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  1. Hello, oh wonderful eGulleteers! I know I've been away a while, but at least I'm coming back in style. Not a whole lot has changed here in Ecuador - it's still definitely paradise, and the big Market still runs on Sundays and Mondays. I'll be off towards that shortly, to shop for the week and also to search out some of the food I want to feature in this blog - namely, the quick breads and munchies on the go that Latin America is justifiably famous for! So what am I waiting for? It's time to EAT!
  2. We love Japan ! I don’t know why it hasn’t been on my travel radar until recently. The people, the places, the culture and history, and especially the FOOD. There will be no Michelin stars in this report, nor will there be names of restaurants. We ate mainly at isakaya, (local restaurants where there were often only four or five seats), markets (including supermarkets) with a few larger restaurants for balance. There is food available anywhere and anytime if you know where to look. Rather than large meals we tended to snack our way through the day. Some of the best things we ate at “standing bars” no chairs provided. Karaage chicken with salad and miso was first up. The window displays are amazing, you can walk many city blocks underground through various shopping malls, handy when it rained our first day. At a local place. Chicken teriyaki, grilled peppers, potato salad, pickles. Charcoal hibachi. Grew to love sake.
  3. We’ve just returned from a fun filled 16 days on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. The food was fantastic, the people friendly, the markets chaotic, the temples serene, the mountains breathtaking, the wildlife plentiful and the weather ? Well, you can’t have everything, it was mostly hot, and at times very wet. Why Sri Lanka ? We loved time spent earlier this year in southern India, especially the food. Sri Lanka lies just off the southern tip of India and has been influenced over time by various invading Indian dynasties. Often referred to as the spice Island, it’s been an important trading post for centuries. Other countries have also played their part in shaping Sri Lankan cuisine. The Portuguese arrived in the early part of the 16th century, the Dutch gained control in the 17th century, the British had control by 1815, and independence was proclaimed in 1948. Throughout these years, Chinese traders also contributed to the evolution of Sri Lanka. So, what’s the food like ? Delicious ! Our first night was spent at a homestay in the coastal city of Negombo. All day the rain bucketed down. It was difficult to go anywhere else, so we asked our hosts to provide dinner. Good move ! The rain let up long enough for a quick quick visit to the fish market, the first of several we’d see. Our hostess made 10 different dishes including a mango curry where I watched her pluck the fruit from the tree in the front yard. There was sour fish curry, chicken curry, dal, several veggie curries, chutney, two rice and roti bread. The meal cost 900 rupees pp, or about $6. Gosh it was good. Lousy photo, some better ones to come.
  4. Prologue: Originally, we intended to spend this Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. We have travelled a lot last year and will need to attend a wedding already next month in Germany, so I was happy to spend some quiet days at home (and keep the spendings a bit under control as well). As a consequence, we had not booked any flights in the busiest travel time of the year in this region … But – despite all good intentions – I found myself two weeks ago calling the hotline of my favourite airline in the region, essentially cashing in on three years of extensive business travel and checking where I could get on short notice over CNY on miles. I was expecting a laughter on the other side of the line but this is the one time my status in their loyalty reward program paid out big time: three seats for either Seoul or Kansai International (earliest morning flights, of course). No need to choose, really – Kyoto, here we come !
  5. I'm thinking about starting a blog featuring the recipes of antoine Carême that I've translated from 1700s French? No English versions of his works exist and his work is hard to find, even though he is the greatest chef who ever lived. After I get through his works I'd add menon, la Varenne, and other hard to find, but historically important masters of French cuisine.
  6. Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
  7. OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe.... After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me! This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia. Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food. Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship. Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later. Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them. Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip. Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary. When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese! As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!? Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree. Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany. As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does. While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed. We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later. So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali... Beef noodle soup: The interior: This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender. Good bite to the thick chewy noodles. Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):
  8. Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013. At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak. Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it. In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi. That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it. I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going. So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations. Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary. Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!) When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops... Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor: On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers. I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood. I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice. This is what a lot of local food places look like:
  9. Greetings eGulleteers, I'm Smokeydoke and I'll be your tourguide for the next seven days on a culinary journey through Las Vegas. First a little about me, I'm a foodie first and foremost, but my real name is Kathy and to pay the bills, I work as an Engineer. My husband works at UNLV. In the past I've worked as a manager for a pizzeria and worked at a bakery. We live in the Southwest community of Las Vegas, more commonly referred to as Mountains Edge. Here is the obligatory shot of our kitchen. Sorry for the bad photos, I made a video but just realized I can't upload videos in eGullet, so I quickly converted them to jpegs. Here's my pantry#1, with my (in)famous shelf of twelve different types of flours. Below that are my oils, vinegars and sauces. And of course, pounds of TJ Belgium chocolates.
  10. “… and so it begins!” Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”! In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place. For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt. As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving … (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad) Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake ! For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty. Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ... Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts). Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin Wagyu: "nuff said ... Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice ! Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper) So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ... Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed. Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ... More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ... Miso soup with clams ... Tiramisu. Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual! On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity … When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.
  11. OK.... here we go again!!! While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now. As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
  12. Good morning, everyone and happy Monday! It's me again....that girl from Kansas. This is VERY spur-of-the-moment. I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it? I got the ok from Smithy so away we go! This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was. But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first? Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here. Nothing much has changed around here. Same furry babies, same house, same husband . Right now we have field corn planted all around the house. In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested. Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up. I just came in from the garden. I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread. I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there. By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol. Here's a total list of what I planted this year: 7 cucumbers 8 basil 23 okra 4 rows assorted lettuce 20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana 4 rows peas 5 cilantro 1 tarragon 2 dill many many red and white onions 7 eggplant 3 rows spinach 57 tomatoes 5 cherry tomatoes 7 rows silver queen sweet corn 11 squash 4 watermelon 2 cantaloupe 6 pumpkin I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff. WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing. I just love okra flowers Found some more smut
  13. We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food. A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions. A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.
  14. We are at the airport waiting to board our flight. As we seem to have interested folks from different parts of the world who may not know too much about our province, I thought I would start this blog by giving you an overview of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). Before Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony. Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada. Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English. French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else. Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France. There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon. Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington. In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon. NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline. By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles). The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's. While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated. In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids. There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice! There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds. They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears. Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
  15. Hello everyone and welcome to my foodblog. I'm a relatively new member of eGullet so I will follow in EatNopales footsteps by providing a short introduction. I grew up in rural Indiana on my parents' farm which my dad is still operating to this day. When I was younger we raised hogs (commercially) and chickens (our own use) as well growing corn and soybeans (~900 acres), but now he only does the corn and soybeans due to the plunge in the hog market in the mid to late 90s. Growing up in that place and time (80s/90s), my exposure to food was rather narrow. My mom taught me and the rest of my siblings how to cook and bake, but in mostly typical midwestern ways - cookies, cakes, pie, meat & potatoes. I had and still have a great deal of fondness for the desserts of my youth and I will certainly be sharing my pie making with you this week, but as for the savory side of things.... well... it's a bit different. I cook and eat more ethnic food than I had ever imagine existed as a child. For instance, I never had Indian food (what a revelation) until I was in college. Speaking of college, I spent my junior year studying abroad in the island nation of Malta. For those of you who are not familiar with Malta, it is a small island south of Sicily with strong Italian/British/Arabic influences in the cuisine and culture. One of my fondest memories of my time in Malta was walking to the local bakery and devouring the still warm bread. As a side note, I like warm bread and I don't care what the experts say. It is so much more enjoyable that way. Cuisinewise though, Malta is rather forgettable. My apologies to any of you who are passionate devotees of Kinnie or pastizzi. After college, I moved to Chicago which was where my interest in food truly blossomed. Living truly on my own for the first time, I began cooking to save money and to eat somewhat healthier. As time went on, I became more and more interested in cooking and attempted every more ambitious projects and dishes. I also began exploring the restaurant scene of Chicago - from fine dinning to the multitude of ethnic restaurants scattered throughout the city. Two years ago, I moved to Philadelphia to be with my (now) wife who is in medical school here. While I was disappointed to leave Chicago in some ways, I was excited to be able to do a great deal of my shopping at the Reading Terminal Market. For all of its size and grocery options, Chicago lacks a great public market. Enough history - on to the food. I don't really have a cooking philosophy or theme other than I like to do things myself so I tend to buy very little that has been prepared or processed already. In terms of cuisine, I tend to make whatever strikes my whim while doing my menu planning but most of what I make is Italian or Italian influenced to the dismay of my wife who sometimes longs for the Chinese food that she grew up eating and I have little notion how to make. Charcuterie has also been an interest of mine for the past 4 years or so hence the antique meat slicer. I've made, with varying degrees of success, guanciale, pancetta, salami, chorizo and a number of fresh sausages. I have noticed that many of the people who are interested in charcuterie are also interested in molecular gastronomy/modernist cuisine and I am no exception. I'm not sure if I will be doing anything in that vein this week, but it is something that I enjoy dabbling in. One of my roommates in Chicago referred to me as the cookie monster due to my proclivity for vacuuming up any homemade cookies that were around. I must admit, I have an incredible sweet tooth and I enjoy making desserts. I have already mentioned my love of pie but I do like making other desserts as well. I have been making a tremendous amount of ice cream this summer ever since we were given an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. It's interesting how much I crave ice cream now since before I had the machine, I ate ice cream perhaps once a month and only during the summer. This will be a mostly typical week from me. I tend to attempt more ambitious and time consuming projects on the weekends and cook simpler meals on weeknights. Since I cook nearly every meal my wife and I eat we usually only go out to eat a couple of times a month. That being said, we're going to be going out a couple of times this week to give everyone a taste of the Philadelphia restaurant scene.
  16. Hello Everyone! I am starting this off a bit early since I am on the West Coast and by the time I finish running around tomorrow it may be a bit late for some. I live in the South Bay of Los Angeles, on the city versus the ocean side. This is a view from the peninsula looking out to the ocean. Catalina Island is 26 miles out there but obscured by haze. To the right is the newish Terranea Resort on the grounds of what long ago was Marineland - the original home I think of Shamu the killer whale. To the left is the Trump golf course. I, however, live on the city side in an old small formerly rural town called Lomita. This is a shot I took in January of the hay truck offloading at the old feed store. As an example of the diversity of the Los Angeles that I love, the Christmas decorations are still up on the light poles, and the building in the background is the Chabad Center. I used the book "An Embarrassment of Mangoes" in my teaser photo. Really Los Angeles is an embarrassment of food diversity and my little property is a citrus heaven. I hope to introduce you to a few of my local markets and restaurants and also give you a look at my cooking.
  17. Welcome to the 2012 season of eGullet Foodblogs and welcome, too, I guess, to my corner of Melbourne. Now, it's not Sunday. Not yet. Not even here. It will be soon--it's Saturday night--but I figured I'd post my prep for Sunday's dinner now, given early on Sunday I'll be spending most of the day at the Australian Open. I must apologise in advance, too, for the quality of some of the photographs. When I'm in a store somewhere I tend to prefer using my iPhone to my hulking SLR, a decision that often results in shitty photo. Some context. I live and have always lived in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs. I've spent most of my life in suburbs with a very high population of migrants from all over the world. Australia's culinary scene is shaped by migrants. The Italians and Greeks and others from that part of the world, back in the second half of the 20th century, they brought pizza and pasta and capsicums and salami. In the later part of the 20th century, the Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodians brought over a wide array of condiments, fruits and vegetables. Every batch of refugees and immigrants has brought their food with them--from boiled bagels to biltong, chorizo to bok choy. Entire suburbs became, and to some extent remain, 'enclaves' for various ethnic groups--Springvale, which I'll show you some time during the week, is home to a great many Vietnamese and Cambodian-Chinese. Clayton, where I am now, was once home to many Greeks and Italians--they're still here--but now has a very large population of Koreans and Indians. Dandenong, which you'll also see, has a lot of Sudanese, Sri Lankans, Indians, people from what used to be Yugoslavia and many others. The nation's collective palate has matured, too. At some point, not too long ago, supermarkets started selling frozen packages of 'stir fry' vegetables and a selection of dried pastas that went beyond spaghetti and 'macaroni'. Products I once had to look for in specialist stores--one of the many local Indian grocers, for instance--I can now find in most supermarkets. Much of this change has been in my lifetime. In my family home the menu evolved from variations on bangers and mash to include an increasing selection of heavily Australianised Asian and Italian dishes. The South East Asian influence is very obvious in the menus of our fine dining scene. I could show you many different parts of my city. If you visit here as a tourist, you're likely to visit Queen Victoria Market and maybe a couple of the big name restaurants in the CBD. I'll show you a little bit of that, but my focus will instead be on where I live and the surrounding suburbs. The preview pictures Canned grubs from South Korea, as avaliable at the 'Hong Kong Supermarket' just down the road. Not a mango or orange tree. It's a lemon tree in my backyard. Many Australians own lemon trees and we tend to get a bit weird about paying for lemons in the supermarket, even tho' they're typically only $3-4 per kilogram. Harry's Deli, a large Greek grocery store located at the end of my street. Reasonable selection of spices and dried goods, as well as olives, Greek cheeses and 'homemade' dips. A selection of umami boosters that, as a couple people pointed out, includes vegemite. I very much prefer savoury flavours to anything else. One of the local butcher shops. Australians might recognise these titles as coming from local chefs/authors. We also have reasonable-sized Indonesian population in Clayton. This is one of two Indonesian restaurants--very cheap and not bad, either. The food is very much like what you'd imagine getting in an Indonesian home in terms of presentation and menu options. A small part of the spice section in India at Home, one of the two larger Indian grocers (there are two big 'supermarkets' and a lot of smaller places, most of which also sell hot food items such as samosas) in Clayton. Also sells products from elsewhere in southern Asia, Fiji and South Africa. Some of the cheeses sold in one of the local Italian delis. Also sells a small selection of non-Italian products, including Spanish paprika and canned fish from Portugal. Harry's Outlet -- Greek deli I ducked into Harry's in search of juniper (not Greek, sure, but their spice selection is decent)--no luck--but ended up stocking up on some of their 'homemade' dips. Oasis Bakery -- Middle Eastern bakery, grocery store, etc My search for juniper led me to Oasis, a Middle Eastern grocer five minutes from home. It's 'Middle Eastern' in its focus but also sells a lot of interesting foodstuffs--some modernist cuisine-type additives, canned snails imported from France, a variety of canned fish eggs, a decent selection of Mexican chillies, etc. The spice selection is easily the most extensive there is so close to home. It's a nice shop. Vine leaves, obviously. A selection of dips, including all of the usual suspects--hommus, ful, tzatziki, roasted capsicum, etc. A selection of duck and goose products including fat, confit and rillettes. Salmon roe, lumpfish caviar and a few other varieties of 'fish egg' priced between these two points. Actual caviar is not sold here, of course. We're not in the right area for that. A selection of olives, ranging from hulking kalamatas marinated in a variety of ways to pricey little ones from Italy. Part of the section dedicated to oils and vinegars. Avaliable are products such as raspberry finishing vinegar, organic sesame oil and a truly baffling variety of infused extra virgin olive oils and fruity/spiced vinegars. Opposing this shelf is a shelf dedicated to sauces, including a selection of peri peris from Portugal and southern Africa and some 'gourmet' chutney. A section of the (long) wall dedicated to nuts and dried fruit, running from macadamias to slices of pear. A section dedicated to pre-packaged Turkish delight, running from cheap bulk packs to expensive organic stuff. A line of tajines they're pushing. Part of the spice, herb and powders section--you can pre-made blends, a variety of different chillies (in powder or whole form) and chilli blends, vegetable and fruit powders, natural food colourings and essences, whole and powdered spices and additives. A selection of salts, ranging from the usual--table salt, rock salt, etc--to some flavoured salts (wild garlic, etc), expensive Maldon sea salt and a few interesting ones, such as black salt and hickory smoked salt. Selection is actually superior to that of the ultra expensive gourmet shops such as Simon Johnson and Jones the Grocer. Part of the pickles section--runs, again, from industrial-sized cans of pickled onions to little jars of chillies. Freeze dried fruits and vegetables, sitting atop a freezer that holds icecreams, pastry, savoury and sweet-filled pastires, dough, ready meals such as their housemade Lebanese pizzas (avaliable hot in the restaurant), desserts of various kinds and a huge selection of frozen fruits and berries (want 3 different kinds of cherry, by any chance?) Just near here, too, is a whole wall of cheeses and a counter that sells a variety of pastries, ranging from baklava to macarons (insanely popular in Australia at the moment, thanks to Masterchef). Some honey--again, the range includes expensive local stuff (Manuka, organic, etc) and some imported ones from Greece and other places. Still cheaper than Simon Johnson, Essential Ingredient and other places aimed at wealthy inner suburbanites. If I find the time I'll show you one of those stores as a nice bit of contrast. A section dedicated to dried beans and grains, ranging from farro and organic quinoa to chickpeas and navy beans. Some dessert-type products, including Persian fairy floss, orange blossom water and rose water. Around the corner is a selection of chocolates, mostly imported or good quality local ones. Some beverages. There is also a large selection of teas and coffees for sale at Oasis. Oasis also has a restaurant, which sells--both for takeaway and sit-in customers--Middle Eastern dishes such as Lebanese pizza, doner kebabs, salads, desserts and a wide selection of stuffed bread/pastry-type products. The food is reasonably priced and, in my experience, very good. I don't eat there often--my shopping tends not to coincide with lunchtime, as Oasis is insanely popular and it's difficult to get in/out of the carpark, as it's on a busy main road--but I've never struck a dud dish. The haul. I went in looking for juniper--I need it for Sunday night's dinner--and came out with smoked sea salt (I'd been on the look out for this stuff since buying the Hawksmoor at Home book, so it was hardly an impulse purchase), goose rillettes and some wild Australian olives. The olives, which I ate with some of the imported brie I bought the other day. Very nice olives. Dan Murphy's I'm cooking kangaroo on Sunday night so I figured I'd want some beer to go with it. Luckily, Dan Murphy's is just down the road from Oasis. Dan's is a chain of booze outlets owned by one of the two big supermarket chains. It has very good prices and a very good selection of some of the finer things in life--craft beer from Australia, wine from Australia and elsewhere, spirits and, of course, single malt whiskies. I have enough wine, whisky and spirits at home, so I was only in search of beer. Part of the liqueur/spirit section. Looking out over the wine section. This store, by the way, seems smaller than the other near near my house. Cider has become popular in Australia in the past couple of years. In addition to the shitty overly sweet 'apple, strawberry and bullshit'-type stuff, there's also some good quality imported French and British (as well as a few local) ciders. At some point this week I'll try and track down some of the better Australian ones--they're not sold at Dan Murphy's yet. Part of the beer section. The selection runs from the mass produced locals and imports (VB, Carlton, etc, as well as Stella, Corona, etc) to locally made craft beers, a few that straddle the line between mass produced and crafty (James Squire, the Matilda Bay range) and some nice imports (Duvel, Chimay, Leffe, Sapporo) from Belgium, mostly, but also France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, South Africa and other places. A wider selection of, say, Indian beers (Kingfisher, Haywards 5000, etc) can be had at some of the smaller bottle-os in Clayton, which service a large Indian clientelle. The haul. Note the Sierra Nevadas--I've heard very good things. All of the others (aside from the minis) are local beers. Spiced and smoked kangroo -- prep Why did I head out in search of juniper and ale? On Sunday night I'm cooking kangaroo, working from a recipe in 32 Inspiration Chefs -- South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia [and some other places] for springbok. In the original recipe, some springbok loin is marinated in a spice mix, tea-smoked and then seared in a pan. It's accompanied by, among other things, a verjuice reduction, an apple chutney, parsnip puree and braised radicchio. It's a little more involved than what I'd normally make for dinner, but it's the weekend, school holidays (I'm a teacher) and the moment I saw some of the springbok/kudu/etc recipes in that book I was really keen to try all of them with 'roo fillets. Kangaroo, incidentally, is the most widely avaliable game in Australia--most supermarkets will sell the 'Macro Meats' brand fillets, steaks, 'kanga bangers', hamburgers, mince, mini-roasts and a variety of pre-marinted products, including sis kebabs and spiced steaks. Through a decent butcher, you can also order in--or sometimes even find, if you're lucky--kangaroo meat from other companies and in other cuts, including tail. In Queen ViC Market you'll maybe find 'roo biltong or salami. It's very lean and a bit like venison in terms of flavour--a bit sweet, a bit of iron, a meat for people who like meat. It's disgusting if over- or under-cooked, too. A lot of people don't like it because their one experience was negative--it's so easy to ruin. An increasing number of fine dining restaurants, including Vue de Monde, The Point and Jacques Reymond, are starting to include 'roo on their menus. The 'roo fillets, sitting in a marinade comprised of cumin, coriander seeds, chilli, mustard seeds, juniper, salt (I used some of the smoked salt), black pepper, soy sauce, treacle, olive oil and Worcester sauce. Verjuice reduction (water, sugar, verjuice). The apple chutney (Granny Smiths, red onion, sultanas, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, celery, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay, cardmom and cloves). When I return home from the Open I'll set to work on the last minute elements of the dish--the parsnip puree, the radicchio and some polenta (corn meal seemed like a nod to the African origins of the dish, while ticking off the starch requirements nicely). Instead of smoking the fillets in the oven with rooibos tea, orange zest, star anise and cinnamon as in the original springbok recipe, I'll load up my smoker with some hickory chips. The dish shall be served with much beer.
  18. !חג פסח שמח or Happy Passover! This is not the first time I've done an eG Foodblog during Passover. It's hard to believe that the first one was in 2005 and the second one, just one year later in 2006. Since it's been 5 years since I last blogged, I thought it was time to do it again. For those of you who don't know me, I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If you take a look at this map of North America you'll find Winnipeg right in the center - about 100 km north of the US border (we border North Dakota and Minnesota) and dead centre between the east and west coasts of Canada. I work in the family business - we call it Desserts Plus, but the emphasis is more on the Plus and less on the Desserts. We're kosher caterers and have a kosher food store in Winnipeg. Tomorrow (Monday, April 18th) marks the end of the 3 busiest weeks of the year for us -- we expect over 150 catering orders to go out over a 4 hour period, plus customers coming in for last-minute items before Passover starts tomorrow evening. You probably won't hear much from me tomorrow -- unless there are some lulls during the day. But if you have any questions, please ask them! I'll get to them as soon as possible. The plan for the week is a small seder dinner on Tuesday night and a lot of home-cooking over the holiday. It's 11 PM and I have to go finish packaging the chopped liver -- I've been here since 8 AM and have to be back by 8 AM tomorrow - and there's still stuff to do before I go. (This is about 1/3 of the 90 lbs. we made this year)
  19. About the eG Foodblogs The eG Foodblogs began in 2003 and are a popular feature in the eG Forums. These are discussion topics in which an eG Society member engages the rest of the membership in discussion of all the food and drink they consume, usually for a period of one week. Society members who become eG Foodbloggers write about all the food that they plan, purchase, cook and eat, accompanied by photos. They discuss their food background, family food preferences, eating habits old and new, shopping, gardens, beverages consumed, and more, responding to questions and comments from other members throughout the week. Sometimes there is a specific culinary theme to an eG Foodblog, and other times the discussion is simply about a typical week of meals for that member. Although most eG Foodbloggers do love to cook and/or bake, not all love fixing their meals. All do love to eat. A significant number of eG Foodblogs focus mostly on routine dining out, or the eats enjoyed during travel. Starting this month (October, 2010) a new season of eG Foodblogs will begin. If you are interested in becoming an eG Foodblogger (or would like to nominate someone else!) please send an e-mail to eGFoodblogs@egullet.org. Please keep in mind that all normal forum rules apply within the eG Foodblogs. Finally, the Society is searching for a volunteer to assist the forums team in coordinating the eG Foodblogs program: if you are interested in the position please contact eG Foodblog co-ordinator and host Heidi Husnak aka "heidih" (hhusnak@eGstaff.org) to discuss what the position entails.
  20. If you missed it, we recently relaunched the eG Foodblogs with our own Fat Guy kicking things off here. After a short break, another great eG Foodblog is under way. FoodMuse is sharing a week with us -- click here to read along and participate. And don't worry, there won't be a long break before the next one. On deck for next week, we have a blogger who has shared this picture with us:
  21. Weather Report: 21C (~70F), but it feels warmer. Rainy and sticky. Hello from the Antipodes! Welcome to my very first food blog – it’s an honour to be able to participate. I hope you’ll have fun and maybe help me out a bit too with some of my own cooking issues and queries. Why the title? Well, when I wait for my train in the mornings I look across the platform to the cows in the paddock on the other side, and when I get to my desk about 1.5 hours later I see the harbour out to the heads and bits of the bridge (pure bonus that it nearly works as a pseudo Star Trek reference). But more than that, it reflects the journey we make every day from the market gardens surrounding our suburb to our jobs where we both have access to some amazing food – I have had the opportunity to eat at a number of excellent restaurants in the city, and my husband has easy access to great Asian and Lebanese food near his work. A bit about me and my household... I’m a former Canadian living with my Aussie husband, Gerg, in a house on a fairly large block in the outer Northwest suburbs of Sydney. We have no kids, but share our space with a greying Kelpie named Willow, who snatches treats and oddments of meat out of the air with the most satisfied crocodile-like snap of jaws you have ever heard, and a recently arrived Tonkinese named Winston, but called Monster due to his ongoing obsession with climbing on things and knocking them down. The mess a Monster-powered flying pot of sour cream can make is rather spectacular, as I discovered only yesterday. How grateful am I to be living in a sub-tropical climate instead of the frozen North? Well, when Pam tells me Winnipeg has had 50cm of snow this past week, very! Although slightly wistful too: I miss the definite changes of the seasons, the blanketing silence of snow, the sparkle of hoar frost on the pines. On the other hand, there is nothing quite so sweet as the scent of orange blossoms wafting through the kitchen windows on a warm September morning. We are fairly adventurous eaters (excluding my unchanging dislike for shellfish), but I am not all that adventurous a cook, especially when compared to the wonders I see being created on eGullet on a daily basis! The German and French-Canadian flavours I grew up with are a definite influence, although I’m always working to expand my horizons; my husband is keen to avoid some of the more ‘traditional’ foods he ate growing up in an Anglo-Aussie household (tripe in white sauce usually comes up for a special mention). Sorry to say I don’t cook as much as I would like, and my small but growing cookbook collection tends to be treated more like a reading resource than a cooking one. In part this is because I’m interested in the social and historical aspects of food as much as the eating. Actually, if you have any particular books on social/historical aspects of food I’d love to hear from you! Always looking to overfill the bookshelves. We grow a few things in our small garden beds. The (delicious!) artichokes in the teaser picture are actually from last year – they’ve since been replaced with a few blueberry bushes, and I’m hoping that Willow does her job and keeps the birds away. The bed with lettuces is now planted out with rhubarb, which you will probably see cooked in some way later this week as they’re getting a little dense again. We had an orange tree when we moved in, but it died a few years ago – now we rely on the three in the front yard across the street to send their scent to us. There is an apricot tree, but we have found it impossible to control the fruit fly and in ten years have not had any useable fruit from it. Plans are afoot to harvest some of its branches for smoking in the Weber we got a few weeks ago. There are two mulberry trees as well, but the birds tend to beat us to them. We would like to grow more, but between our work schedules and my university study the garden always gets away from us a little too easily. I leave work early next year to finish off my degree, and maybe then I will be able to grow a few things from my hopeful basket of seeds. And also cook more. And one day, when we live on our own little property, I see a smokehouse.... I haven’t made any particular plans about what we will have this week. In fact, the shopping still needs to happen tonight, as all we have for veg is a bag of carrots and a quarter cabbage. On the radar for dinner tonight are spaghetti with tinned tuna, lemon, parsley and fresh tomatoes or maybe the fried egg, chilli and garlicky yoghurt dish from the Skye Gyngell cookbook I picked up at a sale last week. I’m really looking forward to sharing our week with you! A few more posts, plus pictures, to come as the day goes on. Snadra.
  22. Hi all. Time has sprung forward, so its time for My Spring Break Blog to begin. Today, DH and I will be going down to Galveston Island, but first let me welcome you to our home and show you around a bit. Please take a seat and I'll show you my kitchen. We are fortunate to have a good sized kitchen with lots of counter space and lots of cabinets and drawers. See my new rice cooker. Love it! The double ovens come in handy. The top one has a broiler and is self-cleaning. Time to make some breakfast. I'll be back soon.
  23. Five years ago, I had a foodblog. It was a terrific experience focusing on Providence food culture and on our family's daily cooking and eating during a pretty typical fall week. A lot has changed in five years. That little kitchen I used to cook in? Well, we moved into my dream kitchen. Though 1950s applicances, lighting, and so on present plenty of problems, and though the suburban commute is driving me nuts, the new kitchen is my Disneyland -- the happiest place, for me, on earth. A few more changes. Take liquids. Though I didn't know it was a bandwagon exactly, prasantrin is right: my tea selection has changed quite a bit. It's no longer quite so Tazo dominated: In addition, my drinks repertoire has expanded beyond this sort of thing: Not that there's anything wrong with a bit of Wray & Nephew neat, but several years of developing my cocktail chops, including BarSmarts Wired training and several months of work as a bartender and bar consultant, means that you'll see a broader array of libations. Much of that bartending experience has unfolded at Cook & Brown Public House, an award-winning new restaurant in Providence that we'll surely visit next week sometime. Meanwhile, these two? They grew. A lot. While they are on light KP and tasting duty regularly, it's vacation, so I'll need to pull out all of my skills of persuasion to get the two of them, now a kindergartener and teenager, to play sous chef. What else? I bought a lot of cooking equipment, spent a lot of time curing and smoking charcuterie, delved into Southeast Asian cooking, and indulged by food jones as much as I possibly can. Much more on that to follow. Finally, there's these here eG Forums. For years, I've been lucky to collaborate with a great team of volunteers to make eG Forums as vibrant and lively as possible. I've learned so much from Society members, and I hope to give some back over the course of the week. I'll also need some help: I've got some tricky stuff to negotiate, and will need you at the ready! As I said last time: At least for me, Andy Williams was right: this is the most wonderful time of the year. Starting later today, I'm off through January 2, and the vast majority of my waking time is consumed with cooking, shopping to cook, planning to cook. At the very least, I have Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas dinner, a Night Before New Years Eve party, and New Years Day cassoulet to prepare. In addition, I have a few surprises planned, including some time with some chef friends in town and a trip with at least one other Society member exploring our Biggest Little State in the Union. I'm really thrilled to be able to spend the week with you. So let's get started!
  24. Happy New Year!!!! Hello from almost smack-dab in the middle of Kansas! I was so excited to be asked to blog. I didn't think anyone would be able to guess it was me, but my last picture tipped at least a couple of you off. A little bit about me: I'm 36 and have been married to a wonderful man for 11 years. We got married New Year's Eve 1999....due to all the hype about the world ending in the year 2000, he figured he wouldn't have to be married long that way. We live way out in the country on a farm. No livestock, but plenty of crops such as sunflowers, wheat, soybeans and corn. Corn will be our primary crop in 2011 followed up by wheat. Here is what the outside of my house looks like during the summer months:
  25. What do an ethnic Chinese, a foodie, and a computer geek have in common? Answer: Absolutely nothing! It just happens to be me! In mathematical terms, using the modern set theory: A = set of all Chinese B = set of all foodies C = set of all computer geeks There exists a subset D where: D = A ∩ B ∩ C And I am a member of set D. Or in Boolean logic: A = Chinese B = foodie C = computer geeks D = A AND B AND C Or expressed in SQL: SELECT Ethnic_group, Hobbie_interest, Profession FROM All_population WHERE Ethnic_group = ‘Chinese’ AND Hobbie_interest = ‘foodie’ AND Profession = ‘computer geeks’ Okay… I have lost half of the audience! That’s great! I can start with my food blog now. Greetings! My name is Wai-Kwong Leung. Or in Chinese convention, which goes in the “surname, given-name” format, my name is Leung Wai-Kwong. In Chinese: Leung (the top character in the picture) is a common surname with no particular meaning. My father named me “Wai Kwong”. Wai (the middle character in the picture) means “Great” (as in achievement) or “Hugh” (as in size). Kwong (the bottom character in the picture) means “Bright”. Leung, though it seems it may not be as common in the USA, is ranked the 11th in the most popular surnames in the Cantonese region. The order that I heard many years ago was (all pronunciations in Cantonese): 1: Chan 2: Lee (or Li) 3: Cheung 4: Wong 5: Ho 6: Au 7: Chow (or Chau) 8: Wu (or Woo) 9: Ma 10: Luk Do some of these surnames look familiar to you? My wife’s family is the Wongs. This surname is quite common in the Toysanese region in Canton. Many of them had immigrated to the USA since the railroad building days. It is quite common, though not required, that the siblings in a family have either the same first given name or second given name. For example, in my family all my brothers share the same second given name “Kwong”. My first brother is Leung Yuk-Kwong. My second brother is Leung Hung-Kwong. Father told us that it is for the sake of identification of our generation – since most people in the same village may have the same surname. When we say we are the “Kwong’s” generation, the villagers will know. They keep the genealogy and naming book in the small village temple. My father was born in a small village near Guongzhou (old name Canton). At the age of 13, he took a train to Hong Kong to look for work – and didn’t look back since - except during years of the Japanese occupation. Both my brothers and sister and I were born and grew up in Hong Kong. I came to San Diego, California for college and later settled down in the US. I like to be addressed as “Ah Leung”. And in Chinese: The word “Ah” is just a common street salutation in Canton. Therefore there are many “Ah Wong”, “Ah Lee”, “Ah Chan” walking down the streets of Hong Kong. In Mandarin, the same street salutation would be “Xiao Leung”, where the word “Xiao” literally means “little”. It is an attempt to be modest (a Chinese’s virtue) having others addressing ourselves as “little”. The food consumed in Hong Kong is primarily Cantonese style. But Hong Kong is actually a melting pot of all cuisines in the nearby vicinities. The primary reason is the influx of immigrants, legal or illegal – well, back in the 40’s and 50’s the Hong-Kong/Mainland border was quite loose. And there was a big wave of immigrants from the mainland seemingly overnight when Mao advocated his “Big Leap Forward” campaign (and later on “The Cultural Revolution”). Many new immigrants brought their home style cooking with them. In Hong Kong, you will find a mix of different cuisines from Chiu Chow, Hakka, Shanghai, Peking, Sichuan, Hunan, etc.. Because of over 150 years of British ruling, Hong Kong also iss influenced greatly by European cultures (primarily British, French and Italy, and to a degree Portuguese because of the proximity to Macau – a Portuguese colony). And in recent decades: USA, India, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Hamburgers, thanks to McDonald’s, made its way to Hong Kong in the 70’s. And pizza, thanks to Pizza Hut, in the 80’s. Mexican food such as tacos, burritos and carnitas, however, did not receive enthusiastic response for whatever reason. In the late 1980’s, there was something like “Two” Mexican restaurants in the whole district of Tsimshatsui. When the eGullet blog team approached me to write a one-week food blog, I felt flattered and was very excited. The timing couldn’t have been better. The coming week is Chinese New Year. I would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the Chinese customs in celebrating this most important festivity in Chinese culture all around the globe through out this week. More to come later.
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