong and a little more acid tasting.

  3. The lake Garda "carpione" is Salmo carpio which is a salmon/trout relative (same genus as Atlantic salmon and brown trout, in some cases it is classified as a sub-species of the latter). Carp are not related.

    However, the is a relationship in the name: carpione (Salmo carpio) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio). The shared part of the name doesn't mean that they are related, just that they are share a common characteristic, in this case the salmon/trout from lake Garda is being described as being carp-like.There is also another native trout called "Carpione del Fibreno".

    Modern Italian for carp is "carpa", but due to the similarity in names a lot of English-Italian dictionaries give the definition of "carpione" as "carp" and in some cases as being specific to lake Garda. As far as I know there is no carp in Garda known as "Carpione" in reality. However carp is prepared as "Carpione", like a lot of other fish. The salmon/trout fish is rare and restricted, so it is little wonder that there is so many other fish that are associated with the name.

    "Carpione" as a dish has been around for a long time and in fact a verb form ("carpionare") has developed to mean "to fry fish then marinate it". Usually this dish is associated with Northern Italy, however in 15th century Naples the word "acarpionado" was used as verb for this treatment. Usually the root of "carpione" is derived from "carpa", but I wonder it that is correct.

    Its possible that it is derived from "escabeche" or escabechar. One source mentions that a medival form of Italian "escabeche" is known as "alla scapetia" for instance.

    Salmo carpio is that salmonid found in lake Garda and is known as "carpione" as mentioned above. But the method of preparing the dish and name of the dish is used for other types of fish. One fish from Torino that is prepared in carpione is the tench. Oddly the medieval recipe for carpione is the opposite of the modern recipe, first the fish is marinated, then fried.

    A similar 14th century Tuscan recipe is called "schibezia", and there is and extant dish called "a scapece", these are derived from "escabeche" and beyond.

    Lest anyone think that anything can be this cut and dry in Italy.... I took a short stroll thru some of my resources and came up with the following:

    In a current dictionary (Garzntii), carpione is described as a large carp. In an old Veneto recipe, they use the word carpione to mean carp.

    In Emilia Romagna, Lombardi, Peimonte, the word shows up as either 'in carpione', or 'al carpione' and the recipes call for similar preparations involving white vinegar. These recipes all use fresh water fish such as pike, perch, trout, or tench (which is allied to the carp).

    I could only find the word 'scapece' in Abruzzo and Calabria. In the town of Vasto in Abruzzo, scapece is a vinegared, preserved fish recipe. My source doesn't indicate the type of fish, only that it is cut up pieces of fish.

    There are numerous other recipes in Abruzzo & Calabira that use 'in scapece', but these are for eggplant or zucchini 'rollups.

    I came up totally empty on 'schibezia'. But, the fun is in the hunt, so I'll keep looking.

    Adam, is salmon also allied with carp?

    And getting back to the original reason for the question, secondo me, this would make a great dish for a summer picnic.

  4. Salmo carpio is that salmonid found in lake Garda and is known as "carpione" as mentioned above. But the method of preparing the dish and name of the dish is used for other types of fish. One fish from Torino that is prepared in carpione is the tench. Oddly the medieval recipe for carpione is the opposite of the modern recipe, first the fish is marinated, then fried.

    A similar 14th century Tuscan recipe is called "schibezia", and there is and extant dish called "a scapece", these are derived from "escabeche" and beyond.

  5. Thanks Adam, had a feeling you'd know what this is.  Have you tried another one since post #199?  They are really good eating like all groupers mild in flavour but fantastic flesh.  Can't believe you cooked it the same way as my mother though but please note this is a traditional Hong Kong way of cooking it.  Gives mild fish extra taste.  I could've eaten this all on it's own, actually i could've eaten two!

    I've actually fished for them (didn't manage to land them as reef sharks bit them in half before they got to the boat). I've seen them on the Great Barrier Reef when diving. Red light is lost in the first metre or so of water, so they actually look blue/grey with spots in normal situations. Very well camouflaged actually.

    I really like this dish, although now I steam it on a plate like your mother. Sometimes I add a few black beans as well. I didn't know that this was a Hong Kong method, in the book I have the combination of ham, mushroom, dried shrimp, ginger, spring onion is from Sichuan (where catfish would be used)?

  6. I wouldn't expect these varieties to be commercial on a large scale, but on a small scale it would be interesting to see if the can establish niche markets.

    Bananas are an interesting case as they are sterile triploid plants they are vegatatively. Essentially Caverdish is a clone, but it is also an icon. For most people in the West a banana is Cavendish. Obviously if you remove Cavendish then you get something different or you develop a good copy. The latter is more commercial.

    An "ultimate" banana is needed, otherwise you would end up with the banana being another middle-class luxury item. As I'm middle-class I would like to see a combiation of the commercial and the luxury niche varieties.

  7. The Cavendish is the banana of choice at the moment, but the are other cultivars around. The local supermarket also sells Lady Finger, Sugar and occasionally red bananas. The local market also sells several tiny Thai varieties (as well as starchy plantains).

    This site shows a large range of banana types, including a gros michael.

    The question is if these banana types (and other strains that are being developed) are commercial or not. Might be a good thing if the Cavendish becomes less dominant, might allow the potential for developing the market for these other types. On the other hand I think it more likely that a GM or otherwise resistant Cavendish would be likely to be developed.

  8. Well here in the Middle East which includes Israel, Palestine, Gaza, Lebanon and in Jordan we do have 1 very specific plant called Zaatar and it has nothing to do with the names you mentioned. Do you have pictures of the plants you are saying that meant to be related?
    In terms of the herbs rather then the herb mixture, is "Zaatar" a generic name for a group of aromatic plants or does it refer to a specific plant in some regions? I have many plants what include "Zaatar" in the name, not just Hyssop. For instance one plant I grow Satureja thymbra (Thyme-leaved savory) is traded as "zatar parsi" and tastes nothing like the flavour profile of Hyssop.

    This page has images of various Savory plants, some of which are known as Zaatar. This shows Hyssop, which is often described as the "real" zaatar. Here is yet another herb that is known as zaatar.

  9. What an interesting looking fish. Actually is looks a lot like the seawater Cusk superficially, although the liver is huge in comparison. My memory of the Cusk was that it was covered in a huge amount of slime. Burbot similar?

  10. another option is Jacques Reymond, which isn't CBD, but is less then 10 minutes in a cab.

    I'm seriously thinking of Jacques Reymond for my birthday. But Rockpool Bar and Grill and Bistro Guillaume are also options (although the main negative is that both are at the Crown).

    In recent dining adventures, I took the missus to Wildflower in Surrey Hills for our 5 year anniversary and that was very good. Our next stop (for her birthday) will be Agrodolce in Forest Hills. The owners are Grossi Florentino alumni, so I'm quite looking forward to it.

    I guess all three are quite different. Would be interesting to compare JR to the others as this is one Melbourne fine dining venue that has bee around for ever without getting stale. Another plus is the wine list, which is huge and well priced.

  11. PS

    Never in my life have I heard of a scone with potato in it. Sounds odd. Is there a potato flavor? I used to make scones quite often, but never saw that. V. Interesting.

    I do plan on making haggis at some point, I think I'll like it.


    Making haggis is quite fun. If you leave out the offal (so you have meal, onions, suet/lard and spice) you have the ingredients for a mealie pudding.

    Potato scones are not like regular scones they are flat and shaped as quarter circles (farls). They are what scones would have been like before the introduction of chemical raising agents in the 19th century. You can just grill them if they are fresh, but mostly they are fried in fat. Although they are potatoless and cut in full rounds, not quarters, the fat scones shown here are very similar to the modern potato scone.

    The last time I ate breafast in Ireland there was also red pudding on offer, no idea what this is.

    The best breakfast I ate in Scotland was smoked haddock with poached eggs, toast with marmalade and cups of tea.

  12. I would go to the UK board. The Full Irish is pretty much the same as the full English and the Full Scottish (with minor variations).

    It is quite possible that some of the Brits have made a cooked breakfast. In fact I've made cooked breakfast like this, in Ireland, Scotland and England.

    The best British style black pudding I have had comes from Stornowayin Scotland. It has an open texture and it's sweetness (from onions I guess) goes well with things like Scallops.

    Another interesting black pudding I had was flavoured with pennyroyal.

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