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  1. It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population. Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice. Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer. We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
  2. Fasten your seatbelts. It is that time of year again. We are a day late and a dollar short as they say but I was able to attend my granddaughter's graduation last night. We are on our way to Manitoulin via Sudbury. As always our vehicle is packed to the gunwales and then some. I hope we have both remembered all the essential things. As if we really needed more in a fully-stocked townhouse! Mostly we will be carting ingredients that will be hard to find up there. We are both unduly attached to our Joules so they are packed. Kerry does not leave home without the Thermomix. The Instant Pot and the Cuisinart Steam Oven are already there waiting for us along with most kitchen toys that one might need. Kira is securely strapped in her seat. Wouldn't do to forget her! I expect will stop somewhere for breakfast and one of us will remember photographs.
  3. Host's note: the initial title of this thread was "Swarvin' in ???" as a teaser. Once the destination was identified as Newfoundland, the title was changed to reflect this. The initial comments were based on the ??? In the title. And we'll soon be off.......culinary adventures to follow.
  4. I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman. To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai.
  5. It's one o'clock on a warm summer's day in Florence, I'm on my way to get ingredients for lunch. The sun is high in the sky, the cobblestones are warm under my feet and the aroma of something delicious is in the air. My mind starts to drift to the onions, celery and tomatoes I need for my pasta sauce, oh and don't forget something sweet for dessert...this truly is la dolce vita. My thoughts are soon interrupted by an unwelcome "chiuso" sign on the door of my new favorite deli. The blinds are closed and the friendly owners are nowhere in sight. The reality of having my favorite pasta dish for lunch was slipping further and further away. What a nightmare! How can this be? A local passing by must have noticed my frustration. "Signorina, è riposo. Tutto è chiuso!" Of course! How could I forget about the sacred Italian siesta? A siesta or riposo, as most Italians call it, is a time of rest. This time is usually around midday, or the hottest part of the day (very inconvenient if you're craving a bowl of pasta.) No one can really say where the tradition of the siesta originates, but many say it's all about food (no surprises there really). For many Italian families the main meal of the day is lunch. This heavy meal in the middle of the day is attributed to the standard Mediterranean diet: A minuscule breakfast of a coffee and pastry , a heavy lunch and an evening meal around 10 o'clock. The logic is that after such a heavy meal one would surely be drowsy and need to rest, no one can work efficiently on a full stomach! Post offices, car rentals, supermarkets and even coffee shops (in some smaller towns police stations too) all close their doors for a riposo. Everything comes to a standstill as every Italian goes home to kick of their shoes, enjoy a homemade lunch with family and bask in the Italian sunshine for three to four hours. This is serious business. One would not dare work for 8 hours straight. After their riposo most businesses open again around 4 o'clock and stay open till 7pm. Its the perfect balance between work and play and does wonders for your digestive system! "Grazie!" I thanked her for the reminder. The midday sun started to become unbearable. The streets had cleared with only a few tourists braving the midday heat still around. I thought about the strawberries I bought from the market earlier that week. Strawberries for lunch on my shaded balcony and maybe a nap afterwards sounded like my perfect riposo. The pasta will have to wait till 4.
  6. @Alleguede and I are in the lounge at Pearson awaiting our flight to Vegas for the IBIE (International Baking Industry Exhibition). I got the usually bomb sniffing swab done on my electronics - @Alleguede got the 3rd degree at customs. Anyone know what a carnet is? I believe I got that lecture the last time. Made myself a little cocktail, Maker's Mark, Grand Marnier, vintage port. I've had better! Not a lot of choices to eat since it's rather late (not that earlier would have helped) - they also have pasta salad, Italian Wedding soup, Cream of mushroom soup, corn chips and salsa. There appear to be some cookies there as well. I'm trying to low carb as much as possible so I'm avoiding most of it.
  7. I was thinking of doing a food blog of my recent trip through parts of New Zealand's south island. Most of the food we had was nothing spectacular, but the experiences and various scenery we had over the trip were amazing. Is there any interest in this?
  8. Hi everybody! I'm Jake, I'm 26 and from the United Kingdom. I've recently left a career in science teaching and I really hope to pursue my true passion, food writing by becoming either a recipe developer, a food journalist, or both! I've launched my website today so thought it was a good time to get active in some online forums and say hello! I look forward to meeting and interacting with you all ❤️
  9. Hello again from south of the equator! As you may or may not have heard (because the international news media isn't really giving the situation much coverage), Ecuador is in the grip of a major social protest movement. This started on October 1, when fuel subsidies in the country were abruptly struck causing the prices of gasoline and diesel to more than double overnight. Transport and heavy haulage unions immediately went on strike, and blocked the main roads of the cities with their vehicles in protest. The indigenous movements of the central Sierra, beginning in my province, Tungurahua, joined the strike on October 2, and the President quickly declared a State of Emergency that restricts movement, freedom of the press, and freedom association. The indigenous took over the road blockades on October 3, cutting the cities off from the world; Ambato became an island overnight. It is now October 8, one week into the blockades. Shortages in the fresh markets and supermarkets began on Sunday, as people realized that we were in for a long-haul of protest and possibly an overthrow of the sitting government. Ecuador's indigenous have a long history of deposing governments in this way, and it's not a fast process. I'll be blogging informally throughout the National Strike, to document how the inevitable food shortages affect the city and my own table. These first pictures are from Sunday, October 6. In the Mercado Mayorista, a place I've always taken you along to when I've blogged from Ambato, the cement floors of the naves are visible in places where they have never, in my experience, been exposed. The fresh corn nave is all but abandoned - this is because all of the corn in the city's stock has been sold. I'll remind you: a nave in this market is about a thousand square metres of space. This is also missing the big trucks that come to trade fresh grains in the parking lot, because they couldn't make it through the roadblocks. Most of the Mayorista is in the same situation - stocks are selling off fast. The supermarkets are even more dire. The meat coolers are completely empty, and the produce shelves are diminishing quickly.
  10. 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.
  11. After ... ... I headed to the airport and flew Nanning, China to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. The meal on board the plane is here. We landed two hours later and after the usual immigration nonsense I was met by an old friend and her husband. They had helped me book me a hotel and took me there. The couple are Chinese but live and work in HCMC. They dropped me off at the hotel, made sure I was settled in and took off to attend to some business (they work in the jewellery business, importing and exporting between China and Vietnam), but returned in the evening to take me to dinner. We went here. The place, Làng Nướng Nam Bộ, is huge and, on a Friday evening was packed. My friends ordered - they both speak fluent Vietnamese whereas mine is limited to the basics. I just looked around. Each table was supplied with Tissues and two dips. One was fish sauce and the other seemed to be shrimp paste with sesame. and A bag of crackers, some pickled gherkins or similar and a dip of salt and chilli Steamed Chicken with Banana Hearts Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls - accompanied by a mixed selection of raw greens, which are served with almost everything. Grilled Venison with Grilled Okra Hotpot protein - squid, shrimp, clams, beef Hotpot Vegetables - including both banana hearts and shoots. Everything was good. Especially the venison. I hadn't expected okra, but it seems to be popular. Every market I visited had some, but I'm getting ahead of myself. More to come.
  12. So here we are once again on the road. That would be Kerry singing.. We remembered Kira. And behind Kira is our stash of stuff we’re taking with us.
  13. 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!!!)
  14. 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.
  15. 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
  16. Start spreading the news. We are on our way north. Just stopped in Barrie for breakfast at a place called Cottage Canoe. Will post more shortly.
  17. The Manitoulin test kitchen topic has been so popular, it has reached the 20-page mark (the point beyond which the servers are begin bing less efficient at processing) in under a month! We've split this discussion; the preceding section is here: Manitoulin test kitchen (Part 1). So there wasn't much to choose between them taste wise or texture wise. The Ruhlman wet/dry is faster and easier. Most of the prep now done for another dinner of laarb this time using Kerry's recipe. Might have cooked more this afternoon but had a nice nap instead after all this is supposed to be holiday too.
  18. 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!
  19. 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 !
  20. 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.
  21. And so it begins once again. @Kerry Beal is on the road heading to my house to pick me up so we can head north to Manitoulin Island. Hopefully she remembered to put Kira in the van. Things will be very different this time. Change is inevitable. Among the changes iscthat one of our favourite nurses now that she has her children are grown is going back to school to become an anaesthesiology assistant. You might remember her as the owner of a lovely piece of property with horses, dogs, cats, kids and raspberries. But perhaps the biggest change is that the townhouse is to be sold. It is on the market with a closing date of September. Thankfully it will not be shown while we are there! Almost everything in the town house belongs to Kerry except for the furniture and the appliances. One of our challenges will be how to deal with all this accumulated stuff! This will be Kerry‘s 19th summer up there so I leave you to imagine the challenges we will face. But I am determined it will not interfere with our cooking or our enjoyment of the waterfront view or of all the other adventures that we manage to get up to each year. Stay tuned for future installments.
  22. Some of you may recall that in 2016 I had a blog about our trip to Newfoundland. We are going there again tomorrow for a week, returning July 1 and I thought that since we are going to, and eating at, places different from that year, I would do another blog. When I booked our flights and accommodations (7 places in 8 nights) last February, June 23rd seemed like a long ways away. Yet here we are, about to leave. I hope some of you will follow along as we travel through the province.
  23. We were going to call it "Manitoulin Unrivalled" but after Kerry's adventures over the week or so unravelled seemed more fitting. Those who follow us faithfully know the routine: Technical difficulties..... Stay tuned...
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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