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lesliec

eG Foodblog: lesliec (2011) - Beef, boots and other stories

127 posts in this topic

[font="Trebuchet MS"]Hi everybody. Welcome to what we believe is the first eG foodblog from New Zealand. Due to time differences it’s a little late in the day now for me, but shall we start with some breakfast?

Croissants.jpg

Those are from Joanne Harris and Fran Warde’s book [amazon=0060893133]The French Market. The only change I make is to omit the egg wash – I find it gives a slightly ‘wrong’ taste; bitter, perhaps. And I have no trouble getting them brown enough (apologies for these ones – they’re slightly more brown than I’d like. That’s what happens when you put them in the oven just as you’re serving dinner, then forget …). I usually make a batch and freeze them; then they’re available at a moment’s notice when breakfast calls.

I hope I can satisfy the anticipation you displayed in your reaction to the teaser photos. It’s going to be an interesting week for me, anyway. Shortly I’ll tell you about the City Market here in Wellington, where we’ll meet some very dedicated food people. Tomorrow we’re visiting a local gin distiller, and I’m taking you all to Valentine’s Day dinner (don’t read too much into that!) at my absolutely favourite Wellington restaurant - we’ll meet its chef at the market, just to get you in the mood. We have people coming to dinner on Wednesday (which is unusual, but I’ll manage it somehow), so you can sit in on that for a classic, if maybe predictable, dish (any guesses?). At some stage I’ll take you to a few of my favourite Wellington food shops, and next Saturday, weather permitting, we’re having a picnic with some of my work people – I have some very traditional New Zealand food planned for that. And there’ll be a few other bits and pieces thrown in as we go. Just as well I’m taking the next couple of days off work – I don’t think I could cope otherwise!

Finished your croissants? How about some coffee before we go? Yes, Peter, I made one for you.

Coffee.jpg

While you’re enjoying that, let’s get some of the dry, factual stuff out of way, shall we? New Zealand is that funny-looking little group of islands way down at the bottom of the South Pacific (no, not that far down – that’s Antarctica). The two largest islands are imaginatively named the North and South Islands. Important note: if you’re ever talking about them, it’s always THE North Island or THE South Island – don’t forget the definite article. There’s also the West Island where Nick (nickrey) lives, but we won’t say too much about that.

Wellington is the capital city and is at the bottom tip of the North Island, near enough to the geographical centre of the country. Greater Wellington has a population of 370,000 or so, of which Wellington City itself makes up around 180,000 (New Zealand’s total population is somewhere around 4.5 million – roughly the same as Sydney. Or Boston, apparently). The New Zealand dollar is worth around $US0.76 (or, to put it another way, $US10 buys $NZ13), and any measurements you see in the photos will be metric.

Our time zone (we have an hour of daylight saving in effect at the moment) is 12 hours ahead of Europe, 18 ahead of California and 21 ahead of New York – that’s if my amateur time calculations are to be trusted. 10am here is 1pm yesterday in LA, anyway. This creates some difficulties doing a blog like this; I’ll try to make it sound like real-time, but in fact I’ll be well and truly shut down and in bed before many of you start thinking about reading it.
Ethnically we’re quite a mixture. Most of us – it’s hard to say how many; the census figures are complicated by people claiming multiple origins – are of European ancestry – we have English, we have Greek, we have Irish, we have Italian – you name it, they’re here! The rest of us are of Maori, Pacific Island or Asian descent, with plenty of cultural mingling. That does make for an interesting food landscape, although I must confess up front: my palate leans very much towards Europe. I can’t help it; Asian tastes just doesn’t do it for me.

Partly in recognition of this, our dinner tonight is going to be as traditionally New Zealand as it gets.

Lamb1.jpg

I'll get that in the oven a little later and show you how it turned out - probably tomorrow (my time).

A technical note, for those who are interested: the photos were taken using a Canon EOS 300D, most commonly with a 50mm f1.8 lens. I bought the lens, a fairly inexpensive one, specially for this blog and I can thoroughly recommend the joys of a fast lens for food photography.

And yes, we must mention the teaser photos. I suspect there may be the odd smartypants out there who can use Google, so the quote in the second one probably wasn’t as hard as it might have been. But just so everybody knows:

Starters_th.jpg

This one, I grant, could be anywhere. In the foreground are some nibbles I make for almost every dinner party we have. They're a very simple El Bulli recipe; peeled cherry tomatoes and balls of watermelon, separated by a basil leaf. The ones in the photo are shown not-quite-finished - there's a drizzle of basil oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to come. In the background, a loaf of the bread I make from the subject of this thread, and very good it is too.

Universe_th.jpg

This one is part of the Wellington Writers' Walk along the waterfront. The quote is from a poem by Bill Manhire, who among other things teaches creative writing at Wellington's Victoria University.

View_th.jpg

This one is over the roof of our house, looking towards Evans Bay. The airport is in the middle distance towards the right. It's often said here that you can't beat Wellington on a good day. This was one.

Trees_th.jpg

And this one gets the obligatory Lord of the Rings reference out of the way. Remember the part in the first film where the hobbits are hiding from the Black Rider? That was filmed on Mount Victoria, in these very trees, maybe half a kilometre from home.

Enough already. Let’s go to the market.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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I have my seat belt fastened and am anticipating a great ride. Your bit of coming events sounds great.

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Ooh, an expat's delight, and technically still summer too (though maybe not (ever!) in Wellington?).

I think Wellington is generally less "Asian" than Auckland anyway? My decades-old memories of Chinese food in Wellington are that it wasn't a serious part of Wellington dining, at least back then.

Looking forward to getting a more up-to-date impression of Wellington through your blog, as we may be extraditing sending younger son to Wellington for study next year.

Dinner party dish...hmmm...end of summer...if I took my starving hulks they would be nagging for rack of lamb, but I would be looking for mussels and smoked fish or a good-sized snapper to grill, knowing that they would eat anything if they thought they were getting Rush Monro icecream for dessert. With feijoas...

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Thanks, Heidi. I hope I'll be a smooth driver, but the seatbelt is always a good idea (I'll show you the road I have to go over to get to the gin distillery tomorrow!).

I've just finished getting tonight's lamb ready for the oven. The previous owner of this particular piece was born and raised in the Wairarapa region, just over the hill from Wellington, by my colleague Phil, who has a small farm near Masterton. You’ll note this leg has a good layer of fat, which distinguishes it from the export version (why should you guys get all the good stuff?). As it cooks the fat is going to ooze down over/through the rest of the meat, leaving it juicy, tasty and brown and contributing to some rather superb gravy. Hmmm ... maybe I need to add something to the Roasts topic in WikiGullet ...

Preparation is simple. There’s nothing wrong with just sprinkling some salt over the top, but I’m going for rosemary and garlic inserted in holes poked in the meat with a sharp knife, then salt and pepper. If you don’t have that good fat layer, a slurp of olive oil doesn’t hurt as well, but I've decided to do this one 'natural'.

Our oven has a ‘Roast’ setting which gives the meat a high-temperature browning before settling down to a more reasonable temperature, but this cut works pretty well at around 160°C for the whole cooking time - you just don't get quite as much nice browny stuff for the gravy. Of course, you can do it manually - say 220°C for the first 10 minutes, then drop to 160 - but that involves thought, and memory! I’m going for a slightly-pink centre, which should take something like 2½-3 hours (internal temperature say 65°C).

And here it is, ready to go:

Lamb2.jpg


Edited by lesliec (log)

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Hi Helen. Welcome back to NZ, and I shall disdainfully ignore your slur on Wellington's weather, except to say this:

Welly.jpg

and this:

Welly2.jpg

Your post came in as I was writing that previous one, so I suspect you may now be drooling over your keyboard at the thought of what I'm doing to that lamb. And yes, Rush Munro's certainly has a following, but to my taste Kapiti is better (fig and honey - ahhh). Then there's Kohu Road, with some deliciously unusual flavours (Golden Syrup, perhaps). But that's entirely moot now I've started making my own, of which more later in the week.

Yes, Welly doesn't have quite the numbers of Asian immigrants that Auckland has, but there's still some very good Asian food to be had out there. So I'm told.

When I posted last year about a dinner at Martin Bosley's you mentioned it might be a good idea to send son here. Stay tuned for tomorrow night ...


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Looking forward to the blog Leslie.

Funny how the wind doesn't show in those pictures though... Wellington's the only place where entering a hotel is like going through those doors on the bridge of the Enterprise. I've often mused that it must be a good way to get rid of your older citizens :P .


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Great start, Leslie. I'm looking forward to this blog. As a fellow Wellington-ian, I'm looking forward to picking up some tips on local food sources.

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To conclude the roast lamb topic ... it came out looking like this:

Lamb3.jpg

And inside:

Lamb4.jpg

It's fine like that, but if my time machine was working I might have taken it out 20 minutes earlier. Ah well.

I’m a great believer in crunchy roast potatoes to accompany roast meat. The best way I’ve found to achieve this is to boil the spuds until they’re done, then drop them into hot duck fat an hour before I want them. Totally overcooked, totally good.

Spuds.jpg

And to accompany, some fresh beans from the garden. Until quite recently these guys were still growing.

Beans.jpg

All they need is a quick blanch in boiling, salted water, then a toss in butter and fresh garlic. As you'll see shortly, the red pigment vanishes when they're cooked.

And to finish, gravy is essential. My roasting pans don’t work on induction, so since I changed from gas I’ve had to amend my gravy-making technique. And it’s worked out better than I ever managed before. After I’ve put the meat aside to rest, I pour off most of the fat, slosh some stock into the pan and scrape up the nice brown bits. I’m using a Campbell’s chicken stock tonight; these prepared stocks arrived in our supermarket a year or two ago and I find them really good. But when I have my own stock I use that. That goes into an induction-friendly pot to heat up, while I make some flour and water paste for thickening. I’ve got into the habit of using stock for this too, but plain water is fine. Into the pot, stir and heat gently. One of the particular delights of induction is its controllability. Once the gravy is up to temperature I can wind the heat way down so there’s just the odd bubble climbing slowly to the surface. It can stay like that for hours ...

And now we serve:

Lamb5.jpg

Since the meat came from the Wairarapa it seeme only fair to drink a Wairarapa wine with it. They’re making some lovely Pinot Noir over there; this is the second lable of Martinborough Vineyard. I must confess the two Chrisses have got me interested in hyperdecanting, so I tried it with this one. Yes, it does make a difference. Is the result better than if you hadn't done it? Very fair question. Cheers!

TeTera.jpg

To finish off Jane made a quick dessert with some market peaches, some of my cinnamon ice cream, some berries from the garden and a little raspberry sauce she made a while ago from some on-the-point-of-no-return raspberries, also from the market. Perfect.

Pud.jpg

Off to bed now; I'll be back on Monday morning with some more.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Hi Harry. Nice to hear from a fellow Wellingtonian and (clearly) Pythonian. Where are you - central, north, south, Hutt, ... ?

Yep, food sources coming up soon. Stay with me - so many places, so little time.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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No Mexican beans then?

Are Bluff oysters in season? They are one of my favourite NZ foods.


Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Wonderful views....will look forward to your culinary tour this week!


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Very interested in following along, Leslie, and I harbor nothing but good stereotypes about NZ, particularly concerning food & wine.

But I'm especially eager to hear about tomorrow's distillery trip -- and jealous: I can't use the phrase "local gin distiller," sadly.

Is it South gin?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I bought the lens, a fairly inexpensive one, specially for this blog and I can thoroughly recommend the joys of a fast lens for food photography.

I bought a new lens for my eG food blog as well! Macro. Maybe it's a trend?

What great fun seeing the end of summer in February. Your lamb looks scrumptious.

I'll be very glad to hear about ingredients in NZ - I'll be in Auckland in April, and I'm really looking forward to doing a lightning raid on a supermarket while I'm there. Kapiti cheese is high on my list.

How about wines? What should I be looking for? I'm flying down for a friend's wedding for one weekend only, and I have a deal with her that I have to stay on a Sauvignon Blanc cloud for the whole time that I'm there - what in particular should I be looking for?

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I wondered if we might see some Martinborough product! Hope it was as good as it looked, and don't those runner beans and your dessert look so summery. Cinnamon icecream sounds wonderful...I see that Kapiti lists a black plum icecream, a big dose of Kiwi nostalgia for me.

As for the lamb, just the thought of an oven big enough to fit it into makes me marvel.

You said you've switched from gas to induction - any particular reason?

That hillside pic looks so Wellington...never really had a good chance to explore as I always seemed to be there on work.


Edited by helenjp (log)

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Beautiful! I've got to give a heads up to one of my nephews about your blog. He spent January-June last year in Auckland and thoroughly enjoyed New Zealand, especially his visits to the South Island and Wellington--with the food being one of the highlights. He's still pining for the quality and diversity of the food that was readily available to him, even on a college student budget.



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OK, I've decided I'd better not go to bed this week - there's all these responses to the blog when you wake up! So ... one at a time, I guess:

Nick: The Bluff oyster season starts in March, so not too far away. For years I prefessed not to like oysters, then two years ago I was force-fed (nearly!) a specimen which changed my mind. Not a Bluff one; this was from Waiheke Island, near Auckland. Since this epiphany, if that's the right word, I haven't yet tried a Bluff one but I guess I should.

Kayb: Thanks. The tour starts in earnest in about an hour when we start the drive to to see how/where gin is made. More views as we go through the week, promise.

Chris A: I hope I won't destroy your good sterotypes (don't think so - we have some lovely products). I'm quite impressed that I can use the phrase 'local gin distiller' myself! No, it's not South (had some of that last year and was underwhelmed). Wait and see (I used to HATE my mother telling me that was for dinner!).

Erin: By all means hit the supermarkets, but also try to find time to visit Kapiti's shop in Auckland (go here and click 'Stores'). Then you'll get both ice cream and cheese - can't miss! As for your Sauv Blanc cloud ... we can certainly provide the wherewithal. Marlborough is I suppose most famous for it, and the style is very much big, upfront fruit (which has, of course, been likened to cat's pee on a gooseberry bush). If you can, look out for the less common ones from Hawke's Bay or Martinborough; they're a bit more rounded and complex. Hawke's Ridge is a particularly good one I've tried recently.

Helen: The gas just wasn't doing it for us (and I've been a gas fan for years). It wasn't fast, it wasn't fierce when I wanted it, it wasn't controllable - you know, all the things gas should be. The induction went in two days before Christmas (bravery/madness) and we're stunned at how good it is.

Linda (and Linda's nephew): Hi. Yes, if you want fresh and good, it's available. Surprisingly, this hasn't always been the case, but we've really improved the products available to us ordinary shoppers. I'm hoping to get my City Market visit written up later today for you, and I have an appointment tomorrow morning to chat with one of the owners of probably the most influential food retail development of the last few years.

Time to go now. I'll be back later with a haze of gin surrounding me. Possibly.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Thanks for the coffee lesliec, it is appreciated. Here in frozen Atlantic Canada we're just now into a fortnight of school break and I've already made my family watch all three LOTR films plus bonus discs. That path was a dead giveaway.

Compared to other land proteins like beef, pork and chicken how common is lamb for supper? Leg roasts mostly? Does mutton make it to the table?


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Lamb is lovely- I can see perhaps a bit pinker as you noted but when it is that flavorful I think it is good either way. Potatoes in duck fat will never get a diss here.

I notice the screw top on the wine and have seen it in almost all the Aussie and NZ wines in the local shop. Have corks gone by the wayside? I know it is a growing trend but am not really a wine person so I was wondering.

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Erin: By all means hit the supermarkets, but also try to find time to visit Kapiti's shop in Auckland (go here and click 'Stores'). Then you'll get both ice cream and cheese - can't miss! As for your Sauv Blanc cloud ... we can certainly provide the wherewithal. Marlborough is I suppose most famous for it, and the style is very much big, upfront fruit (which has, of course, been likened to cat's pee on a gooseberry bush). If you can, look out for the less common ones from Hawke's Bay or Martinborough; they're a bit more rounded and complex. Hawke's Ridge is a particularly good one I've tried recently.

Manuka honey and fig! That's the one. NZ ice cream is exceptional.

I'm a big fan of Nautilus and Kim Crawford, which are easy to find internationally. I'm looking forward to trying some less common ones.

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Hi all.

Just back from over the hill, and I am now (slightly more of) an expert on how to make gin. Watch out Bombay Sapphire - but I'll probably write that up for you tomorrow.

First a couple more answers, tyhen separately I'll tell you (finally) about the City Market. By the way, thanks for all the questions. I'm really enjoying finding answers for the ones I can't handle off the top of my head.

Peter, glad it was the path and not your searching skills which gave me away! My choice for LOTR is the extended version of all three. Each is 45-60 minutes longer than the theatrical releases, but what they add to the richness is worthwhile. A nice sound system (with big subwoofer) helps. Re the various meats: I'm guessing, but I suspect chicken might top the list. What the order of popularity of pork/beef/sheep would be I really can't say. No, the roast leg probably isn't the most common form (but it's nice!); you can have steaks, rump, chops, racks, etc. for something quicker to prepare. Lamb is one of the meats sous vide is particularly kind to. We do get mutton, but it's not as common as lamb; there's also hogget (if I remember correctly, technically that means it's two years old) but that seems even more rare in recent years. As with almost anything, older = potentially less tender but tastier, so it's worth looking out for hogget or mutton when it's available.

Heidi, screwcaps have become very common here. You're possibly familiar with the arguments for and against; one that's often advanced here is that our wines tend to have very fresh fruit flavours which a screwcap does nothing to spoil. Some of the winemakers have experimental batches of their older wines using both types of closure (not in the same bottle - you know what I mean) and seem happy that wines under screwcap do stay fresher longer, with no adverse effect. Against that is the argument that wines meant for aging benefit from the small amounts of oxygen a cork lets through. Basically, on one side you have wines which will taste more or less the same in five years as they do now, compared to ones which will change as they age. I'm still undecided, I confess. A screwcap is undoubtedly quicker to get off, but it's still kinda nice to wield a corkscrew. And I haven't had any problems with cork taint.

Erin: you'll have plenty of choice. Have fun, responsibly!


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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I notice the screw top on the wine and have seen it in almost all the Aussie and NZ wines in the local shop. Have corks gone by the wayside? I know it is a growing trend but am not really a wine person so I was wondering.

If I might chip in on this one. Australians and Kiwis are notorius early adopters. I well remember my US colleagues' incredulity at everyone having mobile phones in the mid to late 1990s. If something works well and is useful, it is typically well received no matter what was in place before.

The screw cap was subjected to some pretty heavy scrutiny in terms of its effects on preserving and maturing wine when it first came out. Although there are some slight disadvantages in using it, the screw cap won hands down over cork. I know there is "tradition" to think of but would you really adopt a closure that suffered around a 1 in 20 spoilage rate if it was not in place already?


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Against that is the argument that wines meant for aging benefit from the small amounts of oxygen a cork lets through. Basically, on one side you have wines which will taste more or less the same in five years as they do now, compared to ones which will change as they age.

Just as a side tidbit: modern screw closure manufacturers have developed designs that allow very precise quantities of air to get through the cap. The control is far better than with a cork, with exactly the same benefits. These days the only thing keeping cork enclosures around is tradition and consumer preference.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
       

       
      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
       

       
      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      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   
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Pille
      Tere õhtust (that’s „Good evening“ in Estonian)!
      I’m very, very, very excited to be doing my first ever eGullet foodblog. Foodblogging as such is not new to me – I’ve been blogging over at Nami-nami since June 2005, and am enjoying it enormously. But this eGullet blog is very different in format, and I hope I can ’deliver’. There have been so many exciting and great food blogs over the years that I've admired, so the standard is intimidatingly high! Also, as I’m the first one ever blogging from Estonia, I feel there’s a certain added responsibility to ’represent’ my tiny country
      A few words about me: my name is Pille, I’m 33, work in academia and live with my boyfriend Kristjan in a house in Viimsi, a suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was born and schooled in Tallinn until I was 18. Since then I've spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student, four years studing in Tartu (a university town 180 km south), two years working in Tallinn and seven years studying and working in Edinburgh, the bonnie & cosmopolitan capital of Scotland. All this has influenced my food repertoire to a certain degree, I'm sure. I moved back home to Estonia exactly 11 months and 1 day ago, to live with Kristjan, and I haven't regretted that decision once Edinburgh is an amazing place to live, and I've been back to Scotland twice since returning, but I have come to realise that Tallinn is even nicer than Edinburgh
      I won’t be officially starting my foodblog until tomorrow (it’s midnight here and I’m off to bed), but I thought I’ll re-post the teaser photos for those of you who missed them in the 'Upcoming Attractions' section. There were two of them. One was a photo of Tallinn skyline as seen from the sea (well, from across the bay in this case):

      This is known as kilukarbivaade or sprat can skyline A canned fish product, sprats (small Baltic herrings in a spicy marinade) used to have a label depicting this picturesque skyline. I looked in vain for it in the supermarket the other day, but sadly couldn’t find one - must have been replaced with a sleek & modern label. So you must trust my word on this sprat can skyline view
      The second photo depicted a loaf of our delicious rye bread, rukkileib. As Snowangel already said, it’s naturally leavened sour 100% rye bread, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions for making it later during the week.

      It was fun seeing your replies to Snowangel’s teaser photos. All of you got the continent straight away, and I was pleased to say that most of you got the region right, too (that's Northern Europe then). Peter Green’s guess Moscow was furthest away – the capital of Russia is 865 km south-east from here (unfortunately I've never had a chance to visit that town, but at least I've been to St Petersburgh couple of times). Copenhagen is a wee bit closer with 836 km, Stockholm much closer with 386 km. Dave Hatfield (whose rural French foodblog earlier this year I followed with great interest, and whose rustic apricot tart was a huge hit in our household) was much closer with Helsinki, which is just 82 km across the sea to the north. The ships you can see on the photo are all commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn (there’s an overnight ferry connection to Stockholm, too). Rona Y & Tracey guessed the right answer
      Dave – that house isn’t a sauna, but a granary (now used to 'store' various guests) - good guess, however! Sauna was across the courtyard, and looks pretty much the same, just with a chimney The picture is taken in July on Kassari in Hiiumaa/Dagö, one of the islands on the west coast. Saunas in Estonia are as essential part of our life – and lifestyle – as they are in Finland. Throwing a sauna party would guarantee a good turnout of friends any time
      Finally, a map of Northern Europe, so you’d know exactly where I’m located:

      Head ööd! [Good night!]
      I'm off to bed now, but will be back soon. And of course, if there are any questions, however specific or general, then 'll do my best trying to answer them!
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