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Diane Duane

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    Co. Wicklow, Ireland
  1. mjg, I meant to get back to you ever so long ago about this, but Life Interfered. We went to Kaya and it was super: I look forward to getting back there at some point. Fortunately the convention we were attending is probably going to repeat, so this time we can take a bunch of people with us and steal out of all their dishes. Thanks again!!
  2. Interestingly, it's not: it's an independent place. I look forward to trying it again next week when we're back from Pittsburgh. BTW, thanks for the note about Venu: sounds right up my alley -- will have to give it a try. Best! -- Diane ←
  3. Thanks for both recommendations. Alas, the farmer's market will only drive me insane, because EU anti-hoof-&-mouth regulations will keep me from bringing home entirely too many of the things I'd like to pack back. (mutter) Not that this would stop me from going to the market and tasting everything they'll let me taste. They can't stop me from importing stuff inside me. Meanwhile, I printed out Kaya's menus. Wow, they look attractive. Himself is a big fan of anything jerked, and that Yucatan hot bean dip sounds like something I could dive into head first. Thanks again! best -- Diane
  4. Thanks for the note about this! Himself is a big fan of Moroccan -- does a pretty mean tajine on his own recognizance -- and this place looks very promising. I see they have a website: http://www.casablanca212.com Thanks again! Best -- Diane
  5. Mitch, many thanks! I have a printout...let's see now how much spare timethe convention people leave us to sample the local delights. Best! -- Diane
  6. Friends, I've got a business engagement at the Convention Center in Pittsburgh over the weekend of the 15th-18th of June, and Himself and I will be staying in the Westin there. Does anyone know if there are any good restaurants within walking distance? (Or, second best, a not-too-long cab ride.) Cuisine's not important -- just the general goodness of whatever place is recommended. Thanks in advance for any help! Best -- Diane
  7. Since the recommendations are all over the place here (not that I'm complaining!) let me suggest a really, really good Indian restaurant which has opened up recently in Newbridge (Co. Kildare). Jaipore is located on Lower Eyre Street, which parallels the main drag that runs through Newbridge. Lovely clean design to the place -- this is about as far away from flocked wallpaper as you can get: light polished woods, etched frosted glass, etc. And the food is just dynamite. Both beef and pork were on the menu, leaving Himself and me wondering whether the management was possibly Goanese? -- as there are some Goan dishes on the menu. But also Hyderabadi ones (I had the Hyderabadi chicken, it was tremendous...). Even the naan breads and dhal were surprising (the taarka dhal had an unexpected kick, and the naans were fragrant and had more of a bite than usual, and weren't overstuffed). The wine list there is super, and the owner/manager very knowledgeable about the wine he was serving. All other service was extremely courteous as well. Two bottles of relatively high-end wine, two main courses, two starters plus dhal and naan bread x 2 ran us about Eur 95.00. ...We didn't have time for dessert, but we'll look into that the next time, as we will definitely be going back. (BTW, they also do takeout, as might be expected. The clientele looked to be very much the Giant SUV/Expensive Horsey crowd, who I suspect quickly knew a good thing when they saw it.) Best! -- Diane
  8. Hi Mudbug! (snip snip snip snip) I can help you a little with the Zurich end of things. First of all: are you flying straight into Zurich airport (ZRH)? They've completely redone the place over the past couple of years and have installed a big new food court, where the food is at least okay. Further into the airport, just before passport control, was a good Asian restaurant, but I don't know if they've moved it or how it's been lately. (1) Believe it or not, there's some pretty fair "good plain food" in the main train station, Zurich Hauptbahnhof (or HB). "Brasserie Federal" is quite nice for a fast snack when you're heading in/out of town. (Here's their menu -- sorry, it's in German: http://www.candriancatering.ch/sites/index...1=4&rng=2&lng=) There is also an all-right vegetarian restaurant in the station ("Bona Dea") and a little vegetarian-snack grab-it-and-run place right by the main doors on the tram-plaza side ("Tic Tac"). The high-end restaurant upstairs, "au Premier", has also recently been redone, but I haven't been in there since the redo and don't know how it is. Wouldn't send you in there without better data, as the prices in there are pretty steep. They are also steeper in "Les Arcades" than they are in "Brasserie Federal". (PS: for the beer lovers, Federal has a hundred swiss beers or more.) A side note: there is an "ambient bar" and restaurant called "imagine" just across from Federal. They have free wi-fi. In fact, if you stand just outside their front door, you can get at the wi-fi from there. (Shhhhh....) (2) Sunday dining in Zurich: Always problematic. If you don't mind more "good plain food" and some emphasis on regional specialties, I have a soft spot for the Zeughauskeller, right by the tram-stops at Paradeplatz. (http://www.zeughauskeller.ch/english/frame_start.htm) The food is much better than it sounds, and the atmosphere's super. ...Also near there, just around the corner (and like it, not far from St. Peterskirche) is a nice little restaurant called Heugumper (http://www.restaurantheuguemper.ch/). My husband and I were there about a year and a half ago...walked in off the street one evening and were well taken care of: good food with touches of fusion. (This link leads to a popup menu page: http://www.restaurantheuguemper.ch/popup.p...up_speisekarte) However, they may be closed on Sunday. Whereas the Zeughauskeller certainly won't be. At some time *not* a Sunday -- because they'll be closed -- you might also like to look just past the Zeughauskeller, across the little street/alley Im Gasse, at Bierhalle Kropf, which is "a beerhall" in the same way that the Sistine Chapel is "a church". Nice food there, and grandmotherly serving staff who take good care of you. Another thought: Vegetarians and non-alike will like Hiltl Vegi. This is probably Europe's oldest vegetarian restaurant. Besides a la carte menus, there are also two big vegetarian buffets -- one Indian, one European-style. Extremely good -- and these guys have a *great* wine cellar. The place is very slick and modern, with the staff bustling around with headset mikes and being very busy. Reservations aren't absolutely necessary, but you might have to wait a little if you have a big group. Better to call ahead. (http://www.hiltl.ch/f_main_e/f-main.htm) They also run a vegetarian take-away chain called "tibits" which has locations in most of the major Swiss rail stations (the ones denoted as RailCity). (3) In Bern -- If you're going to eat there and you're in a rush (your itinerary sounds that way, a little...) There are a number of goodish restaurants in the square directly across from the Bundeshaus, mostly on the west side. One of them does a very good wood-oven pizza: I think its name is (strangely enough) Restaurant la Pizzeria: look in through the glass front and you should be able to see the oven. Another place, right down at the Bundeshaus end, specializes in meat and grills and does a pretty good steak/frites. (Its name is something like "Grill Federal" or "Rotisserie Bundeshaus" -- please forgive the vagueness, I can't find my notes on the subject.) Also much recommended is the Italian restaurant "Verdi", at Gerechtigskeitgasse 5, near the "town" end of the bridge leading to the Baerengraben -- but you're probably going to need a booking: they're very popular. (http://www.bindella.ch/ger/page_130.html) Also terrific is the little restaurant in the Hotel Belle Epoque, right across from the Verdi. (If you go there, tell Juerg the manager that the crazy Irish writers send their best.) (http://www.belle-epoque.ch/htm_e/kontakt.htm) ...Haven't even begun to scratch the surface with this: will add some more later (I have to go out and run some errands). Best! -- Diane
  9. Peter -- where exactly is this restaurant? In Freiburg proper, or nearby? There is a lot of BaWu...
  10. My situation as an expat is a little different from most people's. I have no living close relatives left in the US, so Thanksgiving has become a completely elective event for me. Sometimes (if we're over in the US for business or whatnot at the right time) we might celebrate it with friends: sometimes we've had it by ourselves (I remember one particularly good dinner at an Italian restaurant on the upper East Side, where the turkey-seasoning was done entirely alla Italiana, yum yum). Otherwise (if something work-related isn't interfering) I stage the feast on a small scale here in Ireland, to the good-natured bemusement of the locals, and Peter happily eats whatever I make -- having stated, however, that because he knows he's going to have turkey at Christmas, he'd sort of rather I made something else. I think this year I might do this goose recipe, which was an experiment assembled just post-Christmas in 2001. (My husband's family in Northern Ireland are exactly as fond of their traditional Christmas dinner routine as most people's families "upthread" seem to be about Thanksgiving: so there's not a lot of "wiggle room" to insert anything unconventional in that meal, and if I want something different "for Christmas", I usually do it myself when we get home a few days after The Day.) The chipotles in the stuffing are more or less Peter's idea: he is an unredeemed / unredeemable ChiliHead (unusual, for a Belfast boy -- but then the family joke is that he was supposed to be born in the US, and somehow hung a right instead of a left.) Hmm. Sides, though, time to start thinking about those. Something with chestnuts, maybe... Best! D.
  11. Half-Pekinged Goose with Wild Rice-Chipotle Stuffing Serves 4 as Main Dish. This recipe was originally devised for our Christmas/Solstice dinner in 2001. I had spent some time looking at the famous "Black Turkey Recipe", and eventually decided that it was too much trouble. This operation is a little less labor-intensive, and the final effect is pretty good. The gravy is based on one which appears in various forms in numerous German cookbooks as a foil for the ubiquitous "truck-based roast chicken" (at many larger German railway stations, trucks with many chickens turning on spits can be found awaiting the homeward-bound commuter: there are a lot of gravy recipes out there designed to be made ahead of time, frozen, and then heated up for when you arrive home with one of these birds in hand). The tartness of the gravy nicely sets off the richness of the goose. Necessary equipment 1 Hair dryer 1 large stockpot or similar, 10 liters / 10 quarts or better (and here, bigger is definitely better) 2 (at least) largish saucepans 1 roasting pan 1 roasting rack (not vertical) The goose: 1 goose massing 4 kg / 9 lb or thereabouts, with giblets and neck if at all possible The stuffing: 1 c (or 200 g) wild rice 3 c (or approx 300 g) mixed breadcrumbs/sliced bread, cubed. (Make it a good solid bread, not some Wonder Bread-like substance. Plain breads are probably better than flavored ones for this, though I'm not 1 tsp ground chipotle chiles (or dried chipotles finely hand-chopped to = 1 tsp, if you have them) 1/4 tsp salt 1/8 tsp fresh-ground pepper 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or more, to taste) 1/8 tsp celery seed 1/4 tsp herbes de provence (or a combination of the fresh herbs to about 1 tsp's worth) 1/4 tsp dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh (curly, not broadleaf) 1/4 tsp dried sage or 1/2 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (or plain sweet paprika, but smoked is better if you can get it) 1 tsp smoked hot paprika (or plain hot paprika, but as above, smoked is better...) 1 tsp dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme 1 chicken stock cube or chicken bouillon cube 1/2 tsp orange or lemon zest, preferably freshly grated (the standard Schwarz-type supermarket-spice-shelf type is either too dry or too finely textured, sometimes both. If you have access to "wet" zest-past 1 lemon 2 oz or 60 grams butter 4 fl oz or 120 milliliters water For the gravy 2 l or 2 quarts goose stock (Not something you have to have on hand...it happens during the cooking.) 1/3 c or 40 grams plain flour 4 fl oz fluid ounces or 120 milliliters red wine (or more to taste) 1 lemon 2-3/4 fl oz or 80 milliliters port (Nothing too fancy. In this particular regard, keeping up too close a parity between what you and the pot get to drink is an affectation.) 1/4 tsp salt Remove the giblet-and-neck package from the goose. Present food hygeine wisdom suggests that washing poultry before stuffing it is merely a great way to spread around whatever germs might be in there, so merely pat dry with paper towels unless the goose has been ineptly drawn and it really seems to need a wash. -- Prick the goose carefully all over with a skewer, trying hard to prick the skin only, not the flesh of the goose beneath. Explain to the gathering cats/dogs that goose causes cancer. Fill the 10-liter stockpot about 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil. When at full rolling boil, duck the "head end" of the goose into the boiling water as far as it will go. Keep immersed for at least 1 minute, or until (surprise) goosebumps form on the skin. Remove and immerse the rear end of the goose and repeat the process. (If you had one of those huge turkey-frying cans, you could possibly fill it full of water, bring it to a boil, and do this stage all in one dunk. If you do, let me know how that works out.) Take the goose out of the boiling water and put on a rack over a cookie sheet to drain. Explain to the cats/dogs that goose causes cancer. The goose's skin will start to become taut after being removed from the boiling water. Use the hair dryer to dry out the skin of the goose slightly. (Ten minutes or so is enough.) Fat will start running out of the skin during this process. Evict cats/dogs and leave the goose on the rack to drain for a while. Pour off all but two liters / two quarts of the goose-boiling water and add the giblets and neck to it. Simmer on low heat from now until it's time to make gravy. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Put the wild rice in a microwave-proof casserole with 24 fluid ounces / 600 milliliters of water and microwave on high power for 5 minutes and on medium for 25 minutes. (Or cook on the stovetop according to package directions: but microwaving is usually faster.) Drain and put in a dish with a little butter. While the wild rice is cooking, cube the sliced bread and toast it in a low oven on a cookie sheet for twenty minutes or so (or do it in the toaster, if you're lazy or in a rush. Preferably before cubing it). Toss the toasted, cubed bread together with the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Season with herbes de Provence, orange or lemon zest, parsley, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, chipotle chiles, garlic powder, celery seed, and the paprikas. Melt butter in water, add the bouillon cube or stock cube and the juice of the lemon, and heat or microwave briefly until all is melted together; toss the wild rice together with the dry stuffing ingredients, and then add the butter/water/lemon juice/bouillon mixture and toss the whole business until well mixed. Set aside until the goose is finished draining. Stuff the main cavity of the goose and use your preferred method (twine or whatever) to fasten the legs together to keep the stuffing from falling out, meanwhile explaining to the cats/dogs that goose still causes cancer. If available, cut off some of the neck skin off to cover any exposed stuffing with (as stuffing the neck-cavity of a goose usually turns out to be difficult and/or frustrating if not impossible). Put the goose breast down on the rack. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade / 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Insert the goose and lower temperature to 375 F / 190 C. Roast at this temperature for the first hour, then lower temperature to 325 F / 160 C. After the second hour of roasting, remove the goose from the rack. Drain goose fat from the pan and replace rack: return the goose to the rack, on its back this time. Explain to the cats/dogs that goose causes not only cancer but mange. Put the goose back in the oven and roast for one more hour. Put the goose fat aside to settle. At the end of the hour, remove the goose and allow it to rest for at least half an hour -- the period while the gravy is being made should be sufficient. -- Strain the stock from the stock pot. Pour excess fat out of the roasting pan. Scrape the pan and put scrapings and a little goose fat into a saucepan. Add a little butter and warm. Add more butter and the flour. Make a roux and cook it moderately dark. Lower the heat and let the roux calm down a little before adding the red wine, port, the juice of the remaining lemon, and half the stock. Simmer until thick, adding more stock as needed until it's all the consistency you prefer. Meanwhile, pour the settled goose fat into small jars and put in the freezer for making roast potatoes later in the year. Then mop the floor with a strong detergent, since by now goose fat has gotten just about everywhere, and the floor's coefficient of friction has begun to resemble that of a newly Zamboni'd skating rink. Carve the goose. Serve with rowanberry jelly on the side (or cranberry or redcurrant jelly if you can't get rowanberry), and mashed potatoes and a vegetable, possibly green beans with sliced boiled chestnuts or something along those lines. Poach the goose liver gently in a little gravy, give it to the cats/dogs, and tell them you were just kidding about the cancer. Keywords: Main Dish, Intermediate, Dinner, Christmas ( RG1432 )
  12. Sure. You wouldn't pay him by the word, though. The F-word, possibly. Best! D.
  13. I wouldn't know about the racehorses, but agree with you about everything else. After tearing the house apart this morning (and finding many other books that had gotten misplaced) I finally located our copy of No-one Else Has Complained. It's so quotable that you can dip in just about anywhere and find something witty, sardonic or simply painfully true. A few examples: (in a glossary section) "The Restaurant Owner: Usually a haute couturier who fell out with his backers. Sometimes an accountant who became jealous when he audited the books of a restaurateur and, because his man was an oaf, the accountant thought he could do as well. An owner's desire is to have customers who spend enormous amounts of money and depart quickly to make room for others of the same trend. ...Owners spend little time in their own establishments; when it is empty they are out seeing how the competition is doing: when it is full they are trying to persuade staff from other restaurants to work for them." ..."Menus are not cookbooks. They are there to describe the end product, not to teach you how to make it; 'raw monkfish passed through a hair-sieve by a lady of easy virtue, blended with raw egg white into which Jersey cream is folded prior to simmering in a court bouillon' may be true, but it is too much if you are going to eat the dish and not enough if you want to go home and cook it." ..."Don't be ashamed to look at other people's plates as they are carried past you. I quite often ask other customers if they like what they are eating. At worst they can say nothing, but usually they'll tell me -- especially if it isn't very good. Be careful which people you ask. Well brought-up Englishmen will say it's all right when it's foul and very nice when it's OK. Take the advice of foreigners or badly brought-up diners." (on cooking at table -- the steak tartare / Crepe Suzette kind of thing:) "'Bespoke' cooking is not necessarily good cooking -- rather the reverse. The time when you need a waiter with a stove is when the conversation between you and your guests has ground to a halt and you are too scared to cut your losses and leave." ...And so much more. The book's a lot of fun. While it's no longer in print, various used-book sources have it, as does Amazon.co.uk. Best! D.
  14. Let me clarify that this is Diane responding to my PM thanking here for the book suggestions. ← (urk) Apologies. Late night at the pub, laptop in bed, cat on laptop, the usual... Best! D.
  15. Kind of interesting. Check the Wikipedia entry. Best! D.
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